Gilda Rivera

"From the practice of self-criticism and criticism, with frank and transparent debates, with pressure on the governments of the partner countries"

Director of the Women’s Rights Center of Honduras. She is a renowned feminist and human rights defender in Honduras and Latin America. Trained in psychology, she is currently a member of the board of directors of the Women’s Rights Center (CDM, A survivor of enforced disappearance in the 1980s, Gilda also works to protect women human rights defenders and is a member of the National Network of Women Human Rights Defenders of Honduras and the Mesoamerican Women Human Rights Defenders Initiative (Iniciativa Mesoamericana de Defensoras).

What do you think are the current challenges in the cooperation sector?

They are many and varied, among them: a) I don’t know if it is because we are a little isolated, but from my perception, debates on international aid are no longer very common; I remember in the early nineties, we took part in various debates on development aid, that which is known as north-south (the developed north, owner of the truth? and the poor south, not impoverished, but poor), these were good debates and they initially took place within the framework of a network promoted by Dutch women working in Dutch NGOs and then extended to other NGOs in the global north. 

So, encourage debates and analyses on the concepts of cooperation, development and other concepts that may no longer be very valid at the present time. Another challenge is related to the need for the development community to uphold the principles of solidarity, equality, justice, etc., which have become blurred over the years and are now more strongly imposed by the geopolitical interests of some development organizations or their governments; do the projects respond to the needs, urgencies, demands and struggles of the recipient communities? 

It all has to do with the need to decolonize our belief systems, both in terms of international aid, donors, and of the organizations, communities, and peoples receiving this aid, a necessary path to follow if we want to contribute towards building a world in which we can live a better life.

How do you consider they should be faced?

From the practice of self-criticism and criticism, with frank and transparent debates, with pressure on the governments of the partner countries, highlighting and exposing the discourse and practices of double standards of the countries of the North or of the supposedly developed world that play with the interests and needs of the impoverished peoples, that wants to impose its own economic interests and the logic of predatory development and that is plundering the environmental resources of the communities. We have to change the logic of international aid, build new concepts, new paradigms in a collective way…

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