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“I developed my capacities - now I am capable”
“The experience in the community of Majadita was the result of the mayor’s office’s gender policy. We went to a meeting to talk about the municipal gender policy, and they explained it to us. But then there was a discussion, because they thought it was a partisan issue. So at the beginning they wouldn’t accept it, and there was a long debate regarding politics, until I was able to take an advocacy role and explain that the municipal gender policy has nothing to do with party politics, but rather is a development policy for the municipality and the communities.
I asked them to state their concerns. What did they want to see written into the policy? It turned out that first thing they wanted was a drinking water project for their community, because it is one of the communities where the water is polluted with arsenic, seeing as the river is contaminated with chemicals.
It was the women who had to deal with this problem, they had to get up very early in order to cook, and after cooking go down to the river to fetch water for the household chores. They expressed their concern, but there’s a saying, ‘seeing is believing’, and they were not yet convinced a solution would be found to their problem.
But by late 2010 the water project was underway, a reflection of municipal policy. The budget was signed, the project, the agreement to develop the water project was signed. And this year, starting in January 2011, the actual physical execution of the project has begun.
This was one of the outcomes of this visit to the community. At the beginning, the reaction was negative – but now they are seeing the positive side, namely that they’ll get the water project they want and need.
As an organized woman in my community and in the municipality, I’m invited to participate in the process of preparing the municipal gender policy. All of us who participated in the formulation of this policy later had to distribute it ourselves, because we didn’t want the document to just be something we did for ourselves and then got put in some desk drawer, like, “we made it and now it’s gathering dust in this office.” No.
We already had the capacity, had the knowledge acquired at the school for women leaders. This knowledge I put into practice by distributing the text on municipal gender policy.
I already knew how to teach this issue and how to get it across to people. Because the other thing is, if one doesn’t know how, you’re just going to get into an argument. Because I was organized, it was I who got the training, developed my capacities. Now I’m capable. It’s not that I wasn’t capable before – I had it in me – but I just needed that little lift.”
Name: Angélica Luna
Age: 28 years
Municipality: San Isidro