Amanda Gonzalez has been known to many as a guerilla fighter for most of her life. She fought hard during the 80s to mobilise the local men and women to rise against the the military forces and from there has tried to escape the stigma that accompanies being a leftist “rojita”. The skills she learnt serving with the FPL (Fuerzas Populares de Liberación) were transferred following the ceasefire of 1992 to help serve her local community of women.
This inspirational work, bringing together those held back by prejudice and violence in their own homes, has now reached new heights in the form of governmental recognition. Meeting with Adecomupaz, the organisation Amanda presides over, gave us all an appreciation of how hard work and a united front can really affect change within a population, despite a lack of support from the local government who saw her work as too radical and left-wing. Amanda managed, with the help of IMU and external NGOs, to gain a legal status for her organisation, allowing the group to affect the agricultural changes they needed to become self-sufficient and reach their goal of living sustainably of the land.
Within their rural community the women have effectively organised themselves, conquered the barriers against them to gain legal status and have embarked together on projects to improve their day to day living. The biggest achievement of the Adecomupaz seen by us, is the united front against domestic violence and gender discrimination. Together these women who work their communal land, tend to the animals, cook and clean for their families, raise children and who have been regularly abused by the “machismo” culture, have been empowered to change their standards of living and quality of life. This united front has allowed them to reach their targets of food security, happiness in their homes and education for women.
Words: Progressio ICS volunteer Mille Rowswell.
Photo: Amanda Gonzalez (c) Elam Forrester