Asociación Femenina para el Desarrollo de Sacatepéquez

Indigenous women reclaiming identity, heritage, and rights

Asociación Femenina para el Desarrollo de Sacatepéquez /
Women’s Association for the Development of Sacatepéquez (AFEDES)

Guatemala | Founded in 1988 | Thousand Currents Partner since 2005 | AFEDES' Facebook page

Asociación Femenina para el Desarrollo de Sacatépquez (AFEDES) was founded 1988 and registered in 1994 in response to the challenges of food insecurity, chronic malnutrition, inequality, and exclusion of women in the municipality of Santiago Sacatepéquez. In this way, AFEDES started by developing actions that addressed these problems, as well as generating income to meet the basic needs of women and their families.

As AFEDES got more and more women organized, the demands for women’s rights increased, both in scale and due to the lack of comprehensive care services for women. As a result, since 2001, AFEDES expanded its vision, broadening its work on strengthening women’s leadership, including awareness, knowledge, and exercise of rights, and training women of all ages and their families about their economic, social, cultural and political rights.

Today, AFEDES is a group composed mostly indigenous Mayan Kaqchikel women living in the municipalities and communities in the state of Sacatepéquez and three communities in the village of Xesuj in San Martin Jilotepeque, Chimaltenango. As AFEDES, they fight and defend for rights and aspire to live a full life – free from oppression, free from violence, discrimination, racism and exclusion. Their primary goal is the Utz ‘K’aslemal (Buen Vivir, or life in fullness or, good living) for women and their families.

AFEDES coordinates a range of diverse projects aimed at the physical, economic and political autonomy of indigenous women and their families. They promote food sovereignty, political education, and building human capacities, including training in indigenous weaving as part of indigenous traditional knowledge. In this framework, AFEDES is demanding that the Guatemalan government recognize their right to protect the collective ancestral intellectual property on indigenous Mayan weaving designs and clothing.

Further Reading:

Learn more about AFEDES’ work on our blog.

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“We resist through the art”

The women of AFEDES stand up to corporate theft of Mayan designs.

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“We resist through the art”

The women of AFEDES stand up to corporate theft of Mayan designs.

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