Kristi Van Nostran
RUMES (Red Uniendo Manos El Salvador)
“It is not the will of God for some to have everything and others to have nothing.”
-Archbishop Oscar Romero, Homily September 10, 1978
ABOUT THE NETWORK:
Red Uniendo Manos El Salvador (RUMES) is fraternal network composed of grassroots groups, NGOs and church bodies which aims to develop and implement campaigns of awareness and capacity building, social and political advocacy, to propose and promote structural changes and human development, which will enable people to live fulfilling lives, with dignity, in a healthy planet. We work closely with the communities and people most affected, especially women, youth and indigenous people, under a holistic approach that encompasses educational, emotional, economic, social and spiritual well-being.
To be a movement of diverse social and religious expressions building citizenship, committed to human development, equity and equality, and the care of the planet, resulting in the enjoyment of a culture of peace.
To create and develop educational and organizational processes to contribute to the reduction of the vulnerabilities of El Salvador, with the aim of transforming the structures that would enable people to live fulfilling lives in a healthy planet.
- Love of Neighbor
- Fellowship in Community
- Commensality; Eating Together at Table
- To identify the root causes of problems related to hunger and impoverishment, seeking strategic alternatives together with marginalized and vulnerable populations;
- To facilitate processes of awareness-raising and sensitivity training, education and organization in order to strengthen and build capacity among women, men and youth;
- To participate in national and international campaigns, social and environmental justice movements, and democratization and citizenship building toward the goal of guaranteeing Food Sovereignty and Security;
- To advocate strategically around public policy, in alliance with other national and international networks, with the aim of achieving necessary structural changes;
- To promote relationships based on equity and equality, respect and solidarity as well as lifestyle integrity practices within and between the national and international communities.
CURRENT CAMPAIGN EFFORTS:
ADVOCACY FOR THE ADOPTION OF A PUBLIC POLICY THAT GUARANTEES FOOD SOVEREIGNTY AND SECURITY, AND INCLUDES A NEW AGRARIAN REFORM IN FAVOR OF SUSTAINABLE SMALL SCALE AND COOPERATIVE FARMING
Over the last year, RUMES has been collaborating with RASA (Network for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Sovereignty) and other allies to promote a holistic Public Policy Proposal that would respect the integrity of both the land and local farmers. This policy would prioritize land for food production (rather than agro-fuels), place the decision-making power with those who produce food in terms of seed use and agricultural inputs (i.e. native seeds, organic fertilizers, etc.), and strengthen the national food economy by emphasizing production for national consumption before production for export.
RUMES will accompany representatives from several civil society groups and organizations from the agricultural sector as they gather to march to the offices of the Legislative Assembly in a symbolic act to deliver the proposal and formally request its consideration and swift approval to the benefit of the Salvadoran people.
PROTEST AGAINST THE CONSTRUCTION OF A WALMART STORE IN DEFENSE OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND LIVELIHOODS IN THE MUNICIPALITY OF MEJICANOS, ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF SAN SALVADOR.
RUMES has supported and participated in coordinated efforts with local community organizations, student movements and civil society groups to detain with the aim of permanently blocking the construction of a Mega-WALMART in Mejicanos. In May 2012, with a change of administration in the local government the new mayor of Mejicanos, touting job creation and “development” extended a building permit that for the past five years the local community had struggled to withhold based on negative impacts on the environment and local economy. Since then RUMES has been involved in efforts to raise awareness and take legal action to keep the process from moving forward. Several protests and press conferences have been organized over the past few months and work continues with a local lawyer to analyze the procurement of permits. Beyond the concerns of imminent and irrevocable damage to the zone, RUMES is also concerned by the threat to food sovereignty as this transnational seeks to entice local growers to produce exclusively for WALMART and according to their strict “quality” and uniformity requirements, including use of genetically modified seeds, agrochemical fertilizers and the discouragement of diversifying crops.
RUMES plans to continue the struggle against this new construction as well as to further develop a campaign to pressure WALMART to change their practices when it comes to contracting local growers; to provide just terms, to permit and encourage sustainable agriculture practices and even invest in the development of the same, and to allow and encourage cooperative and union organizing.
