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Afro-descendant communities

2 November 2007

MRG is trying to build stronger ties with Afro-descendant groups across Latin America with the aim of helping to promote and protect their rights. Fundraising Coordinator Cecile Clerc finds the Gods of Technology are against her, but is moved by stories of shocking racial discrimination.

The first thing I did this morning when I woke up was to check the window to see if what I saw last night was real. The buses have not grown bigger and the colours are still there, albeit less vivid than in my memories. The thing is, Lima is almost continously wrapped by a white fog, or neblina, which makes the atmosphere a bit melancholic and probably affect your perception of the colours, lights…

Today, we finally met all our partners. There are 7 in total, representing Afro-descendant communities from Ecuador, Brazil and Peru. 4 of them are women, representing women’s organizations. The purpose of the first day of the meeting was for each partner (including us) to present their work and for our partners, specifically, to give an overview of the situation faced by their communities in their individual country.

Although differences do exist (Brazil is clearly ahead in the implementation of the rights of Afro-descendants while in Peru the existence of a group called Afro-descendant is simply not recognized), racial discrimination is rampant across all the countries. To give you just an example: one of our partners in Peru is also a lawyer. Last week, when he went to court with one of his clients, employees there immediately assumed that he was not the lawyer!

And they all had plenty of stories like that.

We also discussed the poverty faced by Afro-descendant communities in all countries. Once again, these communities are facing the worst level of poverty compared to other groups. In Ecuador, for instance, 5 out of 10 Afro-descendants live on less than $2 a day. There is, therefore, lots to be done to challenge these issues.

The motivation of partners and MRG’s own commitment to do this work is really high.

Tomorrow we will be discussing in details our plan of action which I´m sure will lead to other passionate discussions.

A last thing before concluding. I got stuck in the lift yesterday for 20 min… When I was writing that the God of Technology is against me… I’m therefore walking up and down the stairs from now on… And don’t forget that my room is on the 10th floor!

This article reflects the sole opinion of its author and does not engage MRG’s responsibility.