Advocating for Indigenous Women's Rights Via Radio by Chirapaq in Peru
Update to the Global Board
During this reporting period, through the strategic alliance between The Hunger Project and Chirapaq, projects in Ayacucho and Cusco have worked with1,250 Quechua women to improve living conditions for themselves and their families through the development of entrepreneurial skills and civic participation.
- Educate indigenous women about their socio-economic rights;
- Provide leadership and skills training; and
- Improve access to financial resources for indigenous women and their families;
All Chirapaq program activities are designed to have a positive impact on indigenous women’s self-esteem. A key to the program success is enabling women to recognize their value as proactive members of society. A longer-term goal of the project is to promote a more positive image of Quechua women within the often racially divided socio-political environment in Peru.
Chirapaq works in partnership with indigenous Quechua women of the two community-based organizations:
- Federation of Rural Women of the Anta Province - FEMCA (Cusco)
- Departmental Federation of Mothers' Clubs and Women of Ayacucho - FEDECMA(Ayacucho)
The strategic alliance between THP and Chirapaq has helped advance Quechua women in recognition of their rights and position images of themselves as major contributors to the defense of their rights as women and as indigenous peoples. With this newfound confidence, women are taking action to improve the quality of life of their families and their communities.
In 2011, 50 Quechua women directly participated in the project and 1,250 Quechua women benefited indirectly from Chirapaq projects. In the Anta Province of Cusco, the project has potentially impacted a much wider population through the power of radio broadcast. Indigenous women have used the local radio station in Anta, Radio Impacto, to broadcast programs and public announcements about various social issues. FEMCA rents space from the studio and produces a radio program called “Voice of Women” which airs for two hours on Sundays. Between August and December 2010 the group produced 22 radio programs. Chirapaq, in partnership with THP, has trained seven women to produce and lead these innovative and educational radio programs for continued success of the program.
- Community Development Projects: In the area of facilitating community development projects, 20 women were actively involved in writing public investment proposals. These proposals will be reviewed and presented later this year to the local governments in Vilcashuamán and Anta.
- Improving Women's Business Skills: In Ayacucho as part of the work with FEDEMCA, indigenous women improve their knowledge and skills to generate economic proposals to combat hunger and poverty. In the area of improving business skills, 30 women have improved their administration and business management skills to increase productive capacity through marketing their woven garments in public fairs and regional celebrations and improving the quality and marketing of food products. While 20 women have started a new small business and increased personal income on average by approximately 50 soles per month (US$20).
- Expanded Opportunities for Income: 30 weavers in Ayacucho organized to sell their products in the local market, 20 of whom took advantage of a fund provided by the project to improve their techniques and quality of their hand-woven garments. With the profits of the first sales, the women were able to buy more materials. Profits have allowed them to improve the amount and quality food in their homes, and take some personal profits upwards of 50 soles per week (approx US$20). The regional government has declared they will support the weavers with funding to incorporate knitting machines and training for the design of their garments, thereby expanding their opportunities for income.
- Women of FEMCA: The women of FEMCA in Cusco, have increased their standing as a leading organization in the province. Understanding their rights and having the advocacy tools needed to fight for those rights, has contributed to FEMCA’s position in the province. As a result of this elevated recognition, the provincial municipality has offered to provide the organization an official meeting room in one of the government buildings.
- Public Radio as an Advocacy Tool: The FEMCA leaders resumed the use of public radio communications as an important advocacy tool to influence local authorities, including health and education officials.This advocacy strategy has further contributed to the positive image and legitimacy of the organization. As a result, the FEMCA shows have been broadcast by affiliate radio stations in Cusco. They are now able to broadcast their programs (radio Cusco Santa Monica) from the capital. The themes of these broadcasts range from: women’s rights, maternal health, intercultural awareness, racism and discrimination and violence. They have also been using this opportunity as a space to expand the training topics and forums on which they are currently working.
- Workshops on Rights to Sexual and Reproductive Health: As part of a strategic alliance with The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), CEPAL and UNFPA Chirapaq conducted two national workshops for women and youth of indigenous organizations about rights to sexual and reproductive health. The goal of the workshop was to expand understanding and ownership of statistical tools so advocacy efforts and proposals can be improved. These efforts have also increased the visibility and general awareness of the health sector on the issue of maternal health from an intercultural approach. The incorporation of statistical indicators that show evidence about the way indigenous populations are treated in health facilities provides the grounds for increased incentive to propose legislation and other changes needed to influence health policies for women and indigenous peoples. An increasing number of maternal deaths among indigenous women is a major concern.