On the Ground with: Asociación Cooperativa “Marta González” (ACAMG)

Promoting the economic autonomy of Salvadoran women

In rural El Salvador, economic opportunities are scarce. Agrarian reforms aiming to redistribute land have been largely unsuccessful and the grave wealth disparity has worsened in recent years. Many young people flee El Salvador in search of jobs abroad and, consequently, an increasing number of women-headed households have limited access to resources. Traditional gender roles persist and most commercialization projects are still dominated by men who are reluctant to work with women producers of agricultural products. Lack of economic self-sufficiency for women perpetuates the cycle of poverty, contributes to the food insecurity crisis, and is a major roadblock for broader development efforts.

Investing in women's ability to improve their circumstances.

Women are powerful agents of change in their communities when supplied with resources and trained in how to utilize them effectively. Asociación Cooperativa "Marta González" (ACAMG), a grassroots organization based out of the Bajo Lempa region of El Salvador, supports women-run agricultural projects through a microcredit fund and conducts workshops on a diverse range of topics, from fiscal responsibility and farm management to domestic violence and women's rights. With AJWS's support, ACAMG has given small loans to 268 women, who use these funds to buy, raise and breed livestock, providing sustenance and a new source of income for their families.

Building partnerships to stimulate sustainable growth.

ACAMG works hard to establish a relationship of trust with each of its beneficiaries. All administrators of the organization are women from the local community. ACAMG designs all of its programs with the needs of the local women in mind, and all members are actively involved in the development and implementation of new policies. By approaching its work as a partnership built upon mutual respect, ACAMG promotes a microcredit program that combines individual responsibility with community engagement.

Hunger prevention fast facts:

  • Seventeen percent of the Salvadoran population cannot afford enough food to reach the recommended minimum intake of 2,100 calories per person per day.
  • Seventy percent of rural Salvadoran women lack access to a direct water supply.
  • About three fifths of Salvadoran farmers own little to no land.

Voices of Change

I feel very good about the credit program because before we began working with ACAMG, this whole place was devastated—there wasn't any work or any opportunities, and life was difficult. But now things are better: we are working and making enough to buy all our day-to-day necessities. With the profits from the sale of our goats, we can buy notebooks and school uniforms for our children.

—María Tomasa, member of the cooperative

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Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAU62qVMjgY FAU62qVMjgY 16_9 /hunger_old/grantees/acamg/acamg.html

Photo Gallery

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