FNE International has a committee of very dedicated individuals from various backgrounds working on this project both in the United States and in León, Nicaragua. In 2014, they developed a resource inventory of organizations that work with women in the community. They also conducted academic research on domestic violence in León in conjunction with UNAN-León and UCLA. They gathered information on intimate partner violence through focus groups, which included a large sample of community stakeholders, women who have witnessed violence, and victims and survivors of domestic violence. While the entire results of the research are still being gathered and will be shared soon, our preliminary analysis has shown that women’s empowerment through access to education and psychological support are specifically needed in rural areas.
FNE International currently has a presence in León in the area of human rights and the local activist group, Mujeral in Acción, has invited us to participate in the March for International Day of Women on March 6th, 2015. The motto this year is: “Rights and Equality for Women: Peace and Progress for All.”
FNE International & Ixchen-León Collaboration Pilot Project
For over a year, we have been assessing women’s health needs in León and specifically the Comarca of Chacraseca near León. While FNE International has many projects in the area, none directly addresses women’s health, in particular the issues of violence prevention, women’s empowerment, and women’s rights. We have been meeting and making connections with local and international organizations, which have experience in addressing these issues in rural and urban communities.
One of these organizations is Ixchen–a national non-governmental agency in Nicaragua with nine women’s health centers throughout the country, celebrating 25 years in operation. Each center is self-sustaining and provides basic women’s health services, as well as psychological and legal services for women who have been victims of intimate partner violence. The center has a strong health education and outreach program to promote regular women’s health screenings and gender equality.
Intimate Partner Violence in Nicaragua
In Nicaragua, half of all married women have experienced physical, sexual, or emotional abuse at some point during their marriage, but in some cases the violence does not stop there. Within the department of León, there are some existing services for victims, including psychological and legal assistance. However, there are still many gaps to be filled in the struggle against intimate partner violence within the community–gaps that FNE would like to help bridge.
How FNE is addressing Intimate Partner Violence
FNE is currently conducting a study in the department of León on intimate partner violence (IPV) to determine what contribution the community needs to help combat this issue. The goal of this research is to attain a better understanding of the services available to victims and survivors of IPV and to determine what the community sees as the greatest need at this moment. This process involves networking with local stakeholders who are involved in some form in the fight against IPV. These individuals vary from social workers to doctors, psychologists to lawyers. FNE also hopes to get the perspectives of IPV victims themselves. Listening to many points of view is key to understanding holistically what is happening within the community and to assessing where the greatest need lies. As FNE believes in working hand in hand with others and empowering individuals, this research is extremely important. This study ensures that FNE will create a service that is in the community’s best interest and what they deem the top priority in the fight against violence.
How can you help?
In order to conduct the best research study possible, a small budget has been created that covers the costs of materials that will be needed for the next 6 months. This includes things such as audio recorders for interviews, printing costs, as well as snacks and transportation costs for participants. The grand total for this budget comes out to nothing more than $650. With the help of generous donors, FNE is confident that these funds will be raised in no time. Every contribution will help in the fight to end intimate partner violence and to help the women who need it the most.