Weaving Bridges of Support
By Miriam Alejandra Camas, Program Manager FCAM
The gathering Migration, Human Rights and Gender: Experiences working with girls, adolescents and young women, was a space that centered the value and privilege of contributing to building a movement between the countries of Central America, Mexico and the United States, at the intersection of these overarching themes.
More than 25 organizations that work to defend the human rights of migrants and the human right to migrate or not migrate, met in Suchitoto, Cuscatlán, El Salvador on May 27-28, 2019. The objective of participating in this gathering was to reflect on the situation and experiences of working with girls, adolescents and young women with migration in the various participating countries. It created a safe space in which everyone could build trust and share their ways of working every day in distinct contexts, borders and populations in solidarity.
In Central American countries, where poverty, violence and authoritarianism are factors that determine the mobility of populations, it’s clear that diverse girls, adolescents and young women suffer more from the impacts of decisions made by their families and the State, and the actions of organized crime. This is why, for FCAM as well as other participating funds (Fondo Semillas, HIP, Global Fund for Children and Neo Philanthropy), during these times, it was crucial to have the chance to bring together diverse partners to share their experiences and ideas. To build bridges of substantial support that allow important changes in migration policy agendas and especially, in the lives of girls, adolescents and young women.
For FCAM, this ongoing dialogue becomes essential in such difficult circumstances, because not only is there a decrease in funding for efforts in support of women’s human rights in migration in Latin America and the Caribbean, but there is also an ultra-conservative coordinated effort to position a xenophobic narrative in order to set back the rights of women and girls, while request for refuge, forced displacement and criminalization of migrants increases.
At the gathering it also became necessary to include a political analysis of gender in the reflections, because it allowed for identifying how this analysis molds each stage of the migration experience, and formed a foundation for creating strategies that mitigate the consequences or get at the root causes of migration. We were also able to reflect on how gender influences reasons for migration, destination and how to do migrate, opportunities and resources available at the destination, risks and vulnerabilities, as well as roles, expectations and power relationships that affect the lives of girls, adolescents and young women.
The chance to go deeper into this analysis made the event a place to explore different ways to organize, with multiple possibilities for creating alliances that promote concrete demands, activate local and regional responses, and identify global opportunities and priorities for protecting the human rights of migrants.
The meeting became not only a place to reflect, rethink and share work strategies, but also a place where solidarity, respect and kindness paved the way for strengthening the desire to weave democratic, responsible and collaborative ways to enhance the agency of girls, adolescents and young women in the migrant experience.