Improved Data Collection System Implemented by THP-Mexico in 2012
Update to the Global Board
During this reporting period THP-Mexico completed more than 119 grassroots gender-focused activities with a total of more than 1,481 participants. THP-Mexico continues to strengthen community cooperatives, support economic opportunities for entrepreneurs and facilitate key literacy, health and nutrition programs. THP-Mexico is currently working in 47communities throughout 12 municipalities in the following three states:
- Mazateca and Mixteca regions in the state of Oaxaca
- Highlands Region of the state of Chiapas
- Rural communities in two municipalities in the state of Zacatecas
This reporting period was one of organizational learning throughout THP-Mexico’s programs. Staff, volunteers and partners participated in trainings for the development and implementation of an innovative Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) method. THP-Mexico has been focused on increasing the number and quality of volunteers to support programs and strengthening the network of NGOs working on rural development.
THP-Mexico has also continued to analyze and better align financial and programmatic data and reporting procedures to improve the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system. Finance and program staff is now better able to monitor activities and measure results in the following program areas: Community Mobilization; Animators & Trainings; Village Development Campaigns; Advocacy & Alliances.
- Chiapas: For the first time in 28 years, a Cooperative General Assembly was held. In this historic meeting the women of the cooperative voted on two critical elements: a final set of rules that resulted from a six-month participatory process in which every woman worked to define the organizational and business foundation for the cooperative; and the activation of three commissions (Gender, Health, and Nutrition). The commissions are comprised of one representative from each of the 10 separate working groups.
- The Cooperative’s Commission of Health: Has decided to work in an integrated approach to health; facilitating among their peers workshops on preventive medicine, promoting every member to create vegetable gardens in their communities, they will produce their own food to better ensure the health and nutrition of their families in a sustainable way. Additionally, the Chiapas Cooperatives began to run a market analysis; the group has completed a first round of interviews to better understand their competitors in the local textile handcraft market. They have also completely remodeled the interior and exterior of the store to help increase the number clientele and profits.To give voice to their accomplishments, women in the Chiapas auto-documentation workshops created a video about the history of the cooperative viewable here.
- Oaxaca, Mazateca (Municipio San José Tenango): Through the process of the PRA, five communities in San José Tenango conducted a comprehensive and reflective analysis in five areas (human, social, physical, financial and natural capital) which allowed them to develop a general picture of their local communities. As a result, men and women came up with 61 project ideas that they will execute to transform the actual situation.
- Oaxaca, Mixteca, (Municipo San Miguel el Grande): The communities of Morelos, Iturbide, and Guadalupe Victoria worked with THP staff to develop agricultural and nutritional goals through the management of local gardens. The actions taken by the partners who participated in the vegetable gardens and mushroom projects have inspired and strengthened the confidence of other members of the communities. An unanticipated result of this project has been an increase in youth engagement and participation.
- Zacatecas: During this reporting period THP-Mexico began working on a project financed by the New Zealand Embassy with the purpose of ensuring the success of our grassroots’ income-generating project. The women producers who are running the poultry farm “La Esperanza de Jimenez” received training in administration, conflict resolution and technical knowledge for the management of their business. During this process, the women created new strategies to improve their sales and profits. After a series of workshop the women have reported that they are now more aware of the importance of learning how to read, write and do basic mathematical calculations. During the last reporting period, THP-Mexico made the decision to withdraw all the staff from the region due to escalating violence from the ongoing political and cartel conflicts. THP-Mexico is committed to continue remotely supporting the program in Zacatecas and has begun forging alliances with different academic, governmental and private institutions in the region to support this work.
- National Office: In July and August, THP-Mexico staff met in Mexico City for two week-long capacity trainings to strengthen understanding of and reporting on the Theory of Change (TOC).
- Advocacy: November 14-16, THP-Mexico participated in the XV Annual Meeting of the Mexican Center for Philanthropy (CEMEFI). THP and other civil society organizations had the chance to share their work and learn from other organizations, as well as engage with socially responsible entrepreneurs, public officers, media/communication representatives, academics and students willing to collaborate on development issues. As part of the conference, Lorena Vazquez Ordaz, Country Director of THP-Mexico, presented and participated in a debate on “Local Development.” In November, THP-Mexico was invited to participate on the first “Forum to elaborate the 2011-2017 development plan, for the State of México” where the State of Mexico defined actions and programs which will guide public state administration, during the actual six-year term. As members of Civil Society Organization’s Council of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Mexico’s Country Director attended the XI conference of the IDB with the Civil Society held in Paraguay where closer relationships with the Mexican Government Official from the Foreign Ministry, high-level IDB functionaries and other organizations were achieved. In August, 16 investors from Sweden and the U.S. came to Mexico to gain a better understanding of THP-Mexico’s work. The women of the cooperative clearly presented the activities they have been doing and explained how projects, such as taking pictures to document their lives or creating family vegetable gardens, are important to them. They also explained to the investors the type of work they are doing to improve their sales and income.
- Monitoring & Evaluation: THP-Mexico began a process of improving M&E by gathering systematic quantitative data in every community, municipality and state where THP is active. The improved data collection system has introduced a new set of reporting templates to better document the visions, priority topics, and activities (or projects) initiated by THP and partner communities.