Projects Funded in 2011:

Asociación Cooperativa de Servicios Múltiples Ignacio Martín-Baró
Jayaque, El Salvador

Of El Salvador's 7 million inhabitants, an estimated 2 million live in the United States. The 12-year civil war left approximately 70,000 dead. Poverty and economic exclusion that led to that conflict persist and social violence has intensified. The municipality of Jayaque, where Ignacio Martín-Baró served as a pastor during the 1980s, is no exception. Violence related to gangs and/or associated with drugs and extortion, primarily committed by youth, is increasing, and the principal victims are youth themselves. Most families are relegated to work in maquilas, construction, or domestic service, and rely on remittances from their family members living in the United States. Internal migrants from previous conflict zones including Chalatenango and Morazán have moved to Jayaque which is vulnerable to natural disasters, earthquakes, and mudslides.

Strengthening the psychosocial capacities of women, youth and children seeks to enhance community engagement through recruiting youth volunteers who will join project staff to diagnosis and assess community problems. Community members will prioritize the most pressing issues and collaborate in developing interventions under local leadership. Project staff include Jayaque residents who were recipients of university scholarships through the Ignacio Martín-Baró Cooperative and are now "returning home", giving back to neediest in their communities through community-based participatory research, youth training, and mental health resources. [See , for more information about the Cooperative]

Dolores Medina Foundation
El Salvador

The Dolores Medina Foundation is a small organization working in the Colonia Guatemala section of San Salvador, El Salvador. A Catholic-based group directed by a nun, their pre-existing program is a residential and programmatic one that engages street children in a five stage program to get them off the streets. This begins with engagement while in the streets, then progresses through the Dolores Medina residential program and ultimately leads to reintegration of the child with his or her family.

The support of the Martín-Baró Fund will allow Dolores Medina to implement a school mediation program as well. This program will include a series of workshops in five target schools in their area, bringing together a range of people in the community concerned with homeless children: teachers, police, municipal officials, community leaders and the children themselves. The workshops aimed at the children will cover a range of topics, including leadership development, construction of masculine and feminine identity, assertive communication, self-esteem, conflict resolution, forms of violence, children's rights-related laws, and school mediation processes. Another four workshops will be held with the professionals and community members on topics related to children's rights, conflict resolution, and deconstructing patriarchal and adult-centered strategies. This program will have the dual purpose of creating a participatory framework in which to proactively address causes of homelessness in children as well as creating a network of community members engaged in guaranteeing the rights and protection of children in the area.


In many communities in Pakistan women live in the fear, violence and terror due to the Taliban and military operations; many have become Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) due to the conflict. These women witness human rights violations, including the beheading of people and the hanging of their bodies on the streets, and some women are restricted in their mobility and banned from receiving an education.

Aware Girls, founded in 2002 and based in Peshawar, Pakistan, is a young women-led organization working for women's empowerment, gender equality, and peace in Pakistan. This renewal grant from the Ignacio Martín-Baró Fund will support a new project working with internally displaced women on gender issues. The project's aim is to heal the mental health trauma of women affected by terrorism in Pakistan in hopes these women can move forward in their lives and can contribute to their own development and towards the protection of human rights in their society.

The project will be implemented in the Swat area, a region deeply affected by terrorism. A manual on Trauma and Torture Treatment will be developed which will included resources for trauma treatment, basic human rights, the effects of human rights violations on societies, and educational materials about the social realities which led to the conflict situation in the area. Visit to learn more about the organization.

Rural Missionaries of the Philippines- Northern Mindanao Sub-Region (RMP-NMR)
Iligan City, Philippines

As poverty in the Philippines is rampant, protest movements have emerged throughout the country. The national government, with clear U.S. instigation, hatched the National Internal Security Program (NISP). It did not only exact heavy toll from the civilians caught in armed conflict, but also targeted activist organizations asserting their economic, social, political and cultural rights. Since NISP was implemented in 2004, mostly rural poor human rights defenders have fallen victims of extrajudicial killings sweeping the entire country. All are documented. Thus far, no one has been prosecuted, much less convicted for these crimes.

In 2009, political violence under NISP made its presence known in Northern Mindanao. Undeniably, attacks against human rights defenders and militarization of rural areas inflict much trauma to the citizens. Victims of human rights violations experience mental health concerns directly related to torture, mistreatment, and displacements. Issues relating to mental health not only affect the individual, but families and communities as well. In the rural areas where impunity is at its highest, survivors are experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

RMP-NMR's Healing The Hurt project seeks to (a) create a psychosocial team that will involve grassroots organizations to readily and regularly respond to bourgeoning cases of human rights violation-related mental issues; (b) launch advocacy and networking activities that will lead to creation of support groups for the psychosocial needs of rural poor human rights defenders under attack, their immediate families and communities, especially women and children victims of militarization and displacement; and (c) provide psychosocial services to the target beneficiaries mentioned. The project seeks to regularize the patchy provision of psychosocial services to the affected individuals and areas.

Women Empowerment Literacy and Development Organization (WELDO)

The Women Empowerment Literacy and Development Organization (WELDO) provides psychosocial support to women and children who have been displaced to the cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad by conflict generated by the post-9/11 U.S.-initiated "war on terror" involving Taliban forces and the Pakistani military. The women, fleeing from the conflict-ridden Swat and Waziristan provinces, have been directly affected by human rights violations and threats to their mental health due to the deaths of loved ones, the collapse of essential infrastructures including their homes, witnessing murder and mutilated bodies of those killed, and fear of death. WELDO provides leadership development in camps that house internally displaced people (IDP). They aim to build leaders' capacity to promote basic health, emotional support, financial independence and economic sustainability within the camps.

The Martín-Baró Fund's grant to WELDO will provide support for training IDP leaders selected from the community who will undergo a four-day long session and then help with the distresses of the camp. Specifically, the funds will support two field workers, art kits for therapeutic art sessions, workshops for emotional support, and handouts to promote WELDO's programs.

Women Asylum Seekers Together- Manchester (WAST)
Manchester, England UK

WAST Manchester is one of three WAST organizations in the UK. Its primary goal is to provide a supportive and empowering environment for women asylum seekers. Participants now come from over thirty countries, including Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Congo, Eritrea, Ghana, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Sudan. While the British government has provided asylum since 1999, it has not been sympathetic to women claiming asylum for gender-based persecution. Many barriers make it difficult for women asylum seekers to navigate legal and social systems. In addition to language barriers, poverty, and limited access to social and mental health services, women asylum seekers experience isolation and depression. WAST provides a physical space, travel expense reimbursements, warm meals, and weekly support group meetings.

In the first year of Martín-Baró Fund support, WAST expanded the number of women attending the weekly support group meetings up to 55-60 per week. There were increases in individualized support through one-on-one counseling, phone advocacy, formal counseling, internet access and assistance in dealing with solicitors for small groups of 8-10 women. In addition, WAST set up separate anti-deportation group meetings to help women interested in running anti-deportation campaigns of their own or learning from others. About 15 women regularly participate in these sessions.

With a second grant from the Martín-Baró Fund, WAST plans to introduce monthly access to legal advisers and make private space available on members days so that women asylum seekers are assured confidentiality and privacy as needed. These additions will enhance the support structure that WAST makes available to Manchester's women asylum seekers.