URC COMMITMENT FOR LIFE STORIES FOR CHANGE JUNE 2018; CENTRAL AMERICA

There is much resistance to women’s groups, especially when women want to change things that have always happened or make comments when a municipal committee reject women or youth groups. When a woman participates it can cause friction at home. Violence towards women is increasing and is often alcohol fuelled. The low level of education does not help. There has also been a rise in incest.

Many families face economic difficulties with a lack of resources or family income on which to live. To participate as a volunteer, you need to have some financial stability. In the north, most will work in agriculture or harvesting coffee. Another problem is security and the high rate of homicide. Gang culture is coming into this area and they are working on plans to strengthen youth empowerment and self-esteem. They are working with other NGOs on this.

Municipal council work has become a key action in the process towards a good civil society but can lead to positive and negative experiences. Many think that if a citizen gets involved, they are doing it for a political party. Groups are working on access to public information and transparency. They are making small changes. It is not possible to change things at a national level unless they can do it at a micro level too. Often change needs to begin at the micro level.

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