Peacebuilding en Las Américas

Partners Energized by Peace Baskets (PAN PAV) Project!

by Monica Maher, Initiative Coordinator PLA

Peacebuilding en las Américas (PLA) partners are energized and filled with hope due to their Peace Baskets (PAN PAV) project which offers them the opportunity to address the multiple viruses their societies are facing, including the hunger virus and the domestic violence virus. The virtual appeal has gone out and been well received so far. Honduras will be the first country to begin implementation next week; like everyone in Honduras, our partner, Ondina Murillo, is only allowed only to go out two days a month as assigned by the government. El Salvador and Guatemala will begin implementation soon afterwards.

The Peace Baskets will be delivered to families in economically marginalized and high-conflict urban neighborhoods (Red Zones) and will include food, disinfectants, hygiene items, messages of peace and emergency contacts. Women, men and youth in many of these families have been trained in the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP). Recipients of the baskets will be encouraged to pass on the peace to others through sharing food and messages of peace with their loved ones and neighbors. Colombia and Ecuador will be the next countries to begin this project; in Colombia, the focus will be migrant families and in Ecuador, indigenous families.

Under States of Exception and severe lockdowns, all partner countries are vulnerable to human rights violations. We have seen flagrant abuse of civil rights, including the use of tear gas and live bullets to disperse women and children seeking food (Honduras), assassinations of community leaders and their families (Colombia), arbitrary arrests and incarceration of informal sector workers (El Salvador) and police repression of the LGBT community (Ecuador). The regional situation is ripe for continuation of State abuse on multiple levels with little recourse for redress. Salomón Medina, National Coordinator in El Salvador, was held with 36 others in a State-sponsored detention center in San Salvador for 39 days upon return from Ecuador. He describes manipulation and threats by authorities as well as the non-violent collective actions taken to gain release; such iron-hand policies of the government have only increased.

Our partners extend deep gratitude to all for their moral, spiritual and financial support. Please continue to hold them in the light. Gracias!

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  • AVP Workshops in Peace Schools of Guatemala (Oct. 2019-Oct. 2020)

    PEACEBUILDING EN LAS AMÉRICAS — A year in review (Oct 2019-2020) of Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) Guatemala in schools working with youth and teachers. Five workshops with youth occurred between October 2019 to March 2020. In the educational centers in Amatitlán and Villa Nueva, Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) workshops were carried out with students between 13 and 25 years-old. Also, AVP Facilitators had a workshop with the teaching staff of The New Life Mixed Educational Project of the Dominican Sisters of the Rosary. The Sisters house 296 children, ages 5 to 12.

  • Virtual Celebration for International Day of Peace and Nonviolence!

    PEACEBUILDING EN LAS AMÉRICAS — We had the joy of meeting AVPers from across Latin America. Participants form Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Colombia, Honduras, Bolivia, Brazil, and Peru joined us in this virtual celebration of the International Day of Peace and Nonviolence. It was a very beautiful time, sharing enriching experiences in the contribution of peace and non-violence from our contexts. It was also a special time where each AVPer shared their creative peace.

  • PLA Coordinators Facilitate the First Virtual AVP Basic Workshop in Spanish

    PEACEBUILDING EN LAS AMÉRICAS — This week, the first virtual AVP Basic Workshop in Spanish will successfully come to completion. There have been 3 facilitators and 15 participants from 8 countries (Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru). Due to weak internet and work emergencies, some participants have not been able to be fully present.  Still, the response has been wonderfully affirming.  

  • Ray of Hope in Baskets for Peace, Colombia

    PEACEBUILDING EN LAS AMÉRICAS — "I am a Persistent Patry and I want to share what this project "BASKETS OF PEACE- PAV/PAN" has meant to me. Six months ago, I thought that my work with the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) would have a fairly long break because this Covid 19 pandemic totally disrupted my work schedule this year, which was quite broad and included AVP workshops and gatherings of growth based on non-violence with children and young people. Then, a ray of hope emerged when in the team of national coordinators together with Mónica Maher, our Initiative Coordinator, we dreamed of this basket project by PAV/PAN."

