MADRE, An International Women's Human Rights Org.

MADRE's mission is to advance women's human rights by meeting urgent needs in communities and building lasting solutions to the crises women face. MADRE works towards a world in which all people enjoy the fullest range of individual and collective human rights; in which resources are shared equitably and sustainably; in which women participate effectively in all aspects of society; and in which people have a meaningful say in policies that affect their lives. MADRE's vision is enacted with an understanding of the inter-relationships between the various issues we address and by a commitment to working in partnership with women at the local, regional and international levels who ...
Feb 12, 2016

Your Support Trained Women Farmers in Kisalaya

(c) MADRE
(c) MADRE

With you, MADRE supports a network of women farmers on Nicaragua’s North Atlantic Coast. Through our on-the-ground partners, we bring them the seeds, tools and trainings they need to grow successful harvests and feed their families. And thanks to your support, we just held a new training for women from the Kisalaya community, a small town on the coast struggling with poverty, hunger and intensifying climate disasters that threaten their harvests, like storms and floods.

One of the main challenges that the women farmers here face is to successfully save seeds from one planting season to the next. Many times, the seeds rot or are eaten by animals because they were not properly stored.

To address this challenge, we arranged a training session for 25 women farmers from Kisalaya. At the session, they learned the best way to dry seeds to prevent them from rotting. They also learned how to care for their metallic silos so that seeds can be safely stored. Check out some pictures from this training session below!

Now, it’s planting season. With this new training under their belts, the women are ready to plant the cucumber, cabbage, rice and bean seeds that your support helped us to deliver.

Thank you for making this possible! We look forward to sharing more updates with you from this season’s harvest soon.

(c) MADRE; seed drying training
(c) MADRE; seed drying training
(c) MADRE
(c) MADRE
Feb 12, 2016

Voices of Indigenous Women of the Wangki

In November, MADRE traveled to Nicaragua to deliver 200 new solar radios that your support helped to supply. As you know, these radios are not just for entertainment. Thanks to our soon-to-launch human rights radio program, they will be a vital lifeline for women confronting violence. That’s because our radio programs will broadcast information on the lifesaving, protective services available to survivors of abuse. Women will gain access to information on the shelters, medical care, legal services and more that our on-the-ground partners provide.

We are excited to report that the radios have been distributed to women in 115 communities along Nicaragua’s North Atlantic Coast. And that’s not all! We’ve just heard from our on-the-ground partners that we were able to purchase the equipment for our own radio station – we’re calling it Voices of Indigenous Women of the Wangki.

This is a huge achievement. Now that we have our own station, we no longer have to rent air time for our human rights programing. This means that we can broadcast more often and reach even more women facing life-threatening violence.

Thanks so much for making this lifesaving work possible!

Feb 9, 2016

Stella: Transforming Trauma into Activism

To learn more about Stella and other brave ‎Colombian women human rights defenders, scroll to the bottom of this post to watch the new mini-documentary “Taking the Lead: Sexual Violence Survivors Forging Hope in Colombia.”

What does it take to create peace in a place where generations have known only war? Stella, a Colombian human rights activists and MADRE partner, has an answer.

After five decades of violence that has taken some 220,000 lives and uprooted millions, a deadline for a final peace accord has now been set for March 23, 2016. For years, the government and other armed groups have cycled through rounds of negotiations, but finally there is some traction.

Stella is a leading voice among those demanding that the peace agreement prioritize accountability and justice for survivors. What’s more, she knows that true peace will not come just through signatures on any agreement. It lies in hard work by activists like her, to make sure that the experiences of survivors are centered and that the seeds of peace are planted, community by community.

For Stella, the trauma of Colombia’s armed conflict is personal. In 1988, her father, a teacher and unionist, was murdered. Inspired by his activism, Stella continued her studies as a clinical psychologist and with her sister, created the organization Taller de Vida, meaning “Workshop of Life” in Spanish.

Taller de Vida provides critical services for displaced women and youth. The organization offers healing art therapy and trauma counseling for young girls and former child soldiers. Through these programs, survivors of the conflict are able to share their experiences and build the friendships that sustain them.

Put simply, Stella heals the invisible wounds of this war. And she knows that healing is powerful, that survivors emerge as veritable, indispensable forces for peace. That’s why she seizes the role of connecting the realities of people’s lives to the faraway peace negotiations.

For instance, she made it possible for a young woman, a member of Taller de Vida, to travel all the way to Havana, Cuba to testify at the peace negotiations about the brutality she endured as a girl child soldier. This kind of intervention is vital. It forces peace negotiators to confront and consider the needs of people on the frontlines of war. With the right advocacy strategy, it can even shift the terms of a political agreement.

One issue Stella knows must be addressed at the negotiating table is the use of rape as weapon of war. Led by young survivors, Taller de Vida has mobilized “Saquen mi cuerpo de la guerra (“Take my body out of the war”), a national and international advocacy campaign calling for zero tolerance of sexual violence and the enforcement of laws to protect women and girls.

Through the campaign, Taller de Vida gathers testimonies and evidence of sexual violence to put pressure on Colombia’s leaders to act. Also, with MADRE support, Stella has shared Taller de Vida’s documentation with national and international policymakers at key convenings, including the United Nations’ annual Commission on the Status of Women. Once again, it shifts the terms of debate. After meeting with Stella and other activists earlier this year, the UN Special Rapporteur on Sexual Violence in Conflict used her platform to reinforce their advocacy demands.

The campaign also presses the country’s government to address the new battles that girl child soldiers face when returning to civilian life. Colombia’s disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programs are ill-equipped to meet the specific needs of girls, especially survivors of sexual violence. What’s more, Stella emphasizes that these programs must partner with communities to transform stigma surrounding sexual violence and shift the blame onto perpetrators.

“The community should not view women as passive victims,” she explains. “These women are working to change their situation, and they need help to be reintegrated into society.”

Watch the new mini-documentary, “Taking the Lead: Sexual Violence Survivors Forging Hope in Colombia,” for an intimate portrait of Colombia’s powerful women-led movement for peace and justice. The film is produced in partnership between the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict, Nobel Women’s Initiative, and MADRE.

Click here to watch.

 
   

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