From gender-empowerment to agro-ecology, to human-rights based approach to solving social issues, these are the specific areas of development I have been working on for the last three (3) months with an international development organization in Waterloo, Ontario called World Accord. I must confess these are not my core areas of interest in development, but working on this project/training manual with the best guidance and counseling one can possibly get in a workplace, has made me knowledgeable and given me a deep insight into an aspect of development which forms the core and foundation of most social issues in countries of the global south and the entire world as a whole.
I have spent the last three months creating a gender empowerment/agro-ecology training guide for our partners in Honduras, using a human rights based approach in partnership with another international development organization called USC Canada, this workshop/training manual is for a region in Honduras called Santa-Barbara.
The situation in Honduras today is very critical, social and political issues that should be given more international attention are prevalent in the nation, which is home to barely 8 million people but has one of the highest homicide/femicide rates in the world. In 2012, Honduras had the most murders per capital of any country in the world – 90 homicides for every 100 thousand people. Amongst these mainly included women, who have consistently been victims of domestic violence and other forms of femicide. According to a report by PBS news in 2015, thirty percent of Honduran women say they’ve been abused, and the murder rate among women has more than doubled from 2005 through 2013. Homicide violence reached a peak in 2012 with an average of 20 homicides a day.
Asides the gang violence caused mainly by drug trafficking, one can attribute the gender violence in Honduras to the Machismo culture prevalent in the region, as well as an effective and corrupt government and judicial system. It is often said that in Honduras, men can do anything to women, this unfortunately in recent times has proven to be sad but true.
The goal of the workshop/training which I have been working on with direct supervision and guidance from my supervisor and the other lovely members of staff at World Accord, is to empower women in the city of Santa-Barbara, Honduras where there exist a high rate of femicide by training/equipping women them with the necessary skills they need to be able to participate in agricultural and livestock activities which is the primary economic activity in the region and also, by educating the men on the importance and advantage of women empowerment, whilst doing all of these using a Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA). A Human right-based approach is simply involves carrying out development initiative(s)/work(s) based on the international human rights standards and operations set by the UN for promoting and protecting human rights
At the start of my internship, like every normal person undertaking a work activity in a field they are unfamiliar with, I was nervous because I could not really see the vision or understand the process the organization was trying to take towards achieving this goal, thus I was a little lost at first. But one month down the line, after researching as much as I could and constantly asking questions related to the topic from my wonderful supervisor by the name Isabelle Hachette, I had a full understanding of the task to be accomplished and how to go about it. The workshop guide/manual which was intended to be completed in four months was able to be done in approximately three months as a result of help in form of resources and feedback I got from the Managers of development projects in Asia and Central America at USC Canada.
On the last day of my internship, my supervisor evaluated me based on my work and activities during the time I spent there, she also gave me the opportunity to evaluate her, with regards to the task assigned, the guidance/education received, the feedback/communication etc. even though the department at the University of Waterloo for reasons best known to them did not request for any form of post-internship evaluation or feedback. Overall, I must say it was a wholesome experience that I am grateful for being given the opportunity to undertake.
Oluwalayomi and Isabelle Hachette (supervisor)
Left to Right – Isabelle Hachette, Oluwalayomi, David Barth and Ann