Over a year has passed since three EU Aid Volunteers were deployed to Trócaire's Honduras office in 2018 to work on communication, protection mainstreaming and safeguarding.
As one of those volunteers, I have worked alongside another volunteer, Dawid Forouzan, in the field of protection mainstreaming and safeguarding. Our focus was on providing training and accompaniment to Trócaire staff and to the staff of local partner organisations on ways to promote safety, meaningful access for vulnerable people and dignity for all in our work. This means, on the one hand, improving internal practices and systems so that we avoid potential harm to staff or community members, through the creation of policies against sexual exploitation and abuse, data protection practices and complaints handling mechanisms. On the other hand, it entails looking at the approaches that Trócaire´s partner organisations in Honduras use in the design, implementation and monitoring of their development and humanitarian projects to ensure that safety, dignity and meaningful access of participants is guaranteed throughout. To this end, particular attention is paid to improving accountability processes such as the inclusion and participation of the most vulnerable within the various phases of project cycle. As Trócaire´s work is based on the principle of partnership, my job entailed collaborating closely with staff from several local organisations. The most fulfilling part of this experience has been seeing their awareness and commitment around safe programming grow over time, while taking proactive measures to improve the quality of their programmes. I particularly enjoyed the human connection that I felt throughout my time in Honduras: I got the unique opportunity of travelling to several communities to see how projects were carried out, engaging with passionate activists and professionals from all over the country.
Our third volunteer in Honduras, Giulia Vuillermoz, has been working in the field of communication, creating visual products, conducting trainings on communicative strategies with Trócaire´s staff and communities, and documenting the life of dozens of community members involved in the fight for women’s rights and land rights. Some of the most meaningful pictures and stories collected by her are part of a thematic photo exhibition that is being shown in a cultural centre of Tegucigalpa, where the most emblematic testimonies of female community leaders are presented to the civil society sector and the wider public in order to spread awareness of the struggles and victories that being a human rights defender in Honduras entails.
Overall, being a EU Aid Volunteer in Honduras over this past year has been a school for learning about the complex social and political mechanisms in the country, and in the wider Central American region, and for consolidating my technical knowledge in developing quality projects, besides being a crucial stepping-stone towards a career in this field. I got the opportunity to work closely with incredibly passionate and kind-hearted colleagues and to learn from the resilience and solidarity of Honduran people. I am glad I had the chance to be part of the EU Aid Volunteer initiative and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in having an exciting and educational experience abroad while building their professional skills in the sector.
Dawid Forouzan, EUAV in Protection. Photo © Giulia Vuillermoz, EUAV in Communication, Trócaire
Giulia Vuillermoz, EUAV in Communication. La Esperanza, Intibuca, Honduras. Photo © Giulia Vuillermoz, EUAV in Communication, Trócaire
Stefania Ziliani, EUAV in Protection. Photo © Giulia Vuillermoz, EUAV in Communication, Trócaire
Demonstration of civil society organizations. February 2019, Public Ministry in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Photo © Giulia Vuillermoz, EUAV in Communication, Trócaire