A regional ICT workshop with rural and indigenous women activists in Guatemala.
Grantee name: JASS/Just Associates
Mission: JASS/Just Associates is an international feminist organization driven by the partners and initiatives of its regional networks in Mesoamerica, Southern Africa and Southeast Asia. JASS is dedicated to strengthening the voice, visibility, and collective organizing power of women to create a just, sustainable world for all. Our feminist movement-building and popular education strategies combine innovative learning, organizing, communications and action that equip and energize activists, expand alliances and mobilize women’s movements for greater political influence and to ensure the safety of activists in an increasingly risky world. Founded in 2002 as a community of practice by activists, popular educators and scholars from 13 countries, JASS’ generates cutting-edge knowledge about power, movements and change to shape the theory, practice and policies for advancing women’s rights and democratic change. Working with women and diverse organizations in 27 countries, JASS’ agile regional and international structure and processes are designed to support grassroots organizing as well as local-to-global solidarity and action, placing frontline activists and agendas at the heart of our social justice work.
Location: Washington DC, Mesoamerica, Southern Africa, Southeast Asia
Channel Grants: In 2016 Channel made a grant to JASS/Just Associates to support its ongoing movement building work in the Mesoamerica region, specifically to continue strengthening its capacity building, strategic action and advocacy processes with indigenous and rural women. (2016)
In 2015 Channel made a grant to JASS/Just Associates to support their ongoing movement building work in the Mesoamerica region weaving together three broad thematic agendas: Power and Protection of Women Activists, Economic Justice and Resource Rights, and Health, Sexuality, and Wellbeing. (2015)
In 2014 Channel made a grant to JASS/Just Associates to support JASS Mesoamerica’s Alquimia Feminist Leadership School program with indigenous and rural women leading their communities in defense of territories, and the further integration of indigenous and rural women in the Mesoamerican Women’s Human Rights Defenders Initiative. (2014)
In 2013 Channel made a grant to JASS/Just Associates for the purposes of supporting JASS Mesoamerica’s strategies to amplify women’s voices, visibility and organizing power for justice and democracy via a few key priority areas in the coming year: integrated security for women human rights defenders via JASS’s continued leadership and coordination of the Mesoamerica Women’s Human Rights Defenders Initiative, and the training of indigenous women via the Alquimia Feminist Leadership School. (2013)
In 2012 Channel made a grant to JASS/Just Associates for the purposes of supporting continued leadership and coordination of the Mesoamerica Women’s Human Rights Defenders Initiative, and the training of indigenous women via the Alquimia Feminist Leadership School. (2012)
In 2011 Channel made a grant to JASS/Just Associates for the purposes of supporting women’s human rights movement building in Mesoamerica via the Mar de Cambios/Sea Change Feminist Leadership Schools. The grant will support both the Mesoamerica Women Human Rights Defenders Coalition, and the Regional Indigenous Women’s Leadership Training Initiative.
Training for Women Human Rights Defenders: In the face of an increasingly dangerous climate for women human rights defenders (WRHDS or defensoras) in Mesoamerica, JASS is partnering with six national, regional and international women’s and human rights organizations, and working with over 60 defensoras and their organizations from every country in Mesoamerica to:
- Strengthen the skills and confidence of defensoras through women human rights and political training.
- Inform and pressure influential human rights institutions, governments, and the media about the unique risks and violence against WHRD through expanded action research, reporting, social media outreach and mobilization;
- Strengthen collective mechanisms for immediate coordinated response to violations by building and sustaining agile local to global alliances, and links to sympathetic officials;
- Raise public awareness about the vital justice contributions and human rights challenges faced by defensoras, and to end widespread tolerance of abuse and violence against women.
In 2011 the initiative launched a comprehensive training program including a training of trainers, national and regional training, and training with indigenous women. The JASS Mesoamerica regional team of popular educators and human rights experts, with key partners, are developing a curriculum on human rights instruments and tools for protection, risk analysis, and self-defense.
Regional Indigenous Women’s Leadership Training Initiative: Working closely with Guatemalan partner, Sinergia No’j, JASS Mesoamerica has been building a regional learning collaboration with national and regional indigenous women leaders and organizations beginning in 2010 with a communications training. Ongoing regional training workshops bring together the best of indigenous women’s training methodologies with the feminist popular education methods of Mar de Cambios. (2011)
Recognition: The Mesoamerican
Women Human Rights Defenders Initiative, co‐founded in 2010 by JASS
Mesoamerica in collaboration with five partners, was honored in October 2014 with the 2014 Letelier‐Moffitt
International Award for Human Rights. The Initiative works to strengthen and protect women human
rights activists in Mexico and Central America who are attacked and even killed as a result
of their justice work. The Initiative consists of regional and national urgent action networks
in El Salvador, Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras that bring together a range of women
defenders, from women journalists and LBT and feminist activists, to mothers pursuing
justice for family members and indigenous women defending their land against illegal mining.
In June 2014, Alda Facio, advisor to JASS Mesoamerica’s team (and member of WHRI Senior Staff), was appointed to the UN Working Group on Discrimination Against Women in Law and in Practice. As a former Costa Rican judge and an international human rights expert, this appointment recognizes Dr. Facio's extraordinary contributions and commitment to women’s rights around the world. The Working Group is tasked with identifying, promoting and exchanging views on good practices to eliminate laws that discriminate against women and developing a dialogue with States and other actors on laws that have a discriminatory impact.
Photo courtesy of JASS Mesoamerica.