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.

Agreement Signing

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, hold leadership positions, and elect a Board of Directors in their 500-member Association. Rosario Diaz, 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:  2018, 2019 and 2020. You can read the Association’s Year-End Report or download an informational flyer to share with others.

The Presbyterian Connection

Presbyterians have been working in Guatemala since 1882. One missionary couple, in particular, is close to our hearts. Dudley and Dorothy Peck were Presbyterian missionaries who worked with the Mam people around San Juan Ostuncalco from 1922 to 1970.

Along with other Americans, the Pecks were tasked with planting churches, starting schools, building a health clinic, and identifying leaders in the Mam community. Nearly 50 years ago, an American nurse named Ruth Wardell was working in the clinic when she “discovered” Rosario Diaz, the current coordinator of the Association of Mam Christian Women for Development. Ruth saw a light in Rosario and began to train her as a mid-wife. Since then, Rosario has taken courses in accounting, theology, and has a Master’s degree in Social Work. The legacy of Dudley and Dorothy Peck has continued for generations, with their daughter Dottie Peck Foster and great niece Cindie Moore still working closely with Rosario and the Association.