The MIRIAM Association for the Intellectual Development of women – chak rech uk’iyem uwach kinojib’al ri ixoqib’, in the Mayan language K’iche’, began its work in Nicaragua in 1989 by providing scholarships to six women with limited economic resources. It was created in 1996 in Guatemala in the context of the signing of the peace agreement and was legally constituted on 21 December 1999. Initially, Ixoqib’ MIRIAM aimed to facilitate access to higher education for Guatemalan women, particularly Mayan, Xinca and Garifuna women. Subsequently, it specialized in the promotion of education, gender equality, prevention of violence against women, adolescents and girls, and transformative care and reparation for survivors of violence, based on a decolonial feminist approach and Mayan beliefs. MIRIAM is an indigenous women’s organization run by professional women who have completed the organization’s “Education and Empowerment Program”. The association has two operation centers in Guatemala City and Quetzaltenango.
We want to contribute to a fulfilling life of women, teenagers and their children according to the principles and the ancestral values of the Maya through access to education, integral training, psychosocial healing, research and political advocacy.
As an organization of indigenous women, we aim to promote the rights of Mayan, Xinca and Mestizo women based on the Mayan values, and to contribute to the fight against gender-based violence, racism and the articulation of a just and egalitarian society.
The Association implements the “COMPREHENSIVE PROGRAM FOR EDUCATION, EMPOWERMENT AND PROMOTION OF THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS WOMEN, CHILDREN AND TEENAGERS IN GUATEMALA” with its five main strategies:
Axes of action:
PHILOSOPHICAL FRAMEWORK OF IXOQIB’ MIRIAM
The Ixoqib’ MIRIAM association bases its essence on the energy of 13 B’ATZ’, which is the thread that connects us to our ancestors, to life and to the universe. It allows us to recognize our roots and to support, guide and accompany us through the wisdom of our ancestors as women, among women and towards women, building the path to the development of a fulfilling life free from violence and racism through healing and holistic education.
Ixoqib’ MIRIAM has defined its vision, mission and goals based on the concept of the Mayan beliefs. These values include: complementarity, duality, reciprocity, balance, equality, sorority, respect and joy. These values guide our collective practice in the various processes and strategies within our institutional program. They also determine our personal and professional relationships, both at the level of the internal organizational structure and at the external level, with the various individuals and groups that contribute to the development of our association.
MIRIAM works for the liberation of women from all forms of oppression, a situation created by the patriarchal and capitalist system. Therefore, we embrace feminism as a theory and methodology to achieve harmony, balance and abundance for women. Feminist values like freedom, equality, self-determination, autonomy and empowerment are also part of our work. In the search for equal rights and opportunities for women, and especially for indigenous women, we call for differentiated policies, such as affirmative actions to improve the situation, condition and status of indigenous women and girls. We have a strong identification with the movements of decolonial feminism, since the perspective of indigenous women always reveals the overlap between patriarcal and ethnic oppression and the need for decolonization of both patriarchal institutions and thoughts. Popular feminism, with its anti-capitalist and decolonizing perspective, provides us with important keys to understanding care in a society and is in line with the Mayan beliefs.
MIRIAM is a women’s organization, which is mainly led by young indigenous women. The board of directors consists of 7 professional indigenous women who are graduates of the “Education and Empowerment Program”. The organization has its headquarters in the capital and a branch office in the city of Quetzaltenango. The Board of Directors together with the Technical-Political Team forms the “General Coordination”, which is the body for strategic decisions.
Several working committees, in which professional partners are also involved, support the implementation of the “Education and Empowerment” program. An “admission, monitoring and evaluation committee”, composed of a psychologist, a member of the board and a member of the technical-political team, decides on the admission of new members to the program.
The continuous training of the Technical-Political Team and the Board of Directors is of utmost importance, as well as motivational and healing seminars to enable them to carry out their work with balance.
There are a number of rules and protocols that guarantee quality and transparent financial and administrative implementation: Administrative and Accounting Policies Manual, Internal Control Manual, Operations Manual, Program Rules, Rules of Procedure, Purchasing Policy and Code of Conduct, as well as a comprehensive Child and Adolescent Protection Policy and Code of Conduct. Institutional audits are conducted annually.
WITH SUPPORT FROM MIRIAM AUSTRIA AND OUR PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS