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Leadership and capacity development program (MESOLIDER School)

Start project:
  • 2017
Partners:
  • Asociacion de Comunidades Forestales de Peten

This project supports the first implementation year of MESOLIDER, a leadership school for indigenous leaders, developed by organizations of the Mesoamerican Alliance of People and Forests from Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. Activities include capacity-building programs, workshops, regional exchanges in Central America, a systematization of lessons learned and outreach/community activities at local, national, regional and international level.

In Mesoamerica, extractive industries and processes continue to threaten the rights of vulnerable groups including indigenous and forest dependent people. Clearing of forest for cattle ranching, monoculture plantations, unsustainable logging, hydro-electric projects, and mining are the main causes of deforestation and forest degradation in Mesoamerica. Centralized governmental management models have proved insufficient to stop those threats. Autonomy of territorial management is being compromised by lack of political support, rights to land and forest are not secure, and there are shortages or financial and technical support for sustainable management of forests by indigenous and forest peoples.

The governments and large producers are, in most cases, responsible for forest destruction in disregard of rights of indigenous and forest communities. Community leaders and activists are often threatened, jailed or even assassinated. As a counter point, Indigenous and community based land management in Mesoamerica have proved effective for natural resource conservation, climate change mitigation, and poverty alleviation.

This adverse context has forced indigenous peoples and local communities to find ways to exercise tenure rights as guardians of the Mesoamerican forests. Through their traditional authorities and community organizations, Indigenous Peoples have embarked on various fronts of action and struggle for defense of their territories and rights, which entail enormous challenges and require new capacities to manage risks and some opportunities of the context described. On the other hand, generational change and community cohesion also constitute internal challenges for community organizations and indigenous authorities so measures that support bringing youth and women to forest governance, and develop local capacities are key for long term sustainability of communities, territories and livelihoods.

Project Updates

Building a team!

Between May 8 and 10th, 2018, the MESOLIDER School team gathered in Esteli, Nicaragua to reflect, debate, agree and launch the implementation plan for the School. The team is spread between Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua and includes professionals with diverse backgrounds and expertise, including women and youth. As a team, we had the chance to talk with Ruben Pasos and Levi Sucre, advisor and president of the MAPF Executive Commission, through a video call as they are located in Costa Rica and Guatemala. Both Ruben and Levi, with participation from the Executive Commission Secretariat (Marvin Sotelo and Isabel Pasos) facilitated the conversation on how is it that the school became a lynchpin to promote territorial and forest governance in the region, and how it's intended to connect to a local and international advocacy and lobby agenda. The main results of this meeting is that the team was able to meet and discuss around the methodological approach for the school. There were very interesting reflections incoporating elements of popular education and Indigenous Peoples approached to share knowledge and leadership. The MESOLIDER School team includes Carolina, Sergio, Claudia and Victor from Guatemala, Marcial, Isabel, Kenia and Danilo from Nicaragua. Two more members from Honduras joined the team (Briggith and Aurelio), but they could not make it to Esteli.

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Project started:
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Project started:
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