The history of women in the MPP

The first two groups of the MPP (Mouvement Paysan de Papaye) founded in 1973 with 35 people, had no women members. In 1975, a woman from Los-Palis, Madame Garnier née Rosita Sylvain, decided to join in the meetings of the group which became Groupement La Patience. She was the only woman in this group of 13.

Difficult beginnings

Gradually, each group had a female member, who was recruited by the men for such duties as getting water, making meals for the men working in the plot belonging to the group. She would attend the meetings, but not speak.
The founder of MPP launched an awareness campaign on the importance of female participation in the groups. He told the men that they could not fight exploitation in the production process without the involvement of women. Women participate in the production and processing of farm produce, and they are the ones who sell it. They play a crucial role in the entire process. Women also constitute the majority of the population. No change is possible in this country without their active participation.
Women must be educated to an understanding of the realities, and participate with men in the process of social change.
Article 13 of the MPP statutes established equality between men and women within the MPP; women cannot be under the domination of men.
However, despite this, effective female participation in the movement was slow.

Concrete results

The first MPP women’s group was created in 1980, 7 years after the founding of the movement. Il s’agit de modèles de Papaye which began with 22 women. In 1981 two other women’s groups were created: Groupement Persévérance of Los-Palis, 3rd communal section of Hinche and Gwoupman Devwe of Zabriko Juanarya, 1st communal section of Hinche. These groups were created respectively by three leaders: Jean Mirassaint Kernizan, Childerick Placide and Faustin Florelus.
At that time, the founder of MPP wished to select women to be trained as instructors. However, no woman in the groups had completed primary level education, the minimum requirement to follow the training programme. He was obliged to recruit a young woman from the Northwest (Juliane) and then a second (Inedette St-Fleur) to train as instructors. After their training, they stayed in the region to work with the women and to create women’s groups. After Juliane left, another instructor came from the Northwest.

More and more women’s groups were created. The first instructors were trained between 1981 and 1986. In 1989, the MPP organised its first congress for women, where the MPP Women’s Movement was officially created. This women’s movement is one of the pillars of the MPP, alongside the Youth Movement and the men’s or mixed groups.

See more