Nicaragua: Campesinas and campesinos together to end violence

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Christian Medical Action is a long-time partner of The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund, active in the mountainous farming region of Nicaragua in the northern province of Matagalpa where there is a dire need for medical services.

Nicaragua is the second poorest country in Latin America, and meeting basic needs is very much a challenge in the daily life of an average campesino farmer.

The campesinas — the women of the community — also struggle with poverty but their burden is magnified by the impact of domestic violence. Gender-based violence is one of the most widespread human rights abuses and public health problems in the world today, affecting as many as one in three women — but is far too often ignored.

Women who have experienced violence tend to have poorer overall health and are certainly less able to be productive in their work. Abused women are at increased risk of unwanted pregnancies, miscarriages and sexually-transmitted diseases. Violence at home traps women and their dependent children in poverty.

Dr Gerardo Gutiérrez, of Christian Medical Action, knows that overcoming gender inequality and ending violence against women cannot be done by working solely with women.

Their program experience has shown that working with men and women together can have a greater impact on beliefs and behaviour so they have begun to actively engage men in their programs.

One significant sign of their success is that almost half of those receiving their services are able to break the cycle of violence. PWRDF is proud to support this life-saving work.