Legal protection centers to combat a culture of violence


San Lucas and El Paraíso de Celén, Province of Loja

Partner organization: CASMH – Centro de Acción Social Matilde Hidalgo – Loja is a division of the provincial administration under the vice-prefect and deals with social issues. CASMH has a lot of experience with social projects and is well connected and recognized.

Project description: In the past years Ecuador has put more emphasis on the protection of children and youths. Where the people are not aware of protective provisions, however, they cannot be implemented. In rural communities particularly, there is a big need for basic information about the rights of the people concerned. CASMH’s project is specifically adapted to the needs and circumstances in indigenous communities.

The integration of the disadvantaged families and local institutions ensures that the local problems are addressed adequately. Parents, family members, teachers, doctors, nurses, social workers, neighbors, bus drivers, journalists etc. are encouraged to report and prevent legal infringements. In remote, barely connected communities, the laws protecting children and youths are not sufficiently known and implemented. This is where the project comes in: The legislation should be made visible, put into practice in daily life and violations pointed out, alternatives pointed out, and infringements also punished; eventually resulting  in a fundamental change in attitude.

Local authorities and organizations are tied in. Specific problems are addressed in collaboration with the people concerned; awareness of children's and youths' rights is raised and an action plan developed, based on their priorities. Community advocacy is thus introduced, the local centers take an active role, establish plans, draw up bylaws and jurors are sworn in. They see to it that the children’s and youths’ rights are respected within the community, hold discussions in case of infringements and report them to the authorities, if there is no willingness to adapt the behavior.

Contribution apia: apia's contribution covers staff salaries.

Project coordinatr: Ruth Oberli Rossbacher

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