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Women leaders from Peru visit Womankind

photo of Luzmila de la Cruz, Peruvian community leader speaking in London

Luzmila de la Cruz: community leader speaking in London

Last week five women from Womankind’s partners in Peru (DEMUS, FEPROMU and Movimiento El Pozo) visited the UK to raise awareness about their work on securing women’s rights and gender equality in Peru.

During this visit the partners had the opportunity to share the results of their work on strengthening policies and practices on violence against women (VAW) and on improving health by promoting women’s rights.  These multi-year projects are funded by DFID and the Big Lottery Fund respectively.

Dynamic leaders in their communities

The delegation from Peru included the directors of our partner organisations and Betty, an 18-year old community health promoter who volunteers for FEPROMU to raise awareness of HIV and STIs with her peers. Betty has been involved with this project since she was 13, and told us how her experience has helped her develop her leadership skills and confidence.

Womankind was also lucky enough to host Luzmila, a powerful grassroots community leader involved in the project with DEMUS. Luzmila has been working to improve services and policies around VAW in her district in Peru for over 30 years. Betty and Luzmila shared their experiences on their direct involvement in the work we support in Peru during several meetings and presentations, bringing the voice of grassroots women to the UK.

How does the UK deal with violence against women?  Impressions from our Peruvian partners

“For most of us it was our first trip to London and we were a bit concerned about finding our way around the city. When moving around in the city and on our way to Womankind office, the use of tube trains has impressed us very much, since in many regions of our country there are no trains. We had to be very attentive and quickly learn how to read the London map.  However, we are very grateful for the Womankind welcome as well as their kindness and sympathy.

“Violence against women, in any stage of life, is similar in many countries”

During our visit to the UK we had the opportunity to attend several meetings, and we can say from what we learned from the local governments and other women’s organisations in London that violence against women, in any stage of life, is similar in many countries. However, we observed a greater response from the government in London to address this problem than in our country, where women have to make demands for their rights in an ongoing and unflagging manner.

We also noticed similarities around the lack of understanding from governments around the multiple forms of violence affecting women, and the tendency to address only some of these forms, often leaving out the mental health needs of women victims of violence.  Unfortunately we also felt that due to the economic crisis governments across the world are responding by cutting the resources for women’s needs.

“The women of Peru and England share a common cause”

This visit has been a great opportunity for us to share our work as women’s organisations, our achievements and challenges. We were happy to share how Womankind’s projects are empowering us to solve the problems we face and we are very happy to know that that our experiences and testimonies will be shared with other women internationally, as this gives us more opportunities to help other women and girls.

At the end of the week, we left London with one reflection: that the women of Peru and England share a common cause: to promote the recognition of women’s rights and women’s greater participation in political life.”

Please donate today to help ensure the vital work that Betty and Luzmila do can continue.

Post by Cristiana Conte