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Cablegate: Nicaragua S/Gwi Project Proposal


DE RUEHMU #0240/01 0532247
O R 222246Z FEB 10



E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Nicaragua S/GWI Project Proposal

REF: 09 STATE 132094

1. Embassy Managua submits the proposal below for S/GWI's consideration for funding through its small grants initiative (reftel). The proposal is from the Nicaraguan Women's Autonomous Movement (Movimiento Autonomo de Mujeres, MAM) and focuses on the promotion and defense of women's civil rights, but would by its nature reach a broader community. The proposal supports the Mission Strategic Plan's top priority - i.e., help the Nicaraguan people preserve and strengthen democratic space and institutions. MAM is known to the Embassy and has a proven track record of not only promoting women's rights, but promoting democratic values in the general population. As various civil society groups begin to coordinate their efforts to counter an increasingly authoritarian government, MAM has been an instrumental player in the creation and operation of the civil society network Citizens' Union for Democracy (Union Ciudadana por la Democracia, UCD). For these reasons, Embassy Managua fully supports S/GWI's funding of MAM's project. Following is the proposal as presented by MAM.

The Problem

2. The marked deterioration of democratic institutions in Nicaragua has significantly affected women's ability to exercise their rights. Violence against women has become institutionalized, evidenced by the permanent harassment of women's movements and the political persecution of these movements' leaders. In 2008 the government targeted MAM and other organizations critical of the government, filing trumped up charges of money laundering. Any women's organization or women leaders critical of the government are quickly harassed physically or through government-friendly media, which attack the personal lives of these women.

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3. In 2009, Nicaragua witnessed a deepening of the country's political crisis, which began in 2008 with the collapse of rule of law following the country's fraudulent municipal elections. This fraud led not only to the political polarization of the population, but brought about the risk of potential violence as the only means to resolve conflicts. Traditional democratic space that provided citizens the ability to interact with its government and affect public policy has been replaced with the hegemonic Citizen Power Councils (CPC). The CPC structure, imposed on the people by the governing party, does not provide for citizen participation, but rather acts as a partisan force that eliminates public participation and provokes power conflicts at all levels (national, departmental, and local). Adding to this governance problem are the effects of a deteriorating economy, the increasing levels of poverty, judicial insecurity, unemployment, forced immigration, and violence. All these factors lead to the loss of citizenry and places at risk the construction of a democratic culture which could permit the country's development.

4. In Nicaragua, it is necessary to strengthen women's and the public's understanding of civic and political rights and responsibilities, as provided in the constitution. This would help re-establish the rule of law and provide the conditions for judicial security, which in turn would allow citizens to exercise their rights. It is thus fundamental to promote public dialogue on the importance of a democratic system that provides for a balance among all the sates' powers, and helps re-establish a dialogue between the government and the governed.

5. The grave state of Nicaragua's democratic institutions requires civil society to strengthen the public's ability to critically analyze the country's situation. With this in mind, this proposal seeks to promote civic activism in women and the general population through (1) the development of public space for dialogue and political debates among the citizens, and (2) the establishment of a communications campaign to increase awareness of citizens' rights and the need to defend these rights.

6. MAM's network of women leaders at the national and local level will provide the focal point for the successful development of a coalition of various actors working to halt the return of anti-democratic models in Nicaragua. MAM is committed to the defense of democracy in Nicaragua, as without a democratic system and progressive forces, it is impossible to advance women's rights.

Proposal Summary

7. Given the current deterioration of democratic institutions in Nicaragua, MAM is focused on constructing an active citizenry through raising political awareness and establishing a public dialogue that promotes the exercise and defense of human rights. This proposal is focused on strengthening the civic and political rights of women, and the Nicaraguan public in general, by increasing people's ability to defend their rights. The proposal is based on developing public spaces for dialogue and political debate, and fostering public opinion capable of critically analyzing the situation that leads to civic activism. In raising public awareness of the deterioration of Nicaragua's democracy, key actors will commit to strengthen the country's democratic institutions and governance. As mentioned earlier, the traditional means for public discourse have been closed by the governing party's CPCs, requiring alternate mechanisms. These public fora for debate will provide the public and civil society an arena from which to affect public policy.

8. The proposal includes a communication campaign, including
radio, television and social media. This will help raise awareness
with the public and promote civic activism. In MAM's experience,
the public will only act to defend or demand institutional change
when the society is aware or understands the gravity of the
situation. The proposal will facilitate coordination among the
various actors at the local and national level.

The Project: Activities & Outcomes

9. General: Promote women and the public's ability to exercise their civic rights, through public dialogues and debates that seek to defend democratic institutions.

