Annual Reports & Newsletters
Building capacity for positive change
Horizons is a different kind of aid organization. We believe that human beings are at the centre of development and we strive to build human capacity. That means we strengthen the knowledge, skills and abilities of individuals and communities to overcome the challenges they face.
Let me tell you about Iris. A year ago, this young factory worker in Nicaragua knew nothing about her rights as a woman, as a worker, or as a citizen. As a female worker, she faced verbal abuse, threats and discrimination. “Even those of us who have worked for many years cannot be pregnant or take time off to care for sick children,” says Iris. “We are harassed until we quit.”
This same young woman recently went to bat for her work colleagues who had received less holiday pay than they should have. Armed now with conﬁdence, knowledge and skills, she declared to the factory owner, “I am from MEC. Please explain how you calculated this?” The result: her colleagues received their full pay.
MEC is Horizon’s partner, the Maria Elena Cuadra Working and Unemployed Women’s Movement, which has been working to defend the labour rights of women workers for more than 20 years. It does this by educating, training, and literally transforming women like Iris.
Through MEC, Iris was able to attend a roundtable for female “maquila” (sweatshop) workers where she could speak freely about employer harassment. She came to recognize that she’s not alone in her experiences and went on to learn about women’s rights, workplace safety, and labour rights. Now Iris volunteers with MEC and trains others in her workplace.
You can see how well capacity building works. Iris not only understands her own rights, she is now actively defending the rights of others. As knowledge and skills spread, so does the possibility of a better life for women working in factories.
And the same process is happening throughout the South as Horizons supports partner-driven initiatives.
Of course, our ability to build capacity for positive change would not be possible without your support. Thank you from Horizons, our partners and the people in Central America and Mexico, like Iris, who beneﬁt from your deep commitment to people-centred development.
Executive Director, Horizons of Friendship