In the township of Livingston, women survivors of violence shared the achievements and challenges of addressing and preventing gender-based violence during an encountering with William W. Popp, the United States Ambassador, and Haven Cruz-Hubbard, director of USAID in Guatemala.
In that same place, CARE had implemented the project entitled “Transform Yourself, Women Free of Violence”, and is now developing the project “Women Knitting Lives Free of Violence”, which were both financed by USAID in the context of humanitarian assistance, and which had the objective of guaranteeing the protection and means of subsistence of women and girls who have survived from gender-based violence.
Thanks to the Multicultural Organization of Women for Comprehensive and Sustainable Development (AMMUDIS), over 1,500 women, teenagers, and girls have been supported to recover their life projects, through the access to primary, medical, legal, psychological, and psychosocial care/healing services, which enhanced their economic empowerment within the framework of comprehensive care.
“This project showed us the most distant communities in Izabal, where there are no protection systems for women and girls. Before, women used to do legal complaints, but they were not listened to, nor did they have any type of support. Now, not only are they listened to, but we can provide them with more a comprehensive care as well,” explained Cleopatra Méndez, director of the organization.
Berta Rivas, a participant in the project, shared with both the ambassador and the director of USAID that approaching AMMUDIS helped her recover her life project. “I don’t have a high level of study, but I have stood out little by little. I have managed to overcome what I went through, and now I can talk to other women and be an example,” she expressed.
“Women Knitting Lives Free of Violence” is a community program in which the protection and prevention of violence is interrelated with the means of subsistence and economic recovery of women.
Rogelia Soto, director of CARE Guatemala, emphasized that “at CARE, we are committed to strengthening and enhancing local leadership, which is why we will continue with the process of supporting and strengthening local organizations such as AMMUDIS in the strategic, administrative and technical areas to prevent and provide a comprehensive and effective assistance to cases of gender-based violence”.
The visit of both the Ambassador and the director of USAID, framed in the commemorations of the African American History Month and the beginning of Women’s History Month, allowed both authorities to learn about the progress of the programs supported by the United States to increase prosperity, and which include Garifuna, Q’eqchi’, and Afro-descendant communities.