Legal protection centers to overcome a culture of violence


San Lucas und El Paraíso de Celén, Provinz 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. Matilde Hidalgo, a feminist, was one of the first doctors in Ecuador. CASMH has a lot of experience with social projects and is is well connected and recognized

Project description: In the past years Ecuador has made great progress with regard to legislation pertaining to the protection of children and youths. Where the people are not aware of protective provisions, they cannot be implemented. Based on the positive experience resulting from the CASMUL project, CASMH has adapted their approach to the specific conditions and requirements of the indigenous population. Especially in rural communities there is a big need for basic information about the rights of the people concerned.

The integration of the disadvantaged families and local institutions ensures that the problems are addressed adequately. Parents, family, teachers, doctors, nurses, social workers, neighbours, bus drivers, journalists etc. are encouraged to report and prevent legal infringements. Laws protecting children and youths are not sufficienty known and implemented. This is where the project comes in: The legislation should be made visible and violations punished; resulting in a fundamental change in attitude.

Specific problems are addressed in collaboration with the people concerned; awareness of children's and youths' rights is raised and an action plan developped. Workshops on different issues are organized and contacts to further institutions established, offering help. Community advocacy is thus introduced, the local centers take an active role, establish plans, draw up bylaws and jurors are sworn in.

Contribution apia: apia's contribution covers staff salaries.

Project coordinatr: Ruth Oberli Rossbacher

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