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  • Central ameriCa Womens netWork aCtivity report January 2011 to June 2012 J a n u a r y 2 0 1 1 t o J u n e 2 0 1 2

    International Womens Day March, London, March 2011

  • Central America Women's Network, 44-48 Shepherdess Walk, London, N1 7JP T: +44 (0) 20 7324 5065, campaigns@cawn.org, www.cawn.org

    In 2011 the Central America Womens Network (CAWN) celebrated 20 years of solidarity with women in Central America. CAWN was born out of a growing solidarity movement in the UK in the late1970s and 1980s in response to civil wars and escalating human rights abuses in the region. CAWN was founded by women in the UK keen to network with, learn from, and support womens organisations in Central America.

    Between January 2011 until June 2012, one of CAWNs major concerns has continued to be violence against women. The situation has not improved for women, and indeed, their experiences may be even worse than when CAWN was founded. Alarming statistics reveal the extreme levels violence and atrocities of femicide committed against women in the region. What has changed is that more women are fighting back, as women have created support groups, gathered research and evidence and taken their cases to court, pushing the issue of violence against women up the political agenda.

    Since our foundation, CAWN has supported womens organisations in the region through advocacy work, political lobbying, holding conferences and events often with inspirational women from Central America and producing research reports and information to continually raise awareness of the ongoing womens struggles. In this report of our work over the last eighteen months, January 2011 to June 2012 we hope to give you an insight into the projects we have been involved in and how we work to ensure that these issues and the work of women in Central America are not forgotten here in the UK.

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  • Central America Women's Network, 44-48 Shepherdess Walk, London, N1 7JP T: +44 (0) 20 7324 5065, campaigns@cawn.org, www.cawn.org

    C h a l l e n g i n g v i o l e n C e a g a i n s t W o m e n i n h o n d u r a s

    CAWNs project Challenging Violence against Women in Honduras, identifying the links between reducing poverty and promoting womens rights was funded by the Big Lottery Fund for five years and ended in July 2011.

    CAWN worked with the Centro de Estudios de la Mujer Honduras (CEM-H) to address violence against women and poverty by taking a community-based approach that empowered women living in poverty. CEM-H piloted a holistic model for support services. with inter-locking components: a) Womens organisations, b) capacity-building and c) empowerment through networks, self help groups training and participation.

    a d v o C a C y

    CAWN carried out effective advocacy work in the UK and at a European level to raise awareness of femicide in different activities throughout the project. In March and April 2011 representatives from CEM-H, visited the UK for a speaker tour. They spoke at public events in the House of Commons, University of St Andrews and participated in a number of meetings with organisations working on violence against women to exchange experiences of their work. The Honduran women found the experience of coming to the UK and having their voices heard powerful. At the same time, it is revealing for marginalised Honduran women to realise that VAW is also experienced in first world countries: Here we have the idea that domestic violence only exists in Honduras amongst the working classes, but I discovered that there was also domestic violence in England (Maria Amalia Reyes, 23/6/2011).

    CAWN also co-organised a seminar in Brussels with the Heinrich Bolls Foundation and a follow up seminar in Spain, together with a Spanish womens organisation in 2010. As a result of these initiatives and subsequent lobbying by a Spanish academic there was an agreement made to draft an international protocol for research and documentation of the crime of femicide that was presented to the UN at the end of June 2011.

    The 2009 coup dtat had negative impacts on the project including State repression of CEM-H project team and women beneficiaries; however it also had an unexpected positive impact: the strengthening of womens voice and participation in protests in demand for the respect of democracy and institutions (base on rule of law).

