Caribbean Voices: Coast Women Share their Agenda
NEARLY 60 WOMEN APPEAR IN FIRST PLACE AMONG THE PARTY SLATES of 3 Regional Councilor candidates for each of the 15 electoral districts in the two Autonomous Regions. These women (22 for the north and 35 for the south, representing all coast ethnicities) met in Bilwi (Puerto Cabezas) on January 24 and drafted the following agenda of eight sections. Independent of their parties, they formed a Coalition of Coast Women and pledged to uphold the agenda principles in their respective autonomous Regional Council should they be elected on March 1, and to advocate them in general, even from outside of the Regional Council.
1. Promote a Code of Ethics among women covering the following points:- recognize the importance of all women participating equally.
- combat corruption and abuse of influence. Accept that women's interests take first place.
- respect the private life of each and every woman.
- hold debates based on programs.
- create mechanisms for communication among the different women's organizations.
- generate trust and respect among women.
- recognize our diversity as Coast women.
- work together respecting our ideological diversity.
- promote self respect among women leaders above all, as well as the capacity to dialogue and communicate among ourselves.
- strengthen the Coalition of Coast Women.
- make propaganda among both women and men in favor of women.
- make known the political platforms of all the women candidates.
- promote unity in diversity.
- be self disciplined.
2. About Politics- promote equality of rights and opportunities for women, respecting their differences.
- promote communication among women from the different political parties and organizations of civil society.
- work to assure that 50% of the members of the Regional Autonomous Councils be women. Promote women's participation in the Directive Board and as commission presidents.
- select people for public positions who are honest, open and sensitive to the problems of the North and South Autonomous Regions.
- promote a reform of the Electoral law to benefit women.
- create a political training school for women.
- struggle for the unity of council women within their ideological diversity.
- struggle for permanent participatory and representative democracy.
3. About the State- present the Coast Women's Shared Agenda to the Regional Autonomous Councils and fight for its implementation.
- promote the creation and strengthening of Commissariats for Women and Children, working closely with all the expressions of organized and non-organized women.
- The Commissions on Women and Children of the Regional Autonomous Councils should be made a priority and given an operational budget in order to promote the rights of children through educating their parents, the community in general and the authorities.
- the Regional Autonomous Councils should create an education program in accordance with the needs presented by women.
- promote equality in the different public positions.
- the Regional Autonomous Councils should promote campaigns to encourage the population to keep the cities clean and apply the law to guarantee their fulfillment.
- see that the laws are made known to promote knowledge of the population's responsibilities and rights.
4. About the Socio-Cultural Aspect- promote campaigns to make known the rights determined in Law 230, Law 150 and laws on the family.
- promote Popular Medicine, cleanliness and care of the community.
- make men conscious of respecting women, our personal dignity and our right to live without violence.
- fight for the genuine rights and demands of women.
- promote attention to elderly (third age) adults.
- promote the opportunity to stimulate regional culture in young people.
5. About the Legal Aspect- promote the discussion of laws amongst women and make known the structures and institutions which protect them and permit them to take direct action; for example, the rights contemplated in the Constitution such as the Right of the Family and the Right to Work, among other laws.
- form and consolidate Municipal, Regional and Intersectoral Commissions which will guarantee compliance with the laws benefitting children and those against mistreatment of women.
- Learn about and demand compliance with the laws relating to Natural Resources, the bill on Fishing, Forestry and Environment, directly advocate on behalf of them to avoid indiscriminate exploitation of our natural resources and protect them from abuse so they can be used for development.
- fight for the right kind of regulatory law for Law #28, the Autonomy Law, where women would be the main beneficiaries through equality at all levels.
- promote an analysis of the laws that directly and indirectly affect women and assure that they protect and benefit us.
- take steps to get the Central Government to ratify the International Conventions, specifically those directly affecting the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
- promote the creation of a Women's Legal Rights Office through the national legislative representatives.
6. About Education- fight to get the Regional Councils to promote education for women and that education be in our mother tongues.
- promote Educational Autonomy (Autonomy as a theme in the contents), including it as a subject of the Ministry of Education.
- give classes in Regional History.
- promote Adult Literacy.
- follow up the Autonomous Regional Councils' new education model and promote that a woman head this program.
7. About the Economic Aspect- promote the making of an inventory of the region's natural and human resources.
- seek financing for economic projects to benefit the whole population.
- give the population the incentive of good salaries.
- insist that the Regional Autonomous Councils seek markets for the region's products, with emphasis on the non-traditional products.
- insist to the Regional Autonomous Councils that the taxes from the Atlantic Coast be reinvested in the region.
- promote small business enterprises for women.
- do an analysis of the human and economic resources.
- draft tax plans for the municipalities.
- Make efforts to get foreign financing to carry out projects.
8. About Natural Resources- lobby the Autonomous Regional Councils to create and control the monitoring of our natural resources in the Autonomous Regions.
- promote laws that guarantee mechanisms for the use, enjoyment and benefit of the natural resources.
- make the Fishing Law widely known and reform it if necessary.
- study water contamination and soil conditions in order to learn what kinds of crops can be planted and investigate the situation of the fish.
- see to it that the National Government include sustainable Natural Resource Development in its plans.
- follow up on lumber exploitation to see if reforestation plans are being complied with.
- urge the Autonomous Regional Councils to promote ecotourism.
- urge the Autonomous Regional Councils to take security measures for the exportation of fishing resources.
- create awareness in the population of the importance of natural resource conservation projects and respect for resource conservation laws.
- see that the laws are fulfilled by good, trained administrators.
- promote and publicize the laws protecting the environment and wild life and regulate the use of the forests.
- promote public awareness of the laws already in existence that regulate the use of the forests.
- educate and organize the public to become involved in the development of projects that protect natural resources and to comply with the laws. This should be considered as a chapter on natural resources and the environment.
- foster coordination among the different state entities (Mayor's Office, MARENA, MINSA, National Police, Regional Commission for the Protection of the Environment and Natural Resources).
- promote environmental impact studies.
24th January 1998
Coast Women's Shared Agenda