Our decision to support a regional program allows us to tap into the deep-seated aspiration in the region to work together among countries to develop regional solutions to shared problems. In phase one of this program (2005-2008), CWS confirmed that supporting a regional program instead of four separate projects allowed for a more rational use of limited human and financial resources (including CWS staff time for accompanying partners and project administration).
CWS chose these countries in part because they represent several contexts and sub-regions (Central America, Brazil, Caribbean and Southern Cone) and contexts of the Latin America-Caribbean region—which makes program-based exchanges especially rich. Furthermore, each country brings special strengths to the table. For example, Uruguay has a longstanding tradition of participation in regional networks and platforms related to human rights and children’s issues in particular, while Nicaragua has an extremely active civil society with a Children’s Rights movement that has influence throughout Central America.
We chose these partners because of the quality of their programs and their commitment to the defense and promotion of human rights and the rights of children. Each has demonstrated its ability to leverage local resources and participation. Their services are integral, avoid assistentialism, and shore up their policy advocacy. They exercise leadership and influence in their communities and their networks. At the same time, they are open and generous about sharing their insights, contacts and methodologies, which is key to the success of a regional program. These partners are active in their sub-regions (which reflect the natural subdivisions in many Latin American networks), ensuring our ability to articulate widely throughout the region. Finally, each relates to CWS on equal footing, in a mutually challenging relationship.