SIF meets with government and NGO leaders in Guatemala to discuss violence against women

 

October 18-20th, the Seattle International Foundation participated in a series of events and meetings with leaders in Guatemala working to end gender-based violence and address femicide, including representatives from government, civil society, the private sector and the international development community. SIF staff and Founders Bill and Paula Clapp were honored to join the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala and the U.S. Department of State Office of Global Women’s Issues (led by Ambassador Melanne S. Verveer) in this unique opportunity to collaborate on such a timely and important issue facing Guatemala and the entire Central American region. Please read below for an overview of each visit and visit our Flickr to view photos of the various meetings.

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SIF awards $49,800 to support initiatives in Nicaragua

 

SIF awards $49,800 to support initiatives in Nicaragua focused on youth leadership and advocacy training

Seattle –The Seattle International Foundation (SIF) is pleased to announce $49,800 in grants to support leadership programs for women and youth in Nicaragua. The projects funded focus on strengthening youth advocacy and leadership skills; organizing public awareness campaigns around teen trafficking and sexual exploitation; and influencing public policies related to healthcare and reproductive rights.

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Child migration from Central America to the U.S.

 

Photo credit: Wilfredo Díaz/IPS

One of the unforeseen consequences of the pervasive gang violence in Central America is child migration. In recent years, gangs have increased their influence in Central America, with Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador all experiencing a severe increase in gang activity. The northern triangle is currently the most violent region in the world. As gangs gain more power, it has become increasingly difficult to protect youth from their reach, as many are persistently threatened to join.

While some youth are forced to join a gang; others are kidnapped, assaulted, killed, or are caught in the cross-fire. This unfortunate reality has caused many families in El Salvador to flee, and are called “los desplazados” or “the displaced.”  As noted in the article by El Faro (translated by Insight Crime), many have fled “because they don’t want their children to become gang members; so that their daughters are not raped or abused; because the bullets pass by too closely; because they are accused of working for the police or a rival gang.” Families are forced to desert their homes, facing severely harsh circumstances. The situation is amplified for children who have no other option than to leave on their own. Read the rest of this entry »

Model Cities debate continues in Honduras

 

Protest against charter cities proposal in Honduras. Banner reads: Coup d’etat: Economic Crisis + Model Cities. Photo: OFRANEH.

The Model Cities project in Honduras was inspired by the idea of Charter Cities, a concept proposed by Paul Romer, a professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business and a fellow at Center for Global Development. Based on the economic successes of Hong Kong and Singapore, these charter cities are meant to have strong capitalist laws and institutions, therefore boosting the economic profile of the entire region. These proposed model cities were first announced over a year ago,meant to be developed in under-populated rural areas and run by private businesses. Reports indicate that these cities will have their own laws, currency, tax system, judiciary, and police. Although these cities will be privately run, according to the legislation passed in August 2011, these cities must also be considered as part of Honduras and are therefore subject to Honduran constitutional clauses about national sovereignty, territory, national defense, identity papers, and foreign relations.

Paul Romer’s idea of these Model Cities, also known as Special Development Regions (REDs), have been eagerly embraced the government of Honduras. The project is supported by many government officials, including the President of Honduras, Porfirio Lobo. Government officials have claimed that the project would create 5,000 jobs in the first six months alone, and will increase by 4000% in the future. Carlos Pineda, Head of the Commission for the Promotion of Public-Private Partnerships declared that it was “the most important project in half a century for Honduras.” Read the rest of this entry »

A year after my return from iLEAP

 

Written by Susana Barrera, 2011 iLEAP International Fellow. Susana is a part of the Central America Women’s Leadership Fellowship, a program developed in partnership with iLEAP to equip and inspire women’s leadership in sustainable social change throughout the region.

Photo: © Eric Becker / We Are Shouting

A year after my return from iLEAP: The Center for Critical Service, I am in a place, emotionally and professionally, that I never thought I’d be. I am working on the sea with women and men’s fishing cooperatives, accompanying them through trainings in sustainable tourism.

I am a journalist and specialist in rural tourism, and until recently, was working particularly in communities in mountain destinations. My role has been to accompany these rural communities to revalue their resources and landscape so that with respect, quality and warmth they can sell experiences in their communities.

Having integrated into iLEAP helped me make great decisions: change my career, strengthen methodologies and discover that I can build my own dreams.

When I am facilitating a meeting with fishermen at sea, iLEAP is always in my toolbox. It is a learning community for life that transcended Seattle is now with me in El Salvador. In each one of my sessions on the shores of my country are my nine Fellows, the Yamamoto family, the Streeter Family – they come and go in my mind, along with the activities, expressions and conceptions of leadership and social change that were shared in the classroom for three months.

It was worth it, and they are experiences that truly leave their mark. Afterwards, one can say “it’s over”, but that magical connection and yearning for life will always be there.

About the blog:
This blog was created to support the Central America Network and encourage dialogue around relevant research, news and poverty alleviation efforts in the region.
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