Organized by a local Enactus team from Universidad del Valle, the conference began with some data about the current situation of women in Guatemala. Two problems were showcased: the lack of reproductive health and the violence against women. Among the data presented were the alarming rates of teenage pregnancy (even in girls between 10 and 14 years) and the impunity of feminicides.
Gina Chirillo, from the National Democratic Institute (DNI) discussed gender equality. Chirillo is the Senior Program Assistant of Women’s Political Participation in DNI.
Women politicians often are more likely to bring back to their communities. We’ve seen that when there are more women in government there are more policies passed regarding education and healthcare.
When you have more women in Politics –and that’s something that’s important to DNI specifically– it helps Democracy deliver: you can’t have a successful and active democracy if 51% of the population cannot equally participate in public life”.
Chirillo’s team works with all DNI offices around the world in 70 countries to help women participate, compete and lead as equal and active partners in democratic change. They work both with individual women and political institutions: besides forming capacities with women, they also advocate for the benefits of women’s political participation in political parties, parliaments and other organizations.
After Chirillo’s disertion, the Enactus team presented a couple of their projects. The focus was on Aguapac, a plastic backpack designed to carry water in long distances. Potable water sources in rural communities are often far away from households. Traditionally, families use plastic containers to transport –often taking many trips – water for cooking and cleaning. Aguapac replaces this containers and provides a more comfortable and time-saving way to carry water.
On the subject of the conference, the students emphasized on the empowerment of women achieved through this project. Time saved by making less trips to the water sources can be used in other social or economic activities. Also, Aguapac is commercialized by women in their own communities which has helped them acquire entrepreneurial skills.