Promoting a Culture of Peace in Guatemala
Mia Mazer, Media and Communications Intern
To commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, our local partner in Guatemala, APROFAM, worked with a women's group to organize a march in Quetzaltenango on November 25th. The event also recognized IPPF's 60th anniversary in honor of the support APROFAM has received through being a part of the regional network.
The march was attended by clinic staff and a group of youth health educators from the area. The crowd moved through the main streets of Quetzaltenango raising awareness and promoting a culture of peace, rejecting all forms of violence. After the march, APROFAM shared information with the media about gender-based violence to make the issue more visible to the public.
APROFAM is a part of an alliance of civil society organizations that work to end gender-based violence. The alliance emerged from a 2011 advocacy project headed by APROFAM that aims to strengthen advocacy in Guatemala and enable the eradication of gender-based violence in the country.
In Guatemala, violence against women is a widespread problem that includes domestic violence, sexual abuse and rape, sex trafficking, and femicide. An average of two women are killed every day, and most perpetrators are never brought to trial.
Two years ago, our Member Associations (MAs) in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador began working together on advocacy efforts aimed at holding governments accountable for providing sexual violence survivors with adequate legal protection and health services. In the context of high levels of violence in the region, sexual and reproductive health services are crucial to avoid sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancy.
The initiative was a fundamental step towards advancing an allied response to effectively protect women and girls from sexual violence. Being a part of the IPPF/WHR network provides MAs with the opportunity to develop strategies to engage decision makers, conduct political analysis, and identify ways to meet unfulfilled needs. The march APROFAM organized in Guatemala is one step in the struggle to improve women’s sexual and reproductive health and put an end to gender-based violence in the country.