FEMINIST INTERNATIONAL RADIO ENDEAVOUR - FIRE
NOMINATION OF ALDA FACIO FOR THE PERDITA HOUSTON AWARD
By Maria Suárez RIF /FIRE
Alda Facio: The strategist of creating links between grassroots and the global, between women´s rights and the human rights framework
recognized with the Perdita Houston Award. "Alda Facio is a visionary who has shown tremendous courage in her endless fight for women's rights. Few have shown Alda's determination, fortitude and resilience in the protection and promotion of women's human rights." Rebecca Cook, Toronto
Alda back in 1986 as a literacy teacher and grassroots activist in the Latin American and Caribbean region, she was already helping grassroots activists make the connections between the issues they were addressing and women´s human rights. At the time, I myself was undertaking adult literacy work throughout the Central American region. Alda taught me not only about the need for that connection of issues with human rights, but also the relevance of this link in advancing women through a holistic approach. The need to address women's rights in the eradication of illiteracy, poverty, etc. as a women's human rights issue became astrategic approach that challenged isolated asistentialism.
Alda has been an activist and strategist for over 30 years, so it is time that she gets recognized as the first women to make that connection in the Latin American & Caribbean region and perhaps even globally. As a women´s human rights activist myself, so many years later, I still look at the literature of women´s human rights and although others have written about this connection, none did it as early on as Alda Facio.
Another major constribution of Alda since the 1980s is her insistence that women´s groups organize special tribunals in order to showcase what women at all levels were saying about their experiences and their rights and how to link them to human rights. She was also insistent that those tribunals were relevant because in them women at all levels would have a voice about what happens to us in daily life that is invisible to the human rights framework.
Writes Malena de Montis, activist of the Autonomous Women´s Movement in Nicaragua: "Alda Facio has been crucial throughout the last 25 years in the Central American region, and most important in Nicaragua, one of the poorest countries in the region, in women´s understanding that we had to challenge the human rights framework to make it work for us rather than just complain or reject it because it did not include us. That is why we call her our strategist at the local level."
Perdita Houston International Award for Human Rights
The award was created by the United Nations Assosiation of the National Capital Area in 2002 and was awarded to Dr. Sima Samar of Independent Afghanistan Human Rights Commission in 2003, and to Madame Fatoumata Traoré from Mali in 2004, for been one of the first women to implement family planning programs in rural communities throughout her country. In the year 2005 Ranjana Gaur of Social Action Research Center in India, who was abducted and became a victim of sexual slavery at the age of 13, was the recipient of the award and in 2006 the award was bestowed upon Sunitha Krishnan of the Prajwala (eternal flame) Organization in India, dedicated to the fight against human traffic and sexual violence of women and girls.
files and photos: Feminist International Radio Endeavour (FIRE)