Though the 12th largest economy in the world, Mexico faces high levels of poverty in rural areas and states with large indigenous populations such as the Southern states of Chiapas and Oaxaca. Within the estimated 25.2 million people living in rural Mexico, 51 percent live in poverty and 18 percent live in extreme poverty. Limited access to basic services, productive natural resources, credit and education perpetuate these conditions. Elected members of municipios (municipal level government), serve three-year nonconsecutive terms, thereby creating significant challenges for long-term planning and development.
The Hunger Project has been active in Mexico since 1983. We carry out a gender-focused capacity building strategy in rural municipios in four states. Neighboring villages join together in clusters in order to leverage each community's economic and political power through cooperation and collaboration. Community members, elected government officers and members of civil society attend Vision, Commitment and Action Workshops (VCAWs) as the first step to social mobilization.
Through leadership and skills trainings, dynamic volunteers work in partnership to assess development priorities, design long-term development plans, initiate local campaigns, conduct direct activities such as income generating projects with local women's enterprises, and advocate for access to critical resources. A top priority in The Hunger Project's work is ensuring women's full political, economic and social participation. In conjunction with our core strategies in Mexico we work in the following capacities:
The Hunger Project partners with local government agencies and nongovernmental organizations and conducts "Training of Trainers" workshops. Volunteers from partner agencies and organizations become part of a statewide team of trainers who facilitate VCAWs throughout their area, thereby increasing the overall impact of The Hunger Project's strategy and forging partnerships with civil society in each state.
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.
Promoting Youth Leadership
The Hunger Project partners with students of the Monterrey Institute of Technology, one of Mexico's finest universities. Students work with village women to support small businesses through the Social Enterprise Incubator. The partnership, which began with 11 students has grown to include 80 students working with over 200 women entrepreneurs to legally incorporate enterprises and assist in financial and legal trainings.
Advocating for Development Policy
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.