ONGOING CAPACITY BUILDING AND CAMPAIGN FOR SUSTAINABLE ALTERNATIVES TO CONVENTIONAL FARMING AND GENETIC MODFICATION (GM) TECHNLOGY
RUMES, in collaboration with RASA and the Salvadoran Lutheran University (ULS) promotes and supports the participation of fifteen campesinos and campesinas (rural, small shareholder famers) in a year-long series of interactive sustainable agriculture workshops. This is a unique opportunity for farmers coming from all three regions of the country, who may have received little or no formal education, to share the wealth of knowledge and experience with other farmers in the university setting. This experience allows for the exchange of seeds, brainstorming of alternative technologies, as well as the construction of communities of solidarity across geographic, cultural and even religious boundaries.
RUMES has been invited to take part in the planning and preparation of the program, and will continue to accompany and support participants as they reproduce the workshops in their own communities, sharing the knowledge and skills that they have learned and continuing to expand the community of solidarity.
Covenant Members (as of September 2011):
ADESHNA - ASOCIACION DE DESARROLLO SOCIAL Y HUMANO DE NAUHIZALCO
(Social and Human Development Association of Nahuizalco)
IGLESIA EPISCOPAL ANGLICANA DE EL SALVADOR
(Anglican Episcopal Church of El Salvador)
IGLESIA LUTERANA SALVADOREÑA
(Salvadoran Lutheran Church)
IGLESIA REFORMADA CALVINISTA DE EL SALVADOR
(Reformed Calvinist Church of El Salvador)
NAYARIT MUJERES Y JUVENTUDES
(Nayarit Women’s and Youth Collective)
CONSEJO DE PUEBLOS ORIGINARIOS NAHUATH PIPIL
(Nahuath Pipil Council of Original Peoples)
ASOCIACIÓN AMIGOS DE SAN ISIDRO, CABAÑAS
(Association Friends of San Isidro, Cabañas)
CASA PASTORAL COMUNITARIA, BERLÍN
(Community Pastoral House of Berlin)
COMUNIDAD EL CUZUQUITO, ROSARIO DE MORA
(Community of El Cuzuquito, Rosario de Mora)
FORO ECUMÉNICO DEL CONSEJO LATINOAMERICANO DE IGLESIAS
(Salvadoran Ecumenical Forum of the Council of Latin American Churches)
ADESCO, COMUNIDAD RIO LOS BUEYES
(Community Development Assoc. of Rio los Bueyes, Berlin)
Allies (as of January 2012):
COMITE DE SOBERANIA ALIMENTARIA, COMUNIDAD EL CAMBIO, TINTERAL, COATEPEQUE
(Food Sovereignty Committee, Community of El Cambio, Tinteral, Coatepeque)
IMU – INSTITUTO DE INVESTIGACION, CAPACITACION Y DESARROLLO DE LA MUJER, Ahuachapán
(Women’s Research, Training and Development Institute, working with communities in Ahuachapán)
- ADECOMUPAZ (Assoc. for Community Development for a future without violence; with peace)
- AMIGA (Assoc. for Community Development Women for Gender Equality)
- ADEMUJER (Assoc. for Community Development of Women)
MANAJUSHTE, SAN ISIDRO, IZALCO
(Ojushte Project, Community of San Isidro, Izalco)
RASA – Red por la Agricultura Sostenible y la Soberanía Alimentaria
(Network for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Sovereignty)
- ULS (Salvadoran Lutheran Univ.)
- CEICOM (Center for Research on Investment & Trade)
- Pastoral de la Tierra, Vicaría San Juan Bautista, Cojutepeque (Land-Care Pastoral Program)
TABERNACULO BIBLICO SALEM, SAN PEDRO PERULAPÁN
(Salem Biblical Tabernacle, San Pedro Perulapán)
(Association of Dynamic Women Breaking Barriers)
UES – Universidad Nacional de El Salvador, Facultad de Medicina, carreras de Salud Ambiental y Nutrición
(National University of El Salvador, School of Medicine, Environmental Health and Nutrition programs)