The SHARE Blog

UCRES Updates: Rural Women’s Empowerment Project

October 25, 2014

The following is the semester report for the Rural Women’s Empowerment Project in UCRES.

Description
The project continues the sustainable processes developed by UCRES for 5+ years of improving the quality of life for women through the creation and strengthening of women’s community and municipal organizations.

UCRES 2014 RWE Semester Report Summary

Santos with her garden in Huisisilapa, La Libertad.

Project duration: March 2013 – December 2014

This semester included:
The creation of Municipal Women’s Associations– officially-recognized women’s groups where women hold leadership roles under their municipal council, and have the space to learn about certain themes, advocate for their rights, etc.
Support for women to develop skills through training programs and workshops on planting and managing family vegetable gardens, increasing food security and food sovereignty in the region.
Encouragement of women to strengthen their participation and exercise their rights through the elaboration of the municipal gender policy in Tacachico and the development of a training process in political economy for 30 women. Read More »


Gang Prevention through Youth Empowerment

October 23, 2014

Disclaimer: SHARE is dedicated to always keeping our staff and delegates safe. We rely on our Salvadoran counterparts, who have the best understanding of their reality, to keep us up-to-date with the level of security in their region. We only take delegates to areas where we know they will be kept out of harms way.

Two and a half years ago, in March of 2012, El Salvador’s two largest gangs, Mara Salvatrucha (MS 13) and Barrio 18 (18th Street Gang), signed a truce to end most of the violence and extortion between the gangs.  The truce proved to be successful in its first year. The homicide rate dropped from 14  to 6 a day. However, in the second year and a half of that truce, we have seen it deteriorate. From incredibly high rates of forced displacement (130,000 fled their homes in 2013) due to gang threats, to a day in May of this year known as “Black Friday” where in total 81 people were killed, less hope now exists that the truce will continue to hold up.  In early September of this year, there were rumors of a second truce in the works. Yet, nothing official has surfaced.

New president Salvador Sanchez Ceren and his administration have promised to make security a priority during this first year in office. Within the last week, a communal policing program launched to start building trust and ensuring safety on a neighborhood level. This initiative enlists small groups of police officers who work with community councils to watch over specific neighborhoods. However, this new programing doesn’t quite address the root cause of the gang phenomena.

The gangs thrive on the lack of resources for the majority of Salvadoran youth to study, and very few employment opportunities for the same demographic. The gangs provide a source of income for many young men coming from poor families. Poverty is one of the leading causes forcing youth to join the gangs. This same poverty leaves homes fatherless (either having migrated to the city or away from El Salvador altogether to make ends meet  for the family). This broken family unit has been proven a common theme in many of the lives of the youth that join the gangs. The gangs provide a familial-like structure, a place of belonging for young teenagers who feel they can’t find that from a more traditional source.

Read More »


March for Food Sovereignty: The right to choose food free of chemicals

October 20, 2014

On October 16, thousands gathered in the streets of San Salvador to recognize World Food Day and Rural Women’s Day. From Ahuachapan to Morazan, social organizations from all over the country came to show their support for the passing of the Food Sovereignty Act that is currently in the legislature. This law would grant Salvadoran’s the right to choose from where their seeds and food products come. It also would prevent the privatization of El Salvador’s water sources. The vast majority of Salvadorans recognize that privatization and allowing international companies to buy up all of the country’s resources means higher prices on food and water that are filled with chemicals.  This would be devastating for a population that, due to a drought at the beginning of the rainy season, is already struggling to pay the rising price for a pound of beans. (Normally, beans are around 70 cents a pound. Today, in the market they go for $1.40 a pound–the same price as a pound of chicken.)

Recognizing the degree of the threat that privatization imposes, shouts rising over the masses appealed to the legislature, “What are you waiting for Representatives? The people are tired!” “We want our lives without poison in our food!” “Water and Food are not merchandise!”

At the end, marchers presented their representatives with a list including thousands of signatures domestic and international demanding that the Food Sovereignty Act be passed. We are still waiting for governmental action to be taken on this issue. It is clear what the people want. Food Sovereignty NOW!

Check out this video from the march!


CIETTA Organic Farming in Photos

October 18, 2014

CIETTA is one of SHARE’s partners working to bring organic farming education and practices to El Salvador. The Ministry of Agriculture recently awarded CIETTA with the cerification needed to officially mark its products as organic! SHARE staff  visited the CIETTA complex in La Paz a few weeks ago. Enjoy the pictures from our trip!

DSC03484

CIETTA’s compound consists of offices, conference spaces, a plant nursery, land for farming and producing fertilizers, and even a sugar cane mill!

DSC03488

Don Salvador explains that this machine is the first step in the sugar cane milling process.

Read More »


MPR-12: Moving Towards a Better Future

October 16, 2014

On October 12, the MPR-12 gathered to celebrate their 12th anniversary and continue the fight for social justice in El Salvador and all of Latin America. The day was also marked by the commemoration of 522 years of resistance towards Spanish, English, and now US imperialism. Moving forward, the Salvadoran people  demand potable water and food sovereignty while also saying no to mining. In order for the fight to continue, the participation of youth is key. Amongst the activists present were many young Salvadorans, eager to take part in the  demand for human rights in their country.

Many participants shared about the importance of the youth involvement in the MPR-12. One MPR-12 member said, “Youth are the answer to the struggle. To fight the repression we must work to feed their brains and educate them.” Through political schools, people from rural communities come to be informed about the current political situation in the country. They gain the tools to think critically and organize, so the communities can then work towards the realization of their rights.

