Oxfam Canada's program in the Americas focuses on women's rights and gender equality. Oxfam Canada has invested over $4 million in Central America supporting more than 40 partners in Cuba, Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador.
Where We Work
Why the Americas?
Central American countries are among those with the most unequal distribution of wealth in the world. The whole region continues to be environmentally vulnerable, in spite of repeated experiences that show the devastating impact that the lack of prevention and mitigation has on the poorest people. Women are still seen as second class citizens, whose contributions to development are overlooked and whose specific rights are not recognized.
The goal of Oxfam Canada's programs in Central America is to contribute to the capacity of women's organizations and other civil society organizations to defend and promote women's rights, priorities and interests and advance gender equality.
The program is implemented through four components:
- Sustainable Livelihoods
- Rural women face very adverse conditions when trying to make a living from farming. They have less access to land, credit and inputs than men in their families and communities, and they often have to get permission from their husbands to join and participate in organizations.Labour rights
Oxfam Canada's programs in Central America aims to strengthen the capacity of mixed men and women's organizations to improve the livelihoods of campesinos and campesinas in conditions of increased equality.
- In Central America we see that the urban population is growing primarily due to influx to the city of rural populations. Maquilas - "free-trade" industrial zones - have been established at an alarming rate. Urban women, who look to make a living are faced with two choices: the maquila or the informal sector.Leadership and participation
The fact that women constitute the majority of cheap labour in maquilas reflects:
- the unequal relations of power between men and women
- the entrenched ideas about women and their reproductive roles
- Women's lack of employment opportunities, resources and credit
- A large gap exists in the power relations between men and women in the region for several reasons:Gender-based violence
- A gendered division of labour
- male chauvinism
- Low levels of participation from women in public discussion and life
- Women have little access to education
Oxfam Canada aims to strengthen organizations and networks which work to eradicate gender-based violence.
Oxfam has worked with over 40 partners in Cuba, Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador. We support organizations which are developing leadership, working for social economic equality and which are supporting women.