Women of Nicaragua have endured a particularly difficult existence within Nicaragua, withstanding civil war, loss of husbands and sons through war and emigration, grinding poverty and subservient gender status. Despite these circumstances, or perhaps because of them, when the economic circumstances of women are raised, the conditions of the overall family unit and community are also improved. WPF recognizes both the degree of oppression, the untapped potential and the multiplier effect that occurs when the economic and social conditions for women are improved. WPF supports initiatives that specify assistance to women for community solidarity, personal independence and sustainable development.
Union of Organized Women of Yasica Sur (UMOYS)
The women who comprise this group have experienced personal and organizational growth in their work with PRODESSA, a social and economic research,development and training entity in Matagalpa. Winds of Peace has worked with PRODESSA on a number of rural development projects, including many with this group of remarkable women, whose latest project results are presented here.
FUNDEMUNI is engaged in the promotion and development of women and children in the most vulnerable urban and rural sectors of Nicaragua. Their mission is that women and children achieve a privileged place in the development of the province (Nueva Segovia), in conditions of equity, equal opportunity and respect for their rights. Led by women, managed by women, and governed by a general assembly 64% of which is female, it focuses on the development of networks comprised of people who collaborate within their communities. These networks are organized around issues of sexual and reproductive health, human rights, prevention of violence and citizenship of women in a framework of broad participation and gender equity. This is an organization of tangible energy, with whom Winds of Peace has worked since 2005.
NETWORK OF WOMEN OF CONDEGA
The work of the Women of Condega stems from experiences the members had during the 1970’s and the revolution. Their work was reinitiated in 1992 and focused on defense of women’s rights and empowerment of women and groups of women leaders. They seek connections with other organizations in the territory (Esteli) in order to strengthen community structures, municipal development and grassroots political advocacy. This group also counsels women victims of physical and sexual abuse, providing psychological and technical accompaniment through the legal, judicial and sentencing process. The Network is an organization of long standing and pioneering work on behalf of women, a group with whom Winds of Peace has partnered since 2004.
The reproductive health of women is a critical issue in Nicaragua, especially in rural areas of the country. Casa Materna has already established a successful history in providing prenatal and postpartum care for high-risk mothers, resulting in reduction of maternal and infant deaths. It is now expanding the scope of its care resources by adopting microcredit opportunities to its members, in order to strengthen the financial and, subsequently, the health profile of the entire family.
A significant movement within Nicaragua is the awakening of young women and girls to their expanded rights and roles within the society. Grupo Venancia is a women’s collective working in education and popular feminist communication with regard to gender and age. The organization conducts workshops, provides for “open spaces” for reflection and awareness, channels information and generally facilitates the autonomous women’s movement.
Conceptually, Grupo Venancia focuses on the empowerment of young women, encouraging their members to be on the road to their own empowerment. As a feminist group, they seek to promote power from within, to be conscious of both power for and power with their communities.
This organization has also successfully developed young women leaders who have “graduated” to helping younger colleagues through the Lidia Espinoza Movement, an initiative to maintain and further the involvement of young women in their autonomy and self-esteem journeys.