12 November 2015
Sandra Ramos, the director of MEC, the Maria Elena Cuadra Women’s Movement of employed and unemployed women in Nicaragua visited London and during her 10 day stay was kept very busy. Among the pubic events organised, she gave a talk to LSE students who are members of the Central America Society and the Gender Institute whose interests vary from economics, politics and gender issues. Sandra focussed her presentation on the conditions of women workers in the Free Trade Zones and the work of MEC in support of their labour rights including free legal advice and psycho-social support aimed at addressing the physical and psychological health of women workers in the factories. CAWN hopes to build on the interest of thee students in these issues and will be discussing ways in which they can get involved and support MEC’s work. Sandra also addressed a meeting of the Gender and Development Network hosted by ActionAid, which was received with great interest.
At the World Travel Market, she addressed a meeting on the subject of promoting Gender Equality in Tourism at which she spoke about MEC’s work with rural, indigenous women on Ometepe Island where MEC is supporting the insertion of women in the steadily expanding tourism sector on the island. The event took place on World Responsible Tourism Day and marked an important milestone in placing gender equality firmly on the global Responsible Tourism agenda. During the week, she also met with War on Want project officers, UNISON and UNITE officials, the Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign,) and gave a talk at the Casa Latinoamericana. CAWN also organised a meeting at our offices, which was very well attended by CAWN members, student’s as well as a large contingent of young people recently returned from a volunteer experience in Nicaragua organised by Raleigh International. Their experience in Nicaragua left them feeling a strong connection with the country and a desire to maintain their links in some way. The importance of international solidarity was discussed and Sandra made an impassioned plea for supporting the work of CAWN! She stressed that, without CAWN, she and other representatives of women’s organisations in the region, would not be able to travel to Europe and make links with interested organisations and individuals, which are vitally important, particularly now that Central America and gender equality have dropped off the agendas of many development organisations.
All in all, the trip was very successful and CAWN will be working closely with Sandra and MEC to take forward the ideas and enthusiasm generated by her visit.