Title Page
 I. Overview and summary: Coordination...
 II. Final report: Women, low-income...
 III. Final report: Women, low-income...
 IV. Final report: Women, low-income...
 Back Matter

Group Title: report on the women, low-income households and urban servicies project
Title: A report on the women, low-income households and urban servicies project
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00088773/00001
 Material Information
Title: A report on the women, low-income households and urban servicies project
Physical Description: 1 v. : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Bruce, Judith
Schmink, Marianne
Population Council
Publisher: Population Council
Place of Publication: New York N.Y
Publication Date: 1988?
Subject: Poor women -- Latin America   ( lcsh )
Women in development -- Latin America   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Mexico
Statement of Responsibility: The Population Council ; project co-managers Judith Bruce and Marianne Schmink.
General Note: "August 1981-December 1987."
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00088773
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 43844335

Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Title Page
    I. Overview and summary: Coordination activities of the women, low-income households and urban services project
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
    II. Final report: Women, low-income households and urban services in Latin America and the Caribbean Peru working group
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
    III. Final report: Women, low-income households and urban services in Latin America and the Caribbean Jamaica working group
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
    IV. Final report: Women, low-income households and urban services in Latin America and the Caribbean Mexico working group
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
    Back Matter
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
Full Text

A Report on the Women,
Low-Income Households
and Urban Services Project

The Population Council

August 1981 December 1987

The Population Council
One Dag Hammarskjold Plaza
New York, New York 10017


This project was formally initiated in August of 1981 with
the support of the then Urban Development Office. Almost
simultaneous with the signing of the agreement with USAID (but
unrelated, we trust) was the abolition of the Urban Development
Office and the assignment of the first phase of our project to
the management of the Office of Housing and Urban Development.

In the first three years of the project co-managers Judith
Bruce and Marianne Schmink were in frequent contact with each of
the working groups. Each working group was visited several times
per year. In that early phase the groups found their identity,
formulated their objectives, and started their projects. Details
of these activities are provided in the summary of each of the
projects and in prolific earlier reports.

The second phase was contemplated in 1983 when we saw how
well the groups were going and their uniform desire to continue.
The Women in Development Office was approached for a follow-on
grant for a second phase of work which would stress the
consolidation of the groups and the development of their work
into programs, rather than the aggregate of individual projects.

In April of 1984 the Population Council supported travel of
all three coordinators and co-managers to Washington, D.C., where
the project was presented in a series of policy seminars
beginning with major presentations at the Association for Women
in Development, meetings in Washington, and at USAID. These were
followed by a seminar in New York for non-governmental
organizations and foundations. In August of 1984 we were advised
of continuing funding through the Women in Development Office and
the groups set about developing their plans of work. From mid-
1984 to mid-1985 the Lima and Kingston groups put together plans
of work. There was a change of leadership in the Mexico group,
followed by an earthquake (in September of 1985) which affected
both the membership of the group and its direction. Again,
details of these transitions are provided in the attached text.

Co-managers Bruce and Schmink continued to regularly
communicate with the projects but the rate of visitation was
reduced dramatically (as the need was much less) with the
exception of the Mexican group which continued to require higher
levels of support. Throughout the process the Urban Development
Corporation in Jamaica provided a constructive institutional
context for the working group and intensified its impact on urban
policies in Jamaica. In Lima, the working group base remained
independent of any one institution but managed to retain

participation from a range of people on the disciplinary and
political spectrum. It proved to be a unique example of
cooperation among a heterogeneous group of people.

To communicate more widely about the project and also to
promote a deeper interest in the access of women to key urban
services, Bruce and Schmink edited a monograph (published with
Population Council funds) which was issued in 1986. That
monograph is now out of print and there remains enormous demand
for it. The monograph (Table of Contents attached) is not only
being used by development scholars and researchers, but is also
being integrated into course work to train and re-train urban
development planners to have a sensitivity to gender issues. It
is possible funding will be sought for an updating of the
monograph to report on all the activities of the project.

In addition to the extensive list of documents produced by
the project, two issues in the SEEDS series, which documents
exceptional income-generating projects for women, have featured
efforts sponsored by the working groups (the SIRDO Waste
Management Recycling Program in Mexico City and the Women's
Construction Collective in Jamaica). Aspects of the project have
also been featured in The Urban Edge.

On three occasions we were able to arrange to bring all
three coordinators and the two co-managers together to discuss
the project. One of these meetings took place in Mexico City in
1982. Another took place at the time of the policy seminars in
April of 1984. The final occasion was in Jamaica in 1987,
supported in part by extra budgetary resources and hosted and
designed by the Jamaica working group. The last evaluation
session was a point of great satisfaction for the two co-managers
because it was clear that the groups' autonomy was complete. The
personal and professional links, we hope, will continue, but in
each of the three locations very different kinds of entities have
been created, each with hallmark activities.

This unusual project, which relied upon a decentralized
working group mechanism to define priorities and carry out
projects was possible because of the flexibility of USAID. We
appreciate the practical and moral support of the Offices of
Housing and Women in Development. We believe the working group
approach is not only cost-effective, but can lead to real
institutional change. The issue of women and gender relations is
a particularly difficult one on which to have policy impact. It
may be impossible to achieve change without the deep involvement
of nationals in the conceptualization of issues and carrying out
of projects, and without the existence of a strong local base,
the operations of which bear the imprint of a specific cultural

The project has been an in-depth learning experience both
for the co-managers and the Population Council. At the beginning
it was difficult even to conceptualize the key issues to address

in learning about women's access to and control of resources in
the urban environment. Through projects, research, discussion
papers, and documentation we have described women's manifold
roles in production and community development and have defined
more closely the interrelationship between their well-being and
that of low-income families, particularly children in those
families. Spin-off research efforts of the Population Council
will now focus on the status of women-headed households in Third
World countries (in collaboration with the International Center
for Research on Women) and research into the ways in which
women's resource management influences their own and their
children's health.

On behalf of ourselves and the coordinators of the three
groups and their membership we thank the USAID Women in
Development Office for support over these last two and a half


Women, Low-Income Households and Urban Services in Latin
America and the Caribbean
Peru Working Group
Final Report on Activities, 1981-1987
February, 1988
I. Overview and Summary

The Lima working group, known locally as SUMBI
(Servicios Urbanos y Mujeres de Bajos Ingresos), has
consolidated a focus and set of activities that are
successfully moving towards the achievement of the group's
goal: to have an impact on the design and implementation of
social policies that affect urban women. Given the rapid
urbanization process and deficient urban service provision in
Lima, this has entailed analysis both of government programs
and policies and of the spontaneous self-help solutions
carried out by low-income populations, primarily in Lima's
peripheral "Young Towns." The continuity of the group's
discussions and studies, and their dissemination through a
solid publications program, have allowed members to
articulate the relationship between gender and urban social
policy and to influence both research and policy design and

The group itself has had relatively stable membership
and consistent participation rates that have allowed their
discussions to progress over time from conceptual definitions
to concrete research efforts directly related to questions of
urban policy. For example, their studies of communal
kitchens and of the municipal "Glass of Milk" program enabled
the group to make recommendations as to how lessons from
spontaneous community self-help efforts could inform public
service provision programs in Lima.

