The CISAL Fund aims to strengthen the capacity of civil society and empower local governments in Colombia and Peru. Doris Cruz, President of the Women’s Association in Ccapacmarca, Cusco (Peru), and beneficiary of the CISAL Fund in 2017, explains how the CISAL Fund transformed her community.

Members of the Women’s Association in Ccapacmarca, Cusco (Peru)

What was the situation in Ccapacmarca before the support of the CISAL Fund?

Before the CISAL Fund, there were about 32 women in the Women's Association of Ccapacmarca and we were not organized at all – we did not meet regularly, and we were not legally recognized. Many of the women were locked in their homes, with almost no voice, and most did not produce vegetables or fruits on their farms. 

How did the CISAL Fund help transform this situation?

The Fund helped us to legally organize the association, and purchase production equipment for 20 female heads of household. This had a transformative and multiplying effect. Today, the Women's Association supports close to 150 women, who are able to work the land and feed their families, while also selling produce in the market for additional income. 

What are you most proud of?

I am very proud of the Sunday fair that the Women’s Association created, where women can sell their produce and goods. The women now have the opportunity to make money and support their families. Before we were 32 women, today we are almost 150 women who have transformed their lives. Women are empowered, bringing income into their homes, gaining a space and a voice in their homes. This transforms everything, even domestic violence, because women are empowered and men no longer feel they own everything. 

In addition, we have gained power in decision-making and local government. For the first time in Ccapacmarca, we can take part in participatory budgets, because we are now legally constituted, thanks to the help of the CISAL Fund. We submitted three projects that will benefit the 150 women that are part of the organization. 

What is the most significant change for the women in Ccapacmarca?

Before, women depended completely on their husbands. Today, we are part of the development of our region. Without representation at the regional level, there can be no hope of transformation. CISAL helped us establish a Women’s Agenda, which gives us the tools and shows us the way to improve our economic situation, our food sovereignty, our children’s health, and our political participation and the role we have in society.

Members of the Women’s Association in Ccapacmarca, Cusco (Peru)

2019 Federation of Canadian Municipalities