GUATEMALA / INDIGENOUS WOMEN

08-Aug-2018 00:03:22
In Guatemala, indigenous people make up around 40 percent of the population. They are nearly three times as likely to live in extreme poverty as others in the country and, as many of them live off the land, this is compounded by a changing climate. But now cooking classes are giving some indigenous women a path out of poverty. IFAD
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STORY: GUATEMALA / INDIGENOUS WOMEN
TRT: 03:22
SOURCE: IFAD
RESTRICTION: NONE
LANGUAGE: SPANISH / Q’EQCHI / NATS

DATELINE: 23 - 24 JULY, ALTA VERAPAZ, GUATEMALA
SHOTLIST
1. Wide shot, San Juan Camelcho district, Alta Verapaz
2. Med shot, Irma Cucul picking Mosh leaves
3. Close up, Irma Cucul picking Mosh leaves
4. Close up, tree tomatoes
5. Close up, Irma with stick
6. Close up, tree tomatoes falling
7. Wide shot, cloud forests, Alta Verapaz
8. Wide shot, pull focus tree to cloud forests, Alta Verpaz
9. Close up, water dripping in pool
10. SOUNDBITE (Q’eqchi) Irma Cucul, Farmer and Community Leader:
“What we have observed in our community is that no forests means no water. Trees give us shade and help us conserve our environment.”
11. Wide shot, land slide
12. Med shot, soil erosion
13. Wide shot, soil erosion
14. Med shot, banana plantation
15. Med shot, deforestation
16. Med shot, deforestation
17. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Gustavo Pereira, Executive Director of Prodenorte:
“It rains more or less the same quantity of rain a year , but in short bursts that causes erosion, floods and the population’s crops have been particularly hit.”
18. Med shot, tree nursery San Juan Camelcho
19. Close up, seedlings
20. Med shot, man weeding seedlings
21. Med shot, Irma Cucul digging
22. Med shot, spade
23. Med shot, woman passing seedling
24. Med shot, Irma Cucul taking plastic wrap off seedling
25. Med shot, Irma Cucul planting seedling
26. Med shot, Irma Cucul planting tree
27. Med shot, cooking class
28. Med shot, preparing maize
29. Med shot, Irma Cucul watching
30. Various shots, preparation of tamales
31. Med shot, Irma Cucul outside town hall selling food
32. Close up, Irma Cucul opening tamales
33. SOUNDBITE (Q’eqchi) Irma Cucul, Farmer:
“With this extra income I want to invest in my children’s future and education, so they have more opportunities and can do even better than me.”
34. Close up, exchanging money
35. Wide shot,O people eating
STORYLINE
In Guatemala, indigenous people make up around 40 percent of the population. They are nearly three times as likely to live in extreme poverty as others in the country and, as many of them live off the land, this is compounded by a changing climate. But now cooking classes are giving some indigenous women a path out of poverty.

Irma Cucul belongs to the indigenous Q’eqchi population, direct descendants of the Mayans. They have inhabited this part of Guatemala for thousands of years. Since ancient times, they have seen agriculture as both physical and spiritual, where the act of planting is also an act of creation.

The tropical cloud forests that cover these highlands in northern Guatemala, are rich in biodiversity. Acting like sponges, they absorb the rain and release it slowly into the ground. Deforestation from illegal logging, forest fires and agriculture, means less water is now percolating down to recharge the springs.

Irma is 24 years old and she has already seen how her surroundings are changing.

SOUNDBITE (Q’eqchi) Irma Cucul, Farmer and Community Leader:
“What we have observed in our community is that no forests means no water. Trees give us shade and help us conserve our environment.”

The deforestation is compounded by a change in rainfall patterns and a changing climate. As temperatures rise and unpredictable bursts of rainfall wash away the soil, farmers like Irma are struggling to grow as much as they used to.

SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Gustavo Pereira, Executive Director of Prodenorte:
“It rains more or less the same quantity of rain a year, but in short bursts that causes erosion, floods and the population’s cultivations have been particularly hit.”

With floods and landslides becoming more frequent, reforestation is now a priority. A project called Prodenorte, supported by the Guatemalan Ministry of Agriculture and the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), has set up tree nurseries with a plan to reforest 400 hectares by 2020.

Irma is planting trees around the communal vegetable garden to protect it from soil erosion and provide shade for the plants. But the women here needed a more immediate solution to increase their incomes. So they have started cooking.

Irma has joined 260 other indigenous women who are now attending cooking classes. They are learning how to turn their crops into nourishing foods, which command higher prices. The women sell these freshly made snacks to workers at the local town hall during their lunch break.

SOUNDBITE (Q’eqchi) Irma Cucul, Farmer:
“With this extra income I want to invest in my children’s future and education, so they have more opportunities and can do even better than me.”

More than 42,000 indigenous people here are acquiring new skills which make them less vulnerable to the uncertain weather, allowing them to invest in their future.

9 August is the United Nations International Day of the World’s Indigenous People. The theme for 2018 is Indigenous peoples’ migration and movement. The theme will focus on the current situation of indigenous territories, the root causes of migration, trans-border movement and displacement, with a specific focus on indigenous peoples living in urban areas and across international borders. The observance will explore the challenges and ways forward to revitalize indigenous peoples’ identities and encourage the protection of their rights in or outside their traditional territories.
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