FUNDING & WORKING WITH PEOPLE & COMMUNITIES
IN GUATEMALA, HONDURAS, MEXICO (CHIAPAS & OAXACA) & EL SALVADOR
BUILDING ALLIANCES & SUPPORTING PROJECTS
FOR COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT, THE ENVIRONMENT & HUMAN RIGHTS
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With its main office in Guatemala, Rights Action is a legally incorporated not-for-profit organization in the United States and Canada. Rights Action was formerly called Guatemala Partners,that was created from the merger of PEACE for Guatemala and Guatemala Health Rights Support Project, both founded in 1983.
Since 1995, Grahame Russell and Annie Bird have been co-directors of Rights Action.
Rights Action is a multi-faceted community development, enviro- and human rights organization that:
- channels funds directly to community-based organizations carrying out their own human rights, development, environment and emergency relief projects in: Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico (Chiapas & Oaxaca) and El Salvador;
- helps build north-south alliances and carries out education, political and legal work for global equality and justice, for global human rights, the environment and a just “development” model.
- Development, environmental and human rights issues are intertwined.
- A proper understanding of poverty, racism, repression and environmental destruction (ie, violations of economic, civil, social, cultural and political rights and collective rights) must include global and historical perspectives.
- CBOs (community-based organizations), citizen groups and some NGOs are at the forefront of efforts to construct societies and a global community characterized equality, justice, accountability and respect for the environment and all human rights. It is imperative to fund and enable CBOs, citizen groups and NGOs to implement projects of their own design.
- All rights, individual and collective, must be promoted, protected and enforced. All actors (governmental, inter-governmental and private) should be held accountable for their actions or omissions that cause or contribute to human rights violations and environmental destruction.
BUDGET SUMMARY - US dollars
A- Projects, Education & Operations (2007): $175,000
B- Grants to partners groups (2007): $850,000
- “PROJECTS, EDUCATION & OPERATIONS” INCLUDE:
- Project management and tech-support (computer training, financial record-keeping, report writing, organization strengthening work, etc.) for community-based partner organizations.
- Alliance-building work in Latin America and north-south, between community development, enviro- and human rights organizations.
- Education and activism in Latin America and North America.
- Human rights accompaniment work for partner organizations at risk.
- Salaries and benefits for full-time and part-time staff.
- Office rent & work costs (communications, travel, supplies, etc).
B- GRANTS TO PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS:
1995, funds sent to partner organizations in Guatemala: $ 46,000
1996, Guatemala: $ 67,000
1997, Guat, Chiapas: $215,000
1998, Guat, Chia, Honduras: $478,000
1999, Guat, Chia, Hond, Haiti: $615,000
2000, Guat, Chia, Hond, Hait: $696,000
2001, Guat, Chia, Hond, El Salvador, Peru: $818,000
2002, Guat, Hond, Chia, Peru, Nicaragua: $900,000
2003, Guat, Hond, Chia, Costa Rica, Nica, Peru: $755,000
2004, Guat, Hond, Chia, Hait, C.Rica, Peru: $812,000
2005, Guat, Hond, Chia, Hait, El Sal, C.Rica: $883,000
2006, Guat, Hond, Chia, Hait, El Sal, C.Rica, Colombia, Oaxaca: $860,000
2007, Guat, Hond, Chia, El Sal, C.Rica, Oaxaca $850,000
All of our work relates to supporting (with funds; alliance building; technical assistance; training and education; activism and human rights accompaniment) our partner organizations that are trying to build real democracy and rule of law from the community level through national and global levels. These organizations can be divided into popular associations or community based organizations (CBOs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
CBOS - COMMUNITY BASED ORGANIZATIONS:
- Are rooted in a rural region or urban barrio, whose members share the same reality: poverty and repression; language; local economy; culture; displacement
- Have high level of participation from local population
- Leadership is local, organically drawn from the region or neighborhood
- Have a comprehensive understanding of: needs and demands of people in their area; history of the area; human and material resources that exist, etc
- Have relationships with NGOs and church groups working in their area
- Often lack formal education and technical skills
- Have little access to funding and organizational infrastructure growth
NGOs - NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS:
- Provide education and training in many areas
- Often have greater knowledge of national and international factors that impact on the environment, rights and development issues they are addressing
- Have more organizational infrastructure and access to financial resources
- Have less presence in the communities where they work
SELF-DESIGN, SELF-IMPLEMENTATION, SELF-EVALUATION: The NGO and CBO 'beneficiaries' of development, enviro- and human rights support, have the principal role in implementing projects of their own design.
SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL AND DYNAMIC: Rights Action pays particular attention to learning about and supporting small community-based organizations. Real change to the unjust global order must also begin at the community level.
STRENGTHENING ORGANIZATIONAL CAPACITY: To support community organizations addressing the wide range of deprivations and injustices, it is necessary to build their capacities: to grow in their communities in a sound\ democratic way; to coordinate their work and experiences with other local, national and international organizations; to achieve greater financial diversity and sufficiency.
* * *
Our partner NGOs and CBOs design and carry out their own projects to address and remedy a wide variety of needs and demands. There is over-lap between Program Areas; many projects could fit into 2 or 3 Program Areas.
EDUCATION, HEALTH & COMMUNITY SERVICES --- WOMEN'S & SOCIAL RIGHTS
- Primary and middle schools
- Scholarships for high school and university students
- Education and training for teachers, education promoters and community leaders
- Women's health and rights programs, including focus on rape and gender violence
- Health (dental and general) education and outreach, including clinics, in rural and urban settlements
- Education and training for health and dental promoters
JUSTICE, RULE OF LAW & ENDING IMPUNITY --- POLITICAL & CIVIL RIGHTS
- Education, training and supporting community human rights defenders
- Promoting legal and political access to justice for victims of HR abuses, including emergency response work
- Legal, humanitarian and political support for political prisoners
- Challenging the impunity of global corporations, other governments and global “development” and financing institutions
- Community historical memory recovery programs – including mass grave exhumations --, documenting Indigenous culture, history and the repression of the past
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT, LAND & TERRITORY, ENVIRONMENT & NATURAL RESOURCES --- CULTURAL & COLLECTIVE RIGHTS
- Land rights
- Sustainable management of water, forest and renewable energy resources
- Mining and petroleum versus community control of land and natural resources
- Appropriate and sustainable farming, forestry protection and management
- Environmental recovery and protection, Construction of wood-saving stoves and environmentally sound latrines
COMMUNITY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT --- ECONOMIC RIGHTS
- Women's community micro-businesses and micro-loan funds
- Increased self-sufficiency of rural communities & Strengthening Campesino / Traditional Economy
- Fair trade, local markets & labor rights
EDUCATIONAL, OUTREACH AND ACTIVISM IN NORTH AMERICA
Derechos en Accion does extensive education, alliance-building, advocacy and legal work in North America to bring about changes to the global “development” policies. This work is complimentary to the direct support work we do with and for our partner groups in the countries indicated. This conviction comes from the understanding that human rights, enviro- and development work must be conceived of and addressed from a local–to–global perspective.
a- Speaking tours: RA organizes educational tours in the US and Canada, highlighting: our partners from the countries we work in; the issues of impoverishment, racism and repression they confront; how North American people and organizations can get involved in addressing these issues.
b- Public speaking: RA staff are regularly invited to speak to a variety of audiences, on issues related to human rights and development in Central America, Haiti and Mexico. These forums are in the US & Canada, and in Central America and Mexico.
· RA publishes four newsletters/ year, to a mailing list of 4000 people.
· RA sends news updates and urgent actions to an e-list of 2500.
· RA prepares special Campaign reports on pressing community development issues.
d- Delegations: Rights Action organizes educational delegations, bringing North Americans to the countries we work in to learn first hand of the development, humanitarian and human rights issues they confront.
Our work has grown considerably since 1995 – financially, geographically and in our vision. Derechos en Accion has in place the professional and institutional processes so that our partner organizations receive consistent, trustworthy support for their work, so that we are increasingly building and supporting the alliance and movement building work needed at national, regional and global levels, and so that our funders - individual and foundations - are properly apprised of how their money is being well spent.
CONTACT: Grahame Russell, co-director, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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