Local development committees bring change in Guatemala.

In rural Guatemala, women are learning about their rights and demanding better services from their government.

Fermina Chiyal Sequec lives in a village with her husband and three daughters. She raises chickens and has a small fish farm in her back yard.

Fermina received training through Christian Aid’s partner CONGCOOP and joined a local development committee. She now monitors the local government and lobbies for better services.

Fermina said: “By participating in training and by being organised, things can change. In December, the municipality gave chickens to seven communities and we are monitoring this process because there are still another seven communities pending. We have also audited a hospital.”

Veronica Ramirez Quino lives in Chiquistel village with her husband and four children. She and her husband are farmers, but she is also becoming a recognised leader in her community through trading with CONGCOOP.

Veronica said: “At first, we were afraid of speaking in front of others, but as we continued with our training we became more confident. We’ve learned about our rights as women, and about discrimination. Before, we knew nothing about that! We also learned how to go to the municipality, to apply for a project. Now I’m participating in the community’s local development council and the Municipal Women’s Commission. Our big achievement was getting the municipality to fix the road to our village.”

She only has an elementary school education and her dream is for her children to finish university and become professionals.

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