Education Centre in Support of Production and the Environment (CEP-Parras)

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This is grassroots organizing at its best. CEP-Parras is building capacity and community resilience, developing women’s leadership, addressing food sovereignty and traditional medicines, assisting with economic independence and cooperative economics, while promoting self-reliance.  

Address:
5 Guadalupe Street, Parras de la Fuente
Coahuila, Mexico 27984

Mission:

Education Centre in Support of Production and the Environment’s mission is to address the problems, needs and desires demanded by human rights through educational projects, self-managed development, associated and sustainable management. We are a community of learning and practice. Our values are: convergence and articulation, base work, equity and justice, ethics and joy.

History:

In 1993, a group of young people working to address poverty in their communities formed the civil association Education Centre in Support of Production and the Environment in Parras, Coahuila, Mexico. Since its beginning, CEP’s work has included popular education, community development projects, and working with young people on peace-building and human rights in rural and urban areas. They are now developing the project “Parras: Educating the community for coexistence and health care,” which consists of creating educational environments where children, young people and women come together to learn and take action for personal and community care, and care for the environment. The project will include artistic cultural events where people can develop their creativity, strengthen their identity and attachment to their land and thus avoid migration, and reflect on the health of people and the environment and the importance of community organization.

The Issues:

CEP-Parras shows how the current situation in Mexico, dominated by an economic and social security crisis, has had a profound impact on all areas of society, particularly in marginalized and impoverished areas. The effects have been the uprooting of land and families, increasing the migration of people who seek opportunities for work, life and development. Poverty has thus increased, along with water scarcity in the semi-desert zone.

Constituency and Leadership:

CEP-Parras’ communities are all farmers from the municipality of Parras, Coahuila, The people involved are children, young people and women who live in the Chihuahuan semi-desert area with high social marginalization. The association works in three locations, each led by women. CEP-Parras’ leadership is by a management and operational body that carries out their programs.

Tackling Oppressive Structures:

CEP-Parras is making efforts across age and gender to involve their community to foster dialogue around human rights and cross-cultural issues, and to recover elders’ practices for community cohesion. CEP-Parras recognizes the unequal opportunities for men and women, encouraging women to learn, organize and participate. CEP-Parras describes the practices of food production and health care as an ancestral knowledge, and sees that food sovereignty and therefore community autonomy are essential to address neo-colonialists models of food dependence, where agrobusiness dominates over family agriculture.

Movement Building:

With other like-minded groups, Education Centre in Support of Production and the Environment collaborates to provide information to young people about environmental justice.  At the regional level, Education Centre in Support of Production and the Environment has links with other social and civil organizations to conduct training sessions in popular education. Another activity with other organizations is the “pedagogical fair” of popular education where the diverse knowledge and contributions of educational organizations and institutions are valued.

Evaluation:

Evaluation is a continuous process of results and objectives, as well as the review of the experience in which the involved people participate, as beneficiaries and promoters. They use questionnaires and surveys to get to know the vision of a broader spectrum of the population.

Long-term Vision for Change:

In Parras, the economic crisis is increasingly impacting rural communities where both men and women go to work in factories located in other municipalities three hours away. They must strengthen the social fabric, trust, reciprocity and mutual help; and recover ancestral practices for the care of life, health, nutrition, strengthening of identity and local culture.

Organization Budget:  $44,283
Request: $9,897

raised to date this week:  $2,025

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