AMA in Peru

The Center for Andean Women and Families (CMFA) is a new initiative that seeks to empower indigenous women in poor, rural areas in the region of Cusco, Peru who are at risk of domestic violence and social discrimination. Our mission is to significantly improve the position of women in the family and society through the knowledge and sustained practice of citizenship and economic rights. Our objectives are to reduce the rates of domestic violence, to increase the self-esteem of women, to generate opportunities for employment and income for women, and to strengthen local institutionally in favor of women vulnerable to domestic violence.

We hope to do this through the formation and accompaniment of local groups of “Andean Women in Action” and a program of intense leadership and technical formation provided by trained community promoters. The program of formation will include such themes as:

  • Approaches to development
  • Social, economic, and collective rights
  • The laws and norms of municipal action
  • Self-esteem, fairness, justice, values, gender, etc.
  • Technical and productive training oriented towards the entrepreneurship of women

In addition to accompaniment and formation, we hope to provide for the implementation of small infrastructure, supplies, and materials that help the valorization and respect of women’s rights (e.g. access to potable water, a small study space, etc.) and to improve the quality of products and/or services (e.g. wool and looms for weaving), as well as to improve access to local, regional, and national markets.

Our hope is that the local groups of “Andean Women in Action” can become self-sustaining, can contribute to the welfare of their families and communities, and can identify leaders that will help to perpetuate the model in other communities. Eventually, we hope to create a network of local groups that will be the social fabric that will consolidate and sustain the objectives of the initiative.

The Center for Andean Women and Families was founded by Margot and Michael Brown. Margot is a former nurse and a native of Cusco. Michael is a former Catholic priest with 10 years of pastoral experience in Peru and is currently a Marriage and Family Therapist working with the White Mountain Apache in Northeastern Arizona. Both worked with indigenous communities in Espinar, a high province of Cusco, know the reality of the region, and are committed to empowering indigenous women and families.

They coordinate with a team of three volunteers in Cusco: a coordinator and two promoters. The team is currently working with two communities: Tamburpujio, about 45 minutes from Cusco, and Ccatcacamara, about two-and-a-half hours from Cusco. Both are considered areas of extreme poverty and are characterized by high levels of childhood malnutrition, illness and disease, illiteracy in women, domestic violence, and sexist attitudes associated with male alcoholism. The team has conducted several visits to the communities to discern their strengths, needs, and desired projects and to coordinate with the community and municipal leadership.

The Center for Andean Women and Families is committed to improving the position of poor, indigenous women in the family and society and to a model of development that empowers indigenous communities to develop their own leadership, strengths, and resources.

AMAKaren Mayorga