Red de Mujeres de Besiko

Network of Women of Besiko

Introduction

Red de Mujeres de Besiko (RMB) is a network of women in the district of Besiko created in May 2006, with the assistance of volunteers from the "Student Association for Medical Aid" (SAMA)- a student group of McGill University, Canada-and volunteers from Medo. The volunteers also offered their assistance in the sale of crafts (bracelets, belts, headbands and dresses.) RMB in collaboration with Medo is establishing venues for artisan promotion in California and West Virginia (United States) and Quebec (Canada.)

Mission

The mission of RMB is to overcome the traditional isolation and cycle of poverty that faces the Ngöbe woman, through the development of microenterprises (crafts, agriculture and tourism) and the promotion of her education and health. Furthermore, the network works to facilitate the exchange and communication of ideas, experience, knowledge and information between the participates to maximize the resources and minimize the limitations of our development.

Justification of the Project

For a long time the population has faced a difficult situation of extreme poverty where the women don't have access to education or the power to participate in social and economic activities. When women/girls try to access formal education, they are often discriminated against and isolated and assumed to be of little mental capacity. Other problems facing Ngöbe women include: domestic violence, undernourishment, sickness, and illiteracy.

In 1998 Red de Mujeres was founded in Latin America, beginning in Mexico. The organization's goals are to:

-Empower new generations of women to improve the quality of life for women
-Encourage women to spend her own economic resources for the development of her family and to help other groups

RMB General Objectives

" Develop a sustainable manner to execute the different activities of the women's group (crafts, agriculture, natural medicine, tourism, etc) to improve family life, promote the transmission of knowledge from one generation to the next
" Achieve an international market for the sale of quality Ngöbe products.
" Give courses in: literacy, crafts, organic agriculture, environmental education, health, nutrition, self esteem, and traditional culture.
" Give assistance to handicapped women and undernourished children.
Specific Objectives
" Establish a sustainable market for the crafts of the group that brings a fair price to the women and contributes to the sustainability of the group and its projects.
" Promote basic nutrition through education about farming traditional vegetables high in iron and other nutrients commonly deficient in the modern Ngöbe diet. (examples: bora and jiraka - a spinach like vegetable)
" In the next 2 years begin the commercialization of bora, jiraca and other vegetables native to the Comarca.
" Build a composting latrine to serve organic agriculture projects of the group and sell extra fertilizer.
" Develop English courses with Medo specifically for women.
" Promote the participation in computer courses offered free in the Microsoft Community Technology Learning Center in Soloy.
" Build a building for the group to house meetings and classes

Current Activities of RMB:

" Sale of Ngöbe artesian products internationally
" Seminars on native vegetables
" Cultivation of native vegetables (bora, sega)
" Raising chickens
" Social help for tuberculosis patients.