SUMBI has already secured funding to continue its
discussion and research activities, and to begin a new
training activity that will enable the group to pass on its
insights to key policy makers in Lima. The group has also
expanded its outreach to other parts of the country, in order
to stimulate the multiplication of this kind of activity.
The working group approach has enriched the individual
members and their institutions, and established a strong
resource for improving the access of Peru's low-income urban
women to urban services.

II. Group Focus

The goals and activities defined by the working group
sought to respond to specific conditions in urban areas of
Peru. Government provision of services for low-income

populations had failed to keep pace with the rapid
urbanization that began in the 1950s and accelerated in the
1960s. The low-income urban population, composed primarily
of migrants, had opted for self-help initiatives in housing
construction, combined with pressure on the government for
the provision of basic services. These patterns resulted in
diverse levels of community organization, strongest in the
precarious "Young Towns" that represented 40 percent of the
approximately six million inhabitants of Lima.

By the end of the 1970s and especially in the 1980s, the
growing economic crisis in Peru led to organizations of low-
income women seeking to improve nutrition and health
conditions through the formation of self-managed health
committees and communal kitchens (over 1,000 by 1987). Under
the municipal "Glass of Milk" program begun in 1983, 7,500
"milk committees" were also formed by 1986, involving 100,000
women in the preparation, distribution and organization of
the program. About seventy NGOs were also working with low-
income women in nutrition, health, training, education, and
organizational skills. Given these conditions, the working
group sought to study and evaluate the different forms of
women's organizations and disseminate the results of their
discussions to the various public and private sector
organizations working with low -ncome women. They sought to
analyze the implications of these experiences for more
general social policy.

Group membership remained stable at twelve persons, with
some turnover over the six-year period. The group includes
men and women professionally trained in the fields of
sociology, anthropology, social work, community work,
journalism, architecture, transport, health, and education.
They have been affiliated with a variety of government and
private sector organizations including: Pertd Mujer; UNICEF;
Center for Initial Education; Ministries of Health,
Education, Culture and Labor; Municipality of Lima; Peruvian
Institute for Self-Managed Businesses; DESCO (private
research institution); Catholic University.

III. The Working Group Process

During the first or consolidation phase of the project
(1981-1984) the working group devoted significant effort to
defining the composition of the group and its objectives.
The focus on women and urban services, and the mechanism of
an interdisciplinary working group was a novelty for Lima.
Discussion of the individual experiences of members and
invited speakers helped to define more clearly the focus of
the group's interest. After six months, the group of twelve
men and women had articulated a long-term goal of having an
impact on the design and implementation of social policies
that involve women in the urban milieu, and had delineated

several short-term objectives: to promote debate on the
topic of women and urban services; to encourage research on
urban services that would take women into account; to
disseminate information and accumulated knowledge on the
subject; and to provide links between resources and
initiatives of different individuals and institutions. These
objectives were operationalized through the working group's
principal activities: discussion, research, consultation,
and dissemination. The group adopted the name SUMBI.

During the second or production stage (1984-1986), SUMBI
began to produce and disseminate information. Discussions
had allowed the group to define a clearer strategy for their
focus on the social policies related to low-income women and
urban services. The group decided to focus on intermediary
institutions responsible for implementing them, rather than
working directly with community groups. Turnover in the
group brought in six new members, while half of the original
twelve left due to changes in professional commitments. In
1987, SUMBI began a third or projection phase that built on
the earlier discussions and collection of information, and on
the recognition the group had achieved through its
dissemination program. A self-evaluation carried out by the
group concluded that they had achieved their short-term
objectives, and needed to explore new mechanisms for reaching
the longer-term goal of affecting social policy. This
conclusion led to the decision to design and implement
training courses for state functionaries in Lima. The group
also organized a seminar in Lima in December, and sought ways
to replicate the working group experience in other parts of
the country.

SUMBI is more a process than an institution with defined
characteristics and a clear functional structure. The
working group process has stimulated its members' creativity
in responding to changing conditions, in ways that a more
formal, legal structure might have impeded. In the project's
first stage, discussion provided individual enrichment that
continues to feed back to members' institutions; and,
beginning in the second stage, the group has produced new
information through its projects. The dissemination of their
work through a systematic publications program has had an
impact on the practice of social science and on thinking
about social policy in Lima.

IV. Review of Activities

A. Documents

SUMBI has produced twenty-seven documents, including ten
project reports, seven discussion papers, six issues of a
newsletter, one pamphlet, and three monographs. These

Ciudad de Lima, Perfil de la Mujer de Bajos Ingresos y su
Acesso a los Servicios Urbanos, by Amelia Fort, September
1983 (approx. 50 pp.; "The City of Lima: Profile of Low-
Income Women and their Access to Urban Services," compilation
of available data on low income women in Lima, in Spanish)

Servicios Urbanos y Mujeres de Bajos Ingresos: Apuntes para
una Definici6n, by Maruja Barrig, November 1983 (29 pp.;
"Urban Services and Low-Income Women: Towards a Definition,"
discussion paper in Spanish)

Los Comedores Comunales en los Barrios Populares de la Ciudad
de Lima, by Violeta Sara-Lafosse, February 1984 (54 pp.;
"Communal Kitchens in the Low-Income Neighborhoods of Lima,"
project report in Spanish with tables and graphs)

Limitaciones para el Uso de los Servicios Urbanos por Mujeres
de Bajos Ingresos: Transporte e Seguridad, by Jeanine
Anderson and Nelson Panizo, May 1984 (109 pp.; "Limitations
on the Use of Urban Services by Low-Income Women: Transport
and Security," project report in Spanish)

Servicios Espontaneos e Informales de Cuidado Infantil en los
Barrios Populares de Lima, by Jeanine Anderson, June 1984 (43
pp.; "Spontaneous and Informal Child Care Services in the
Low-Income Neighborhoods of Lima," revised research report)

Comedores Comunales: La Mujer Frente a la Crisis, by Violeta
Sara-Lafosse. Lima: SUMBI. (100 pp. monograph; "Communal
Kitchens: Women Confront the Crisis")

Limitaciones para el Uso de los Servicios Urbanos por Mujeres
de Bajos Ingresos: Transporte y Securidad, by Jeanine
Anderson and Nelson Panizo, October 1984 (107 pp.;
"Limitations on the Use of Urban Services by Low-Income
Women: Transport and Security," discussion paper with
methodological appendix)

Servicios Urbanos para los Pobres de Lima. Problems de
Genero, by Amelia Fort, December 1984 (19 pp.; "Urban
Services for the Poor in Lima. Gender Problems," discussion

Las Alimentadoras del Pueblo: Vendedoras Ambulantes de
Alimentos Preparados, by Estrella Picasso (124 pp.; "Feeders
of the People: Ambulatory Vendors of Prepared Foods,"
project report with appendix)

La Mujer y las Politicas Municipales de Servicios, by Gustavo
Riofrio, December 1986 (18 pp.; "Women and Municipal Service
Policies," discussion paper on municipal service programs and
the role of women's organizations)

Exploraci6n de la Factibilidad y Funcionamiento de una
"Defensoria de Mujeres" a nivel de los Gobiernos Locales, by
Jeanine Anderson and Maria Eugenia Mansilla, April 1987 (17
pp.; "Exploration of the Feasibility and Functioning of a
'Women's Defender' at the Level of the District Government,"
working paper)