10. Indicators: Women and general population strengthen their understanding of civil and political rights. Develop citizens ability to defend their rights. Women's leadership supports and facilitates the ability of the population to positively affect democratic systems.

11. Objective 1: Develop processes for dialogue and debate among the population, nationally and locally, focused on respect and promotion of democratic institutions.

- Qualitative Indicators: Greater understanding of the importance of democratic institutions for the country's development. Citizens gain ownership of their civil and political rights and defend these rights.

- Expected Outcome: Strengthened alliances to protect and defend the state's institutions from political influences.

- Qualitative Indicators: Citizens gain ownership of their constitutional rights, particularly civil and political rights, and defend these rights. Leaders from different sectors participate in the public dialogues and debates on democratic institutions.

- Quantitative Indicators: At least 100 leaders (minimum 50% women) participate in the national fora. At least 50 leaders (minimum 50% women) participate in the local fora.

- Activities: Fora for public dialogue and debate - these spaces will provide the ability to share perspectives and analyze the situation, identify key actors, and enhance the formulation of action plans to affect political parties or decision-makers.

o 1.1: Develop spaces for public dialogues with key national and local actors.

o 1.2: Three national forums on the defense of democratic institutions.

o 1.3: Eight departmental/local fora to develop alliance networks to defend democratic institutions.

12. Objective 2: A communication campaign directed at the general population, but focused on women, on civil and political rights. The campaign would lead to a sense of ownership and self-defense of these rights. The campaign will highlight the importance of respect for these rights and the link between respect for civil rights and democratic institutions.

- Qualitative Indicator: Women and men increase their understanding of constitutional rights. The citizens assume the responsibility for defending these rights and democratic institutions.

- Quantitative Indicators: At least 24 radio stations program spots in defense of constitutional rights. At least 8 television stations (3 national and 5 local) provide spots on constitutional rights. At least 10,000 copies of the constitution (pocket size) are distributed in forums.

- Expected Outcome: Through a greater understanding of civil rights, and the promotion of civic activism, women and men will mobilize to defend democratic institutions and their constitutional rights.

- Activities: development of a communication campaign in defense of constitutional rights and democratic institutions.

o 2.1: Production and recording of radio spots.

o 2.2: Programming of radio spots.

o 2.3: Production and recording of television spots.

o 2.4: Programming of television spots.

o 2.5: Reproduction and distribution of pocket-sized constitutions.


13. The total budget for the proposal is $100,000, which includes:

- Activity 1.1 Development of spaces for public dialogues - $2385

- Actvitiy 1.2 Three national fora - $4155

- Activity 1.3 Eight local forums - $12400

- Activity 2.1 Production of radio spots - $300

- Activity 2.2 Programming of radio spots - $19200

- Activity 2.3 Production of television spots - $2000

- Actitivy 2.4 Programming of television spots - $10000

- Activity 2.5 Reproduction and distribution of constitution - $3400

- Subtotal for direct costs: $53840

- Two Full-time personnel - $41220

- Administrative costs - $4959

- Total indirect costs: $46179

- Total: $100,019

14. A more detailed budget will be provided septel to S/WGI.

The Organization

15. The Nicaraguan Autonomous Women's Movement (Movimiento Autonomo de Mujeres, MAM) is a social and political movement that promotes equality, liberty and solidarity, with the objective of developing a democratic political, economic and social system. MAM is comprised by individual women as well as women's organizations and has been working in the area of women empowerment, with a focus on civic participation and activism, for the several years. MAM seeks to provide women with a sense of citizenship that allows them to exercise their rights and responsibilities, including demanding changes in public policies that guarantee civic and political rights and decreases social inequalities (particularly inequalities based on gender). This empowerment includes the understanding that a person's rights are not limited to a vote in an election, but extend to providing oversight of these officials once in office. MAM is committed to the defense of democracy in Nicaragua, as without a democratic system and progressive forces, it is impossible to advance women's rights.

16. In the management of the program, MAM would be supported by the Center for Information and Advice in Health Services (Centro de Informacion y Asesoria en Servicios de Salud, CISAS). CISAS is a non-profit organization established in 1983. Since its founding, CISAS has worked based on a strategy of attention to primary health and education, with an emphasis on social communication. It firmly believes in the promotion and defense of economic, social, cultural and environmental rights with a focus on community health. In all its work, CISAS has promoted the development of alliances and networks among groups, organizations , institutions, and private citizens.

Embassy Support

17. Embassy Managua fully supports MAM's proposal as it supports the Mission Strategic Plan's number one priority of defending the country's democratic space.


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