What is AMA?


What is AMA?

The Association of Women of the Highlands (Asociación de Mujeres del Altiplano or AMA) is a grassroots community organization of 15 indigenous communities in the western highlands of Guatemala.

From the 1960s to the mid-1990s, Guatemala suffered a terrible internal armed conflict. After the war, many of the victims were widows, living with constant sexual harassment and discrimination. In 1995, to help provide a network of mutual support for these women, AMA began to establish local women’s circles in affected communities.

What is a women’s circle and how do they function?

Circles are a forum for sharing dreams, fears and collaborating on solutions. They are the heart of a community. They have the power to transform the world - woman by women; circle by circle, community by community. 

During these women’s circles, AMA facilitates technical and educational training on topics that range from civic participation, entrepreneurship, self-esteem, nutrition, Mayan cultural identity and community resilience. Put simply, our goal for each circle is autonomy and participants are encouraged to spearhead projects in their community. 

Examples of projects include building classrooms, gardens, kitchens, community centers or constructing sanitation systems. The circle infrastructure also fosters local leadership and entrepreneurial spirit. 

These circles were the beginning of AMA’s journey and are now the cornerstone of the organization, which now has several other projects, all helping the indigenous women of the western highlands and working on a different area of empowerment. 

What are AMA’s projects?

Our main projects are:

  • Women’s circles
  • Project Q’anill
  • Pixan
  • Clean Stoves 
  • Mayan Health
  • Mayan Art Program

Who is AMA?

We are housewives, weavers, midwives, peasants, health workers and professionals who have joined forces to improve our communities.

How does AMA get it funds?

AMA’s ‘sister’ is the Highland Support Project (HSP) that is based in the United States. Through this organization, AMA can receive tax-deductible donations from generous individuals and visitors from the States. All HSP Guatemalan initiatives work in conjunction with AMA. HSP also runs service-learning trips to Guatemala to work on the various projects.

How can I help?

  • Follow us on social media to read about our stories
  • Have a look at our online Etsy store for one of our beautiful products
  • Donate to one of our projects
  • Arrange a service learning trip to Guatemala
  • If you are in Xela, you can drop into our office - we love to have visitors!
Sarah HarrisonComment