In honor of Mother’s Day, “MADRE Mothers” is a series featuring some of the amazing women who make our work possible.
As a MADRE supporter, you may have seen the first photo above on our website or in our newsletter. It was taken back in 2007, capturing a beautiful moment. You see a curious Vivian Rose watching the camera and her smiling mother, Larissa. But you may not know the story behind it. You may not know all that women and girls like Larissa and Vivian Rose have made possible since that day.
MADRE has partnered with Indigenous women on Nicaragua’s North Atlantic coast for decades. Together with our sister organization, Wangki Tangni, we provide seeds to women farmers. We dig wells and bring clean water to communities.
Back in 2007, Larissa brought her infant daughter to a MADRE training on farming and human rights. In the years since, Larissa has grown as a leader in Wangki Tangni. She coordinates activities for youth in the community, teaching them about their Indigenous culture.
Just a few months ago, we had the chance to catch up with Larissa and Vivian Rose again. MADRE staff traveled to Nicaragua for a forum held every year since 2008 for Indigenous women community organizers. Larissa and other women came together to address the biggest threats they and their daughters face. They were determined to create solutions to combat poverty and protect their daughters from violence.
When we work beside our partners for the long-haul, we can help sustain their innovative solutions. And we can watch vibrant girls like Vivian Rose grow up into powerful women leaders.
Vivian Rose is the namesake of two extraordinary women leaders. Vivian Stromberg is MADRE’s co-founder and senior advisor. Rose Cunningham is a longtime MADRE partner and leader of Wangki Tangni. We won’t be at all surprised if Vivian Rose continues their legacy of activism.none
Next year — 2015 — is the deadline for the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These goals were created to guide government policies on some of the most pressing threats of our time — poverty, hunger and more.
Recently, Indigenous women met to share the challenges they have faced in implementing the MDGs in their communities. They put forward their demand that the post-2015 global development agenda reflect their priorities as women and as Indigenous Peoples.They met at an event co-sponsored by MADRE and RLS-NYC, called “Indigenous Women and the MDGs – Challenges and Lessons Learned.” This event featured as panelists these Indigenous women leaders:
MADRE is a partner to all three Indigenous organizations: Wangki Tangni, CHIRAPAQ and FIMI. All the panelists spoke about their advocacy and programs for Indigenous women and Peoples.
These grassroots activists discussed the failure of governments to achieve the MDGs for Indigenous Peoples. But the panelists also highlighted the efforts of Indigenous organizations and networks, and their work to fill the gaps left by national and international development projects.
Indigenous Peoples are often not considered in government policies and programs. If they are, the help they receive is often superficial. These assistance programs do not take a holistic approach to the issues they wish to solve. They disregard all advances or practices already implemented by Indigenous Peoples.
For example, programs on HIV/AIDS, malaria, child mortality and maternal health are often run in urban areas. These programs do not reach Indigenous Peoples who live in rural areas. Distance and cost makes these essential services inaccessible to Indigenous Peoples. In addition, Indigenous healers, midwives and traditional medical practices are neither respected nor supported by government initiatives.
These government assistance programs tend to treat Indigenous Peoples in a degrading manner. Tarcila pointed out that Indigenous Peoples deserve respect not pity.
“We are not objects of charity,” she said. “We want recognition as women and as people with rights!”
The Indigenous movement has been fighting for decades for recognition. They have struggled for decades to be seen and heard as human beings who deserve to enjoy the fullest range of their individual and collective rights.
As Otilia explained, “All the mechanisms created as resources for Indigenous Peoples are the results of the efforts of Indigenous women, youth, and people. They did not come from the governments or the United Nations.”
Indigenous Peoples will not let obstacles deter them from their goals. Indigenous women and youth continue to work together to build human rights from their Indigenous perspective.
Most importantly, they will build a common strategy to demand that Indigenous Peoples be consulted and prioritized as we establish global sustainable development policies in the years to come.
In the chaos of conflict or following a natural disaster, women are the most vulnerable to violence. Serving as providers of support for both their families and communities, women are also often the ones left attempting to rebuild their lives and their country when the dust settles.
What we’ve written, read, listened to, remembered, watched and been inspired by this week.
As the world remembers the more than one million lives that were lost and devastated by the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, conflict continues in Syria, Sudan, Israel and Palestine.
Without the means to collect rainwater during frequent droughts and due to the use of a watering hole that was shared with livestock, accessing clean water was once a challenge for the Emayian Maasai community in Kenya.
Through the efforts of the Indigenous Information Network (IIN) and MADRE, women in the community have been able to set up and manage a water purification system. Now, there is uncontaminated water year-round, which has contributed to a significant decrease in cases of scabies, cholera and other waterborne diseases.
MADRE turned 30! And we’ve been thinking about what an amazing journey these past three decades have been. And who knows what the next 30 years will bring?
So we thought, why not create a time capsule? And we are! We’re filling it with our answers to this question:
What will justice for women look like in the next 30 years?
Be sure to use the hashtag – #next30 - to have your answers included in our time capsule!none
As protests in Venezuela have captured the attention of the mainstream media, these resource below provide a useful, critical perspective.
Venezuela Protests: The View from West Caracas (by Rebecca Hanson in Foreign Policy in Focus, February 27, 2014):
“To fully appreciate these changes, however, we need to also appreciate the geographical limits of the opposition protests. Taking into account where protests are not occurring, and why, is important in understanding what they represent for residents who do not live in the zones where protests have erupted.”
Venezuela is not Ukraine (by Mark Weisbrot in the Guardian, March 4, 2014):
“Although there are abuses of power and problems with the rule of law in Venezuela – as there are throughout the hemisphere – it is far from the authoritarian state that most consumers of western media are led to believe. Opposition leaders currently aim to topple the democratically elected government – their stated goal – by portraying it as a repressive dictatorship that is cracking down on peaceful protest. This is a standard “regime change” strategy, which often includes violent demonstrations in order to provoke state violence.”
Stop U.S. Intervention in Venezuela (by the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism in Portside, March 5, 2014)
“Sensational headlines in the U.S. of opposition protests in Venezuela amid escalating violence have dominated the coverage of the corporate mainstream media over the past three weeks. This is part of a multipronged strategy by the U.S. government and multinational corporations to destabilize Venezuela politically and economically and pave the way for another coup attempt as was the case in 2002 during the Bush administration. These same policies have continued with the Obama Administration despite denials that it is backing the opposition. “