Un Mundo is a recipient of our 2015 Feedback Fund. Recently they shared this insight with us.
Women of El Paraíso, a community of approximately 200 people high up in the mountainous valley of the River Cangrejal in northern Honduras.
For several years, Un Mundo has aspired to build a program to empower women. Two times in the past, the organization helped to form income-generating groups for women that ultimately failed. When I joined Un Mundo just under nine months ago, I was encouraged to do some research to figure out what issues caused these efforts to fail and to use those insights to form a women’s group that would be more likely to succeed.
With the support of the Feedback Fund, I set out to see what I could learn. In collaboration with a local gender specialist, I conducted focus groups with about ten women each in five different rural communities. We talked about challenges that the women face and about ways that they dream of overcoming those challenges. Participants opened up about the lack of educational opportunities and health care for themselves and their families, about the extreme difficulty of traveling to the city for access to markets and other resources, about the impossibility of communicating with the world beyond their village, and about their desperation to find ways to make a living. Most of these women have little or no formal education, and almost all of them spend the majority of their time doing household chores and taking care of their children.