Monday, June 17, 2013

Greenhouse Production with Asociación María Trinidad Sánchez

Prompted by a lack of economic opportunities for women, Asociación María Trinidad Sánchez was founded more than thirty years ago in San José de Ocoa, Dominican Republic. As one of the first of its kind in the province, the association provides women with a chance to improve their lives through pepper production. The female greenhouse producers receive support from Asociación para el Desarrollo de San José de Ocoa (ADESJO), a local organization of agricultural technicians who regularly visit and consult the women as they face challenges with the greenhouse. Farmer to Farmer volunteers have worked with both the women of Asociación María Trinidad Sánchez and the technicians of ADESJO, assisting with record keeping, organic pesticide production, and providing training in greenhouse safety and hygiene.

Greenhouse production has helped the women of the association become more financially independent, allowing them to contribute to their household income and invest in their families. The success of the greenhouse can be credited both to the innovative and visionary women and to their close relationship with ADESJO technicians. One María Trinidad Sánchez member explains the organization's success, “Yes we've been successful because, I would say that one of the major successes has been the training that we have been able to acquire through this project. And also, that we, the association ‘María Trinidad Sánchez', were the first women to start working with greenhouses. And through us, many women and many men have benefited."

An F2F volunteer discusses greenhouse production challenges with some of the women of the Asociación María Trinidad Sánchez.

In addition to greater economic stability, María Trinidad Sánchez group members expressed feelings of self-empowerment as a result of their participation in the association. As one technician stated, some of the women who were once timid are no longer afraid to express themselves. "And that is the social part, which they also have learned in these past years.” According to the technicians, there is a notable difference between the development and advancement of women's groups in San José de Ocoa and that of groups in other areas in the Dominican Republic. When asked what this can be traced back to, a technician readily answered: "This is through the same association, ADESJO, and F2F DR.”

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