Women Empowerment Study - Guatemala

Dec 2016 Progress Report on Research Program:

Enhancing Livelihood and Incomes of Rural Women through Postharvest Technology, Phase II

Partner: Asociación de Desarrollo Integral Pueblos Hermanos, Guatemala (ADIPH)

 Progress Report – Dec. 2016

PI: Carlos Collado, Technical Coordinator, ALIAR

Project Manager: Johanna Roman, Program Manager, Conflict and Development Foundation  

Background: Phase I of this Transformative Solutions program funded by Texas A&M University’s Center on Conflict and Development (ConDev) had the objective of testing an innovation to empower rural women through agricultural technology. Mayan women working at three fruit and vegetable packing centers used modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) to process pre-washed fruits and vegetables. ConDev researchers are analyzing data to determine if employment at these centers increased the bargaining power of women in the household and made them less prone to abuse in the society.

Objectives of Phase II: This activity will produce research that identifies the relationship between women who work in vegetable packing centers, their decision-making ability in their households, and likelihood of violence committed against them.

Research Methodology: Data will be obtained through randomized sampling of 250-300 women working at a selected vegetable packing center and 250-300 non-working women in the City of Chichicastenango, in the Department of El Quiché. Women in these communities are vulnerable due to high levels of unemployment, social and economic marginalization, and lack of education. In addition, they suffer from inequality, poverty, and hunger.

 Main Project Activities:

1.       Data collection activities are underway at the vegetable packing center operated by Asociación Santo Tomás located in Chichicastenango, Quiché.

2.       Conducted meetings with legal representatives of farmer organizations that are participating in this program.

3.       Survey instruments have been validated. Working and non-working women are completingbaseline surveys developed by the Center on Conflict and Development at Texas A&M University.

4.       The data coding process is being developed.

5.       International marketing support activities have been conducted. Potential buyers from Fruit Consutling Europe B.V. visited our target packing centers to evaluate their packaged products. Also, food safety training programs were conducted in partnership with the Republic of Taiwan and the Ministry of Agriculture. Product samples (in Modified Atmosphere Packaging) were sent to the USA.

6.       Meetings with local retailers and Guatemalan supermarkets interested in MAP products were held. Visits to local supermarkets were held to explore the variety of packaged vegetables available in refrigerated stands.

7.       ALIAR is working with the National Agricultural Products Exporters Association (AGEXPORT) to introduce their MAP products into European markets in February 2017.
 
                          

Types of packaging systems for fresh produce being displayed in Guatemalan supermarkets. Our project promotes the use of innovative Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) that increases shelf-life while retaining product quality.

Types of packaging systems for fresh produce being displayed in Guatemalan supermarkets. Our project promotes the use of innovative Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) that increases shelf-life while retaining product quality.

Our project’s Technical Coordinator Carlos Collado presenting information to retailers on the shelf-life advantages of packing fresh produce using Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP)

Our project’s Technical Coordinator Carlos Collado presenting information to retailers on the shelf-life advantages of packing fresh produce using Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP)

Systems Thinking Tool - Guatemala Project Report

The Conflict and Development Foundation and the Center on Conflict and Development at Texas A&M University are pleased to collaborate with Lee Voth-Gaeddert of the Missouri University of Science and Technology in this project that will produce a novel approach and unique tool to improve access to information on food security and water, sanitation and hygiene issues in marginalized communities in Guatemala.

Notes from the Field: The Problem of Violence in El Salvador

 

The Problem of Violence

By David Blanchard

 

The author of this document, Father David Blanchard, helps coordinate a collaborative research program funded by the Conflict and Development Foundation in El Salvador and implemented by Food for the Poor as part of their Agriculture for Peace Project:

Youth Violence in El Salvador: Evaluating the Impact of an Agricultural and Nutritional Innovation (Hydroponic Gardens) in the Reduction of Violence and Gang Involvement

New Research Programs in Latin America

Working in collaboration with different partner organizations, we are expanding our research portfolio in Latin America and happy to announce new programs for 2016-2017. These programs are possible thanks to the support from the Howard G. Buffet Foundation as related to USAID's Higher Education Solutions Network's Center on Conflict and Development at Texas A&M University. 

National Promotion of Quality Protein Maize (QPM) through Social Marketing in Guatemala (Partner: Semilla Nueva)

In this second phase of the QPM study, we aim to work to combat the bottlenecks to national use of QPM and expand the consumption of this proven technology through the expansion of our social marketing approach in the highlands of Guatemala, and the beginning of a second phase geared toward seed purchase and seed saving in the Pacific coast regions of Guatemala. The project has two components: 1) Design, Implementation and Evaluation of an Introductory Social Marketing Campaign for QPM in the Guatemalan Highlands, 2) Ensure the Storage, Consumption and Purchase of QPM in the Southern Pacific Coast. 

Enhancing Livelihood and Incomes of Rural Women through Postharvest Technology, Phase II - Guatemala (Partner: Alianza Agroindustrial y Artesanal Rural - ALIAR)

This project will produce research that identifies the relationship between women who work in vegetable packing centers using a new post-harvest technology, their decision-making ability in their households, and likelihood of violence committed against them. Researchers will analyze data on women's empowerment in Guatemalan households. Do working women have increased participation in decision-making in their households and are they less prone to violence?  

The Stabilization of Marginalized Communities in Guatemala via Food and Nutrition Security on Child Stunting: Employing Systems Thinking Tools(Partner: Missouri University of Science & Technology and Peace Corps Guatemala)

Thus study involves using a Systems Thinking Approach in marginalized and displaced communities in Guatemala through the development of an app-based or web-based tool to aid decision makers, from mothers to policy officials, on food and nutrition options that directly impact health of children. This project will produce a novel approach and unique tool to CDF, USAID, municipalities, and local households on food security and water, sanitation and hygiene issues

Student Innovations!

The Conflict and Development Foundation (CDF) and the Center on Conflict and Development at Texas A&M University (ConDev) are harnessing the creative power of students to identify solutions and create innovative technologies to solve some of the problems that our implementing partners are facing in the field in some of our projects. From a Pigeon Pea Desheller, to a Vegetable Spinner to wash fresh produce, to an improved Rose Cart to be used in flower greenhouses, these ideas from students are helping us make a difference in solving development challenges in the field. 

Engineering Projects: Students from the Engineering Projects in Community Service course at Texas A&M University designed new technologies to improve the washing system of leafy vegetables in packing centers in Guatemala. 

Students came up with Auto Cad designs for a vegetable spinner that could be inserted in the first compartment of commercial sinks in vegetable washing stations to remove dirt from the field. 

Students came up with Auto Cad designs for a vegetable spinner that could be inserted in the first compartment of commercial sinks in vegetable washing stations to remove dirt from the field. 

Engineering Design: Hebron High School students from their Engineering Design and Presentation course worked on several designs to improve a cart to collect cut roses in greenhouses being operated by Mayan women in the rural sector of the Central Guatemalan highlands.

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The new rose cart designs developed by students will help female farmers in Guatemala. 

Aggies Invent: We are collaborating with Texas A&M University’s Engineering Innovation Center to offer students from many disciplines the opportunity to develop innovative solutions for our projects. Two of our CDF projects won 1st prize in the 2015 and 2016 Aggies Invent competition! In 2016, team "Veggie Roll" designed a seed spacing device to teach kids how to properly plant crops. In 2015, the "Peas Maker" team designed a Pigeon Pea Desheller for Guatemalan farmers. Visit  https://engineering.tamu.edu/aggiesinvent

Team "Veggie Roll" and their CDF Mentor showing the seed spacing device they designed for kids. 

Team "Veggie Roll" and their CDF Mentor showing the seed spacing device they designed for kids. 

The "Peas Maker" Team presenting their winning design for a pigeon pea desheller. 

The "Peas Maker" Team presenting their winning design for a pigeon pea desheller. 

Nutrition from the Garden: Students from Texas A&M University’s School of Public Health helped us promote gardening and nutrition programs to help youth from San Felipe de Jesús Middle School in a rural impoverished sector of Guatemala.   

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Some students donate their nutrient-dense crops to the local hospital. 

