A few decades ago, Seattle’s relationship with Central American nations like El Salvador, Nicaragua or Guatemala was perhaps most defined by this community serving as a haven for refugees in the nationwide sanctuary movement for people fleeing the violence of the civil wars.
On Tuesday, at Microsoft’s Redmond campus, I attended a meeting sponsored by the Seattle International Foundation (one of Humanosphere’s sponsors, I should note) called the Central America Donors Forum which illustrated how much things have changed — and how much still needs to change.
Like most such meetings, this one largely featured people standing up at the lectern talking about what they do. I would argue that you don’t really need a meeting for that. Just tell people to read your website mission statement.
But further discussion at this all-day confab — which was aimed at creating new collaborations among attendees — did provide, for me anyway, a new insight:
Much of the aid and development community seems to ignore the needs of Latin America.
“There’s been real progress made in Central America, but we are now at a moment of significant urgency and crisis,” said Mauricio Vivero, executive director of the Seattle International Foundation (aka SIF). “For just one example, the rates of violence against women in Central America are higher than anywhere else in the world outside a war zone.”