Antonieta Castro Abaj

Ashoka Fellow
Chimaltenango, Guatemala
Fellow Since 2003


This profile was prepared when Antonieta Castro Abaj was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2003.
The New Idea
Through the organization of citizenship study groups, Antonieta equips rural, often illiterate, indigenous women with the knowledge, confidence, and tools necessary for active civic participation. In communities where discussion of women’s rights can be contentious, futile, and thus unappealing to women, Antonieta offers instead the promise of economic opportunity, using microcredit and productive projects as an incentive for women to engage in the citizenship study groups. The study groups explore themes that range from local community issues to national politics and indigenous women’s rights. Antonieta simultaneously helps the women obtain identity cards and register to vote. Through this process, participants become active daily citizens, not only voting, but also defending their rights and running for public office.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

More For You