International day against violence against women, 2005: Facing violence together.
The municipality of La Pintana is composed mainly of inhabitants who migrated from other communities, temporary settlements or squatters camps, finally settling in the southern zone of the Metropolitan Region of Santiago. While its population includes many families with small children and adolescents, there also is a high percentage of older people. This makes La Pintana a working-class municipality with great needs in regard to infrastructure and public services, especially schools and health-care clinics.
In this setting, the community radio station Siglo XXI, through its program "Palabra de Mujer" (Woman's Word), hosted by Teresa Donoso and Claudia Olivares, developed an opinion poll to determine how community members of all ages evaluated public health care in their community.
The study, entitled "Derecho a una salud saludable" (The Right to a Healthy Health) used a play on words to encourage public discussion of the quality of health of the community's inhabitants.
The aim was to extend the concept of health far beyond the absence of illness, identifying it more with a complete state of physical and social well-being. The main objective of the opinion poll was to draw attention to advances and set-backs in achieving quality of care in primary health, to show how healthcare staff (doctors, nurses, midwives, social workers, etc.) provide care and to gauge the level of information possessed by the public.
In all, 60 women and 36 men were polled, mainly in public places, as the local public health clinics did not allow researchers to conduct the poll on-site. Most of those polled were 41 to 55 years old, followed by 21-30- and 31-40-year-olds.
One set of questions posed in the survey aimed to identify the type of health system used (private, public, charity, other), the procedures and payments required to obtain care and the information that was available. Another series of questions sought to assess aspects of health care such as professionals' degree of respect, time spent with the patient, information provided by the health professionals and the use of clear language, among others. Still other questions referred to the way in which the user received care, whether s/he felt comfortable, discriminated against or satisfied, and if poor care was perceived as violence.
According to its organizers, this interesting project could be followed up with a Manual for Users on How to Demand Quality of Care.
* For more information, contact: Radio Siglo XXI de la Pintana, 107.9 F.M. Los Limoneros 13021, San Ricardo, La Pintana.
Colectivo Pedagogico Luna de Colores (Bogota, Colombia)
The "Colored Moon" Teaching Collective carried out actions that weave together the topics of childhood education, gender, violence against women, health and sexual and reproductive rights. For the campaign coordinated by the Latin American and Caribbean Women's Health Network, the Colectivo used its experience in these areas to conduct a documentary study and opinion poll of childcare workers that was focused on gender-based violence and health in public institutions and NGOs of the Chia Municipality. The project also included a survey of parents and teachers.
The aim of this initiative was to identify the different expressions of gender-based violence affecting children that occur either in private (at home) or in school. It also sought to highlight how violence affects the comprehensive health of women and mothers and is culturally perpetuated in boys and girls, generating a cycle of violence.
The study resulted in a highly interesting document that provided the springboard for an investigative process that will be aimed at raising awareness of the problem within the municipality, with the ultimate aim of contributing to the design of intervention strategies with gender and generational perspectives as part of the public policies in this area. The text begins with general background information on childhood, health and gender in the Chia Municipality, including a series of interviews that contribute anecdotal evidence, as well as methodological instruments used for the study. Also included are questionnaires and outlines of the thematic workshops. The document closes with conclusions and recommendations.
The project, which is an ongoing part of a study in progress, cannot be disassociated from the political situation in Colombia, a country whose decades-long social conflict without a doubt has been responsible for the escalation of violence that penetrates the daily life of its inhabitants.
Additional factors such as poverty, unemployment and forced displacement of families also affect children's quality of life and increase their vulnerability and their mothers' vulnerability to violence.
* For more information, contact: Colectivo Pedagogico Luna de Colores. Bogota, Colombia. Calle 169 N[degrees] 64-47, Bogota, Colombia; e-mail: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Women's Town Meeting in Cuenca Canton (Cuenca, Ecuador)
This town meeting was made possible through the coordination of various organizations working to strengthen women's citizenship. The process strives to foster organizational strengthening, build citizenship in health and defend gender equity, as well as to prevent and eradicate violence against women.
Activities were planned to fulfill the following objectives:
* Raise citizens' awareness in order to promote a culture of non-violence based on respect for women's human, social and political rights.
* Demand that the local government complies with the Plan for the Prevention and Eradication of Violence against Women in Cuenca Canton.
* Denounce the way in which gender-based violence seriously infringes on women's human rights.
A number of programs arose from these objectives, including radio programs on women's rights, radio spots against violence, a press conference and launching of a hotline to support women experiencing violence. In addition, a poster on this issue and an informative newsletter were published.
Two vigils that focused on violence were held with women's networks of the Canton. During these symbolic events, participants rejected abuse and mistreatment and, at the same time, reflected on their structural causes. In the Universidad de Cuenca's School of Medical Sciences, two video forums also were held, and young university students arranged a series of bulletin boards linked to the theme of November 25.
The highlight of the activities was a large public march against violence and in favor of life, with participating delegations from the Red Interinstitucional contra la violencia (Inter-institutional Network against Violence), women's organizations, educational establishments, grassroots organizations, NGOs and some public agencies. The event closed with an artistic presentation.
An important result of the Cuenca town meeting was the ratification of the municipality's commitment to work on the application of the Canton Plan against Violence.
* For more information, contact: Cabildo por las Mujeres del Canton Cuenca, Casa de la Mujer, Calle General Torres 7-45 y Sucre, Cuenca, Ecuador; e-mail: email@example.com.
Agrupacion de Mujeres Tierra Viva (Guatemala City, Guatemala)
In this interesting example of networking for November 25th, a number of groups--the women's group Agrupacion de Mujeres Tierra Viva, together with Alzando voces, AMES, AMVA, CENTRACAP, CODEFEM, CONAVIGUA, Grupo Guatemalteco de Mujeres Medicas, IXKIQ, La Sala, Lesbiradas, KAGLA, Mujeres cristianas, NAREFU, Nuevos Horizontes, Nuestra Voz, OMES and UNAMG--jointly designed a project aimed at defending women's right to live free from violence.
For their press conference presenting political actions of the women's and feminist movement, the groups drafted a press release expressing concern for the escalation of violence against women, especially femicide: between 2000 and 2005, 2,284 women's deaths were reported in Guatemala.
To maximize public impact, participating groups organized a massive caravan to demand women's rights. Almost one thousand people marched to demand effective actions from public authorities to prevent violence against women. The caravan made a number of stops in front of public institutions, including the courts, Congress and the President's Office, brandishing banners and placards alluding to the issue. The event also was used to advance the demand of the women's movement for the Ley de Acceso Universal y Equitativo de los Servicios de Planificacion Familiar (Law of Universal and Equitable Access to Family Planning Services).
Other activities organized in the same context included the well-attended Festival for Women's Lives, celebrated in the city's Central Park with a number of artistic presentations. Participants at this event chanted: Ni un minuto mas de violencia contra las mujeres, ni un minuto mas violencia sexual contra las mujeres, ni un minuto mas femicidios contra las mujeres (Not one more minute of violence against women, not one more minute of sexual violence against women, not one more minute of femicide against women). Finally, this energetic coordination of Guatemalan women's groups also organized a public forum with government authorities in which participants urged officials to take responsibility for women's health and safety.
* For more information, contact: Tierra Viva, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the group's website at www.tierra_viva.org.