As part of its Digital Native program, the Hivos Central America regional office held two workshop camps for young activists who use digital tools as part as their work. Under the name of “Activistmo”, and with the support of Global Voices, the camps were used as a platform for connecting with tomorrow’s leaders.
25 young people from five countries participated in each camp, the first held in Nicaragua on September 28-30, 2012 and the second in Guatemala on October 19-21. The workshops brought together youth between the ages of 18 and 25 from Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala who use the Internet and digital tools to promote social change, register complaints, organize activism and build participatory spaces. Amongst other activities, training sessions were given on digital rights, internet privacy tools and how to use basic computer programs for greater impact.
“The camp was an excellent opportunity to meet and get feedback on different experiences from young activists in the region. It was a space where they highlighted the importance of the proper use of media & ICT in the daily work of our organizations,” said Natalia Serrano, a Costa Rican activist and leader in the organization ‘The Right to Decide’ (Colectiva por el Derecho a Decidir), an advocacy group for issues such as women’s sexual and reproductive rights.
The camps revealed two particularly pressing issues for regional activism: the need to incorporate innovative elements in campaigns and the lack of opportunities for youth to participate in more structured organizations so they can contribute to their countries’ development. One of the ways to counter these problems is by creating a network of young activists from Central America who, with the support of other young people, can make significant changes in their countries through ICT & new media.
These camps are part of the Hivos initiatives that began in 2011 with the program Digital Natives With a Cause, including the “Digital Natives with a cause?” workshop held in Santiago, Chile in 2011 and the “Conectémonos Centroamérica” workshop held in Costa Rica in the same year.