Rural women of local cooperatives are creating life changes, not only for themselves but their families as well. They are working with organizational strategies, receiving training, attending Farmer Field Schools, have easier access to credit, acquiring working tools and participating in gender workshops, their empowerment is evident. "We are not chickens, we are eagles and we want to fly. We still have many things to learn and we are able to do it" said Rosa Edith Novoa, a member of the Cooperative of Agricultural Services "Nuevo Horizonte", during a meeting held by partners and members of the cooperative, where Government delegates and representatives of the Canadian Embassy were present.
The "Purchase for Progress - P4P” sharing seminar was led by women, with special guests the Director for Central America for Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development of the Government of Canada, Julie Delahanty (blue shirt) and the Counsellor and Head of Aid of the Canadian Embassy (white shirt). Men also participated, sharing knowledge of post-harvest techniques to improve the quality of bean cultivation. In the picture, they are being accompanied by the WFP Representative, Helmut W. Rauch (center), and the President of the Cooperative “Nuevo Horizonte”, Luis Enrique Quezada (left) and José Avener, member of the Cooperative Santiago.
Luis Enrique Quezada is President of the Cooperative "Nuevo Horizonte", in the municipality of El Jícaro. The cooperative provides assistance in the processing and marketing of certified maize seeds, financial credit, technical assistance, and storage. "In our cooperative men and women work together. Gradually women, like men did before, have been learning the benefits of being organized and knowing their rights" he said.
Eda del Rosario Pérez is a member of the Cooperative “Nuevo Horizonte” (first from right to left). To her, knowledge and unity are essential. "We cannot be stretching out our hands (in symbol of asking for help). We have to learn how to organize ourselves better in order to be more efficient," said Eda. "Purchase for Progress" is promoting the integration of women into cooperatives and producer associations and the training of members on gender issues. 9 of 15 cooperatives participating in P4P initiative already have gender policies that promote participation of women in leadership and decision-making positions.
Farmers proudly show the results of their work with P4P. Alberto Velásquez is a member of the Cooperativa de Servicios Múltiples "Santiago" in El Jícaro. In the background Velásquez proudly displays his handmade caseta de secado (drying hut). It is here he stores the maize he harvests. The caseta de secado helps farmers reduce post-harvest losses due to long field exposure of the crop.
Farmers participating in "Purchase for Progress - P4P" initiatives have learned to build "casetas de secado" at a field training seminar that focused on post-harvest practices taught by agricultural technicians and government partners such as the Nicaraguan Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA). Using materials, readily available to small farms- wood, mesh and cloves.