Production and Social Management of the Habitat inChilón, Chiapas
In 2016, the group J’canan J’nantic Lum Qu’inal (Caregivers of Mother Earth) contacted Cooperación Comunitaria with the purpose of achieving construction sovereignty, since they were working on their food sovereignty based on agroecology. The group is composed of members of diverse Tseltal communities from the municipality of Chilón, Chiapas, who are dedicated to agricultural production and training other communities with agroecological techniques.
Later on, they asked CC for technical advice for the self-construction of five agroecology training centers and a cooperative shop with the reinforced adobe system. During this process, this group was established as the Jcananotic collective, with the aim of strengthening their self-management skills.
After a joint process of diagnosis, participatory design, planning, and organization, the cooperative shop was self-constructed in 2018, with the reinforced adobe system in the Nahilté community, which is not only a center for the commercialization of their agroecological products but also a gathering space and a community training center. This space also has a demonstrative agroforestry plot, a Bajareque dry toilet, and a water harvesting system. During the self-construction process, 3 community promoters were trained in said techniques, which they now replicate with their colleagues during the self-building of two training centers in other communities. As part of the process, 7 topographical surveys were carried out to allow for better planning and implementation of construction.
Throughout this process, we have recuperated the traditional construction process with local materials, along with the ancestral wisdom of the practices related to the Tseltal culture and Mother Earth. In the Production and Social Management of the Habitat Project in Chiapas, 42 Jcananotics have increased their construction skills with earth-based techniques, just as 23 residents of different communities have increased their skills in agroforestry techniques. As part of the Namasté process, supported by María Gutiérrez from the CC advisory council, she held an agroforestry workshop to enrich the group’s agroecological techniques. In addition, 18 caretakers of Mother Earth have learned about calculating costs and prices to establish fair prices for the sale of their products.
Within the training process and exchange of knowledge for the strengthening of the collective subjects, the Jcananotic group has carried out two exchanges of constructive and productive knowledge with Me’phaa communities of the Guerrero Mountain, and two exchanges with the Wäda artisans group of Mezquital Valley. These events have allowed the groups to share experiences about the problems and successes they have faced in their self-managed processes to improve the areas of production and construction. The exchange of knowledge enriches the processes and opens a space for the identification of common elements and areas of opportunity.
ACTIONS TAKEN TO TACKLE THE CONSEQUENCES CAUSED BY THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
In the face of COVID-19, CC took on the task of undertaking distance diagnosis with the Jcananotic group with whom CC had been working for during the previous 4 years. The results allowed us to understand the social and economic effects that the different communities and the group were going through. Under these circumstances, we carried out sensitizing work to prevent contagion, through a set of infographics that were placed in the municipal seat and some other locations. Later on, we began a process to strengthen food sovereignty and the collective subjects with the Jcananotic group.
During the process, an example community plot was planted following agroforestry techniques. This plot is located on the land of the Cooperative Shop, and its objective is to transmit knowledge about the benefits of said techniques to the Nahilté population and to those interested. So far, we have offered technical consultancy and accompanied the self-production of 3 community agroforestry plots, in Naihlté, Bahtzel, and Kaquemteel. In order to accompany the productive activities of the Jcananotic group, we also design their product labels which will render an image that identifies their work and improves their product’s commercialization.
Currently, the Jcananotic group is carrying out the construction of two agroforestry and agroecology training centers, one in Kaquemteel and the other in Bahtzel. The Káquemteel building is being constructed following the Bajareque Cerén system whereas the Bahtzel follows the reinforced adobe system. Through this activity, the building culture and the use of local building materials are recuperated. Both centers will be used for the exchange of agroecology and agroforestry techniques learning, as well as for community use.