La Ciudad de las Mujeres: Pobladores y Servicios. El Caso
de El Agustino, by Maruja Barrig and Amelia Fort, July 1987
(157 pp.; "The City of Women: Neighborhood Residents and
Services. The Case of El Agustino," report on a research
project on women and services in a low-income neighborhood)

La Mujer y los Servicios, August1987 (34 pp.; "Women and
Services," pamphlet describing women's role in urban service
management, illustrated with drawings)

La Mujer Trabajadora: Necesidades y Servicios, by Vilma
Vargas, September 1987 (37 pp.; "The Working Woman: Needs
and Services," project report with appendices)

Y Ahora, Quien Cuida a los Niios? El Cuidado Diurno en Lima,
1981-1986, by Jeanine Anderson, January 1988 (94 pp.; "And
Now, Who Takes Care of the Children? Day Care in Lima, 1981-
1986," project report with appendices)

El Cuidado Diurno en la Ciudad de Lima: Algunas
Consideraciones para el Fomento del Sector, by Jeanine
Anderson, January 1988 (13 pp.; "Day Care in the City of
Lima: Some Considerations on the Promotion of the Sector,"
summary of project report for consulting meeting)
Servicios para las Mujeres: Programas y Politicas,
Informative No. 1 (14 pp.; "Services for Women: Programs
and Policies," Newsletter No. 1, October 1986)

Acciones Municipales en torno a los Servicios y las
Poblaciones de Bajos Ingresos. Necesidades de las Mujeres,
Informative No. 2 (10 pp.; "Municipal Actions regarding
Services and Low-Income Populations. Women's Needs,"
Newsletter No. 2, January 1987)

Pensando en Servicios para Mujeres de Sectores Populares,
Information No. 3 (18 pp.; "Thinking about Services for Low-
Income Women," Newsletter No. 3, June 1987)

ONGs que Trabajan con Mujer: A la Bdsqueda de una Identidad,
Informativo No. 4-5 (40 pp.; "NGOs that Work with Women: In
Search of an Identity," Newsletter No. 4-5, November 1987)

Resumenes de Debates y Reuniones, Informativo No. 6 (22 pp.;
"Summaries of Discussions and Meetings," Newsletter No. 6,
January 1988)

[One project report; monograph from seminar forthcoming]

B. Projects

During the project's first phase, SUMBI sponsored
research on communal kitchens, on public transportation and
physical security, and on street-food vendors of prepared
foods. During the second phase the group sought to focus on
concrete projects that could provide recommendations for more
general policies. They developed a set of written guidelines
for the development of projects on women and urban services,
and instituted an oversight and review process for project
proposals. A package of six project proposals was developed
for solicitation of funding from outside agencies, in
addition to the three projects supported by the working
group's own funds. Each of these, described below, was
carried out by one group member with another member providing

Implementation and Quality of Child Care Services

Two studies were carried out of existing day care
services and their users, in 1981 and 1986. The number of
openings in child care facilities increased noticeably during
this period, in part due to the growing influence of low-
income women's organizations in pressuring for services
oriented to children. The demand for day care services still
far out-stripped supply, although sometimes existing
facilities were not full. The studies identified a number of
impediments to the use of existing services, including:
inconvenient scheduling; cost in time and money; distrust of
institutionalized child care; lack of information about
existing services. The study recommended, among other things,
experimentation with a variety of flexible, small-scale
models; increased consultation with community members
(especially women) on spending priorities, quality of
services, and potential community support; and improved
working conditions for day care service attendants.

Service Needs of Street-Food Vendors

In 1984 the working group completed an extensive study
of women who worked as street vendors of prepared foods on
the streets of Lima. This is a significant sector of
employment for women, and provides a service to low-income
workers who are unable to take their meals at home but cannot
afford restaurants. The vendors rely heavily on family
labor, and the separation between their vending enterprise

and the home is often blurred. The occupation is often a
family survival strategy more that a small business oriented
to profits and expansion. In a follow-up study, the group
assessed existing legislation, and proposed improvements in
urban services directed at street-food vendors.

Women in the Emergency Employment Program (PAIT)

A study of a government emergency employment program
instituted in 1985 analyzed the empirical results of a survey
of workers, complemented by interviews with workers,
directors, community leaders, and women who chose not to work
in the program. Of the 82,000 workers hired during the
program's first year, 80 percent were women, mostly 21-30
years old and heads of household. These women worked 12-15
hours per day on the job and in the home, suffered from poor
health, and were forced to take their children along to the
job site for lack of day care facilities. The jobs provided
low-skill, non-productive work in urban improvement projects,
with no skills upgrading. The study recommended
experimentation with informal models of child care, food
provisioning, health and transportation services for the
workers in the program.
C. Consultations and seminars

In addition to the documents described above, SUMBI's
dissemination strategy has included invitations to
representatives of public and private agencies to participate
in their meetings, such as (among others) the Ford
Foundation, the National Population Council, USAID/Lima, the
Ministry of Labor, the "Mariana de Jesus" Foundation of
Quito, Ecuador, and the state and municipal governments.
SUMBI has also participated in various seminars and meetings,
and was selected to represent Peru at the meeting of the
Regional Office of UNICEF in Colombia in 1986. This led to
contacts with organizations that work with women in other
Latin American countries, including CEPAM in Ecuador and
FUNCOP in Colombia.
In December of 1987, SUMBI organized a two-day meeting
on "Women and Urban Services" in Lima, which was attended by
35 persons besides the working group members, including nine
people from outside Lima. The seminar focused on the
importance of urban services for women, their difficulties of
access and, nonetheless, their high participation (especially
through women's organizations) in service procurement.
Expositions by working group members provided the point of
departure for working group discussions (led by SUMBI
members) on communal kitchens, transportation, municipal
policies, the ombudsman proposal, child care, and others.
During a closing session, the working group described the
SUMBI work philosophy and met with participants from outside

Lima to discuss possibilities for replication of the SUMBI
model in other Peruvian cities.

A 200-pp. monograph was prepared from the seminar and
1,000 copies will be available for distribution within a few
months. It brings together a discussion of the working group
methodology, of training methods and of the results of the
seminar working groups. Also included are summaries of four
SUMBI studies (on urban services in El Agustino; on
transportation and physical security; on child care; and-on
municipal services) with extensive commentaries from
conference participants. It will conclude with a current
diagnosis of urban service policies in Lima, by SUMBI
coordinator Amelia Fort.

In addition, SUMBI organized consultative meetings with
policy makers to present the findings of their work. One
meeting was with state functionaries and administrators of
day care facilities. The working group prepared a summary
report covering the study's principal findings and concrete
recommendations, which was distributed in advance of a
working meeting (attended by the mayor's wife). A second
meeting with local political authorities was planned in order
to produce a final document containing policy recommendations
for day care services. A similar strategy was developed to
provide recommendations on new urban service policies in
collaboration with the Ministry of Justice. The working
group analyzed the Ministry's documents and discussed their
recommendations (prepared in summary form) with functionaries
of the Ministry of Housing, the National Planning Institute,
the Municipality of Lima, and other organizations involved in
housing and urban services.

V. The Future

SUMBI has maintained its informal status and established
an affiliation with Centro, a legally-incorporated research
institution focused on social policy in Peru, with which
SUMBI shares an office and other resources. Group members
prefer to maintain the fluidity and creativity of the working
group that this non-institutional character permits. Members
are committed to the continuation of the working group, due
to its successes in achieving its short-term objectives and
the recognition for intellectual leadership that SUMBI has
achieved. Group member Maruja Barrig will take over
coordination of the group in the future, while Amelia Fort
will be responsible for the group's new training efforts.

