Forty women, coming from different parts of the country, participated in the First Meeting of Women’s Cooperatives, “The rural woman is stronger through cooperativism.” In the photo, the Vice Minister for Home Economics, Communities, Cooperatives and Associations, Maria Antonieta Machado, welcomes the participants.
The meeting was organized by the Ministry of Family Economics, the World Food Programme (WFP) and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Among the participants were female partners and directors of agricultral cooperatives from the region of Nueva Segovia, who are involved in the ‘Purchase for Progress’ project (P4P), and also women who are involved in the ‘Cash for Work’ project in Matiguas and Rio Blanco, Matagalpa. For many of the women, this was their first visit to the capital.
“Women cannot just be members of cooperatives. They must also take leadership roles in order to strengthen cooperativism, because it is women who guarantee food security for their families, for their communities, municipalities and for their country in general,” said Vice Minister Machado.
The participants had the opportunity to share their experiences of cooperativism and basic grain production through innovative motivational sessions, in which they highlighted the value of working as a team and the importance of overcoming one’s fears and obstacles in order to develop as people with equal rights.
Ileana del Socorro Jarquin, 34, took part in the WFP’s ‘Cash for Work’ project, funded by the European Union. 541 rural women planted fruits and vegetables in their backyards in order to improve their families’ diet and generate income. “It was a wonderful experience because we were all valued for being women. The experience also improved my relationship with my partner because now, we share the household chores and work together in the garden,” said Jarquin.
“We hope that this exchange deepens your understanding and that you receive input from other women who have had successful experiences in the struggle to attain gender equality,” said Rosario Sanabria, WFP Officer in Charge.
Johana Martinez is the head of her household and mother of two children. For 13 years, she has been a member of the Cooperative for Farmers’ Assets of Jalapa (CCAJ), which is involved in the ‘Purchase for Progress’ (P4P) project. Out of the 732 members of the cooperative, 235 are women. “Being part of an organization has been a wonderful experience, because it has taught me so much about gender issues, production and cooperativism,” said Martinez. Globally, cooperatives contribute to the socio-economic development of their countries, create jobs, reduce poverty and improve the security and nutritional value of food consumed by thousands of families.