Martha Patricia Pimentel García
Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico
Fellow Since 2001
This profile was prepared when Martha Patricia Pimentel García was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2001.
The New Idea
Changes in Mexico's rural economy are making women critical resources for the community, yet many women are unable or unprepared to respond. Patricia understands that rural women who want to improve their lives require more than simple job training: they need basic education and self-confidence. She has founded Citlamina, an organization devoted to helping women become economically independent community members. Her approach is unique in focusing on the community's physical center as a beginning point. Rural communities so lack infrastructure that few have a school building or other large structure in which to meet. Concluding that efforts such as hers would have to begin not with services but with constructing a place in which the services could be offered, Patricia has made a virtue out of necessity by using the center's construction to engage members of the community in a common effort. While her organization donates materials for construction, the community donates land and labor, which gives local residents ownership of the project and makes them more likely to participate.