SUMBI remains committed to the longer term goal of
affecting social policy related to women and urban services.
Previous efforts have been limited by the Peruvian
government's lack of long-term coherent social policies and
of an administrative structure that is sensitized to the
issues of gender and urban services. In 1988, SUMBI will

therefore begin a new phase of activity with the design and
implementation of training workshops for state functionaries
who are responsible for urban services planning. Two group
members have already attended the three-month training course
on this subject conducted by Dr. Caroline Moser at the
Development Planning Unit, University College, London. In
January of 1988, Dr. Moser directed a week-long training
course in Lima for SUMBI members and others to prepare them
as trainers for the course to be offered in the spring of

SUMBI has already been successful in receiving financial
support for its activities from sources other than USAID.
Canada's IDRC (International Development Research Centre)
supported the large research project on women and urban
services in El Agustino. UNIFEM has promised support for the
SUMBI training course. The Ford Foundation in Lima has
responded favorably to a request for $160,000 over a three-
year period to support SUMBI's operating costs.


Women, Low-Income Households and Urban Services in Latin
America and the Caribbean
Jamaica Working Group
Final Report on Activities, 1981-1987
February, 1988

I. Overview and Summary

The Working Group was formed officially in November, 1981,
under the auspices of the Population Council and funded by USAID.
Group members have been meeting regularly up to November 1987 and
there are plans for the continuation of the group.

The group has up to the present been based in the Urban
Development Corporation (UDC), a statutory corporation of the
Government of Jamaica which is concerned with the physical and
social development of urban areas and, latterly, of rural
townships. The Urban Development Corporation seconded the
services of its Research Sociologist to coordinate the work of
the group and in addition has provided the back-up services of
its offices to accommodate the group's work, thus minimizing the
cost of carrying out the project.

II. Group Focus

The Jamaica Working Group made a decision to focus its work
on skills training for income generation. The decision to focus
the work of the group on incme-generating projects came about
for the following reasons:

a) High levels of female unemployment.
b) High levels of unemployment affecting young
females in particular.
c) High incidence of female-headed households leading
d) High participation rates of women in the labor
e) Realization that women have a need for income so
that they can avail themselves of existing social

The approach is to impart skills for which there is a
market, whether these skills are considered traditional or non-
traditional. Projects are based on a recognition that women in
Jamaica are not adverse to being trained in occupations largely
dominated by men.

Another reason for stressing income-generating projects for
women is the fact that income earned by female workers is more
likely to benefit the children than income earned by male

The group seeks to root its projects in a community base.
This is particularly important in Jamaica where low-income
communities are torn by political dissent and the success of any
project is dependent on firsthand knowledge of the community on
the part of the person directing the project.

An aspect of the skills project is a personal development
component which seeks to deal with enhancement of self-esteem
among the women through work and lessened dependence on others
for support. Issues of special concern to women, such as family
planning, are stressed, and information such as how to access
services and the rights of workers is imparted in the process of

III. The Working Group Process

Original recruitment to the group was done by the
coordinator through an invitation procedure. Persons from both
government and the private sector were chosen because of their
involvement with, or interest in, women's affairs. The frequency
of meetings was determined by the group members. Records of
these meetings are kept in the form of minutes and circulated to
all members and to the sponsoring agency. Suggestions for
projects are put up by members of the group and development of
project ideas takes place in a group setting.

The meetings are characterized by a spirit of cooperation,
informality and a free flow of information and ideas.

Individual group members undertake research, action projects
and studies to guide planning policy. The progress of the
studies and projects is monitored by the coordinator and the

The present focus of the group is the establishment of
skills training and income-generating projects for women.

Finally, the group acts as a forum for women interested in
and committed to the development of women, in particular low-
income women, and serves to reinforce this commitment.

Group Camposition

There are currently 15 active members of the group. These
women are all professionally trained in the fields of sociology,
economics, social work, community work, mass communication, and

the sciences. Members of the group are drawn from the following:
government, private sector and international organizations.

Urban Development Corporation
Planning Institute of Jamaica
University of the West Indies
Bureau of Women's Affairs
Regional Pre-School Child Development Centre

Private Sector
Grace, Kennedy Foundation
Grace and Staff Foundation
Cultural Development Institute
Olympic Gardens Women's Group
Construction Resource Development Centre
United Way/Council of Voluntary Social Services

CANSAVE (Canadian Save the Children Fund)
UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund)

The present method of recruitment is by members inviting
interested persons to meetings. Roughly half of the members can
be said to be finding core members of the group.

There is good balance of representation between government
and non-government agencies. There has also been, at times,
representation at meetings from international agencies other than
the ones already mentioned, namely USAID and UNDP.

There is an affiliation to other women's groups, namely the
University Women's Group, Sistren Theatre Collective and
Caribbean Action for Feminist Research (CAFRA).

Forty-four meetings of the Working Group have taken place
between November 1981 and October 1987, roughly one meeting every
two months.

Twenty-two guests have attended these meetings, which
reflects on the openness of the group's approach. These guests
are both local and international.

Attendance at meetings was irregular. This reflected the
workload of group members and did not necessarily imply lack of
commitment. The fact that group members met in other settings
helped to reinforce group identity.

The informal meetings were in keeping with the style of the
society, but the group has decided that a more formal structure
is now needed. This formal structure should allow for greater
sharing of the group's work among members, which would require a

higher level of commitment among those who have opted for legal

IV. Review of Activities

A. Documents

Notes on forty-five working group meetings.

Five newsletters

Files on all projects including regular substantive reviews.

Working papers:

1. Taylor, Alicia; LeFranc, Elsie; McFarlane-Gregory,
Donna; "The Informal Distribution Network in the
Kingston Metropolitan Area," Institute of Social and
Economic Research, June 1985.

2. A study of the activity of "higglering" or vending in
the Kingston Metropolitan area. The activity of market
and street vending is dominated by females throughout
Jamaica, hence the reason for this study. The study
was also undertaken to assist the planners in the West
Kingston Markets Redevelopment Project of the

This book summarizes studies and projects in the three
sites in which the programmes were located Peru,
Mexico and Jamaica.

3. Blackwood, Florette. "The Performance of Men and Women
in Repayment of Mortgage loans in Jamaica," October

This article analyzes the data of the National Housing
Trust, a financial institution set up by the Government
of Jamaica, over a seven-year period, starting with the
inception of the Housing Bank. The article concluded
that women were not the main beneficiaries of housing
loans as appeared at first sight, but they were the
first to come forward in the event of the possibility
of defaulting on loans and were therefore more visible.

4. McLeod, Ruth. "The Women's Construction Collective:
Building for the Future," Seeds Publication No. 9,
1986 Seeds, P.O. Box 3923, Grand Central Station, New
York, 10163.

This pamphlet summarizes the experience of training
wamen in a non-traditional field and the experience of

forming these women into a collective.

5. Sides, Carolyn. "Women in Video Production in
Jamaica," April 1987. Working Group Publication.

This document describes the training of young women in
a field hitherto dominated by men. It details how
girls with a limited educational background were
introduced to the use of this sophisticated technology.

