Celia is chairwoman of the Supervisory Board (control of economic and financial activities) at Asociación Nacional de Productores de Quinua (ANAPQUI). ANAPQUI is a National Association of Quinoa which works in 15 regions in Bolivia.
Interview of Celia Arcayne Mamani, 48 years
Asociación Nacional de Productores de Quinua (ANAPQUI), Bolivia
“When I started in the cooperative, I was afraid to talk. This happens a lot, women often are afraid to talk. But now I'm not afraid anymore, I'm like a stone.” These are the words of Celia Arcayne Mamani. Celia is chairwoman of the Supervisory Board (control of economic and financial activities) at Asociación Nacional de Productores de Quinua (ANAPQUI). ANAPQUI is a National Association of Quinoa which works in 15 regions in Bolivia.
Celia has been a member since 1990. She joined ANAPQUI because the organisation brings together many producers which is beneficial. “My husband and I are producers of quinoa. We decided to join the organisation and not to work individually. Before we joined ANAPQUI, we had bad prices for our quinoa production. Sometimes a middle-man came and deceived us by giving us 3 quintals of sugar for 1 quintal quinoa. Thanks to ANAPQUI they raised the prices and we reach more markets.”
Celia worked from 2005 to 2010 as an executive of the Bartolina Sisa Indigenous Peasant Women's organisation in her province. Then, she held a position in the Control Committee in the municipality. After this, she was elected to become the chairwoman of the directory of quinoa producers in her region, where she stayed for two years. “Now I have been elected by the General Assembly as ANAPQUI Supervisory Board. I believe that they have seen my capacity, my work. What women can do, because we work with transparency, we take our responsibility, we bring development in the organisation with our work”
It is for the first time that a woman reaches a high position in ANAPQUI, but it was not easy for Celia. “As a woman, it has not been easy to get a leadership position. The story is very sad. It has cost me a lot. When I started as an executive at Bartolina, we were mistreated by men. With Bartolina we had improved many things, but men told lies about me. They said that I was not going to do anything, that I had to resign and that I did bad management. It is not fair, I worked well and hard, transparent, and the organisation got profit. There is always discrimination against women, not all men discriminate, but there are many doing this.” For Celia, the important skills that a woman should possess when she want to be in a leader position are: no fear, self-esteem, good communication skills to express what she thinks, and to demonstrate that she can achieve results and take responsibility.
“In the ANAPQUI statute we have managed to get women represented in the directories. I think that having female leaders in the organisation will bring many advantages. We work hard, we always want to improve and a woman controls the economy. We know how to save, starting at home and plan the economy.”
Celia still wants to develop herself further and learn more. She wants to learn how to work with a computer. “As presidenta de fiscalización I am in charge of the economic management, the directory, the marketer, the production, and all the activities that are in ANAPQUI. I must do the inspection so that there is no bad expense and to ensure that work is done transparently. Now that I am having this position, I see that I still can learn a lot. I have learned to make control in written documents, but nowadays it's all in the computer, in a system. I lack knowledge about this, but I will learn!”
Celia is unstoppable! She came from far and is still eager to learn and ready to make a change. “First I will learn all about computers and the system, bring the organisation further, and then my wish is to get in the government.”