Who We Are

The Grupos de Mujeres y Hombres por la Paz (Women and Men's Group for Peace) is an independent community organization in Nebaj, El Quiché, Guatemala.  It is a composite of an original women's organization of 35 Ixhil women and their brother organization composed of 21 men.  The two groups now work together on almost all projects. 
 

History

 
The Grupo de Mujeres por la Paz (Women’s Group for Peace) was originally formed as a cooperative of Ixhil Maya women in 1998.  The group organized shortly after the peace accords when the founding members heard that the office of the president of Gautemala’s wife was offering sheets of corrugated iron as roofing materials to women’s organizations.  They applied for this aid and many other types of aid from governmental and non-governmental organizations but had no success.  Nonetheless, the members maintained their organization in the hopes of rebuilding economically and socially as a collective.  In 2001 the Grupo received their first small private donation of $2,000.  With this fund, they rented a piece of land and began an agricultural cooperative where they planted chile, broccoli, and greens, and they eventually learned to construct greenhouses where they harvested tomatoes.  With the profits from this cooperative, they rented a space for a small weaving store.  Shortly thereafter, the Grupo de Mujeres began a literacy program for members.  Those members who could read and write taught those who could not, and the entire collective learned as a group for three years.
In 2006 the Grupo de Mujeres decided to expand their membership to include a partner men’s organization, the Grupo de Hombres por la Paz.  
 
Current Projects
 
The group’s current projects include a weaving cooperative, a community museum, a medicinal plant garden, collaborative efforts to document Ixhil language and culture, and computer classes for Nebaj’s youth.  Members have personally experienced the desperation of the community’s youth and hope that providing training in computation skills will better prepare the town’s young people to pursue more advanced jobs that can then support their continued education.  To this end, the Grupos have established a scholarship program to provide support for their youth in the pursuit of their education.  
 
Goals
 
The long-term vision of the Grupos includes the establishment of their own educational center.  Members of the Grupos have recently pooled their resources and purchased a piece of land to support this goal.  They hope to open a restaurant, hostel, and weaving store in the near future so as to provide funds to support the construction of the educational center.  They hope that proceeds from the restaurant and hostel can help them to build a permanent office and a place to hold computer classes, literacy workshops for women, and community activities. They hope that a restaurant and hostel would provide them with an opportunity to get connected to resources outside of their immediate community, like for example, more advanced training in computation that can be applied in their computer school for the youth and resources to build another greenhouse thus allowing them to diversify their crops.
 
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