Our multi-year program began in 2013, when we conducted an appreciative inquiry of local leaders on their interest in mobilizing while educating citizens about new state law on indigenous rights and culture.

In 2014, 293 women leaders, representing the region’s 60,000 indigenous citizens and four majority indigenous municipalities, launched four unprecedented actions.

In 2015, PSYDEH helped local partners confront inadequate training and legal organization of the five citizen advisory boards, a lack of knowledge around their development agenda priorities, and weak regional identity and economic opportunities for women citizens.

In 2016, we continued doing women-demanded work by strengthening their skills and knowledge needed to participate in Mexico’s democratic processes, supporting their own local projects, and linking them with indigenous policymakers and new national and international networks.

In 2017, a very strong year for fieldwork building out our scalable model, we continued 2016 work strengthening indigenous women’s skills and knowledge around Mexico’s electoral processes, while also launching a new global crowdfunded initiative supporting our nascent network of indigenous women-led NGOs.

In 2018, PSYDEH and women partners used Mexican national and global resources to cement progress made since 2014.

In 2019, we navigated Mexican government funding cuts while continuing to educate and organizing women on and around their rights, including by supporting our their network of local CSOs to grow into impact-making actors.

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With funding from our “Fruits of Change” global crowdfunding campaign in collaboration with US-based GlobalGiving, as well as the Mexican Government’s Instituto Nacional Electoral (INE), and with in-kind training on training Active Citizens from British Council, PSYDEH did unprecedented-for-Hidalgo work.

And our Mexico City-based Creativos Obscura partner was with us every step of the way documenting success when producing our longest short documentary yet, a film called “Ciudadana” (Woman Citizen), celebrating how rural, vulnerable women, and their communities exercise their rights to access public information and protect their personal data privacy.

Impact included:

  • LAUNCH our “Fruits of Change” Seed Fund Initiative to offer hands-on support to four local women-led CSOs to produce their own project proposals for 3rd-party funders.
  • PRODUCE our 5th Regional Forum that united 170+ Otomí, Tepehua, Nahua women from Hidalgo, and Afro-Mexican women leaders from Veracruz to update the women’s unprecedented regional development agenda and discuss how to increase participation in civic processes.
  • CREATE a training manual for rural indigenous women citizens across Hidalgo to best exercise their rights to access public information and protect personal data privacy, while DELIVERING radio spots on these rights in indigenous languages for community radio.
  • PRODUCE the bulk of our story-telling training initiative where women partner’s stories in text and photo form are celebrated in our mid-2020 e-book “Narrativas“.
  • LEVERAGE women’s artisanal work into a successful social enterprise initiative producing 161% return on investment, with profits funding legal costs key to women’s organizations’ own fundraising in 2020-21.


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With funding from our “Fruits of Change” global crowdfunding campaign and the Mexican government Instituto Nacional de Transparencia, Acceso a la Información y Protección de Datos Personales (INAI), PSYDEH continued to do that which was demanded by local women partners. 

To promote knowledge and activism around the General Law of Transparency and Access to Public Information (GLTAPI), and continue to incubate the network of women-led NGOs, we:

  • EDUCATE women across the Region on their rights to data privacy and access public information needed for smart sustainable development.
  • FACILITATE training in storytelling and using microprojects to solve local problems.
  • STRENGTHEN women leaders’ organizational skills and strategic planning capacities.
  • COACH the women’s NGOs to grow intelligently.
  • LINK women leaders with potential partners in the public and private sector, in Mexico and globally.
  • INVEST in women’s artisanal work to offer short-term and long-term gain. 


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With funding from the Mexican government’s Instituto Nacional Electoral (INE) and the Instituto Nacional de Las Mujeres (INMUJERES), as well as our “Fruits of Change” global crowdfunding campaign, PSYDEH again worked pursuant to partners’ demands while expanding program reach into new communities and cementing progress made in 2014-2016 by:

STRENGTHENING the Women’s Regional Organization — consisting of 20 native women leaders, five from each of the four municipalities — and the four local-focused organizations, by deepening understanding around their AGENDA and continued appreciative inquiry during which we ask women about their needs and then actively listen and act accordingly.

PRODUCING educational workshops and our first community radio campaign combatting political violence against women. We based this programming, in part, on INE’s interesting grass-roots model to increase women’s understanding of Mexico’s democracy.

LINKING women partners with the Federal Institute protecting citizen rights around access to information, an effort that bears fruit in 2018.

CELEBRATING women partners’ voices with our “voces femininas” series.

EQUIPPING women with the creative materials they need to share with their neighbors on their learning on rights and the value of collaborating across boundaries.

PRODUCING the 3rd Public Forum in Tenango de Doria and 4th Public Forum where almost 500 indigenous women from across the Region shared their novel Agenda and ideas on local development with new government leaders from the four municipalities, including with the unprecedented 2017 Huehuetla Declaration of indigenous women.