6. Jones, Ludlow. "Inner City Enterprises," an
evaluation conducted by the consulting firm of Roy
Jones and Associates, Ltd., April 1987.

This document evaluates the performance of one of the
group's projects, a fruit-drying project, marketing
under the label of "Inner City Enterprises."

7. Brownell, Jennifer. "Market Vendors Credit Project,"
CANSAVE, May 1987.

This document details the steps taken to establish a
credit facility for market vendors whose use of formal
credit had hitherto been limited or who had not used
credit before.

8. Taylor, Alicia. "Characteristics of Male and Female
Headed Households in the Salt Lane Area Western
Kingston," Unpublished paper, UDC, August 1, 1983.

This paper is based on survey work carried out by the
coordinators of the group in the low-income urban area
of Western Kingston, which was the area in which the
original action projects of the group were sited.

9. Evering, Karlene. "Housing and Service Needs of the
Aged, Salt Lane Commnity, Western Kingston," Jamaica,
April 1983.

This study of the working group was undertaken to
assist the planners in formulating a policy of
assistance to the elderly residents of Salt Lane, an
area adjacent to the markets redevelopment project of
the Government of Jamaica.

10. White, Blossam. "Olympic Gardens Women's Project,"
July 1987.

This document describes the training program for
unskilled, unemployed women in the traditional skills
of sewing and baking, for which a ready market is found
in the expanded garment sector or in the community.

11. Madden, Frances. "Majesty Gardens Farm Project,"
October 1987.

This report outlines the steps taken to establish a
farm in a low-income urban community by a group of 20
women under the guidance of a member of the working

B. Projects

Since its inception, the group has worked on the following
studies and projects:

1. A study of the informal commercial sector in the Kingston
Metropolitan Area which focuses on the market vendors
locally known as "higglers." Vending is an economic
activity dominated by females in Jamaica. One of the
recommendations of the study is the provision of credit to
the vendors. A project has been developed to provide a
revolving loan fund to market vendors. The Canadian Save
the Children Fund (CANSAVE) has earmarked a small pool of
funds for this purpose and a CANSAVE representative, a
member of the working group, and the UDC community officer
work together on offering the loan facility to market

2. A study of the repayment pattern of mortgages by male- and
female-headed households, utilizing data from the National
Housing Trust, Jamaica's housing bank, over a seven-year
period 1976-1982. The study is being used to try to
influence housing policy in favor of awarding mortgages to
female-headed households, as their track record of repayment
was found to be good.

3. A study of the needs of elderly males and females in a
housing redevelopment project in West Kingston, a low-income
urban area. This study was designed to assist planners at
the Urban Development Corporation in devising specialized
housing and other social facilities for the elderly. The
project has, to date, not been implemented due to budget
cutbacks by the government, but it is hoped that it can be
reactivated at a future date.

4. A fruit-drying project utilizing local fruits which come
into the markets in West Kingston was developed as an
income-generating activity for a group of low-income women
living in the area targeted for development by the UDC. The
fruit-drying project evolved from a backyard business to a
business renting proper work space, marketing under its own
label and expanding its distribution outlets. Besides the

original funding for training and equipment from the
Population Council, the group received small funding for
ingredients from CANSAVE and the Grace, Kennedy and Grace
and Staff Foundations. Unfortunately, the project was badly
affected due to spoilage and lack of timely funding and is
presently being reorganized.

5. A skill training and job placement project directed at young
women in three different low-income communities in
construction skills. This project resulted in the formation
of the Women's Construction Collective. Starting from a
group of ten women in one community, the group has expanded
to two other communities and now has a membership of 34.

The project has been able to attract further funding from
the Inter-American Foundation, as well as from the Grace,
Kennedy Foundation. As the demand for workers on
construction sites has lessened, due to a downturn in the
construction industry, the women have turned their skills to
repair work on buildings and doing carpentry work and making
fittings and fixtures for individual commissions.

6. A newsletter which is circulated to women's groups not only
in Jamaica but in the Caribbean, North America and Europe,
to exchange information on activities. Five issues of the
newsletter have been published.

7. The Olympic Gardens Women's Group

This is an ongoing project of skills training, job placement
and training for self-employment. The skills taught are
machine embroidery, sewing and baking. To date, 39 women
have been trained and it is proposed to train 40 more.

The project was initiated by a group member who is the wife
of the pastor at the Tower Hill Missionary Church in Olympic
Gardens. This church is affiliated with the Unitarian
Universalist Church. The project was the result of an
analysis of the needs of the community and, in particular,
of the needs of women.

An evaluation of this project recommended further support.

8. Majesty Gardens Project

The Majesty Gardens community is one of the most depressed
of the low-income areas in Kingston. The Grace Kennedy
Staff Foundation is currently carrying out a project of
skills training and income generation in the area. The
policy of the Grace, Kennedy group of companies is to work
in the areas adjacent to their business establishments which
are located in low-income urban areas. The social worker

employed by the Foundation, who is a member of the working
group, has developed the project. The project entails the
establishment of an urban farm in the community and other
activities such as the making of fishing nets. The working
group will assist in the aspect of the project which will
deal with the income-generating component for women.

The project proposes to benefit 20 women directly in its
initial stages.

9. The Video Production Unit

A need has been identified in Jamaica for the services of
persons trained in the simpler aspects of video production.
A group member, well versed in the techniques of video
production, trained a small group of nine women who will be
incorporated into a production unit and will offer their
services for a fee to meet the demand for videos. The group
will work initially under the direction of the trainer.

The Ford Foundation awarded the group a grant to assist the
following projects:

i) The Majesty Gardens Urban Farm Project was assisted
with matching funds to those already provided by the
Population Council/USAID.

ii) A Bee-Keeping and a Sewing Project in Chepstowe,
Portland and Lewisville, formerly Newmarket, St.
Elizabeth. These will be carried out in conjunction
with the Comprehensive Rural Township Development
Programme of the Urban Development Corporation. The
bee-keeping project is a new venture and the sewing
project will further assist an already established
group of 19 women.

iii) The Child Minders Course trained 40 participants in
child minding skills. This training was carried out in
conjunction with the Regional Pre-School Child
Development Centre of the University of the West

iv) Training for Women as Horse Racing Grooms This
project offered training in a field hitherto not open
to women. The training-for-employment model followed
by the Women's Construction Collective was employed.

C. Consultations and seminars

Public Information

Apart from disseminating information about the activities of
the group via its newsletter, the group also publicizes its work
through video and seminars. The group sponsored videos on some
of the projects and funded a seminar and a major evaluation
exercise in October 1987 which brought together the conveners
from the three sites Peru, Mexico and Jamaica, representatives
from the funding agencies and Jamaican group members.

Technical Exchanqe and Attendance at Training Courses

Members of the group have undertaken traveling, both
nationally and internationally, to link up with persons carrying
out similar activities. A member of the group attended the
course "Planning with Women for Urban Development" offered at the
Bartlett School of Architecture and Planning at London University
in 1985, from funds obtained by the Working Group through the
Ford Foundation.

V. The Future

It is proposed to incorporate the working group legally
under the name of Women's Working Group. A non-profit company is
proposed, to be duly registered under the Laws of Jamaica. The
form of the company will determine the number of officers.
Thirteen of the present group members have opted for legal

The working group will have offices out of the Urban
Development Corporation in a location to be determined by group
members. The company will have its own bank account and be able
to disburse funds to projects directly and not through an
intermediary, as at present. This will allow for greater control
by group members.

