Finishing up 2018 Collaboration with Federal Institute Promoting Transparency & Data Privacy

After a flurry of activity in October, PSYDEH now wraps up our first collaboration with the Instituto Nacional de Transparencia, Acceso a la Información y Protección de Datos Personales (INAI) promoting knowledge and activism around the General Law of Transparency and Access to Public Information (GLTAPI).

Few people in rural and indigenous Mexico are aware of the GLTAPI, let alone the rights it grants to citizens. And with low levels of public transparency, and a lack of knowledge on how to access information and protect personal data, communities in areas like the Otomi-Tepehua region do not always receive the support on which they depend for their development. Indeed, for PSYDEH, the right to access public information and the right to protection of personal data are keys to citizens exercising other and more rights.

As such, despite unexpected project budget cuts, INAI’s 2018 Rights Awareness Program (INAI PROSEDE) helped PSYDEH to:

(1) stage COMMUNITY WORKSHOPS, MUNICIPAL FORUMS AND COMMUNITY MEETINGS to inform 100+ indigenous women and 25+ men outside and in local government on the GLTAPI, these rights and how citizens can exercise them.

(2) facilitate 300 CITIZEN REQUESTS FOR INFORMATION. 100 solicitations for federal-related information were made using the national online transparency platform. 100 requests for state-related information were made via the System of Information Requests for the State of Hidalgo INFOMEXHIDALGO. 75 requests for municipal-level information were made using the same system, with the 25 remaining requests for information being submitted in written form to the Transparency Unit of the municipality of Huehuetla, Hidalgo.

(3) create THREE RADIO SPOTS in Nahuatl and Otomí on how to exercise these rights:

(4) produced new PSYDEH ORIGINAL FILM titled “Knowing How to Know” promoting our project, these rights and how and why citizens can exercise them.

Telling True, Compelling Narratives as Leadership Development and Marketing tool

In late summer, PSYDEH commenced our cutting-edge storytelling training initiative funded by our GlobalGiving crowdfunded Fruits of Change project.

In short, we know that stories bind us, they define who we are and what people think of us. As such, we offer women leaders of our nascent network of local NGOs a multi-phased series of workshops (BELOW RIGHT), including leader values-celebrating training, while co-creating with women their own personal, NGO and collective stories.

Progress is slow, but consistent. We find that 80% of women are already willing to speak about their fears, strengths, and values, especially after seeing and hearing oral and written stories from other indigenous and non-indigenous women leaders in Mexico. The remaining 20% of women partners are still deciding whether and how they will tell their full story.

In time, each of these 20 women will tell the story she wishes to tell, in writing, image or drawing. And with luck and a bit of hard work, this initiative will end with:

(a) women presenting their stories at the next installment of our unprecedented Regional Forum series in March 2019, and

(b) PSYDEH helping the women to use their stories when pursuing funds in 2019.

Corruption and Citizen Rights to Access Public Information & Personal Data Privacy

In early summer, PSYDEH was selected by the Instituto Nacional de Transparencia, Acceso a la Información y Protección de Datos Personales (INAI) to be one of 22 Mexican NGOs across the Republic producing projects to promote knowledge and activism around the General Law of Transparency and Access to Public Information.

This education, skill-building and civil society strengthening project is organized loosely around the Paulo Freire model of popular education and with particular sensitivity to gender and humanistic psychology realities.

The initiative kicks into high gear in the Fall of 2018 and produces five strategic actions:

  1. COMMUNITY WORKSHOPS through which PSYDEH develops indigenous women’s skills, capacities, and knowledge.
  2. MUNICIPAL FORUMS during which we give information to local officials on how they can provide better public services.
  3. COMMUNITY MEETINGS at which we analyze and discuss these rights with people in more than 20 communities.
  4. RADIO SPOTS through which we  broadcast information about these rights in the public squares in the region’s three mother tongues—Náhuatl, Otomí, and Tepehua.
  5. 300 SPECIFIC REQUESTS FOR INFORMATION from municipal, state, and national government using the national platform of transparency, 100 of which are written in the local languages Otomí, Náhuatl and Tepehua.

This project gives PSYDEH another great opportunity to use its scalable program model to strengthen its partner network of NGOs and their indigenous women leaders.

As Damon Taylor, PSYDEH’s Senior Advisor states, “By co-leading our INAI work, women partners are supported and seen as change-making actors in a region where they confront significant political, gender and other forms of violence and discrimination.”


GlobalGiving Site Visit Confirms Past Good, Heralds Promising Future

GlobalGiving’s (GG) field team visits all NGO partners to verify for donors that funds are being used appropriately and to strengthen partner NGOs’ capacity to fundraise while increasing their responsiveness to partner needs.

With late-September 2018 marking two years as one of GG’s top-ranked partners, earlier this summer, PSYDEH was thrilled to receive our first site visit from Ms. Maria Catalina Villalpando Paez, GG’s Mexico Partnership Consultant.

