Occupation: Coordinator of the theological area of the Latin American Program, Mission 21, Costa Rica

1. What was your first relationship with Mission 21 or the Basel Mission?

My first more direct relationship with Mission 21 was in 2014 in La Paz, Bolivia, at ISEAT, an ecumenical formation institute for Andean theology. There I worked as a international co-worker on behalf of COMUNDO, a Swiss organization of personnel development cooperation. During this engagement, I was in contact with the coordinators of Mission 21’s Latin American program, as the ISEAT was supported by Mission 21.

 2. What was your contribution to empowering women?

In Bolivia I had the opportunity to work in another partner organization of Mission 21 in La Paz, in the “Fundación Machaqa Amawta”. This institution works with indigenous women in rural and urban areas and trains them on gender issues (self esteem, roles, laws) and technical issues such as agro-ecological production, weaving, gastronomy and jewelery for its political and economic empowerment. Economic empowerment is especially crucial for women experiencing familial violence. Often it is only through an income that they can manage themselves that it is possible to change their situation. In addition, we also worked in the psychosocial support of these women to strengthen their resilience. We recognize that it is very important for them to find a safe place to tell their stories and start building a network of friendship and solidarity with other women. Likewise, together with the work team of “Fundación Machaqa Amawta”, we elaborated a scientific journal that makes visible the phenomenon of inequity and gender violence in academic reflections.

3- Why is it important to empower women in the FBO world?

So that women have the tools that allow them to make their own decisions in the economic, relational and political. In order to have equal power relations between men and women, additionally, it is important to accompany men who want to break with hegemonic masculinity and build, together with women, new masculinities and new gender relations.