Dominican Republic

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New Grants

 

Acción Callejera Fundación Educativa (Acción Callejera), $250,310 over three years; counterpart committed, $243,995.

Acción Callejera will offer classes to 2,700 children in poor neighborhoods in Santiago, teaching or reinforcing academic skills. It will train parents, educators and community leaders to recognize when children are at risk and will organize adults into groups responsible for monitoring conditions in their communities, intervening on behalf of vulnerable children and working toward public policies benefiting children and adolescents. (DR-343)

 

Instituto para la Autogestión y el Desarrollo de Base (INADEB), $348,365 over three years; counterpart committed, $213,170.

INADEB will work with 150 members of the Asociación de Agricultores San José, a
federation of coffee farmers from Palo Alto, Santiago, to improve their production, processing, storage and domestic sales of organic coffee. Farmers are expected to earn more income while increasing forest cover and preserving biodiversity. (DR-344)

 

Núcleo de Apoyo a la Mujer (NAM), $276,350 over three years; counterpart committed, $186,685.

NAM will expand services offered to victims of family, gender and sexual violence, and will strengthen institutional networks dedicated to preventing such violence in Santiago and Moca. The project is expected to benefit 1,385 victims, members of grassroots and nongovernmental organizations and local public-sector employees. (DR-345)

Combating Violence against Women

In 1997, the Dominican Congress acknowledged the prevalence of violence against women with legislation calling for the prosecution and punishment of the perpetrators. That was a significant step forward, but a tragic increase in murders indicates that violence against women remains a scourge that threatens Dominican society.

Núcleo de Apoyo a la Mujer (NAM), a nongovernmental organization founded in 1987, has been working to combat violence directed at women, children and adolescents and was consulted on the drafting of the 1997 law. NAM offers the victims of abuse access to legal and psychological support and educational services. Its office is located in Santiago de los Caballeros, in the Cibao region, where Minerva, Patria and María Teresa Mirabal, known as “the Butterflies,” formed their movement in opposition to the authoritarian regime of Rafael Trujillo, who ruled the country from 1930 until his assassination in 1961. Much admired during their lifetime, the sisters became revered after they were brutally murdered on Nov. 25, 1960, for their activism. So powerfully do the Butterflies symbolize women’s resistance to oppression and injustice that the United Nations General Assembly selected the date of their death to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

An IAF award to NAM in 1995 (DR-254) supported the founding of the Movimiento de Vida Sin Violencia [Movement for Life without Violence] (MOVIDA), a network of organizations dedicated to stopping the violence. NAM will use its current award to extend its services in Santiago and Moca and to continue the work of MOVIDA and Centro de Ayuda a la Mujer (CAM), a service center for rural women from the province of Espaillat. Specifically, NAM will offer training in the prevention of violence to representatives of nongovernmental and grassroots organizations, who will learn to analyze the prevalence of violence in their communities, to identify victims of abuse and refer them for services, and to monitor their cases through the justice system. NAM’s training will focus as well on members of youth networks, who will then train other young people. In partnership with the Dominican Bar Association, NAM will launch training for lawyers on the rights of victims. Former clients will work as volunteers providing legal and psychological support. Regularly scheduled meetings with municipal authorities, prosecutors and representatives of NGOs that address violence should result in stronger protective services. NAM’s volunteers expect to issue regular reports confirming whether all parties have honored their commitments.

Alexis Toussaint, IAF program staff assistant