Strengthening civil society in Guatemala
Background: Guatemala is one of the most unequal countries in the world in terms of health, education and income distribution. The cultural diversity of the country is high with 25 languages spoken in its territory. Guatemala's social and economic situation today continues to be characterized by poverty, racism, exclusion, violence and impunity. This situation is partly founded in a weak state structure with few resources from low revenue.
This program aims to strengthen the exercise of the Individual and Collective Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Guatemala. This is expected to contribute to the self-determination of indigenous peoples and to enhance the awareness and implementation of legal and institutional frameworks.
Through grants to Indigenous Peoples’ organizations they have improved access to justice to promote and defend their individual and collective rights. Especially indigenous women are enabled to strengthen their participation in decision-making spaces and access justice in the ordinary legal system and in indigenous peoples' own systems, which can be a challenge due to exclusion and discrimination.
Lastly, developing the capacity of women and young people to know their rights and have the skills to be active members of their communities with the aim of fostering a more inclusive society where these groups have opportunities for economic development. The program builds on the encouraging results of the previous phase (2015-2019) where 31 projects were supported. Many of the projects focused on the participation of indigenous women in decision making practices, promoting their rights and introducing violence against women prevention practices. More broadly, 620 indigenous communities and more than 2300 indigenous leaders benefitted from the activities.
In addition to managing the fund, Oxfam’s role is to provide the necessary technical and political support to the local organizations such as supporting their communication strategies and capacity development.
Supported by Sida 2019-2023 65,500,000 SEK (6.2 m EUR)
Actions for Inclusive and Responsible Governance, AGIR
Mozambique has experienced dramatic developments over the last years. From a situation where economic growth and increased spaces for active citizenship, the society is now facing severe challenges.
In 2015, Oxfam IBIS together with other international NGOs and the Swedish Embassy embarked on a joint program called “Actions for Inclusive and Responsible Governance” (AGIR).
The initiative focuses on redistribution of wealth, accessible and affordable public services, basic civil freedoms and political participation and representation. Oxfam IBIS has been responsible for the sub-program on Access to Information (A2I), aimed at ensuring inclusion and equity for all citizens in Mozambique, particularly the most marginalized groups.
14 local organizations are collaborating with Oxfam to carry out the activities within three areas of work:
- Research and advocacy to hold extractive industries accountable in terms of paying taxes and conducting their business in line with the legal framework and commitments
- Capacity development and events with participation of both duty bearers (parliamentarians) and rights holders (female and male citizens) on rights and duties to share information
- Monitoring the financing and quality of basic public services such as health and education, and advocating g for the improvement of these basic services
- Lobbying for improved access to information, freedom of expression and press freedom as well as training of journalists
The midterm evaluation of the Access to Information sub-program concluded that the initiatives and actions have contributed to a significant increase of access to information and awareness of rights for especially women. Especially in the area of health the program had contributed to increased knowledge on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights, Gender-Based Violence, HIV/AIDS as well as the knowledge/awareness of public servants on the Right to Information Law.
For example, activities in the Zambézia province and Nampula increased the quality of public health services by creating 72 health committees composed of both men and women (with 60% women) to ensure effective monitoring of services provided by public servants. The program has contributed to strengthening civil society capacity in a time where the civic space in Mozambique is closing and the freedom of speech is under threat. As a result of the activities, collaboration between civil society organizations as well as dialogue between citizens and public servants has improved at local, regional and national levels. As the program is coming to an end in 2020 Oxfam and partners are looking at how the results can be sustained. Supported by Sida 2015-2020 200,000,000 SEK (19 m EUR)