Partnering for Social Change

MADRE partners with community-based women's organizations that share our vision of a world where all people enjoy the full range of human rights. MADRE works with our sister organizations to meet urgent needs in their communities and enhance women's capacity to create positive social change.

Based on the priorities of our sister organizations, MADRE offers women capacity-building and leadership development; strengthens progressive community-based institutions; and facilitates alliances and dialogue among social movements.

MADRE believes that community-based organizations are best situated to identify and meet the needs of the women and families they serve because they have a first-hand understanding of local conditions. Unfortunately, small, locally based groups often lack the resources, expertise and organizational support needed to implement and develop effective programs.

Unlike many international organizations, MADRE resolved not to open offices in the countries where we work. Rather than bringing in "outside experts," we support existing women's organizations, ensuring that skills and resources remain in the community for the long term. By working in partnership with MADRE, our sister organizations are able to build programs based on their own initiatives and perspectives while benefiting from the resources, training and technical support that a leading international women's human rights organization can provide.

In our efforts to meet immediate needs and address the underlying causes of the crises that women face, MADRE has provided 25 million dollars worth of material support to our sister organizations in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Haiti, Cuba, Colombia, Peru, Rwanda, Kenya, countries of the Former Yugoslavia, Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan.

The women who come together through these organizations are survivors of war, political repression, genocide, economic and sexual exploitation, and the twin burdens of natural disaster and disastrous policies. Yet they have refused to give in to despair. Instead, they have organized with MADRE to build programs that have done more than meet immediate needs in their communities: these programs have enhanced women's capacities to create positive social change.

Capacity Building and Leadership Development

MADRE ensures that community-based women are not merely present in international policymaking arenas, but that they are equipped with proficiency in the language, format and systems of the United Nations and international law.

Through leadership trainings and human rights education workshops, the women of our sister organizations gain the skills to advocate effectively in the international arena and, once they have returned home, to hold their governments accountable to the commitments they have made at global conferences.

MADRE trainings have focused on:

  • International human rights instruments and women's empowerment in all of the countries where MADRE works
  • Trainings on the rights of Indigenous Peoples in: Nicaragua, Guatemala, Chiapas, Mexico and Kenya
  • Women's health with a focus on nutrition, sexual rights and reproductive rights, HIV/AIDS and combating violence against women in: Kenya, Rwanda, Guatemala, Chiapas, Mexico and Nicaragua
  • Women's human rights, leadership development, and political participation in: Rwanda, Colombia, Guatemala and Chiapas, Mexico
  • Labor rights and human rights documentation for maquila (sweatshop) workers in Guatemala
  • Human rights education and leadership with youth in Palestine and Guatemala
  • Trainings for government leaders and judges to support the formation and successful implementation of the International Criminal Court