2017 Annual Report

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Fieldwork Highlights 2017




With funding from the Mexican government’s Instituto Nacional Electoral (INE) and various Mexico-city based fundraisers, PSYDEH again worked pursuant to partners’ demands. We expanded program’s reach into new communities while cementing progress made in 2014-2015:

STRENGTHENED the Women’s Regional Organization consisting of 20 native women leaders, five from each of the four municipalities, by deepening understanding around their AGENDA with an eye to (a) producing their first capacity-building projects in 2017 and (b) critiquing local government plans for development.

PRODUCED workshops based on INE’s interesting grass-roots model to increase women’s understanding of Mexico’s democracy with an eye to their sharing learning within their communities.

LINKED women with indigenous policymakers and new national and international friends at Mexico-city based events and via our first global crowdfunding campaign with cool media like this animated video and our new Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube pages.

PROMOTED artisan work at outreach events and thus coordinated short-term gain with our forward-looking program.

CONSULTED network members on eight new local micro-economic projects built by and for them and their communities.

PREPARED for the 3rd Public Forum in early 2017 at which 175 native women from across the Region shared their development agenda and critiques of local development plans with local government leaders.

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* Listen to this short 2016 podcast interview (ABOVE) between the Mexico City private school The American School Foundation and one of our women partners at a 2016 fundraising event in Mexico City. 

2016 Annual Report

PSYDEH 2016 Annual Report



With funding from the Mexican government’s Instituto Nacional de Las Mujeres (INMUJERES), PSYDEH’s 2015 project work built on 2014 results:

  • Indigenous women leaders wanted more knowledge. Thus, 28 workshops on their 2014 Development Agenda chapters were delivered in 2015.
  • They wanted to unite their region through shared opportunities. Thus, PSYDEH incubated the first Regional Cooperative and linked women leaders to pilot projects in the health and environment sectors.
  • They wanted a well-run regional organization and four new local organizations. Thus, PSYDEH legalized five new women-led CSOs and conducted elementary training on right organization management.
  • These women wanted to meet government decision-makers. Thus, PSYDEH produced the second regional public forum in December 2015 to facilitate engagement, knowledge sharing, and “Linking” citizens and government.

Throughout, women partners were empowered through an “indigenous woman to indigenous woman” methodology for change and the aforementioned integration of partner demands.



Armed with 2013’s collective decision to build a bottom-up, rights-based movement, PSYDEH’s 2014 project work targeted indigenous women. Not only are we a majority-female organization, but women leaders also play a critical role as communal stewards and thus are key drivers in creating self-reliant communities of change.

With funding from the Mexican government’s Comisión Nacional para el Desarrollo de los Pueblos Indígenas (CDI), PSYDEH and women partners shared, listened and laughed while learning about self-awareness for obtaining clarity on solutions to challenges and a core set of leader disciplines needed to implement these solutions.

They studied indigenous rights and legal frameworks on which innovative solutions can be based and the key components of a self-reliant indigenous community.

At project conclusion, women partners produced four unprecedented actions:

  • CONVENED a regional indigenous women citizen public forum to discuss challenges and solutions amongst themselves and with local government
  • ELECTED 20 representatives to the regional indigenous women organization (and decided to organize an additional four local Boards)
  • DEVELOPED the framework for a regional development agenda
  • DECIDED to form a regional cooperative of women artisans

In so doing, PSYDEH laid the foundation for our scalable model for empowering rural, indigenous citizens to produce from the bottom-up their own needed actions. We also put in place the beginnings of our strategy for using photography as a tool for storytelling.

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2014 Project Summary in English
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Post-Forum Report in Spanish


Indesol logo

In 2013, with funding from the Mexican government’s Instituto Nacional de Desarrollo Social (INDESOL), PSYDEH educated citizens on new state law on indigenous rights and culture, local health issues and responsibilities and opportunities that come with such rights and laws.

Then, we explored how development plans are often formulated by the government without consulting local communities. How plans are often neither long term focused, nor protective of watersheds, flor, and fauna. We also discussed how there is suspect information on citizen access to quality health care and no civil society structure for government and the private sector to secure free prior and informed consent (FPIC) from citizens before engaging in mining, hydraulic fracturing (fracking) or other resource extraction projects on communal and indigenous lands.

In this context, PSYDEH conducted an appreciative inquiry of indigenous citizens on whether they wanted to organize for different. At year-end, regional leaders voted to build their own rights-based movement towards sustainable development, beginning with the creation of a regional citizen organization.

Saberes Indigenas
Click on the image to access the book

Parts of 2013 project work is memorialized in a five chapter-book (ABOVE) highlighting field research on indigenous wisdom on rights-based organizing (1) Why indigenous communities use the term “elderly” and not “older adults,” (2) Human rights and indigenous communities, (3) The need for a permanent indigenous rights program in the Otomi-Tepehua region, (4) Intergenerational indigenous wisdom on using rights for community development, and (5) PSYDEH’s program proposal for subsequent work.

For additional information, watch more 2013 work promo videos HERE.