The present coordinator will not stand for the post after
performing the functions for six years. It is thought best that
new leadership take over, thus avoiding identification of the
group with mainly one member.

It is expected that the group will continue to focus on
skills training for inccme-generating projects for women, but the
group may move in another direction.

Two funders are interested in continuing to fund the work of
the group, namely: The Ford Foundation and the Inter-American
Foundation. Commitment to the continuation of the work of the
group continues to be high among its members.


Women, Low Income Households and Urban Services in Latin
America and the Caribbean
Mexico Working Group
Final Report on Activities, 1981-1987
February, 1988

I. Overview and Summary

The magnitude of the urban problem in Mexico City, and
the economic crisis that severely curtailed public spending
in Mexico in the 1980s, created a formidable set of problems
for the Mexico working group. In its early phase the group
focused on increasing the utilization and quality of existing
services and on providing support to self-help initiatives by
low-income populations. The group produced a number of
reports from several projects seeking to diagnose the
existing urban service situation.

The severe earthquakes that struck Mexico City in
September of 1985 coincided with the process of
reorganization of the working group following a hiatus in
project support. A new set of group members met to discuss
priorities and decided to focus on a limited number of urban
problems that were aggravated by the earthquake. Two
projects were developed (1) to focus on improving the
effectiveness of income-generating projects for women, and
(2) to develop and administer a pilot training program for
women in construction skills. Building on the experience in
Jamaica that created the Women's Construction Collective, the
latter project would train women to work in the
reconstruction effort on their own and their neighbors'
homes, and potentially in the formal construction sector.

Due to a change in group leadership and membership from
one phase of the project to the other, this group focused its
efforts on individual projects, placing less emphasis on
group consolidation. Many of the projects carried out by the
group have already had a multiplier effect in the Mexico City
environment. The working group itself, however, will not
likely continue beyond the end of the project period.

II. Group Focus

The Mexico City context posed special challenges to the
success of the working group approach. The magnitude of the
urban problems there, with one of the largest population
concentrations in the world, and the myriad deficiencies in
service provision programs for the city's vast low income
population made it essential to establish clear priorities.
Given the severe constraints on government spending due to
Mexico's economic crisis, the working group concentrated on

increasing the utilization of existing services, improving
their content where possible, and exploring how low income
communities could design and manage critical services.

The 1985 earthquakes forced the group to further refine
its focus. The earthquakes intensified problems directly
related to the group's interests. The disaster had dramatic
effects on this city of seventeen million people, most
immediately on the housing situation: 30,000 homes were
completely destroyed and had to be demolished, and another
60,000 required repairs. In some zones, such as the Colonia
Morelos, 80 percent of the houses were partially damaged or
semi-destroyed. Hundreds of residents had to move to tents
in the street in front of their homes.

Other urban service and employment sectors were also
affected. Five hundred buildings housing clinics, hospitals
or health centers were damaged; nine of them were completely
destroyed. One of these was the Centro Medico, one of the
largest and most important hospitals in Latin America whose
facilities had provided 30 percent of the available hospital
beds in Mexico City. Similarly, 22 percent of the 450
existing schools were damaged, leaving 600,000
schoolchildren without classrooms. Thirty percent of the
125 buildings completely destroyed by the quakes had housed
public sector offices. Furthermore, 1,326 industrial
establishments were damaged, and more than 10,000 workshops
and factories were affected. Overall, some 150,000 persons
lost their source of employment due to the earthquakes. The
garment industry was especially hard hit: 500
establishments were damaged, leaving 40,000 seamstresses
without work.

The particular impact of the earthquake on women
was apparent in several ways. First, women as household and
community managers faced the burden of finding ways to do
without even minimum basic services in those communities
most affected. Second, among the earthquake's victims were
many women working in garment industry sweat shops in the
city's "pink zone" one of the areas hardest hit. Also
vulnerable were the many women who worked as domestics in
large office buildings: they were the most likely to be in
those buildings at the early morning hour. Many women in
these occupations were either killed or lost their source of
employment. The disaster drew attention to the poor working
conditions of garment workers and highlighted the need to
provide more options for women to earn a living.

If the earthquakes severely aggravated the social and
economic conditions of Mexico's low-income households,
especially women, they also generated a massive influx of
institutional and financial aid. The challenge for the
working group was to identify in what ways its own efforts
could have the most impact. The group discussed several

proposals for potential projects. Project ideas included
sanitation units like the SIRDO project (documented during
the project's first stage), communal child-care facilities,
kitchen gardens, communal kitchens and laundries, housing
reconstruction, and income-generating projects. After
several meetings, the group decided to concentrate on the
latter two sectors but continued to discuss the development
of other projects to be supported from other sources.

III. The Working Group Process

The earthquakes directly affected group members whose
homes or places of work were damaged. These problems were
aggravated by the changes that took place within the group
itself in the interval between the end of the project's first
phase (1981-1984) and the beginning of the second (1985-
1987). Several members left the group to form a private
consulting firm called Mujer y Ciudad ("Women and the City").
The departure of the group's first coordinator left the group
without leadership during this transition, and the group had
to be reconstituted for the project's second phase under the
leadership of a new coordinator.

In August of 1985, when funds for the project's second
phase became available, coordinator Melba Pinedo and project
co-manager Marianne Schmink interviewed a series of
prospective new members for the group as well as members of
the previous group who still retained an interest. The first
meeting of these new participants, scheduled for September,
had to be delayed to October 8, after the city was struck by
the September 19-20 earthquakes. At that first meeting, the
new group discussed how to respond to the situation in which
demands for virtually all service sectors housing, health,
consumption and others took on new urgency. On the basis
of these decisions, the group developed a plan of work and an
agenda for future meetings. The agenda of these discussions
was closely linked to the development of the group's two
projects throughout 1985-1986. The workplan included a
strategy for drawing in new group members over time to enrich
the group.

The strong project focus and the many other demands on
working group members impeded the development of a consistent
working group process. Nor was the group successful in
drawing in new members who would be committed to the group
process. In 1987, the group consolidated around a core of
six members who decided to divide into pairs, each of which
would review existing projects in each of three priority
areas: income-generating projects; housing and urban
construction; and organizational models for women's projects.
One sub-group carried out a feasibility study of multiservice
modules for low income neighborhoods, and a comparative study
of projects working with women in three low income
neighborhoods. The group continued to meet for these

discussions. However, their work continued to be oriented
primarily towards the two group projects, and group members
associated with these projects constituted the core of the
group membership. Attendance at meetings was inconsistent,
and by the end of the project period it became clear that,
for the many reasons described here, the working group would
guide projects to successful completion but would not
continue after the end of the project.

The working group met thirty-four times during the
period from June, 1984 through November, 1987. Attendance
varied from six to fifteen people, including professionals
trained in architecture, sociology, psychology, social work,
communications, anthropology, economics, and education.
Institutions represented by group members over the whole
project period included the Ministry of Education and the
Secretariats of Labor, Health and Social Assistance, and
Urban Development; the Center for Eco-Development, the
National Institute for Anthropology and History; the Coldgio
de Mexico; the National Autonomous University of Mexico;
Promotion for Popular Development; Network on Infancy in
Latin America and the Caribbean; and the United Nations
Economic Commission on Latin America.

