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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  • 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."

  • Sharing Bread, Sharing Peace in Guatemala

    PEACEBUILDING EN LAS AMÉRICAS — Our general objective of the Peace Basket Project PAN / PAV was to decrease the levels of hunger and violence among the families in greatest need in the communities where the AVP workshops are held. In Guatemala, this project has already helped youth of the School of Peace in San Patricio Amatitlán, a group of women in San Jorge Amatitlán, AVP facilitators, and others in need. Taking the time to talk with people about their experiences and feelings was very emotional. It was difficult to keep the indicated social distance, to wear a mask; not be able to shake a hand, not be able to give a hug. But, we were able to share a word of encouragement, hope, and ideas that are very valuable. We offered a message of peace, through a bifoliate to youth, women and men, the delivery of a basic basket of food and hygiene items.

  • Peace Baskets PAN/PAV Guatemala, Marvelous Magda

    PEACEBUILDING EN LAS AMÉRICAS — "My name is Marvelous Magda. I’m part of the team of facilitators from AVP Guatemala. I live in San Antonio de Aguascalientes, Sacatepéquez State...I want to thank AVP Guatemala for the help it’s offering us, and for thinking of us; and of course I want to thank the Peace Baskets PAV/PAN Project as well, Delia and all the donors that have made it possible for us to receive this financial help so as to be able to buy food and keep us from running short at home. Thank you for helping us even without knowing us, for giving us hope, as well as joy, and for motivating us to go on fighting because life goes on and we need to find a new way forward. So, a ton of thanks, and may God bless you and may God give you back in spades that which you lavish, with so much affection, on us facilitators who in need of so much, today."

  • Vilma Flores Reflects on Peace Baskets and Putting AVP Tools into Practice

    PEACEBUILDING EN LAS AMÉRICAS — I am Vilma Flores, facilitator of AVP in La Ceiba, Honduras.  During this time we have put into practice some AVP tools: Hope for the best, take care of the neighbor, responsible claim, positive affirmations, consensus, creative management of emotions. The three people who live together at home have participated in AVP and have collaborated to relate better. I want to thank this Peace Basket/ PAN PAV project, as we have always seen hunger generate violence.

  • Video: Interview with Raquel, AVP El Salvador Participant from Samaritan House Ministry

    PEACEBUILDING EN LAS AMÉRICAS — Raquel Risueña es un de las principales liderzas del Ministerio Samaritian House que sirven a trabajadoras sexuales en San Salvador, El Salvador / Smiley Rachel is one of the main leaders of the Samaritian House Ministry serving sex workers in San Salvador, El Salvador

  • Peace Baskets Reach Inside AVP Facilitators in Honduras

    PEACEBUILDING EN LAS AMÉRICAS — In Honduras, the surprised and grateful recipients of Peace Baskets included ten AVP facilitators living in prison. As Covid 19 spreads to the incarcerated population, severe depression has set in; the scheme by one resident of the La Ceiba prison to commit mass suicide by poisoning the water was aborted by one of the AVP facilitators.