 

Interested in learning more about student programs or contributing to these and other innovations? Email: johanna.roman@condevcenter.org

Aggies Invent - Education (Feb 2017) - Motivating Texas A&M University students to help design educational games for our garden education and nutrition program in Guatemala.

Aggies Invent - Education (Feb 2017) - Motivating Texas A&M University students to help design educational games for our garden education and nutrition program in Guatemala.

Research for Post-Conflict Recovery: A Monitoring Visit to Guatemala

In villages far removed from Guatemala’s bustling urban centers, women are much more prone to suffering from unemployment, social and economic marginalization, and a lack of education and technical skills. Learn about our recent monitoring visit to review CDF's / ConDev's food security and women employment programs that are encouraging female empowerment.

http://condevcenter.org/guatemala-monitoring-visit/

A Trip to Guatemala: Challenges Affecting Youth in Patzún, Guatemala

A Trip to Guatemala: Challenges Affecting Youth in Patzún, Guatemala

By: Johanna Roman, Program Manager for Latin America, Conflict and Development Foundation & Regional Lead for Latin America, Center on Conflict and Development at Texas A&M University

December 16, 2014

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During my recent trip to Guatemala to work on projects for the Conflict and Development Foundation (CDF) and the Center on Conflict and Development at Texas A&M University, I had the opportunity of engaging in conversations with people from Patzun in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. Patzun was devastated by the political violence of the civil war which peaked in the early 1980s. The civil war left lasting physical, psycho-social and economic effects on their people.

Patzun is an indigenous city located in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. The vast majority of the population is Kaqchikel Mayan and only a very small percentage is ladino. Problems include widespread poverty and malnutrition; inadequate education; lack of job opportunities, and violence. Petty theft is common. Since the end of the war in 1996 armed robbery has become a problem.

While interviewing a youth program coordinator in Patzun and her assistant, I learned that youth --and particularly young girls in these communities-- face many challenges. Some young people are hardworking, ambitious and independent. However, they have very few opportunities to succeed.  Some of the main problems associated with youth are poverty, lack of education, and lack of job opportunities. The quality of education that those that have been able to attend school is deficient. Many young people want to leave in search for job opportunities in urban cities, the capital city, or other countries.

Men work in fields of blackberries, broccoli, snow peas, and other vegetables in the mountains surrounding the towns. The land is fertile, but agricultural wages are very low and work is hard. Many farmers own a small plot of land, or lease it for farming activities. Fields are tilled by hand and many families practice subsistence agriculture, growing corn, beans and squash for their family to consume. Women and girls wear traditional clothes (“huipil”) manufactured by elder women who weave them. Men and boys wear Western clothing, usually purchased at resale shops that sell used clothing shipped in from the US. Some women work in these resale shops.

There are very limited options for youth to pursue a degree in higher education. There is only a branch of San Carlos University (public university) in the municipal capital city of the Department of Chimaltenango. The cost of private universities is prohibited for them. The main problem for youth in these communities is unemployment. A common expression is “I need money.” They often express that they want to go live elsewhere because they “need cash”. Their parents also live in poverty, so many can only help their kids with basic needs: shelter and food. Young people see ads showcasing youth wearing nice clothes and shoes, and they want to leave home because they cannot afford them. For example, young males see ads for brand tennis shoes and they immediately think they need to go to the US to work to be able to obtain them. Many migrate, and many are deported. When they return to their communities, they do no longer like living there. They don’t like the fact that they have to live in modest adobe houses with a dirt floor, without running water or electricity, and with different bathrooms.

Regarding extra-curricular activities for youth, a few local churches help organize soccer or swimming matches for boys, but girls really do not have an opportunity to participate in sports. During weekends, you see youth hanging out at the central plaza or participating in church activities. Not too many gang members are seen hanging out in the streets. Young people are influenced by music, but that is not always a good thing. Recently, a local rock band from the nearby city of Comalapa had an influence in suicide rates among young people. There are many cases in which young men get their girlfriends pregnant and they see their dreams of leaving truncated. 

In other municipalities, the government has an office for youth programs. In these communities, there is a great need to offer opportunities for youth to engage in sports or extra-curricular activities. Many elders think youth are lazy because they are seen hanging out on the streets talking in groups, but the reality is that they do not have an opportunity to do something productive. Some young men work in the family plot, but young women do not work the fields. Girls are asked to prepare, deliver, and serve food for them, or they have to stay home to help take care of their siblings and help cook family meals. Some tend to their small family gardens or help raise chickens.  

