The SHARE Blog

Rural Women’s Empowerment in San Vicente

November 8, 2014

The following is the semster for the Rural Women’s Empowerment Project in San Vicente.

CRSV 2014 RWE Report Summary pic 1

Women in the community of El Salto learn to sew, in coordination with Ciudad Mujer.

Project Description
This project aims to strengthen women’s organization, formation, and awareness in regards to women’s rights.

Project duration: January–December 2014

This semester included:
Raising women’s awareness of their rights, and strengthening their abilities to exercise those rights through gatherings attended by 44 women.
Improving nutrition for 30 women and their families through a program that will take place the second half of this year.
Strengthening women’s leadership and advocacy skills, participating in local struggles and local historical commemorations. Women now participate more actively in their women’s committees and in local events. Attendance at community assemblies varied from 25-70 women participants.
Following up on the three women’s savings and loans groups that formed in 2013. CRIPDES led a motivational activity to strengthen the savings culture among the three groups. Read More »


SHARE (Your) Inspiration: Katherine Wilson

November 6, 2014

Katherine Wilson is SHARE’s Development Coordinator in the US Office. She is getting excited for her trip next week to El Salvador! Read more to learn where Katherine finds her inspiration to do the work she does with SHARE!

Where do you find inspiration for your work?

That’s easy! In the people and their stories of resiliency and profile head shotovercoming hardship.

What’s your favorite part about your job?

As SHARE’s development coordinator, much of my work takes place “behind the scenes”. Even though I do not regularly interact with our communities and projects in El Salvador, I feel very closely connected to them. I love being able to promote their amazing accomplishments to foundations, religious orders, and individuals. One of my favorite parts of my job is being able to secure funding for our projects and operations. But that much is obvious to development work. Even more than that I love being able to use my creative energy to develop new plans, methods, and strategies. It’s also pretty cool that although I am based in the US, I occasionally get to visit our office and projects in El Salvador. My first visit is next week, and I could not be more excited!

Where do you see hope in El Salvador?

I see hope particularly in the women and youth of El Salvador. Our scholarship students in particular have immense promise. These youth have so much energy and drive, they are bound to transform their communities and country. The women of El Salvador have a monumental capacity to organize and uplift themselves and those around them even with scarce resources. Something else that gives me hope for El Salvador is being able to experience second-hand the hope of others. In this position I very frequently receive hand-written notes from donors and other supporters proclaiming their confidence in El Salvador’s future. Having so many individuals independently say nearly the same thing gives me the same hope.


Ayotzinapa: ¡Vivos se los Llevaron, Vivos los Queremos!

November 4, 2014

As investigations into the disappearance of 43 students continue, more questions than answers seem to surface; students from the IPN (National Polytechnic Institute) in Mexico City lift a call for a “National Strike to Bring the State its Knees”. The disappearance of students from the Escuela Normal de Ayotzinapa, a teacher’s training college, continues to enrage the world; after having been disappeared for over a month, the facts around this disappearance have unraveled from the discovery of multiple mass graves to questions about the real culprits of such an attack.mexico

On the evening of September 26, 2014, students from Ayotzinapa traveled by bus towards Iguala to hold a small protest against the discriminatory government hiring and funding policies in education which deliberately excludes rural students. On that same night, Jose Luis Abarca, the mayor of Iguala and his wife, held an annual conference and it is suspected that upon learning of the students approaching, the mayor ordered local police to intercept their path. The encounter quickly escalated to violent proportions which resulted in tremendous student casualties; 6 murders, 25 wounded and the disappearance of 43 students. Upon detaining the 43 students, Iguala police handed them over to Guerreros Unidos or Warriors United, a criminal organization; from this point the whereabouts of the students has become an agonizing mystery. An immediate investigation is in full effect and although numerous arrests of members of Guerreros Unidos have been made, there is still no information as to whether the students are alive.

#Ayotzinapa  Read More »


UCRES Updates: Youth Leadership Development and Academic Formation

November 1, 2014

The following is the semester report for the Youth Leadership Development and Academic Formation in UCRES.

UCRES 2014 Youth Leadership Semester Report Summary

UCRES youth start off a monthly assembly with icebreaker games.

Project Description
Strengthen youth participation in community organizing, through political formation and support for high school scholarships, in order to generate committed community leadership with new skills in advocacy.

Project duration: January – December 2014

This semester included:
Monthly assemblies to discuss current events, such as mining issues, national reality, and other themes, and distribute monthly scholarship funds to each student
Follow-up with community councils to check on students’ progress in their community work plans Read More »


Living in Suffering and Hope

October 30, 2014

On Saturday October 18th, a delegation from Visitation Parish in Kansas City, Missouri arrived to the dense tropical air of San Salvador in the late evening. They loaded the pick-up trucks with their suitcases and hopped into the micro-bus. Although there were a few rookies in the group, most were seasoned-El Salvador travelers having visited four to ten or more times before. Visitation has had a sistering relationship with Maria Madre de los Pobres, a parish in the San Salvador neighborhood of La Chacra, for the last 26 years. Together, they have walked in solidarity since the war.

 

Being a medical delegation, Visitation spent their mornings seeing patients, listening to their stories, and providing some sense of healing. The evidence of Chikungunya, an epidemic currently sweeping through this tiny Central American country, was very much present as many patients came in complaining about fevers, joint pain, and body aches. Others visited the clinic with cases of colds, infections, and more. The physical therapists heard stories of injuries from the war that still caused much physical, as well as emotional, pain. Many Salvadorans came in with back and neck pain due to the weight of the goods they carry on their heads to sell in the market. The suffering from the daily struggle to feed their families manifests itself in painful ways still today.

 

The afternoons were spent visiting the sacred sites, a hospital, community homes, and the parish school. Learning about Monseñor Oscar Romero seemed to be a highlight. The spirit of this giving man, willing to stand up to the injustices in the country continues to live on as an example of how to live our lives for others. It is incredible how his legacy moves us forward in the search for truth, justice, and hope, almost 35 years after his death. Even after witnessing so much suffering in the lives of Salvadorans today, through the life and legacy of Monseñor Romero, the delegation found hope to continue walking and living in solidarity for years to come.

 


Learning to Embrace Flexibility

October 28, 2014

The following is a reflection from SHARE’s Communications Coordinator, Claire Moll, about her experience at the CCR’s 2014-2016 Executive Board elections.

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Active citizens of Chalatenango exercising their right to vote

Living and working in Central America these past few months has taught me to expect the unexpected. So far, Plan A has yet to happen, but rather we always seem to reach Plan F when all is said and done. Being from a culture that upholds over-organizing and planning, I have quickly been forced to loosen up and embrace flexibility. So far, it has really worked out for the best!

This past Saturday I put “embracing flexibility” into practice. Isabel, the SHARE El Salvador Office Director and I took a trip up to Chalatenango to show our support for the CCR’s new Executive Board elections.  SHARE accompanies the CCR, one of CRIPDES’ 6 regions, in sistering relationships and projects. They work with many of the historic sistering communities by sponsoring human development projects for women and youth.

When we entered the meeting space, I was surprised to see so many people in attendance. I recognized various faces from two of the communities that we accompany: Ignacio Ellacuria and Nueva Trinidad. As I listened to the program, Isabel pointed out the various mayors, governors, and legislators in attendance. I had no idea that so many dignitaries involved themselves in the work of the CCR. This sparked a strong sense of inspiration in me that grew throughout the rest of the event.

Read More »


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!

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

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

Read More »


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