Diana Damián Palencia

Women’s rights. Migrant and refugee rights.
Formación y Capacitación (FOCA)

Diana is originally from the city of Cristóbal Obregón Villaflores, in Chiapas.. He has a degree in Educational Psychology and a master’s degree in Intercultural Education from the Veracruz University.. She is a specialist in gender, interculturality and migration. She has been part of the advisory council of UN Women Mexico. She was awarded the scholarship “Ashoka”, and she has been a defender of the human rights of women, indigenous peoples and people in migration for more than 35 years. Founder and general director of the “Formation and Training” organization (FOCA). She has participated in farmers’ territorial defense, trade union, feminist, women’s struggles, among others. She is the founder and coordinator of the Mesoamerican Women’s Health and Migration Network (RMMSyM)), a network that articulates social fighters from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador who seek to guarantee the full exercise of the rights of women and people in migration. She has developed extensive research work, with publications such as “El corredor Huehuetenango-Comitán. A cartography of women in migration”, “Chiapas, a look back” orFeminicidal violence in Chiapas. Visible and hidden reasons for our struggles, resistances and rebellions”. He has also directed the documentary “Blind Steps” which addresses the phenomenon of female migration in southern Mexico.

Formation and Training (FOCA)

Formation and Training A.C. is a civil society organization established in 1996 with the commitment to accompany women in their process of empowerment, defense and enforceability of their rights, especially the rights to sexual and reproductive health and the rights of women in migration. With this work, its goal is to contribute to the social, political and cultural transformation to build equal relations between women and men that strengthen bonds of respect, dignity and equity with a feminist, intercultural approach. It defines itself as a feminist organization that is committed to a non-patriarchal and anti-racist project. The focus of its work is to improve the living conditions of women, especially rural, indigenous and Afro-descendant women. Improving conditions means for FOCA to push for structural, political and cultural changes.
They work from two strategic lines: 1) the Gender and Migration Program and, 2) the comprehensive health program for women, adolescents and girls.

With the Gender and Migration Program they respond effectively and from a gender approach to an urgent, multi-causal and growing problem in the southern front of Mexico-Guatemala. On the one hand, they provide comprehensive care to women and their families who are on the move with the resolution of basic needs such as food and safe/violence-free places to spend the night, legal guidance in cases of requests for refuge and asylum , psychological support. On the other hand, they are committed to the defense of women’s human rights, which is why they carry out political advocacy actions; they create effective spaces for the coordination and articulation of strategies and actions with official bodies and civil society. They also promote processes of reflection on the structural causes and effects of migration with the communities of origin, make known the human rights of those who are on the move and articulate actions from the base, all through the Network of community managers who have conformed. Finally, since the visibility and awareness of the population in general about the violation of the human rights of these people is key, they have a communication strategy on the radio and carry out the production of informative documentaries.

With the Comprehensive Health Program, they contribute to creating the conditions for women and girls to have better lives, to be informed, to know and exercise their rights and to make decisions about their lives. This involves reducing maternal death (which has a very high rate in Chiapas), preventing early and unwanted pregnancy and fighting for the preservation and respect of the forms of health care of the original peoples. In this program they work with women and also with those who attend to them in their reproductive processes: traditional midwives. With both groups they carry out different processes of training, empowerment and leadership from a gender approach and Rights of the original peoples. The aim is for women and midwives to demand their rights and become agents of social transformation. From this program, those who work with the women of the communities have trained sexual and reproductive health promoters and they have also promoted the formation of the “Chiapas Nich Ixim Midwives Movement” with state and national impact.

They are currently finalizing an international cooperation project funded by the Government of Catalonia together with Almena Feminista, Creación Positiva y Mujeres Pa’lante, all of them working with a gender, rights, intersectional and anti-racist approach in Catalonia.

Interview with Diana Damián Palencia

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