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Women’s Leadership School, New Initiatives & June Elections in Mexico!

The end of June marks six incredibly busy, productive, and impactful months here at PSYDEH and we’re here and eager to share all about it!


First things first, we’ve officially launched our new website and our 2023 annual impact report this month! Check them out and let us know what you think. We’re always looking for meaningful ways to promote our organizational values of creative impact and transparency and to share our rural, Indigenous community-led development work with the world, and we’re very proud of all the efforts of our team and Global Collaborator volunteers for making this great work happen. Plus, be on the lookout for our Sierra Madre cooperative network’s official e-commerce platform launching on our site before the end of summer. We’ll let you know exactly when 😉


Since we last connected with you in February, we hosted a lively and enriching team retreat in our offices in Tenango de Doria (essentially a productive 3-day sleepover) to start unpacking 2024 and our 5-year strategic plan. Programming-wise, we celebrated our first fully virtual workshop series on Indigenous women’s rights with our cooperative network thanks in part to our transformative partnerships with Viasat, Team4Tech, and the Honnold Foundation.

On the ground, our team helped cooperative members log in from their homes and PSYDEH’s digital resource centers to engage in the workshop together as a mighty cohort of 60 rural and Indigenous women across the Sierra Otomí-Tepehua-Nahua. We were incredibly moved by the workshop series and also by the power of technology to bring us all together to learn, share, debate, and grow.

Hosting our workshops virtually also meant that our team was able to avoid the standard 3-4-5-6 hour commutes that can be required to deliver in-person workshops in the rural communities where we work. This is a reality we couldn’t have dreamed of years ago and is a radical demonstration of the impact of our Tech For All program.


Is there anything more special than sharing, learning, enjoying new experiences, meeting new people, and seeing the world in new ways? These tenants are fundamental to PSYDEH’s regenerative tourism pilot project that officially launched this spring in collaboration with Lynda Martinez del Campo at Understand Mexico.

In April, our team welcomed and led fourteen guests from Mexico City to Acaxochitlán, a major milestone of women’s leadership and empowerment for our team and our cooperative network. More details on the next phase of this project coming soon!


“The most humanistic part of activism is the efforts in rural communities. Today the Narciso Mendoza Bilingual Primary School in Piedra Ancha has satellite Internet!” – Salma Sinaí Soto Montes, PSYDEH Field Team Leader, San Bartolo Tutotepec

With support from our transformative partner Viasat and their dedicated team, we were able to install internet systems and ensure the advancement of digital inclusion and connectivity at PSYDEH’s new digital resource centers in the isolated communities of Piedra Ancha, San Pablo el Grande, Santa Inés, and San Esteban. Truly a major physical and logistical feat! These new digital resource centers will also support women partners, local schools, groups, and communities to access free internet, communicate more easily with family and friends, advance community development and entrepreneurial projects, access important digital tools and resources, and join PSYDEH’s virtual workshop series.

“We finished the work on April 30 (Children’s Day in Mexico), an important “gift” for our women partners, who, to tell the truth, looked like little girls they were so excited!” – Alejandra Ríos Perez, PSYDEH Field Team Coordinator


In June, Mexico had one of the largest electoral processes in its history. In addition to electing a president for the next six years, deputies, senators, governors, and municipal presidents were also elected throughout the country.

A few months before the election, we were thrilled to receive news that our latest civic engagement initiative, Nosotras Decidimos [We Decide], received funding from the Support Fund for Electoral Observation (FAOE 2024). In a nutshell, Nosotras Decidimos focuses on empowering rural women with the information they need to make informed decisions and actively participate as citizens and local leaders in the electoral process and beyond the duration of the elections as they learn to advocate and construct proposals for elected administrations in favor of their demands as members of local cooperatives.

Following the facilitation of an official INE (National Election Institute) training, 32 members of the PSYDEH network served as election observers in 4 rural municipalities in the state of Hidalgo on Sunday, June 2. We shot an entire documentary on it. More on that soon! A historic day in many ways (shout out to our first women president!) – this process also served as a strong example of the power of civic education in action. Beyond a vote, our team and women partners learned and exercised their rights and are all active models of female leadership in their communities.

From here, PSYDEH will continue leading our Nosotras Decidimos workshop series inspiring new levels of civic participation throughout the rest of 2024 and ensuring that a women-drafted Citizen Agenda is prepared by the fall to present and activate locally as new municipal government officials begin to take office.

Congratulations to all of our women partners for their commitment to democratic processes, citizen empowerment, and women’s leadership in this year’s elections and beyond.


Wrapping our ninth workshop of the year this week, focused on plant medicine and self-care, PSYDEH’s team and women partners look ahead to many big opportunities and challenges in the months to come. First, we’re eager to continue developing our organization’s replicable model plan, wherein we bring our work, values, and programming to new communities in Hidalgo and beyond. More on that soon! We’re also coordinating exciting new, and partnerships (shout-out to COLPOS, Onora, PACMYC, Cemefi, Viasat, and more!) while advancing steadily in this year’s Sierra Madre Network Leadership School, Tech For All programming, and other ambitious initiatives. Never a dull moment!

We truly appreciate your steadfast support as our team and our women partners continue to grow and our systems change work advancing social, economic, and gender equality continues to blossom and fruit across Hidalgo. The processoooo continues.

We’ll be in touch with more updates in the coming months (prepare yourselves for that cooperative e-commerce store announcement!) but, until then, we wish you and your communities a beautiful and enriching summertime.

Saludos y abrazos,

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