In her recent visit to Central America, Conny Toornstra met with representatives of ICCO's partner organizations in Nicaragua, reaffirming ties of work and collaboration. Toornstra is ICCO Cooperation Latin America Regional Director.
For more than a decade, ICCO has worked in Nicaragua alongside civil society organizations with strong presence and recognition in the country's most vulnerable communities. Developing cooperation projects focused on issues such as forests and indigenous peoples, rights and opportunities for youth and prevention of commercial sexual violence towards children.
During a meeting held with the directors of these organizations, Conny learned about the progress of the projects implemented in the territories and listened to the expectations of beneficiary communities.
"We see with concern that violence has increased tremendously in the last 2 years throughout Latin America and Central America. Many international organizations have had to leave the region. One of our challenges as a European organization is to advocate in Europe for this region to maintain the attention it deserves," Conny told the partners.
Prevent violence against children
Nicaragua, like other Central American countries, is going through a socio-political crisis that aggravates the already existing situation of violence, forced migration and exclusion of young people, women and Indigenous Peoples. In this context, ICCO and its partners continue to join efforts for the benefit of the communities. In the North Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua, for example, ICCO supports initiatives to prevent forms of violence against children such as Tala Mana, a practice that validates sexual abuse through the economic compensation of the perpetrator to the victim’s family, and which has been used by organized crime for human trafficking.
“We have a historical relationship with ICCO, of accompaniment towards the construction of a better world," said Moisés González Argüello, Executive Director of local partner Christian Medical Action. "We see ICCO as a strategic partner, an organization that has supported us constantly in our efforts to remain and accompany the communities for almost a generation”.
Representatives of the organizations expressed the need to continue working with ICCO, strengthening organizational capacities, facilitating new alliances and projecting successful experiences of projects and communities internationally.
With funds from Kerk in Actie (KIA) and donors like the European Union and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, ICCO develops projects in Nicaragua’s Caribbean Coast, León, Nueva Segovia and Managua, hand in hand with these strategic partners:
Acción Médica Cristiana (Christian Medical Action)
Faith-based organization that promotes community health, food and nutrition security and implements risk reduction strategies in the face of disasters and emergencies.
Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples and Forests
A platform of Indigenous Governments and community forestry organizations that administer or influence the main forests of Mesoamerica.
Youth organization that focuses on gender, rights, recreation, culture, sports and empowerment for community actions and local development.
ARMAAD (Network of Afro Latin America and Afro Caribbean women)
Works to empower women of African descent and to promote recognition of democratic and multicultural societies, free of sexism and discrimination.
Contributes to improve quality of life of children, adolescents and young people, through education, health and social integration
Ceibo Art Cooperative
Artists’ cooperative that promotes human rights through artistic and cultural tools.