Rosario García y Santos
Fellow Since 1999
Asociación Nacional de Grupos de Mujeres Rurales
This profile was prepared when Rosario García y Santos was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1999.
The New Idea
Rosario has created the National Association of Groups of Rural Women of Uruguay as a mechanism for uniting women who own small productive enterprises or are seeking new ways to find personal fulfillment amid the uncertainties of rural life. Hoping to break the isolation which has kept rural women silent and divided, she began organizing meetings in which women could discuss their common challenges, share common interests, and learn to value the ways in which their skills complemented each another. As the women began to recognize their own productive capacities–skills they used in farm life but had never used to make money–they wanted to earn income for their families, gain access to credit, and market their products. Rosario decided to bring the women together into a national organization. Despite a skeptical response from friends and colleagues, who cited the individualistic nature of rural Uruguayan society, Rosario persisted and succeeded in making her idea into reality.