Cultivating change and breaking barriers: Combatting gender-based violence through women’s cooperatives in Guatemala

Grantee: Justice Education Society of B.C., Fundación Red de Sobrevivientes de Violencia, La Asociación de Desarrollo Productivo y de Servicios Tikonel
Country: Guatemala


This consortium’s proposed project features a pilot initiative with Guatemala’s newest, 100% Indigenous, rural, women-owned farming cooperative to address gender-based violence and to support the replication of effective intervention techniques through training, reflection, awareness building, and collaboration with other women-owned cooperatives. 100% of the proposed project’s women beneficiaries have no control over their schedules and require permission from their partners and sons to undertake activities out of the home, which can result in domestic violence. Through the project, both men and women from the cooperative and the community will be trained on skills to assist them improve their business skills to support current and future economic activities and build skills to mitigate and/or prevent gender-based violence when negotiating the time required to pursue economic activities. 

Targeted Outcome

Increased autonomy and safety from gender-based violence so Indigenous women can prosper from environmentally sustainable livelihoods.

Planned Reach

90 women founders and change agents from COPRODA R.L., a women-owned agricultural cooperative, in Totonicapán as well as 125 men and male youth from the community to support gender equality and reduce gender-based violence

Situational background

In Guatemala, Indigenous women experience higher rates of gender-based physical, sexual and psychological violence, including femicide. Indigenous women’s vulnerability to violence is often exacerbated by cultural norms that normalise unequal power dynamics between men and women. In Totonicapán, 60% of women are affected by psychological violence and 70% of women oyster mushroom producers experience economic violence. Due to climate and conflict-related outmigration by men, women are required to negotiate their time away from homes to work in sustainable agriculture with remaining family members, including their adolescent sons or other male family members. As a result, women remain trapped in rural agrarian villages without the knowledge, skills or access to resources necessary to improve their safety to access environmentally sustainable livelihoods.

Project Approach

The Justice Education Society of B.C. (JES) is partnering with Fundación Red de Sobrevivientes de Violencia (Foundation Network of Violence Survivors) and La Asociación de Desarrollo Productivo y de Servicios Tikonel (The Association for the Development of Production and Services Tikonel) – an IUCN Indigenous Peoples Organisation Member. Tikonel sponsors Cooperativa de Desarrollo Integral de Producción y Artesanas de Totonicapán R.L. (Cooperative of Integral Development of Production and Artisans of Totonicapán R.L. – COPRODA), Guatemala’s newest women-owned farming cooperative in Totonicapán. Together, partners will implement an initiative to empower women and men to comprehensively address gender-based violence as a barrier to women’s full and active participation and engagement in the cooperative. Through the project, women from the cooperative will receive training to assist them improve their business skills and safety from gender-based violence. Training will be provided to both women and men to build skills to mitigate and/or prevent gender-based violence.