Rosibel Ramos and Kenia Baca Merlo tell their story of how they overcame multiple forms of gender inequality and violence in rural Nicaragua by founding and helping to run the women’s farming cooperative, FEM (Foundation Between Women), which produces coffee, vegetables, honey, wine and hibiscus as well as running its own schools, self-defence groups and community seed banks.
From Estelí in Northern Nicaragua, the two generations of women share their struggle against multiple forms of inequality. Rosibel Ramos, a founding member of the FEM, left behind a life of violence and poverty and at 60 graduated from university. She eventually became the President of the FEM cooperative or Las Diosas (The Goddesses) as they call themselves, which provides a huge infrastructure for women in similar situations. She will be joined by Kenia who joined the FEM as a teenager and is now a sociologist, beekeeper and farmer.
Together, with their 1,500 all-female peers, they collectively run eight agricultural cooperatives, educational programmes for women and girls, community seed “reservoirs” and womens defense groups to confront gender-based violence. The aim is to emancipate women through a strategy of ideological, economic and organisational transformation.
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