November 13, 2019
On October 23-25, 2019, the Central America Donors Forum was held in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, with over 300 attendees, 100+ panelists, and more than 30 sessions addressing migration, corruption, democracy, economic development, and social movements. It was a fully packed three day gathering where public and private sectors had the opportunity to bridge alliances. Cultural Survival’s Rosy González (Kakchiquel Maya), Indigenous Rights Radio Program Coordinator, and Nati Garcia (Maya Mam), Indigenous Youth Community Media Fellowship Coordinator, participated in the conference.
Since 2012, the Central America Donors Forum has received support and collaboration from Seattle International Foundation to bring together donors, philanthropy, private and public sectors in discussing opportunities in successful development within Central America. This year’s 8th Forum was grounded on the realities of Central America, reflecting on the root causes of corruption and migration, and the impacts on communities. It was a multi-sectoral networking space to learn and exchange experiences in advancing solutions for an equitable sustainable future, themed “Progress at a Crossroads.”
It takes effort in unifying multiple sectors with the international philanthropic community from the ground, governmental, and private levels to make an influential impact. In fostering equitable and sustainable development for communities in Central America, it is vital to be inclusive with the participation of Indigenous Peoples whom are greatly impacted by the corruption and migration crisis occurring in Central America. Potential solutions can be feasible with more participation of Indigenous people at the forum in paving a prospering future. Indigenous Peoples have historucally been excluded and are less frequently involved in the discussions of development processes, and still face political and economic discrimination. Indigenous Peoples can have a profoundly positive influence in leveraging sustainable development and key actors in confronting the realities of their communities. For this reason, it is vital to ensure the participation of Indigenous Peoples in forums such as Central America Donors Forum to strengthen collaborative approaches and advance equitable futures for Central America.
The presence of Maya women from Guatemala beaming in their traditional clothing brought attention and interest from many conference attendees, opening a platform for partnership and collaboration. The closing reception and interview with Sara Curruchich, a Maya Kakchiquel singer, songwriter, and activist for the rights of women and Indigenous Peoples in Guatemala, brought light and reflections. This was a small stepping stone but a large success for the Central America Donors Forum in deepening transparent relationships among diverse sectors of society. More access for Indigenous participation is still needed in generating new knowledge, mechanisms, and economic contribution towards the progress at the crossroads.