EduPaz supports grassroots organizations and Indigenous groups in Chiapas, Mexico, to build economic alternatives and support a solidarity economy around food and agriculture.
Mission and Purpose
Educación para la Paz (EduPaz) uses a solidarity economy model to support indigenous and peasant farming communities in six municipalities in Chiapas, a region on the southern border of Mexico. EduPaz promotes agro-ecological practices that advance food sovereignty and improve community health.
Origins and Development
Organizational Structure, Membership, and Funding
In September 2018, EduPaz received US$90,000 in loan capital and US$15,000 in grant capital from the Buen Vivir Fund, the largest amount disbursed in the first round of lending. The loan terms decided upon by EduPaz and the Buen Vivir Fund include a three-year repayment plan, and the organisation anticipates contributing an aporte of 15 per cent. As a member of the Fund’s Founding Circle, EduPaz retains one seat on the Members Assembly governing body and has participated in all Members Assembly votes since the Fund’s founding, including the peer-review of another grass-roots organisation’s application.
Specializations, Methods and Tools
Don Javier Inda, one of the founders of EduPaz, describes the values that underpin the work the organisation does:
Our main role is to accompany and advise in the journey of the groups with whom we work. It is [a] process of popular education: a shared and reflective practice among the participants; learning together in the process itself and walking together; supported by the collective wisdom of indigenous and peasant cultures; and a bet on their creativity and resilience. These are concepts and values we see as fundamental. The dominant economy is based on profit and seeks to commericalize everything. It creates greater inequality and poverty. Power and wealth are concentrated in smaller and smaller groups. Natural goods are exploited without measure, contaminating the earth, air and water, exhausting resources that belong to everyone, serving few and threatening the future of humanity and survival on the planet. In this context, we recognize the following as fundamental in our work:
Moving towards an economy centered on human needs and in harmony with nature is a vital and strategic option. Heal relationships between human groups, between men and women, between peoples and nature.
Development is not only economic, not just about producing and selling. Development must satisfy all basic human needs and meet ethical standards and values.
Value contributions of the grassroots groups: work, organization, knowledge, experience, decisions located in the specific context of each place and time, proximity that favors healing the earth and improving the environment.
The poor are agents with dignity and not objects of beneficence. With their work they are creators of wealth and have the right to all that is required for a good living: food, fair work, health, education, housing, rest, free and informed political participation.
Thousand Currents and the Buen Vivir Fund create a bridge between donors and grassroots groups with joint decisions, shared risks, non-extractive loans to grassroots groups, in a new experience that opens the way to an alternative economy.
Major Projects and Events
EduPaz is using the grant capital to incubate a community fund, A Helping Hand for the Ecology of Chiapas (Una Mano Amiga, UMA). The UMA fund will in turn use loan capital to seed the work of rural producers to create small enterprises. To date, 180,000 pesos have been disbursed to 241 community members involved with 82 projects to seed a wide range of small enterprises such as coffee and chicken cooperative businesses; mechanics and carpenters; and bakeries and grocery stores.
Analysis and Lessons Learned
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The first submission of this Participedia entry was adapted from a case study by Grace Higdon at the Institute of Development Studies as part of the research project 'Linking Participation and Economic Advancement’ licensed and reproduced under Creative Commons (CC BY 3.0). Original source, including the full original case study and methodology can be found here: