Claudelina Portillo was the only woman in an elected leadership position in the Guayaibi Poty cooperative in Paraguay. Many of her female friends told her they could not join because the $3 monthly fee was too high. Portillo raised the issue with the other cooperative leaders, but they weren’t willing to find a solution.
Tomasa, a traditional midwife for the past seven years, lives in a small community called Villa Constitution near Caaguazu City in Paraguay. As a midwife, she has seen much joy which comes with birth but also many problems and trouble.
Not too long ago, the Paraguayan municipality of Ñemby was struggling to regulate businesses and property, collect taxes and repair infrastructure in a way that satisfied the needs of citizens. Located 10 miles south of Paraguay's capital Asuncion, Ñemby was facing a financial crisis like one suffered by a previous administration, which led to five months of unpaid salaries for public workers and more than $200,000 in debt.
Frustrated with the lack of transparency in local governance, as well as evident corruption among public officials, residents of Capitan Miranda, a town in Paraguay’s southern region of Itapúa, joined forces to create a local citizen watchdog called the “Zero Impunity” group.
In the heart of the heavily populated Mbocayaty neighborhood in Villa Elisa, in southwest Paraguay, an eight-meters-deep ditch had formed in the midst of a large, sandy quarry. The ditch had families worried — it had become an unsafe and unhealthy place. It had also become an unsanitary and improvised dump site for garbage.
Last updated: July 31, 2014