IV. Review of Activities

A. Documents

The working group has produced eighteen documents
including eight project reports, seven discussion papers, and
five pamphlets (three in preliminary form), all based on
their project activity. These include:

Perfil de la Mujer de Bajos Ingresos en el Area Metropolitana
de la Ciudad de M6xico, by Liliana Kusnir, October 1983 (47
pp.; "Profile of Low Income Women in the Metropolitan Area of
Mexico City," compilation of available data)

Documentaci6n y Evaluaci6n de Experi&ncias Tradicionales y
Alternatives para el Manejo de Residuos Urbanos en Zonas de
Bajos Ingresos en el Valle de Mexico, by Fernando Ortiz
Monasterio, Josefina Mena, and Angel Parada, October 1983
(107pp.; "Documentation and Evaluation of Traditional and
Alternative Experiences for Management of Urban Wastes in
Low-Income Zones of the Valley of Mexico," project report in
Spanish with English summary)

Community Management of Waste Recycling: The SIRDO ,by
Marianne Schmink. New York: SEEDS, 1985

Programs Institucionales Dirigidos a las Mujeres de Bajos
Ingresos en el Distrito Federal, by Lourdes Romero Aguilar,
September 1983 (276 pp.; "Institutional Programs Directed at

Low-Income Women in the Federal District of Mexico," project
report in Spanish with English summary)

Informe Final sobre la Elaboraci6n de los Folletos Hablemos
de Trabajo y Hablemos de Capacitaci6n, by Melba Pinedo Guerra
(104 pp.; "Final Report on the Design of Pamphlets Speaking
of Work and Speaking of Training," project report in Spanish
with English summary, and appendices including preliminary
design of pamphlets)

Report sobre la Elaboraci6n del Proyecto Folleto sobre la
Mujer y el Autoccuidado, by Elsie McPhail and Elsa Rodriguez
Rojo, April 1984 (21 pp.; "Report on the Design of a Booklet
on Women and Self-Help Health," project report in Spanish
with appendices containing bibliography, design of pamphlet
and survey instruments used)

Propuesta Metodol6gica para la Elaboraci6n de Historietas
Educativas, by Elsie McPhail, Melba Pinedo and Elsa
Rodriguez, April 1984 (22pp.; "Methodological Proposal for
the Design of Educational Story Booklets," summary report
based on two projects)

Los Servicios del Sector Pdblico en el Distrito Federal en la
Atenci6n de las Mujeres de Bajos Ingresos, by Lourdes Romero
Aguilar, April 1984 (13 pp.; "Public Sector Services in the
Federal District Attending to Low-Income Women," summary
report with appendices based on project)

Experiencias en el Manejo de Tecnologias Alternativas para el
Tratamiento de Desechos OrgAnicos: La Participacion de la
Mujer y la Comunidad, by Fernando Ortiz Monasterio, April
1984 (47 pp.; "Experiences in the Management of Alternative
Technologies for the Treatment of Organic Wastes: The
Participation of Women and the Community," summary report
based on project)

Metodologia Utilizada en la Elaboraci6n de los Folletos
Educativos para la Mujer de Escasos Recursos de Zonas
Marginales, by Elsie McPhail Fanger, Melba Pinedo Guerra and
Elsa Rodriguez Rojo (43pp.; "Methodology Used in the Design
of Educational Booklets for Women of Scarce Resources in
Marginal Zones," summary report with appendices based on two

Analysis de la Participaci6n de la Mujer en la Auto
Construcci6n en Sectores de Bajos Ingresos del Area
Metropolitan de la Ciudad de Mexico, by Liliana Kusnir and
Carmen Largaespada, July 1984 ("Analysis of Women's
Participation in Self-Help Building Projects in Low-Income
Sectors of the Metropolitan Area of Mexico City," project
report in Spanish with English summary)

Estudio de las Estrategias de Cuidado Infantil en el Area
Metropolitan, by Maria Luisa Acevedo, Jos6 Inigo Aguilar,
Luz Maria Brant and Maria Sara Molinari, July 1984 (93 pp.;
"Study of Child Care Strategies in the Metropolitan Area of
Mexico City," project report with appendices)

Todo es querer, by Fernando Ortiz Monasterio (8 pp.; "If You
Want To, You Can" illustrated pamphlet about SIRDO)

Estudio de las Estrategias de Cuidado Infantil en el Area
Metropolitan, by Maria Luisa Acevedo, Jose Inigo Aguilar,
Luz Maria Brunt and Maria Sara Molinari (29 pp.; "Study of
Child Care Strategies in the Metropolitan Area," summary
discussion paper)

Analysis de la Participaci6n de la Mujer en Proyectos de
Autoconstrucci6n de Vivienda en la Ciudad de Mexico, by
Liliana Kusnir and Carmen Largaespada, September 1985 (43pp.;
"Analysis of Women's Participation in Self-Help Housing
Projects in Mexico City," summary discussion paper)

Mujeres de Bajos Ingresos y Empresas Productivas (36 pp.;
"Low-Income Women and Productive Enterprises," project report
in Spanish with appendices, 1987).

Mujeres en la Construcci6n (18 pp.; "Women in Construction,"
promotional pamphlet describing the project in construction
skills training for women, illustrated with drawings and
photographs, 1987).

Proyecto Mujeres en la Construcci6n (56 pp.; "Women in
Construction Project," project report in Spanish with tables,
appendices, 1987)

B. Projects

During the project's first phase, the working group
carried out six research/action projects. These included:
an overview of existing services for women in Mexico City;
documentation of an innovative waste management system; study
of women's role in self-help housing; design of pamphlets to
orient women in the use of training, employment, and health
services; and a study of existing institutional and informal
child care services. In the second phase, the group
concentrated on two projects related to the post-earthquake
situation. Funds for both projects from the working group
budget were supplemented by grants from the Inter-American

Low Income Women and Productive Enterprises

One of the key priorities that emerged in the
reconstruction period after the earthquakes was the
organization and execution of employment and income-

generating projects for the populations most directly
affected by the disaster. Many women in the marginal zones
of the city who lost their incomes due to the earthquakes
were drawn into income-generating initiatives sponsored by
state and private sector agencies. Most of these projects
faced problems in the management, planning, financing, and
production and marketing spheres.
The project sought to address these problems through the
preparation of a training package to strengthen the
management aspects of programs for women and to provide
practical skills to their participants. First, the project
reviewed thirty income-generating enterprises and analyzed
their principal problems. An important sub-group consisted
of groups of seamstresses, formerly employed in the informal
sector of the garment industry, who set up their own
enterprises after the earthquakes destroyed their workplaces.
A follow-up interview with managers of a representative sub-
sample of ten of the thirty enterprises provided more in-
depth information. The results showed problems in financing,
in organization for production and marketing, and in
technical training to be the most significant. Participants
were often forced to assume responsibility for administrative
tasks without having the necessary skills, and were unaware
of the many training resources and services available or of
how to use them.
On the basis of this diagnosis, a training program was
designed to increase the ability of project managers and
women's groups to identify problems and to gain access to and
use existing services and resources. A modular training
program was developed for use with project intermediaries, in
order to maximize its multiplier effect. The didactic
package is flexible and informal, combining lectures,
sociodramas, case studies, games, and an anthology of
relevant materials available for further training. The
materials were tested in two enterprises, and revised on the
basis of the evaluation of that experiment. They were
designed to be used with the orientation of skilled trainers,
including working group members who designed the package.
The directors of this project are currently seeking funding
to support the use of the materials in training of other
income-generation project managers in Mexico.
Women in Construction

