Ixpiyakok Women’s Association (Associación de Mujeres Ixpiyakok - ADEMI) brings together 30 groups of Maya women in Chimaltenango to improve local food security and nutrition through organic family farms and seed banks. Originally launched as a credit and savings programme for local women, the association has expanded into health and education service provision, as well as advocacy for women’s rights. The association supports the creation of family farms, provides guidance on organic farming techniques, and promotes the cultivation of native heirloom species such as chipilín, quilete, and native chilies. Training is also provided to ‘community educators’ on health, food security and nutrition. Household gardens provide local women with surplus crops that can be sold in local markets to generate an additional source of income. Each self-help group maintains a central seed bank, which has increased local access to native plants and reduced dependence on external inputs. Each group also maintains a tree nursery for fruit tree propagation, which adds diversity and earning capacity to family gardens and farm.

This case study is one in a growing series that details the work of Equator Prize winners – vetted and peer-reviewed best practices in community-based environmental conservation and sustainable livelihoods. These cases are intended to inspire the policy dialogue needed to take local success to scale, to improve the global knowledge base on local environment and development solutions, and to serve as models for replication. Case studies are best viewed and understood with reference to ‘The Power of Local Action: Lessons from 10 Years of the Equator Prize’, a compendium of lessons learned and policy guidance that draws from the case material.

Adapted from source.

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Community based
Ecosystems and biodiversity
Ex situ conservation and seed banks
Improved cultivation techniques
Integration of green spaces in planning
Sustainable livelihoods