MCC photo/Matthew Lester
Guatemala-El Salvador is a new cohort of the Seed program where participants will live and work in two countries under one MCC country program.
Guatemala and El Salvador suffered through brutal civil wars that ended with peace accords signed in the 1990s. The inequality, racism and exclusion that drove those conflicts remain largely unresolved. The legacies of violence, trauma and exclusion continue to shape family, community, social and political life in both countries. This is also a story of resistance and resilience. Especially among indigenous communities in Guatemala who have defended their territory and way of over 500 years since the Spanish Conquest.
Seed participants will serve with MCC partner organizations that are largely small grassroots organizations led by women and led by and for indigenous, rural communities. Seeders will serve with and participate in Anabaptist church communities working to bring Christ's message of peace, justice and reconciliation among traumatized and marginalized communities. Seeders will work alongside youth and adults building economies based on solidarity, connecting youth to their land and culture, providing linguistically relevant and culturally sensitive educational opportunities and fostering a culture of peace and "buen vivir" (well-living) in mostly rural Guatemalan and Salvadoran communities.
MCC photo/Colin Vandenberg
Colombia has suffered greatly through a long internal armed and social conflict exacerbated by United States military aid and foreign economic interests. Now, Colombia finds itself in a context where peace accords have recently been signed. MCC’s partners, like Colombian Anabaptist churches and institutions, continue to work to transform the results of decades of injustice and violence into seeds of hope, justice and lasting peace. The Seed program in Colombia works very closely with these Anabaptist churches supporting their peace efforts.
In most cases, participants will live in the community where the local partner is located. It is also expected that the participant will develop relationships of support within the community and church.
As one of the Latin American countries with the largest indigenous population the Plurinational State of Bolivia (which includes 36 nations) challenges the concepts of what development should look like. While Bolivia experiences national economic growth from extraction industries, indigenous values of environmental and social reciprocity remind us that economic development must be checked with community and family well-being, identity rights, gender and racial equality and agricultural sustainability.
The Seeders in Bolivia walk with a variety of local organizations that work through the complexities of providing new opportunities for marginalized populations while also valuing culture, identity and gender. In urban settings, Seed volunteers work in child and family support services. They work in after school or daycare projects for vulnerable children and parents facing economic hardship or domestic violence. Other participants work with urban gardening, bringing nutrition, community building and new economic opportunities to migrant populations.
In rural settings, Seeders work with sustainable agriculture in isolated, indigenous communities in the high-plains of Bolivia, where the impact of modernity intersects with tradition, culture and gender. Others serve with a partner organization that accompanies communities as they work through the impact of mining and water contamination on community well-being, cultural identity and health.
Learn more on the Seed Southern Africa blog.
Seed Southern Africa is an innovative peacebuilding two-year program. It brings together regional (Southern Africa) and international young adults to reflect, serve and work for peace. They work to build connections in marginalized communities by providing support to local partner organizations and communities.
Seed participants serve with MCC partner agencies that work to address issues like violence, poverty and oppression from the grassroots. Seed participants live in communities to better understand the context and strengthen local capacities for peace. Seed participants reflect as a group on a range of topics in order to understand how national and international issues affect the communities they are serving in. This reflection also helps them develop skills to support the work being done in their communities.
Seed participants learn from and work with people from different political, theological and cultural backgrounds. The program seeks to build the capacity of participants as community development workers and as peacemakers and to facilitate personal growth through reflection on their lived experiences.