Walking towards justice is such a narrow path especially in Nicaragua. There is, however, a group of Nicaraguan lawyers who formed a human rights organization called the Christian Center for Human Rights (Centro Cristiano de Derechos Humanos/CCDH) to walk on that narrow path fighting for justice. CCDH has a long history of working with World Renew since 2002. CCDH serves the Nicaraguan society in the promotion, protection and defense of human rights and civic education with Christian principles. CCDH’s services to preserve justice aligns with World Renew’s interest in justice, thus, we were able to build a firm and intentional relationship with CCDH.
Every three years, CCDH and World Renew has an evaluation. As part of our planning, supervision, and evaluation, World Renew carries out a participative evaluation with each of our partner organizations. Since the previous evaluation took place in October 7-10, 2013, this year 2016 was the year for us to carry out the evaluation.
Together with a group of four lawyers from North America, Sharon Brinks, Susan Carlson, Sara VanderWerff, and Matthew Hagen, and with CCDH board members, we carried out the evaluation from the 18th to 22nd of January, 2016.
We reviewed on the recommendations made from the past evaluation and we used them as our guideline for this evaluation as well. We had four general objectives of this evaluation: 1) evaluating the organizational capacity of CCDH, 2) the programming delivery of CCDH, 3) the programming impact of CCDH, and 4) the institutional relationship between World Renew and CCDH.
CCDH mainly focuses on legal assistance and civic education through regionally located “Houses of Justice.” Each House of Justice consists of local coordinator and law professionals who provide their services voluntarily with Christian principles. They also train ‘promotors’ who also voluntarily reach out to their communities to offer grassroots training and civic education such as informing them on domestic violence and how to response to it.
The evaluation team visited three different Houses of Justices in Masaya, Matagalapa and
Chinandega. We had opportunities to observe and learn the progress of different levels of Houses of Justice in Nicaragua. Each House of Justice that we visited presented us about their work, history, and progress that they have made since 2013. Based on this, we were able to analyze the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of general work of CCDH.
CCDH definitely intends to continue to promote and protect the human rights of the Nicaraguan people through sustained civic education and through the correct application of justice through the Houses of Justice. It is their life time task to improve their quality of service little by little as they get to discover their capabilities and opportunities through such evaluation like this. We hope that CCDH continues to grow its work by branching out their Houses of Justices especially in rural areas to make it more accessible to their communities.
Here is a short story of CCDH’s beneficiary
Lucy Lopez Perez, age 12, used to live with her aunt in Granada, Nicaragua. Lucy’s father passed away a few years ago and her mother was an alcoholic, so Lucy went to live with her aunt. However, Lucy’s living situation took a turn for the worse when she began to be abused by her aunt.
The Ministry of Family was notified about Lucy’s situation, and they consulted CCDH in Niquinohomo to rescue and protect her. Fany Quintanilla Baltodano, a coordinator for CCDH Niquinohomo, decided to help Lucy. For about 6 months, Lucy has been living with Fany under her protection. Recently, Fany was able to receive legal guardianship from the Ministry of Family. Fany is not merely helping Lucy but is also her spiritual mentor, legal guardian, and mother. Lucy will also start attending school again this year.
For Lucy, CCDH has become like family to her. Despite her painful past, CCDH’s assistance and care have given Lucy hope and a dream for a better future.
Written by HaEun Nam