Unprecedented achievement in Colombian women’s rights

Women in Guapi, Colombia have lived with abuse, exploitation and violence for too long. Excluded from public decision-making, particularly at the local level, Fundacion Chiyangua was created for Afro-descendent women to learn, organize, gain space and have their voices heard.

When Esneda Montaño O. discovered the women’s foundation, she became part of a revolution.

“What was instilled in us was that we were only useful at home, attending to duties in the house. After so many trainings, I am grateful to Fundacion Chiyangua and the other organizations who have helped us learn. We are escaping this servitude,” she explains. “We have acquired a lot of knowledge that is important for us and our community.”

Forging a series of partnerships to make their work more visible, the foundation began a partnership with Cuso International. Through this relationship, Chiyangua members and Cuso volunteers worked with the local community to develop a public policy on women’s rights in Guapi. Together, they collected information on the needs and challenges of women in the municipality, and ideas for increasing their opportunities, and presented the proposal to the local government.

The proposal was signed and approved by the mayor in March 2019.

“We have a valuable partnership with Cuso International and with their great volunteers who have come and shared their knowledge,” says Teófila Betancurt C., a Community Leader with Fundacion Chiyangua. “They have supported our gender and empowerment process and journey to recognize the rights that we have as women.”

Due to the successes achieved in Guapi, the process is being replicated in other communities and Chiyangua is negotiating with municipal and regional authorities to implement a new policy specifically for Afro-descendant, Indigenous and rural women.

You can help more women like those in Guapa receive the critical support they need by making a donation in her name today. As the global pandemic continues, Cuso’s work is more important than ever.