  • PAV/PAN Peace Baskets Honduras Phase II

    PEACEBUILDING EN LAS AMÉRICAS — The distribution of the baskets was made through personal deliveries in an agreed place. In some cases, the baskets were sent with the help of a facilitator and a person who has private transportation. 30 baskets were distributed among the 30 families, plus a message of peace and hope. It goes without saying that each of the beneficiaries expressed their gratitude to all the people of good will who without knowing them made it possible for them to have this joy and hope. I feel very full and happy to be part of this new initiative of the Alternatives to Violence (AVP) program. When I see the need of the people, their gratitude, and AVP’s genuine response to this new reality that we face today, I feel blessed.

  • Peace Baskets: Damaris Plants Seeds and Sells Cinnamon Rolls  

    PEACEBUILDING EN LAS AMÉRICAS — Damaris, an Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) Honduras Facilitator, is making cinnamon rolls and bread to sell with the flour she received in the PAN/PAV Peace Basket. She also used the seeds to begin planting her garden. Each person who receives a basket in La Ceiba, Honduras receives seeds in addition to food, cleaning supplies, and pamphlets. The person dropping off the basket explains checks in on the family and provides some basic tips on planting. 

  • PAN/PAV Peace Baskets: Emanuel Lopez Starts a Small Business Selling Donuts 

    PEACEBUILDING EN LAS AMÉRICAS — Using the flour he received from the PAN/PAV Peace Baskets, Emanuel Lopez began a small business selling donuts in his community to help his family during the pandemic. Emanuel is a 20-year-old student living in La Ceiba, Honduras with his mother and little sister. His mother can no longer work due to health issues, so he has found a resourceful way to make money using the Peace Basket he received as a base.

  • Kichwa Women Leaders in Cotacachi Deliver Peace Baskets to Community

    PEACEBUILDING EN LAS AMÉRICAS — Ecuador is one of the countries in South America hardest hit by Covid-19. Peacebuilding en las Américas (PLA) partners in Ecuador are now enthusiastically engaged in the Peace Baskets project in order to address the dire effects of the Covid-19 lockdown: widespread hunger and domestic violence. PLA's partners in Ecuador are Kichwa women leaders in Cotacachi, a town in the Andean Highlands, who have been trained in the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP). Through the Peace Baskets project, they are reaching out to Kichwa women-headed households, women victim-survivors of domestic violence, and large families with elders to offer basic food stuffs, disinfectants, and messages of motivation and peace.

  • Families in Marinilla, Antioquia, Colombia Benefit from Peace Baskets PAN/PAV

    PEACEBUILDING EN LAS AMÉRICAS — "This PAN/PAV Peace Baskets project has been a valuable opportunity for us to get closer to the reality that our people are living. People are affected by the different pandemics here including violence, Covid, displacement, unemployment, among others. As AVPers (PAVISTAS), we approach this reality with sensitivity and solidarity while being bridges to make it possible for the material bread and the bread of the word to be signs and instruments of hope. Several displaced and refugee families have benefited from this project, the expressions of gratitude and joy they expressed upon receiving the baskets were very diverse. Some even had gestures of surprise and solidarity by sharing part of their basket with other people as well."

  • Peace Baskets PAN/PAV Guatemala, Luminous Luis 

    PEACEBUILDING EN LAS AMÉRICAS — "I am grateful to AVP Guatemala in the person of its coordinator, Lorena, who has always seen to my wellbeing through messaging, phone calls, and uplifting and encouraging words as these apply to my current situation. Well, it fills me with joy to know that though, owing to the current health situation, I may have had to temporarily retreat from full participation in the AVP workshop routine, people continue to show they’re interested in me by asking regularly how I am and how I’m doing, [and thereby] showing their sensitivity to the fact that I’ve got a family to support. Yes, it’s very nice to know there are people who feel led to call spontaneously, or to message me for one reason or another."