 

Noel, a CRIPDES organizer and former youth scholarship student, shared, “The youth’s involvement is important because it empowers them. Then they can come together, and it is with unity that we can demand our rights. This is how we do it. This is how their parents did it.”

The youth demand more just and dignified work!

Many youth talked about the importance of continuing the fight their parents fought for social justice and human rights. In order to see change in the future, the youth must be  active and willing to take a stand now. If the fight is going to continue, the youth must be involved.

 


SHARE (your) Inspiration: Sarah Hall

October 13, 2014

The first of a staff series where we SHARE (our) inspirations.


Youth Leadership Development and Academic Formation in San Vicente

October 11, 2014

The following is the semester report for the Youth Leadership Development and Academic Formation Program in San Vicente.

CRSV 2014 Youth Semester Report Summary pic 1

CRSV scholarship students explain the types of leaders they discussed in small groups. April 2014

Description
With this project, CRIPDES San Vicente (CRSV) aims to strengthen students’ academic skills, as well as enhance youth leadership abilities and community organization. Supporting such skills will contribute to the reduction of the high
indices of violence in Tecoluca. Youth will directly participate in the development of different activities to continue the process of violence reduction in the region.

Project duration: January-December 2014

This semester included:
6 informative regional assemblies to present scholarship funds and workshops on certain themesFormation workshops in peace education, including themes such as violence, drug addiction, and conflict resolution are scheduled for the second semester. Read More »


Salvadoran Families Struggle to Commemorate Their Disappeared

October 9, 2014

This article by Jeff Ritterman, MD was originally published in the Huffington Post on October 8th, 2014. Bethany Loberg is second author of this article. Bethany was the Human Rights Advocacy Co-ordinator for SHARE-El Salvador.

Beth article 1
All photos courtesy of Claire Moll, SHARE-El Salvador, Communications Coordinator. All photos are from a demonstration by the Relatives of the Disappeared, San Salvador, August, 2014. 

1980 was a tragic year for Sofia Hernandez and her family. Government security forces and right wing death squads were terrorizing the rural population of El Salvador. By March, Sofia’s family had fled their home in the countryside in hopes of finding safety. Two months later, Sofia’s brother was disappeared. By the summer’s end she was a widow. Her husband of 15 years, Juan, was murdered. Sofia’s daughter Norma, another brother, a nephew, and a cousin had also joined the swelling numbers of the disappeared.

Sofia Hernandez, like so many other relatives of the disappeared, searched for loved ones in military garrisons, prisons, hospitals, morgues, and even in garbage dumps, where bodies appeared daily. Most often they searched in vain. Decades later, many are still left with unanswered questions. Where is my son, my daughter, my mother, my father, my brother, my sister? Donde estan? Donde?

Read More »


More than just cooking and cleaning

October 7, 2014

Recently, SHARE staff spent some time getting to know the women that form various Savings and Loans Groups in La Libertad. Cripdes Sur help found over 130 of these groups in the last year. Some have more than $1,000 in savings already. However, the purpose of the groups isn’t just to foster a culture of savings, but to also provide women with a space to talk about their rights. Many women in El Salvador have never been told that they have more rights than just “cooking, cleaning, and taking care of children,” as woman responded on television here the other day. The women of La Libertad are becoming organized and money savvy. “For Cripdes, there is a lot of satisfaction that comes from seeing these groups moving forward,” shared Zulma, Cripdes Sur Women’s Coordinator.

The following is a group interview of the women of Colonia Belen, Comasagua:

What do you like about the Savings and Loans Group?

“It motivates us to keep moving forward, especially those of us who are single mothers.”

“We now know how to value ourselves as women.”

“The time that we get to share together is the beautiful part of it all.”

“It is great what we are learning about our rights.”

 

What do the other women of the community think of the Savings and Loans Groups? Are they interested in joining?

“Some women say that they are too busy. But we are all busy, but I love being a part of this group because I learn so much.”

“Many more want to join next year after this cycle closes.”

 

What do the men of the community think of the Savings and Loans Groups?

“They support us!”

“My husband doesn’t put any obstacles in the way of my participation.”

“For the most part, they think everything is fine.”

“Now they know they can’t hit us because we have the numbers of the organization that will help us. Hitting women is illegal. We now know our rights.”

[The men] ask, ‘When are they going to create Ciudad Hombre (referring to the government program Ciudad Mujer)?’ But the answer is that it already exists. It’s called Chalatenango, Santa Ana, and San Salvador (names of large cities in El Salvador).”

 

Do you have any questions you would like to ask our project partners? If so, contact Claire Moll at communications@share-elsalvador.org

 


Cuentos de Chalatenango: Food Sovereignty and Rural Women’s Empowerment

October 4, 2014

The following is the semester report for the Food Sovereignty and Rural Women’s Empowerment Project in Chalatenango.

Description
To contribute to the development of rural women through strengthening the organization of women’s committees, developing leadership skills through workshops in leadership, self-esteem, awareness of laws that protect the rights of women, and economic and technical support for small agricultural initiatives.

CCR 2014 Rural Women's Empowerment Semester Report Summary pic 1

CCR exchange event for women to share knowledge and experiences.

Duration: January – December 2014

Location: Seven municipalities throughout the department of Chalatenango

This semester’s activities included:
Three training sessions for 89 women participants on soil preparation and garden management to establish the family gardens
Three exchanges for 85 women participants to share their experiences and knowledge regarding the nutritional value of the vegetables and greens they
grow
Elaboration of the Advocacy Plan for the Chalatenango Women’s Association with 29 women participating from 4 rural communities and the urban center of
Chalatenango
Follow up visits and workshops for project beneficiaries from the 2013 SHARE-CCR Women’s Empowerment project.

Read More »


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