There, Damon Taylor, PSYDEH’s Senior Advisor discussed with Ms. Villalpando program progress and ideas on ways GG could increase services to Mexican NGOs. For example, GG offers its Mexican NGO partners (1) the ability to accept tax-deductible donations from Mexican donors, (2) one-on-one consultation with NGOs on better practices for online fundraising, and (3) more and more robust partnership opportunities like Route2Good with the global Dentsu Aegis Network.

For her part, Ms. Villalpando shared that

It was truly inspiring to learn about the work PYSDEH does in the State of Hidalgo and to know that they are working from the bottom up to achieve a profound change that will spread in the future. Their attention to detail in each one of their projects is an example for any Mexican and international organization that seeks to improve the quality of life of the people they serve.

Her report specifically recommends that PSYDEH improve its use of GG’s platform to increase Mexican national and local donors, as well as the need to explore how PSYDEH might involve its nascent network of women-led NGOs in collective fundraising strategies as another form of experiential learning. She ends her report with her observation that

PYSDEH has managed to create bonds of trust to enter and serve in indigenous rural communities where the perception of the outsider is not always positive. And they have managed, little by little, to help these communities engage in free and informed decision-making. The ‘bottom-up’ methodology by which [PSYDEH] is governed shows that deep change takes time but in the long run it is the most [impacftul].”

Ms. Villalpando invited PSYDEH to present highlights of our work and crowdfunding better practices to other Mexican NGOs at a GG event in Mexico City in late-June. And we agreed to explore ways to strengthen our partnership in late 2018/ early 2019 in pursuit of win-win collaborations.

Art Student Creates PSYDEH’s First Animated Lesson


In the fall of 2018, PSYDEH collaborates with the American art student Olivia Taylor (in animation form to the left), a 3rd-year student at the Savannah College of Art and Design majoring in animation.

Our win-win project? Invite Olivia to apply the animation and story-boarding tools she learns at SCAD while producing PSYDEH’s first animated lesson on our scalable program in action.

In the one-minute video below, Olivia shares her thoughts about why she commits to PYSDEH and indigenous women partners building lasting communities of change in Mexico (video in English)

Preparing Proposals for “Fruits of Change” Seed Fund

A key action in PSYDEH’s ongoing “Fruits of Change” project is our first equity-based funding initiative, the “Fruits of Change” seed fund (Seed Fund). Here, global donors investing in PSYDEH’s GlobalGiving crowdfunding campaign, in effect, incentivize indigenous women working with the four local-focused NGOs in our nascent network of women-led organizations to produce their inaugural projects and thus engage in

(1) experiential learning,

(2) DOING as tool for creating gender equity in their communities, and

(3) building the organizational memory they need to sustain growth in 2019.

Nahua and Otomí leaders discussing with PSYDEH how rights inform their project work

Our Seed Fund prioritizes capacity building and knowledge sharing oriented initiatives on self-defined, current local problems. For example, and per ongoing woman-to-woman training also funded by individual global investors in our crowdfunding campaigns, PSYDEH expects to receive proposals from the below NGOs on such matters as (a) workshop and-public-forum initiative to train women and girls on how to use their own unprecedented regional development agenda to make their voices heard before newly elected leaders, as well as bilingual-Spanish and indigenous-public information and skill-building campaigns to (b) educate fellow indigenous women on female cancer prevention and detection, (c) promote better practices around child pregnancy and (d) drug and alcohol addiction prevention and awareness for indigenous youth and parents.

Route to Good Collaboration with the Dentsu Aegis Network Leads to New Learning

Following their early-2018 site visit to Mexico, celebrated in this short film by photographer Diogo Heber, the Dentsu Aegis Network’s Emily Spiegel and Brooke Bowhay agreed with PSYDEH to produce their two-phase Route2Good initiative at the nexus of Brooke’s and Emily’s expertise and PSYDEH’s needs.

To make a short-term impact, we agreed to design a test crowdfunding campaign using their analysis of American donors to foreign NGOs like PSYDEH when choosing new campaign terminology and creative material like this short video to-be-reproduced thousands of times during the campaign thanks to donations secured by Emily and Brooke.

Our test campaign titled “Indigenous Women Defeating Poverty in Rural Mexico” has just launched and will run through parts of September.

To make a medium-term impact, Emily and Brooke linked us with their friends at the global video ad-campaign company PIXABILITY. Thanks to PIXABILITY’S counsel on how best to use video content on social media, we’ve already redesigned our YouTube channel and will soon redesign our video content on our Facebook English and Spanish language pages and website. Moreover, Brooke and Emily will deliver a final test-campaign report with an eye to helping PSYDEH improve future crowdfunding efforts.

PSYDEH is one of two Mexican NGOs and one of 18 global NGOs chosen to work with the third cohort of the “Route to Good” responsible leadership program in 2018 offered exclusively to Route 500 members of the Dentsu Aegis Network, delivered in partnership with the UK office of GlobalGiving (GG).

GG is PSYDEH’s crowdfunding platform partner with whom we collaborate to produce our current “Fruits of Change” global crowdfunding campaign for investments to our seed fund to support our indigenous women partner network’s first projects.

PSYDEH is a top-ranked NGO within GG’s network of thousands of NGO partners.