Last October, over 900 women, men and youth participated in the fifth annual “Forum of Indigenous Women of the Wangki” in Waspam, a community on the North Atlantic coast of Nicaragua. Each of the 115 communities along the Nicaragua border of the Wangki River sent a delegation to participate in the four-day event.

Women taking part in the forum's opening march.

Women taking part in the forum’s opening march.

 

The Wangki River or Coco Rio that runs along the border of Honduras and Nicaragua. There are about  115 communities settled along the Nicaragua side of the river

The Wangki River or Coco Rio that runs along the border of Honduras and Nicaragua. There are about 115 communities settled along the Nicaragua side of the river

To get to Waspam, where the forum was held, participants had to travel for long hours - even days - on little canoes or pangas (motorized boats).

To get to Waspam, where the forum was held, participants had to travel for long hours – even days – on little canoes or pangas (motorized boats).

One Miskita woman, who traveled four days with her 7-month old baby, shared that she was eager to participate and learn about women’s rights. “This is the only chance we have to get information, and I am glad to be here,” she said.

Indigenous women leaders and other important community stakeholders convened to strategize around implementing the national Law 779 – a landmark legislation that defines crimes of violence against women,  provides avenues for women to access justice and protection from violence, and hold perpetrators accountable – and to brainstorm  solutions for other health and human rights issues that impact women in the area.

At the closing of the forum, a declaration was produced stating the agreed upon commitments to improving the quality of life of all women living in communities along the Wangki.

Read the Spanish declaration here and the English translation here.

"Promoters against Violence against Women" is a project of the Women and Children’s Division of the National Police in partnership with Wangki Tangni. The project has trained 110 promotoers to engage women from the communities in spreading information and gathering evidence on violence against women.

“Promoters against Violence against Women” is a project of the Women and Children’s Division of the National Police in partnership with Wangki Tangni. The project has trained 110 promotoers to engage women from the communities in spreading information and gathering evidence on violence against women.

Mostly male wihtas, traditional indigenous judges, learning how to implement Law 779 in cases of violence against women at community level.

Mostly male wihtas, traditional indigenous judges, learning how to implement Law 779 in cases of violence against women at community level.

Sahita Pierre-Antoine, MADRE's Program Coordinator, and Yifat Susskind, MADRE's Executive Director, hold the forum's banner with Aurelia "Bibidilia" Clarence, one of  Wangki Tangni's founding members and former midwife in the community.

Sahita Pierre-Antoine, MADRE’s Program Coordinator, and Yifat Susskind, MADRE’s Executive Director, hold the forum’s banner with Aurelia “Bibidilia” Clarence, one of Wangki Tangni’s founding members and former midwife in the community.

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