Leadership and capacity development program (MESOLIDER School)

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.

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  • ID: NL-KVK-56484038-110277-2
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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.
Leadership and capacity development program (MESOLIDER School)

Target group

Through the MESOLIDER School, this one-year project aims to engage 400 participants from 4 different organizations members of the Mesoamerican Alliance and Peoples and Forests, from Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. The priority is for youth and women to participate in most activities.


Capacity building, leadership development and youth involvement in territorial governance are one of the most pressing priorities for the sustainability of territories. In view of this reality, the Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples and Forests (MAPF or AMPB for its acronym in Spanish) is promoting the MESOLIDER School, based on the diversity of training and experiences of their grassroots organizations.

MESOLIDER aims to become a permanent mechanism for the construction of regional capacities, providing local processes with greater scope, constancy and power to achieve a relevant impact on generational change over the next two decades (2020 and 2030), with an emphasis on inclusion of women and youth.

Through MESOLIDER, indigenous and multicultural communities that are guardians of the Mesoamerican forests are expected to consolidate themselves as essential actors - with their recognized rights, effective support from the States and effective participation in public policies for the management of human development in their territories, adaptation to climate change and protection of the environment.

Goals overview

- Political space (Output)
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