Project teaches strategic communications to land defenders in Mexico and Central America

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Project teaches strategic communications to land defenders in Mexico and Central America

WACC has partnered with the La Sandia Digital (Digital Watermelon) in Mexico to hone communications strategies for social movements and organizations to promote socio-environmental and gender justice.

The project, co-funded by the Ford Foundation (Mexico), has sought to defend the right to clear communication strategies to broaden social and political advocacy.

In Mexico, socio-environmental conflicts related to threats to local territories from extractive megaprojects are increasingly frequent, says WACC partner La Sandia Digital.

Founded in 2011, the feminist collective focuses on audiovisual production, training, and accompaniment in strategic communication. It has developed a “School of Strategic Communication — Land and Territory” that has worked with organizations and movements in in different states in Mexico to transform public narratives to defend territories.

Three previous editions of the educational program have shown that strategic communication is a powerful means of mobilizing and convincing specific audiences with a view to political advocacy, La Sandia says. And that participation of women is fundamental.

Collage of three images: two people working at a flip chart, a group photo and two women reading a textbook, seen from behind

We are losing the fear of speaking up, says one participant in the School, over half of whose students have been women.

Through the WACC-supported project, La Sandia has run a fourth edition of the School, equipping Indigenous and environmental activists across Mexico and in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras with tools and knowledge of strategic communication to expand their social and political advocacy.

This is “specialized training for social movements to advance alternative narratives to extractivism and other carbon intensive activities,” says La Sandia.

“As Indigenous peoples and women, we have been repressed and silenced. But here I had a chance to see how these women seek all means, strategies, and possibilities to speak from the heart,” one participant reports.

La Sandia also has provided accompaniment to organizations on the ground to use media to defend their territories.

“We are united by the joy of what we do. We network and connect from our stories, with the land and with the audiences. We seek to learn and acquire new knowledge. Each one of us represents the legacy of our ancestors; we are sons and daughters of our territories,” concludes another participant.

Participants in La Sandia Digital’s 4th School of Strategic Communication complete an exercise in choosing target audiences. Photo: La Sandia Digital

WACC works in partnership with La Sandia Digital and other communication rights and sustainable development organizations worldwide through its Communication for All Program (CAP), with support from Bread for the World-Germany.