As discussed in the Local Partners and Economy pages of our site, the Region is poor and there is little livable-wage work, especially for indigenous women. Their situation, however, is not hopeless. Women partners are strong, eager and already working for different by building and benefiting from myriad local projects.
They also meet global demand for local-produced goods with a regional supply of highly regarded ornate embroidery, coffee, fruit liquors, woodworking, and naturally dyed and handwoven blankets and clothing.
To ably supply global demand, and to fund new local-based projects, in 2017, we incubate the first Cooperative of indigenous artisans and producers of organic goods to export their products to national and international markets.
We help indigenous women leaders to incubate their unprecedented Regional Cooperative “Mujeres Emprendedores FECU” because they demand such. The numerous benefits of a well-functioning Cooperative, include:
- Economic freedom, improved living conditions and local project production funded by the Cooperative and consistent with the women’s development agenda.
- Increased cooperation among women, particularly in political activities and social gatherings of men and women
- Strengthened leadership capacities and the increased assumption by women members of decision-making authority in families and communities
All decisions on Cooperative management structure and values will be decided by its members. Still, as a consultant, PSYDEH encourages adoption of myriad principles loosely based on that which is advocated by the International Labor Organization and the following tenets:
- Fundamental human needs and aspirations are an end in themselves.
- Capacity-building and empowerment are central to the Cooperative as a learning organization and community empowerment tool.
- Joint ownership and democratic control are vital to the Cooperative.
- Community-based development is a primary focus; there is a strong link between the Cooperative and the territory and the people working nearby on other matters.
In 2015, we integrated the first 20 members of the Cooperative and its legal board while conducting basic strategic training on the nature of a Cooperative. In 2019, we seek funding for targeted actions needed to solidify the Regional Cooperative’s development.
For centuries, the Region’s Otomi, Nahautl and Tepehua women have honed their skills as artisans and organic farmers.
In Acaxochitlán, Nahua women produce naturally dyed wool products and embroidered blouses, wrap skirts and more. They also create a variety of fruit liquors and wood carvings.
In Tenango de Doria, Otomí women produce famously-ornate embroidered clothing and a wide variety of household products, traditional and modern.
In San Bartolo Tutotepec, Nahua and Otomí women produce organic coffee, fruit liquor, peanuts, and avocados. In more remote communities, women produce hand-stitched clothing and embroidered art.
In Huehuetla, Tepehua women produce ornately embroidered blouses, backstrap-woven black belts with a knotted design to finish it and the white wrap skirt.
Otomí women produce a variety of embroidered items, some similar to that which is created in Tenango and other geometric designs unique to their own region. Production of wood carvings and furniture-and coffee production is also strong.