Mexico is a powerful emerging economy and its government has generous social programs, yet progress continues to elude a large number of people living in extreme poverty. Some 58 million Mexicans live below the poverty line, and the government has defined 11.7 million as living in extreme poverty and deprivation.
This deprivation is concentrated in rural, indigenous communities and particularly among women. Indigenous communities have been marginalized for 500 years by race, culture, language and religion. And within the highly patriarchal social structure of the indigenous communities, women have the least power.
The Hunger Project is playing a leadership role in transforming this situation. We are pioneering comprehensive, bottom-up, women-centered strategies for rural progress in four states in Mexico — including two of the poorest, Chiapas and Oaxaca.
Over the past 30 years, The Hunger Project’s experience in Mexico has demonstrated that the most direct and lasting route to sustainable development — to ending hunger — is through the will, commitment and capacity of the people who stand to gain the most when hunger ends: the hungry people themselves.
Through a phased approach, The Hunger Project-Mexico starts with mobilizing villages and communities through capacity building and Vision, Commitment and Action (VCA) workshops. Either at the community or family level, partners create their own vision for the future, commit to achieving it, and outline the actions that are needed to succeed. Actions to succeed include opportunities to learn how to plan, implement and evaluate small-scale projects that will effect change within their families or villages. Read more about mobilization throughout The Hunger Project’s 12 Program Countries.
In conjunction with our core strategies in Mexico, we work in the following capacities:
Vision, Commitment and Action
Visions established across the four states in which The Hunger Project works have included family food security, adequate sanitation, safe cookstoves and water access. Visions are achieved by participating in leadership and skills trainings, coordinating among the community, and working with dynamic volunteer "catalysts," who are members of the community that foster community progress. The Hunger Project, catalysts and community members partner with local government agencies and other non-governmental organizations to share resources, collaborate and ensure effective implementation of visions.
Supporting Local Governance
The Hunger Project works with officials of municipios, the form of government closest to the people, to build partnerships with the people to achieve local priorities. Local government officials join in workshops, trainings and participatory rural appraisals through which communities create development plans that will provide continuity and continued progress through changing administrations.
Read more about community partners’ success in working to achieve their visions in partnership with local authorities.
National Level Advocacy
We have established a strong voice in encouraging policy makers to adopt these strategies nationwide. In 2013, Mexico’s President Nieto appointed our Country Director, Lorena Vazquez Ordaz to the high profile National Council of the Crusade Against Hunger. Prior to the announcement of the Crusade, the Office of the President invited The Hunger Project to recommend key objectives to be included in the strategy. Our chief recommendations included adopting the Scaling Up Nutrition campaign to eliminate childhood malnutrition, building the capacity of small-scale rural farmers with a focus on women, and promoting effective community partnership with government — all now reflected in the Crusade’s strategic priorities.
Furthermore, The Hunger Project is one of 10 non-governmental organizations invited to serve on the Consultative Council to the National Ministry of Social Development, ensuring that voices of the rural people are taken into account in the creation of the national development policy