The working group's earlier studies had shown women's
participation in training and employment programs in Mexico
to be precarious and marginal. The programs offered to women
tended to reinforce their segregation in "feminine"
activities that did not respond to the reality of their
economic needs or possibilities. After the earthquake,
severe limitations on government resources led to a growing

interest in training programs sponsored both by the public
sector and by non-governmental organizations and to new
emergency programs for housing reconstruction that could also
provide employment opportunities for local residents. Women
as well as men were involved in the spontaneous rebuilding
efforts carried out by local populations, and the development
of a special training course for women could provide them
with the skills to move into non-traditional areas of
employment in the construction sector. The working group
therefore developed a proposal to design and test a training
program for women in construction skills, building on the
previous experience in Jamaica that created the Women's
Construction Collective. Working group funds for the project
were supplemented by a grant from the Inter-American

The project created a cross-institutional model of
cooperation that drew on public and private sector
initiatives. Municipal officials from the Delegaci6n Gustavo
Madero (one of the most seriously affected low-income
neighborhoods comprising three million people) provided a
building and furnishings for the training course, logistical
support, and the assistance of social workers familiar with
the local population. The construction industry's training
institute (ICIC) helped to design and administer the training
course using its own trainers. The three-month course
provided basic training in either electricity, masonry or
plumbing to thirty-three women selected from the applicants
who responded to the publicity about the course. Trainees
got on-the-job training by carrying out repairs on local
residences, under the supervision of the ICIC trainers.

Both trainers and trainees were enthusiastic about the
results of the training course, and requested follow-up
training to achieve the necessary skill levels. Especially
for masonry, the course was found to be insufficient to reach
the objectives of basic training. After the completion of
the course, project managers and participants began to
explore strategies for finding employment for the trainees in
self-help housing and repair, and informal and formal sector
jobs. Some trainees found jobs with the reconstruction
program where the training had been carried out; some
concentrated on carrying out repairs to their own homes; and
eleven entered a special program in which their own labor
contributions would reduce the cost of acquiring new housing.
Additional time was needed to define the appropriate
organizational strategy for the trainees. Project managers
and the training institute recognized the need to replicate
and expand the training program in order to reach a larger
number of women. Funds from the Inter-American Foundation
supported an evaluation of the project in preparation for
these future plans.

C. Consultations and seminars

Taller Permamente del Programa Interdisciplinario de Estudios
sobre la Mujer ("Permanent Seminar of the Interdisciplinary
Women's Studies Program"), Col6gio de M6xico, 1985

La problematica poblacional en M4xico: political,
investigaci6n, educaci6n ("The Population Problem in Mexico:
Policy, Research, Education"), Iberoamerican University, 1986

Cambios critics, sociedad emergente y alternatives de los
sectors populares ("Critical Changes, Emergent Society, and
Alternatives for the Low-Income Sectors"), Collective of
NGOs, 1986

La participaci6n social en la reconstrucci6n, con particular
referencia al papel de la mujer ("Social Participation in
Earthquake Reconstruction, with Special Reference to Women's
Role"), Colegio de M6xico, 1986

La mujer en la reconstrucci6n ("Women in Reconstruction"),
Centro de Apoyo Integral a la Mujer (CEDIM), October 1986

Taller para Promotores y Dirigentes de Organizaciones
Populares ("Workshop for Promotors and Leaders of Grass-Roots
Organizations"), Cuernavaca, 1987

Evaluaci6n de un proyecto de Population Council/Ford
Foundation, sobre Mujer y Salud ("Evaluation of a Population
Council/Ford Foundation Project on Women and Health"),
Population Council Regional Office, Mexico, July 1987

V. The Future

The working group will not continue beyond the end of
the project support. The lack of continuity between the two
phases of the project, and the other difficulties described
in sections II and III, have impeded the formation of a
consistent group with its own identity and direction.
However, individual members will take away with them the
insights from the group's work which will benefit their
various institutions.

Many of the projects the group sponsored will have
multiplier effects in Mexico. The pamphlets on employment
and training for women are to be published by the Mexican
government, although publication was delayed due to the
earthquakes. The SIRDO system is being extended to thousands
of communities in Mexico City. The child care analysis has
led to new research efforts by the Population Council and the
Ford Foundation. Both of the projects carried out during the
project's second phase have strong potential for replication
and expansion. The training materials produced by the study

of income-generating projects are available for use by on-
going programs in Mexico, under the guidance of the group
members who developed them. The construction training
project has received additional funding from the Inter-
American Foundation for an expanded phase of training. The
cross-institutional model of this project has already had an
impact on the local community, the industry's training
programs, and public sector self-help housing policies.



A Report on the Women, Low-Income Households and Urban
Services Project of the Population Council

With Selected Contributions from: The International Center for Research
on Women
The Equity Policy Center
The Development Planning Unit
of University College

Judith Bruce

Part I. Introductory Overview

Women in the Urban Economy of Latin America 1
Marianne Schmink

The Working Group Approach to Women in Urban Services
Marianne Schmink 30

Women's Needs in the Urban System: Training Strategies
in Gender Aware Planning
Caroline Moser 40

Part II. Learning from Urban Projects

A. Shelter and Environment

Meeting Housing Needs: Will Self-Help Housing Projects
Work for Women?
Margaret A. Lycette 62

Women's Experience in Self-Help Housing Projects
in Mexico
Liliana Kusnir, Carmen Largaespada 84

Performance of Men and Women in Repayment of
Mortgage Loans in Jamaica
Florette Blackwood 101

Women-Headed Households and Housing:
A Case Study of the Solanda Low-Income
Housing Project, Ecuador
Mayra Buvinic, Margaret A. Lycette, Marguerite Berger 116

Women's Construction Collective of Jamaica
Ruth McLeod 135

Women and Waste Management in Urban Mexico
Fernando Ortiz Monasterio, Marianne Schmink 163

Project Brief

Housing Needs of the Elderly in West Kingston
Karlene Evering 184

B. Food Distribution

Communal Kitchens in the Low-income Neighborhoods of Lima
Violetta Sara-Lafosse 190

Street Foods: Income and Food for Urban Women
Irene Tinker 205

The Higglers of Kingston
Alicia Taylor, Donna McFarlane, Elsie LeFranc 228

Project Brief

Feasiblity Study: Food Preparation Outlet in Salt Lane, West
Sonja T. Harris 241

C. Facilitating Access to Services

Transportation and Public Safety: Services that Make
Service Use Possible
Jeanine Anderson, Nelson Panzio 246

Educational Pamphlets for Low-Income Women
in Mexico City
Elsie McPhail Fariger, Melba Pinedo Guerra,
Elsa Rodriguez Rojo 261

Project Briefs

Public Sector Services for Low-Income Women in Mexico
City's Federal District
Lourdes Romero Aguilar 269

Child Care in Mexico City
Maria Luisa Acevedo, Jose Iftigo Aguilar,
Luz Maria Brunt, Maria Sara Molinari 273

Part III Appendices

1. Summary of Projects
2. List of Project Documents
3. Working Group Members
4. Working Group Meetings
5. Author Descriptions

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