The project aims to increase and strengthen the effectiveness of citizen participation in the Mesoamerican region and Canada in the struggle to eradicate poverty and injustice. Activities include: (1) technical and financial support to improve partners’ capacity to deliver gender equality training; and (2) establishment of a regional learning-network for Action Initiatives in food security, violence against women, rights to indigenous and Afro-descendent people, and HIV/AIDS and inter-cultural bilingual education. The program also aims to engage over 5,000 Canadians in efforts to promote peace, human rights and democracy. The interventions of the project aim to benefit about 177,000 people in this region.
Results achieved as of September 2012 include: one local organization in Mexico helped a coffee growing cooperative improve its operations, enabling it to fulfill three fair trade contracts, exporting 41.5 tonnes of organically grown and fairly traded coffee. This resulted in higher incomes for the cooperative’s workers, ensuring that their families had better access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food. In Nicaragua, the Congress approved the Comprehensive Law on Violence against Women in January 2012, in part due to the support and pressure of a local women’s rights organization supported by the project. In Guatemala, a local organization trained 252 female midwives and 350 men on how to recognize early warning signs of problems during pregnancy in nine municipalities of Quetzaltenango with a population of 37,000. By the end of 2011, five of the nine municipalities reported no maternal deaths, compared to 710 deaths in 2009 and 681 deaths in 2010. The project’s activities are leading to better access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food, better health, and increased protection of women against violence for people living in the project areas.