NUEVA SEGOVIA. –34 year-old Johana Martínez begins her final work for the “Leadership Course for Entrepreneurship” with a presentation called “A Personal Story”. The auditorium listens attentively, including those who will grade the work of the students prior to their graduation. Martínez is member of the Jalapa Active Farmers’ Cooperative (CCAJ for its name in Spanish), where she is part of the Administrative Council and is the Responsible for Gender. She begins her story by sharing that she is a single mother and affirming that she is proud of getting ahead and educating her children by herself, through her own effort.
“There is a large cost to bear in order to progress. I feel satisfied and proud. The women in my cooperative hold important positions, not because they say: ‘we need to give women these positions’, but because everyone is aware that women have earned these places,” she affirms.
Nine women and two men
Nine women and two men, farmers and members of the nine agricultural cooperatives from Nueva Segovia, participate in the advance study course “Leadership for Entrepreneurship” imparted by the Leadership Institute of Las Segovias with the objective of promoting the integration of gender perspective among the farmers’ organizations.
The course is launched by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) through the Purchase for Progress (P4P) project. The objective of the project is to support producers’ associations to improve the quality of their basic grains and approach markets that offer fair prices for their crops. Once graduated, the participants in the course will share their knowledge with the other members of their organizations to facilitate the process of creating an internal gender policy.
“It’s important that women have power within their organizations, just like men do. And it’s not about taking power from the men, but for women to participate too in the decision-making process and access the resources and productive and economic goods, and to control them,” pointed out Haydeé Castillo, Director of the Leadership Institute, located in the Mozote municipality.
For nine months, students of the course moved from El Jícaro, Quilalí, Wiwilí and Jalapa to take the classes that also helped them strengthen their leadership skills and self-esteem.
The course is about to end. During a reflection exercise, Hildebrando Quintero, from the “La Unión” Cooperative from Wiwilí, one of the two men who took the course, said he feels happy for the new knowledge he is acquiring. “It is the first time I’m in a gender course representing my cooperative. We will integrate this knowledge to our daily work,” he affirmed.
WFP Representative Helmut W. Rauch and staff from the Purchase for Progress project joined the participants in the defense of their final projects. Besides congratulating them, Rauch highlighted the effort they made on a personal and cooperative level to pursue this course.
“If we talk about gender equality, we talk about families; not only women, but also the men at home. It is the recognition of the dignity of every human being. It is the closing of the vicious cycle of violence, and ensuring the growth of the family economy. It is the beginning of a hard labor that provides a worthy outcome for everyone”, he said.