Building a gender-balanced world - IWD 2019

Elizabeth del Carmen

Doing her part. And then some.

Everyone has a part to play in building a gender-balanced world – all the time, and everywhere. Elizabeth del Carmen, director of the primary school in the community of Siminka in Nicaragua’s Bosawas biosphere reserve, is certainly doing her part. And her balancing act is no act. Elizabeth carefully manages the few resources available and has earned the respect of her colleagues in a culture where leadership roles typically fall to the men.

A force in her own right, she motivates girls to challenge stereotypes and to continue their studies. but without a secondary school, options to further education beyond primary school have historically been limited in Siminka, especially for girls.

When we better the balance, we better the world. 

It has been almost a year since teachers in Nicaragua’s Bosawas Biosphere Reserve welcomed gender equality workshops in the Miskito and Mayagna communities along the Rio Coco. But the journey to gender equality continues!

On this International Women’s Day, we are pleased to report that construction of a secondary school, funded in large part by Canadian women whose chance encounter with Siminka left a lasting impression, is nearing completion.

The new secondary school means more girls will go on to study beyond grade six. Completing a secondary education means the opportunity to go on to further studies outside this isolated community. Those extending their studies to become nurses or teachers or agriculture technicians can then come back to contribute new skills in the community.

“Before, only boys went to school, but now girls are equal with boys. If a girl wants to study, her mother encourages this. Some girls have gone out of the community to study, and have come back to help the community. With the new institute, even young mothers will be able to continue to study, and we hope that some will be driven to continue to do high school and university. Progress is being made in our community. “

– Elizabeth del Carmen

In partnership with the communities in which we work, we are not just building infrastructure. We are building a more gender-balanced world. #BuildingforBetter  #BalanceforBetter  #IWD2019

In The Field Central America and the Caribbean Nicaragua