The first four-year phase of the Gender Equality, Sexual and Reproductive Rights Fund (FED) has finalized, during which time it supported over 75 civil society organizations, trained 700 people, held 15 workshops, carried out 29 research projects and empowered more than 700,000 women in Nicaragua.
The FED was launched in September 2009 as a multi-donor mechanism to support civil society organizations (CSOs) in Nicaragua. This was preceded by a pilot phase that ran from 2006 to 2009 to test the effectiveness of the program.
The project was funded by the governments of Sweden, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Luxembourg, Austria, Germany and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). During these four years, Hivos acted as fund manager and provided technical support to organizations through the Technical Secretariat.
Phase 1 of the project targeted Nicaraguan civil society organizations advocating for issues such as maternal health, abortion, preventing abuse of power and gender-based violence, sexual rights, sexual diversity and legal procedures to report violations. Its most important achievements are:
- A more leading role for Nicaraguan media and non-traditional media in society’s fight to end violence against women. Therapeutic abortion was kept on the public agenda with media coverage about cases affected by its criminalization.
- Increased visibility, strengthening and empowering of newly-formed sexual diversity groups that were still weak. The FED supported movements in Nicaraguan society to achieve equal rights such as marriage and adoption for same-sex couples.
- Helping advocacy groups to lobby and create alliances to push for the adoption of Law 779 (Ley 779), the Integral Law Against Violence Towards Women, and Law 238 (Ley 238), which created the Nicaraguan AIDS Commission (CONASIDA) to guide the national response to AIDS.
“We are aware that despite being satisfied with these achievements, there is still much work to be done because the problems FED addresses are deep-rooted social issues and those are often controversial,” said the Director of the Hivos Central America Office, Dineke van den Oudenalder, at the FED’s closing ceremony.
The FED will continue operating for six more months, funded by the government of Norway, to engage in fundraising efforts to ensure the continuity of the project.