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  • Central America Women's Network, 44-48 Shepherdess Walk, London, N1 7JP T: +44 (0) 20 7324 5065, campaigns@cawn.org, www.cawn.org

    Marching with Honduran feminists against coup detat, Tegucigalpa

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  • Central America Women's Network, 44-48 Shepherdess Walk, London, N1 7JP T: +44 (0) 20 7324 5065, campaigns@cawn.org, www.cawn.org

    Challenging Violence against Women in Honduras Field Visit, Honduras, 2011

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  • Central America Women's Network, 44-48 Shepherdess Walk, London, N1 7JP T: +44 (0) 20 7324 5065, campaigns@cawn.org, www.cawn.org

    r e s e a r C h

    A research report, Intersecting Violences by Patricia Muoz Cabrera was published in October 2010, that used intersectional analysis to understand the complex web of factors contributing to poverty and VAW in Latin America. The toolkit, published in March 2011, complemented the report and showcased examples of NGOs in Latin America that are implementing intersectionality in practice in their work tackling violence against women and girls. These resources gave a new perspective on traditional methods of producingf public policy in this area.CAWNs publications were distributed in Latin America, the UK, and other parts of Europe, to a mix of aid and UN agencies, universities, scholars, human rights and social organizations. The prominent scholar Professor Maxine Molyneux has said of CAWNs publication that they are useful for bridging practitioner and scholarly work and also are of high quality (Interview 6 July 2011).

    p r o J e C t e va l u at i o n

    The independent final evaluation of the project highlighted some of the positive impacts that our work has helped to generate, including across

    these key areas:

    Gender: Hundreds of women in Honduras have been empowered over the five years; they now know their rights and can challenge the men who

    attempt to dominate them.

    Influencing opinion: Women have increased their capacity to influence opinion at a local level as well as national State institutions and at

    international forums.

    Capacity building: Women have acquired leadership and negotiating skills, and the capacity to speak up for their rights.

    Networking: In 2011 CAWN continued to share experiences learned from out work in the region with a number of networks, such as the BOND

    network for international development, Women in Development Europe (WIDE), and the UK Gender and Development Network.

    Horizontal approach: The CAWN/CEM-Hs ways of working are exemplary, as they enhance a horizontal peer approach. CEM-H has been

    inspired by CAWNs shared management committee, and has adopted a tri-partite co-director approach, to date with positive results. It has also

    fostered a share d involvement in decision-making and greater transparency in financial matters. Volunteers in CAWN expressed appreciation about

    being included in CAWNs discussions and felt valued: I really liked the fact that CAWN is so horizontal, we are really listened to, my opinion is

    really valued; this gives me confidence (CAWN intern 8/7/2011).

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  • Central America Women's Network, 44-48 Shepherdess Walk, London, N1 7JP T: +44 (0) 20 7324 5065, campaigns@cawn.org, www.cawn.org

    e n a b l i n g a C t i v i s t s : W o m e n s r i g h t s , s o C i a l i n C l u s i o n a n d t h e m e d i a

    Our most recent project, Womens rights, social inclusion and the media, was launched in October 2011 in partnership with the Austria-based womens organisation Frauensolidaritat.

    Through this project we want to encourage women to make greater use of information technology for communication and the media to advocate for womens rights, to support networking among womens organisations and activists North and South, and to promote the human rights of women and womens equality. We also aim to increase the understanding of womens rights, globalisation and media among policy makers and the general public.

    Funded by the European Commision, this project is focused on enabling and empowering womens rights activists to leverage social media and lobby government to increase visibility and raise awareness of issues relating to the exploitation of women in order to trigger change. In doing so, the project organises activities such as conferences, training workshops on the use of alternative media and advocacy skills, and media-interventions (print, radio and film). We also carry out research and produce in-depth briefing papers and factsheets, and organise public events with women rights activists from Central America and Southern Africa.

    C o n f e r e n C e a n d d i s C u s s i o n f o r u m s

    Public meetings include workshops centred around different themes, such as: The use of media in Nicaragua to advocate womens rights; Trafficking and exploitation in Southern Africa: Stories from the ground and Global events: exploring the connections between womens exploitations and the Olympics. These workshops were part of our conference, Images of exploited and trafficked women: the role of the media in womens empowerment on 27th April 2012 which was attended by over one hundred people, and brought together prominent policy-makers, NGOs and academics in the field to explore the effectiveness of current approaches to tackling these issues.

    Other, more informal, public meetings were organised to provide advoca