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FoMujer: The Fund for Enterprising Women

Publicatiedatum: 28/05/2020

The Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples and Forests (AMPB) is a partner of the Civic Engagement Alliance. Since its start AMBP has supported local organizations, community forestry organizations and local ecotourism initiatives. AMBP developed experiences with numerous direct financing mechanisms available for the conservation of the tropical forests of the Mesoamerican region.

AMPB focuses on the successful management of communities of their natural resources to influence governments and entities that daily make decisions on issues that directly affect them. This is based on AMPB’s conviction that the only way of survival for indigenous peoples and forest communities in the face of the threats of massive deforestation, the impact generated by climate change and megaprojects, is the union between the people. To protect the communities and forests, dialogues have been established with a broad set of actors who also promote the conservation of land use and of natural resources. This is a varied group ranging from local and national government agencies, agro-industry, farmers, community organizations, NGOs, workers and employers associations and conservation organizations.

Mesoamerican Territorial Fund

One of the instruments ABPM developed to support the protection of the natural resources of local communities and indigenous people is the Mesoamerican Territorial Fund (MTF, 2006). MTF promotes inclusive economic growth by offering forest communities and indigenous peoples alternatives to develop and improve their livelihoods through sustainable management of natural resources (linking small companies to international markets, improving the business climate and competitiveness).
Within the Civic Engagement Alliance program AMPB began a process of promotion, lobby, and advocacy to strengthen the Mesoamerican Territorial Fund. They lobbied in various international events like various (pre-)COP meetings (Bonn, 23 November 2017, Katowice, 2018, San Jose and Madrid 2019) and the meeting of Councils of Ministers (the Dominican Republic 2017).

Fund for Enterprising Women: FoMujer

A real change in the MTF was introduced in 2019 at the eve of the international climate conferences, by launching a fund for enterprising women, the FoMujer. Traditionally in forest communities and with indigenous peoples, women frequently face conditions of vulnerability, violence and discrimination. This limits their opportunities and diminishes their capacities to achieve equitable development, just like men. The inequality is rooted in the macho and patriarchal construction of social relations in these societies, which strongly separates and values the productive and reproductive spheres.
There is a strong sexual division of labor: productive work is for men and is situated in the public space, socially recognized and paid. On the other hand women have to do the care, domestic and reproductive work which is invisible work, without symbolic or economic recognition and above all not recognized as real work. It is therefore not linked to rights and social protection. In the slipstream of the MTF indigenous women from the different territories and organizations part of AMPB started to make proposals and lobbied to change the inequitable situation between women and men in their societies. One of their proposals was the inclusion of women in the productive activities, which would give them another, stronger position, and help them to initiate changes. With this background AMPB started its FoMujer as one of MTF operational lines.

FoMujer aims to reduce gender inequalities and promote new models of social and economic relations in the communities. The fund offers real alternatives for female indigenous microentrepreneurs who can apply for loans ranging from $ 3,000 to $ 5,000, to start their businesses. Through this external recognition of their entrepreneurship they also start to change the conditions of inequality in which they live.

For AMPB the promotion of entrepreneurship and the strengthening of companies led by women is key to guarantee true community development.

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