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Victory for women’s rights groups in Guatemala

Issues Affecting Women Programme / Partner story

Photo were provided by AGIMS

Asociación Grupo Integral de Mujeres Sanjuaneras (AGIMS) is an indigenous women’s organisation based in San Juan Sacatepéquez, Guatemala that supports and empowers indigenous women in their community, especially those that have experienced violence. AGIMS provides psychological support, legal accompaniment and temporary shelter to women who are suffering or who have suffered from sexual and domestic violence. In addition to its support for survivors of violence, AGIMS also provides indigenous women with training about their rights, including the right to land and territory. AGIMS is a leading voice for peaceful resistance to extractive policies, especially mining companies in this region.

The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in AGIMS shifting its work to provide humanitarian assistance to families in this region including food and sanitary parcels. The nationwide lockdown meant the loss of livelihoods for many in this community as well as the loss of remittance income from family members working in urban settings or abroad.

In November 2020, the Government of Guatemala announced new budget cuts to health, education and social programming including funding to domestic violence shelters which would have a major impact on indigenous women. AGIMS organised socially distanced protests with women from their community –  joining thousands of their fellow citizens in Guatemala City to voice their strong opposition to the proposed cuts. In response to this massive uprising led by AGIMS and other civil society groups, the legislature suspended the final ratification process for the 2021 budget.

“This was a great victory for AGIMS,” says Medina Haeri, programme officer at Oak Foundation. “However, although the immediate threat of the cuts has passed, this is an ongoing struggle, especially given the social and economic consequences of the pandemic for the most vulnerable communities.”

AGIMS continues to serve as a lifeline for women in its community to ensure their safety and build their political voice and leadership. AGIMS is a grantee partner of Oak’s Issues Affecting Women Programme, which it supports through its intermediary partner in Guatemala, the Central American Women’s Fund (FCAM). The IAWP supports women’s efforts to build, lead and grow strong, vibrant and influential movements in order to achieve equity and justice. You can learn more about the IAWP’s vision and strategy here.