Association of Mam Christian Women for Development
Empowered women build strong families and communities. For nearly two decades, the Association of Mam Christian Women for Development has been serving women of the Mam indigenous group in the Western Highlands of Guatemala. These women are among the most vulnerable and marginalized in Guatemalan society. Why? Because they are indigenous, poor, and female.
The Association’s mission is to elevate these women through educational, agricultural, and business-related projects so that they can, in turn, support the growth of their families and communities. Spirit-filled and fully engaged in their development, these women set their own priorities and hold leadership positions. Rosario, a midwife and social worker, serves as their coordinator.
Offering a hand-up, not a hand-out.
Development isn’t just a name, it’s a guiding principle that drives the group’s daily work and vision for the future. Through its holistic approach, the Association helps women develop in four major areas: health, education, spiritual ties, and income-earning power.
Each program is important, but alone, insufficient. Together, these programs lead to true and invaluable development—the powerful realization of each woman’s God-given gifts and potential. All projects are self-directed, self-sustaining, and designed to offer a hand-up, not a hand-out.
New Castle Presbytery and the Association have felt called to work together formally. In March 2018, we strengthened our relationship by renewing this Covenant for an additional three years.
The Presbyterian Connection
Presbyterians have been working in Guatemala since 1882. One missionary couple, in particular, is close to our hearts. The Pecks were Presbyterian missionaries who worked with the Mam people from 1922 to 1970.
In addition to planting churches, starting schools, and building a health clinic with other Americans, they were tasked with identifying leaders in the Mam community. Nearly 50 years ago, an American nurse working in the clinic “discovered” Rosario, the coordinator of the Association of Mam Christian Women for Development, and saw a light in her. The Peck’s bond with Rosario has lasted for generations, with their daughter Dottie and great niece Cindie still working closely with Rosario and the Association.