Violence and abuse against women is a big problem. Many girls as young as 13 are “married” to older men that are twice their age. They start having babies at a young age and they have to stay home to care for them. Those that have babies but do not get married receive little support from their parents. Some women are able to find jobs in small grocery stores, and some sell fruits and vegetables during market day.

The streets are deserted during the evenings, not only because it is dangerous but also because there is nothing to do. People stay at home and the streets are silent as of 6 pm. Recently, locals have noted that foreigners have been moving to these communities. They look different and have a different accent. They are not Mayan. People believe they are engaged in extortions, but nobody wants to report them to the police. When major incidents happen, the community gets together and they take matters into their own hands (Mayan punishment). Some community members have organized a crime watch, especially to report thefts. The main businesses in town such as small hotels or bank branches have resorted to purchasing rifles for protection. Theft is a big problem in these communities. Cell phone theft is very common. Residents have noted that dead dogs are a warning sign that a robbery will occur in that house.  Some women carry knives for protection, especially when traveling by bus. Thieves hang out at the main bus stops, ready to rob people. Women are more vulnerable.

Despite all these problems, organizations like Renacimiento Association are working with youth to provide them with opportunities for a better future. Renacimiento Association has a youth program that promotes youth leadership and entrepreneurship. They provide training on how to create a life plan and offer business and marketing courses so that teens can engage in entrepreneurship activities such as raising chickens and selling eggs, manufacturing shampoo with natural products, preparing water-based ice-cream, and others. Renacimiento Association also operates a small vegetable packing center and offers job opportunities for youth. In 2015, the Center on Conflict and Development at Texas A&M University will be implementing a project in this vegetable packing center entitled  Enhancing Livelihood and Incomes of Rural Women through Postharvest Technology. 


The Center on Conflict and Development believes that large youth populations present opportunities and challenges for countries in transition, like Guatemala. Whether youth become a source of prosperity or a driver for local and regional instability depends upon strategies that link youth to productive livelihoods and inclusive engagement. ConDev seeks to support initiatives that empower youth populations as agents of positive economic, social, and political change in fragile and conflict-affected environments. Most importantly, our approach concentrates on building workforce skills that link youth populations to meaningful jobs.

The Conflict & Development Foundation is promoting focused research on drivers of conflict and the nexus between conflict and food security in Guatemala and El Salvador. In collaboration with the Center on Conflict and Development at Texas A&M University, CDF is supporting researcher efforts in those countries to collect data on conflict affected communities to better understand the conflict dynamics in an attempt to identify conflict hotspots and make recommendations for development efforts aimed to reduce tensions that might lead to conflict. In addition, CDF seeks to identify innovative development initiatives that have worked in promoting peace and stability across Latin America, with particular focus on agricultural development and issues of food security.

Analyzing Field Data on Drivers of Conflict

Analyzing Field Data on Drivers of Conflict

Hello! My name in Khrystyna Konopatska. I am from Ukraine. I am a second year Master Degree student in the Bush School in Texas A&M.  I am interested in international economic development and conflict and development. Volunteering at ConDev/CDF has been a great opportunity for me to combine my interests and my passion regarding Latin America. By helping analyze data from surveys, I feel like I know the participants from Guatemala and El Salvador and I understand their struggles with poverty, violence, and food security concerns. In those communities, many people struggle with food security issues. The vast majority of respondents worried about not being able to buy food for the last 12 months and reported going to bed hungry.  

Drivers of Conflict Study in Guatemala and El Salvador - Creating Datasets

Drivers of Conflict Study in Guatemala and El Salvador - Creating Datasets

Hello, my name is Juan Manuel Pintor, a Master’s student in TAMU’s International Affairs Program. I was happy to be part of the Drivers of Conflict project at ConDev/CDF. I helped create datasets for surveys on conflict, food security, and poverty in rural communities of Guatemala and El Salvador. I related to some of the problems that many persons were facing, and I really hope that the work I do can translate into improving their lives somehow.