Spring 2021

Creative Life

a mission-driven community

walk this way A day in the life of a Creative team member

Yajaira Hernández Gender Specialist, Dry Corridor Alliance Project

In my job, visiting communities and helping guide our program’s gender inclusion activities, I promote women’s economic independence and access to productive resources. Since women aren’t typically the landowners, they often don’t have any real say about production and harvest. But I help find the women who are good candidates to receive supplies and technical assistance from the project, like agricultural inputs including seeds, tools, and access to arable land. What motivated me to work with women was my mother’s story. She married really young without access to professional op- portunities but eventually started a small clothing business to help support her five kids and husband. That led her to join a meeting designed to provide women space to talk about their struggles and learn how to grow their busi- ness endeavors. From there, she started participating in more community events and slowly became a leader in our village. I saw her transform into a woman empow- ered. My mother became more indepen- dent and self-assured, and it all began with a small workshop for rural women. My mother’s transformation informs my job every day as the gender specialist for the Dry Corridor Alliance project. At the community level, I work to build women’s self-esteem. I believe whole- heartedly that in contexts like Honduras,

you have to work from the inside out, first creating spaces of trust where women can express their fears and feelings. In talks and workshops, I make space for this process to begin. I also try to support single mother households. Another important aspect of my work is to slowly sensitize families to share responsi- bilities for domestic affairs so that the bur- den of childcare doesn’t only fall towomen. The biggest challenge for women I see in my work is access to resources. Globally, women own less than 20 percent of prop- erty. Rural womenmay have access to land, but the lack of bank loans or lack of guaranty continues to limit their participa- tion in income-generating work. Another major challenge is violence against women, which is still a taboo subject inHonduras. I believe we need to keep promoting projects that aid women’s economic independence to break the cycle of violence. I am proud to see a woman who has received training and nowmanages her own plot, who knows about farming practices. I love hearing women say with confidence, “I am a producer of maize, beans or vegetables.” I love seeing women take charge of their kids’ health and men who join in after learning that they too have a vital role in their children’s development. n

Yajaira (left) is passionate about empowering women in a difficult environment.

At the community level, I work to build women’s self-esteem.” “

In the Dry Corridor, women face the triple discrimination of being rural, poor and female.

Yajaira gives an informational session on women’s health in Santa Anita, Honduras.

Photos by Victor Mercado

30 | Think Creative | Spring 2021

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