Human Rights in the Design and Implementation of Local Actions of the Special Programme on Food Security in Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua: A Comparative Analysis

Author: Susana Gauster

Right to Food Study, 2014.

The Special Programme on Food Security was implemented in an environment characterized by a high incidence of poverty, chronic malnutrition and inequalities, even if legislative and institutional advances were made related to food security and nutrition.The three country programmes have various elements in common. Their main objective was to reduce food and nutrition insecurity. Their actions involve the four food security pillars, and they applied a learning-by-doing approach in providing support to community groups. In spite of the fact that the programmes were originally designed without direct reference to human rights principles, it was found that in practice they did apply some human rights principles and good governance practices.

The programmes promoted participation and empowerment applying  participatory methods to reach decisions together with community groups about what to do and how to do it. The programmes were implemented in areas characterized by food insecurity and malnutrition, but did not have explicit criteria to reach the most vulnerable. A gender focus and prioritization of indigenous groups were found to be largely absent. The field actions were environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive. In the interest of transparency it is important that programme participants and all community members have access to all necessary information. The programmes did not establish mechanisms for staff to be held accountable. In order to strengthen  accountability mechanisms it is necessary to provide greater understanding of human rights principles and to promote for programme participants to see themselves as rights holders with capacity to claim their rights.



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