Strengthening local governments' capacities in citizen participation processes for a culture of peace (Municipaz)

Strengthening local governments' capacities in citizen participation processes for a culture of peace (Municipaz)

"This project has allowed me to contribute to recuperating pubic space and for peace to return to my community" -Delmy de la Paz Ramírez

Delmy explains how this project is helping the community to improve in social life despite violence. The project contributes to the implementation of strategies and public actions that facilitate citizen participation and are focused on the struggle against violence.

Delmy de la Paz Ramírez

CONTEXT

El Salvador has one of the highest homicide rates in the world. Among its most violent municipalities are Cuscatancingo and Ciudad Delgado, for which Municipaz has defined an inter-municipal violence prevention cooperation strategy as well as the implementation of a cooperation mechanism with a gender perspective that includes creating an inter-municipal violence prevention council.

OBJECTIVES

  • Contribute to the implementation of strategies and public actions that facilitate citizen participation and are focused on the struggle against violence.

RESULTS

  • Promoting a culture of peace through strengthening and involving fundamental actors that are present at the local level, such as municipal governments, central governmental institutions, NGOs, and social organisations.
  • Promotion of youth and women’s participation, recognizing them as drivers of change towards a new social model.
  • The Municipal Violence Prevention Councils are strengthened.
  • Leaders from 17 communities in the border areas between both municipalities participate in training.

FACTS AND FIGURES

  • The project has a total cost of €539 433, of which €480 000 are from the European Union
  • The project's target groups are youth and women in adjacent areas in the 2 municipalities

TESTIMONY

Delmy Ramírez has made it possible for her community to organize against violence, thanks to support from the EU

Delmy is one of many Salvadoran mothers struck by gang violence. Her 18 year old son Daniel was killed in 2013 in his community in the municipality of Ciudad Delgado, which has one of the highest homicide rates in the country. The pain caused by this loss led to Delmy to start a tireless struggle to ensure that no woman ever has to live a tragedy like hers and that no young person’s life is ended in the way her son’s was.

When the Municipaz project, financed by the European Union, began, Delmy got fully involved in its implementation and took on all of the challenges involved in reviving her community’s organization. As a part of this process she became part of the community board of directors, obtaining grants to implement different interventions for social impact especially aimed at girls, boys, youth, and women.

She also took the course titled 'Strengthening local governments in citizen participation processes for a culture of peace,' in the José Simeón Cañas Central American University (UCA), participated in various training processes promoted by the project, such as workshops on leadership, communications, and advocacy, as well as in international exchange programs with community leaders on best practices.

There was a massacre on the soccer field during a game in the same year that Municipaz began. Nobody wanted to use this unique community recreation space that was slowly becoming a dump, but despite this, Delmy took a leading role to face the loss in community dynamics that the fear provoked.

Already having turned into a leader, she managed to reactivate the use of these recreational spaces for healthy cohabitation. One of the most successful actions was the creation of sports schools and values workshops ​​with children and adults, in which different techniques were used to work on empathy, trust, friendship, and love, with a special emphasis on issues like gender equity, sexual health, and dating relationships.

She has infected her neighbours with her leadership, who have new ideas every day for improving their surroundings. Organising sports tournaments, clean up campaigns, setting up a playground, and placing benches and tables to eat outdoors are some of the neighbours’ proposals she is working on. She goes beyond this and also wishes to have a sports centre in the not too distant future.