FIDESMA is the Fundación Integral de Desarrollo Sostenible
y Medio Ambiente, an organization within Guatemala that has been
doing work around development and the environment. Our foundation,
founded in 1998, has a micro credit system among four other large
projects. These projects include our organic agriculture program
(natural medicinal practices), workshops on bicycles (an environmental
program), a skills and training center, a clinic (our health program),
and a school for those with physical disabilities. Unfortunately,
the last program has been discontinued until further notice because
of a lack of funding.
non-profit organization is non-political and non-religious and therefore
the majority of our financial assistance comes from other non-profit
organizations. "Our primary role in Guatemala lies in development,"
states one of our FIDESMA staff members, "FIDESMA helps the
community become more self-sustainable and for this reason we distribute
financial assistance (like our micro credit system) and show the
community prospective job opportunities. Later we hope that they
will be able to have their own business, thereby contributing to
the rest of the Guatemalan economy."
FIDESMA was started when Margarita Caté de Catú, the
current president of FIDESMA, wanted to organize against the problems
facing her community. Ms. Caté de Catú and 150 other
women struggled to create the foundation with financial support
from the Leadership Council.
FIDESMA is one of fifteen organizations apart of FEDENMURG (la Federación
de Mujeres Rurales de Guatemala), a national, democratic association
that promotes social development. The women members fight for the
rights of rural women throughout Guatemala, along with bringing
awareness to the preservation of the environment.
FIDESMA paid for a second shipment of 527 bikes
the following year, but internal management difficulties undermined
the program's financial self-sufficiency.
In 2002, the Skoll Community Fund underwrote the partial costs of
a third shipment, re-capitalizing the FIDESMA program
and enabling the Guatemalan agency to pay the full costs of a fourth
container later in the year.
Prospects are good for FIDESMA to pay for and import
at least one shipment annually, expanding its impact throughout
Chimaltenango and beyond.