Production and Social Management of the Habitat in theMezquital Valley, Hidalgo
The project began its development in 2013 with the artisans of Wadä from five communities in the municipality of Cardonal, Hidalgo. It has the objective of both recuperating traditional knowledge around construction and production as well as strengthening the community’s economic self-sufficiency through the growth of their productive and formative skills.
The self-reflexive diagnosis of the Wadä in conjunction with Community Cooperation A.C. identified the need to build a training and productive space for the group of artisans. That’s how CC accompanied a process that began with participatory design, planning, and organization. CC gave technical advice for the self-building of the Casa Taller Xido Ngu. This has been an exercise in rescuing traditional building techniques, using local materials which had been out of use, like the tepetate stone for the foundations and walls, and maguey leaves for roofing.
Said space is located in the El Decá community, in the heart of Mezquital Valley, cradle of the Hñähñú culture; and was inaugurated on November 17, 2018.
This space has functioned as a center for production, as well as for the transmission and recovery of knowledge concerning different types of embroidery and the manufacture of ixtle products, a fiber obtained from salmiana agave or maguey (Wäda in the Hñähñú language) and the lechuguilla agave (which is smaller and thinner than the former).
During the process, the activities of the house have expanded as well as their desires. This is how the self-construction of a larger kitchen was carried out and was finished in October 2020.
In 2017 we accompanied the process of setting up the Wäda brand. As part of the process, we supported the group to sell their products in the Alternative Market of Tlalpan (MAT) in Mexico City. During the two years that we were at the MAT, we carried out consumer awareness regarding prices to differentiate between products made in an industrialized way from those made in an artisanal way and hence their cost.
We also offered advice on the design and printing of a catalog of the community’s products, which has the function of promoting the products that the group currently manufactures for sale. This catalog also informs and sensitizes the consumer about the artisanal production process, and can be consulted at the following link:
As part of the rescue of traditional Hñahñu knowledge, we co-produced with the group a series of capsules on the Hñahñu relationship with the maguey, which can be heard in their podcast version at the following link:
ACTIONS TAKEN TO TACKLE THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
As a result of the diagnosis generated in the four territories in which we worked, we identified that the information about the risk of contagion was not reaching rural areas. Due to the pandemic, producers were not working out how to sell their products because of the closure of the municipal markets. The general consensus was that in the mid-term, an economic crisis was imminent and this would have a severe impact on the communities. Before this diagnosis, we took on the task of providing the collaborators and participant groups who were in the field, with a safety framework for all the processes involved in the Production and Social Management of the Habitat. We used graphic materials to disseminate information in order to prevent contagion and promote hygiene measures. We established a protocol for the workers’ care in which a series of infographics showed the required measures for preventing contagion of the virus in the sites where there were ongoing processes of construction. We also supplied face masks and hand sanitizer.
As part of the actions undertaken to deal with the COVID19 pandemic, through participatory design, we set out on the joint task of strengthening food sovereignty for the community and family vegetable patches and orchards. This was intended to generate productive projects which enabled the production of food through agroforestry and agroecological techniques, which in turn, could boost the collective subjects, agricultural production, and self-sufficiency.
Amongst the activities, the participants made a seed bank to preserve the region’s patrimony and to carry out exchanges that nurtured the families’ agricultural plots. During this process, we have implemented a strategic plan for agave reforestation along with participative diagnosis in which the issues related to water and a water harvesting system for the Xido Ngu center were considered. Recently the group is getting organized to implement family plots in their communities.