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What women are up against

Across Mesoamerica, the increasing normalization of violence and a culture of impunity have created precarious realities for women activists and human rights defenders (WHRDs). After a century of violent US interventions and civil wars, the region faces continuous instability created by environmental disasters, both natural and manmade, with the existing states largely captured by corrupt elites complicit with organized crime and extractive industries (oil, gas, and mining) The resulting neo-liberal policies and disregard for human or women’s rights, have shredded public services, exacerbated inequality and ushered in an era of repression and impunity.

Feminist leadership & Collective Protection: Alquimia Schools

Feminist leadership & Collective Protection: Alquimia Schools

Alquimia (alchemy in English) is JASS Mesoamerica’s on-going feminist leadership training and learning program for indigenous and rural women. Through a combination of leadership training, knowledge generation, and alliance building dialogues, along with sustained political accompaniment, JASS seeks to re‐tool and re‐energize activists with more effective skills and strategies for a fast‐changing and risky context. Building on the regional Alquimia school (2013-2016), since 2018 JASS expanded Alquimia to yearly country-level schools in Guatemala and Honduras.

Networks for Collective Protection

Networks for Collective Protection

Since 2007, JASS Mesoamerica has worked with a range of partners through our Alquimia Leadership Schools, the Mesoamerican Women Human Rights Defenders Initiative (IM-Defensoras), and national networks to strengthen and build alliances among diverse WHRDs, their organizations, and their movements at country and regional level, while fostering mutual support and protection. Approaching its tenth anniversary in 2020, the IM-Defensoras, which JASS co-created with five partners, has gained immense recognition (including the 2014 Letelier-Moffit Human Rights Award) and led to advancements in key advocacy efforts.

Solidarity & Influence

Solidarity & Influence

Building solidarity among women across the Americas has been a priority of JASS’ since our founding. As violence continues to spiral, regional problems are being exacerbated, in part, by the illegal flow of weapons and the U.S. funding for the “war on drugs.” As a result, strong activists’ relationships are more important than ever to work together, combine resources, protect victims of violence and activists at risk and mobilize our collective influence for change. Together with allies and partners, we activate global solidarity and advocacy, including media attention and support for urgent cases of violence against women.

Community Voices Amplfied: Tercas con Esperanza Radio

Community Voices Amplified: Tercas con la Esperanza Radio

In Honduras, JASS has long hosted Tercas con la Esperanza (Stubborn with Hope) – a feminist radio program that centers indigenous and rural women’s voices and leadership. The program broadcasts nationally and rebroadcasts regionally (Mexico City), including in areas with limited signal. Through Tercas con la Esperanza, JASS ensures that women’s voices and experiences help shape and reframe media coverage on important social issues throughout the region.



Meet the Team

Orfe Castillo Osorio

Mesomamerica Regional Director
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