In Latin America, someone with poder de convocatoria, or “convening power,” can assemble the disparate voices in a conflict situation and convince the stakeholders to work together. AFSC’s work as a trusted broker in Latin America and the Caribbean has given us convening power, often in splintered, violence-torn nations. Across the region, we have provided funding and technical assistance to help restart civil society after years of conflict. And we’ve been present to assist when natural disasters strike.

Today we are convening local peace networks in Haiti, Guatemala, and El Salvador, empowering citizens to take back their communities. Sometimes, this process intentionally includes youth involved in crime, many of whom have become partners and visible agents of peace in their neighborhoods. In Mexico, we’re standing with groups working to change the prevailing narratives about border security and its relationship to national security. The networks we’ve helped to create are addressing issues such as public safety, youth, and climate change, as well as bringing attention to the demands of indigenous peoples.

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  • Band plays on the bed of a truck as many others look on from the street.
    During the tumultuous 1980s in El Salvador, AFSC kept lines of communication open with all sides, becoming one of the most trusted influences in the region.
  • People in a line move relief materials.
    AFSC joined traditional relief efforts in Honduras in response to Hurricane Mitch in 1998, while continuing our longer-term partnerships with local communities.
  • Child is examined by a doctor while a man wearing a hat holds the child on his lap.
    In rural southwest Haiti, AFSC constructed the area’s first health clinic in 1995. It served 40,000 people, and trained village health promoters to build a culture of wellbeing.
  • Women work with fabric, two sitting at sewing machines.
    This worker-owned maquiladora in Mexico created jobs with “Dignidad y Justicia” (dignity and justice). AFSC partnered with a local women’s organization to launch the company in 2004.
  • Woman speaks to a group, gesturing with hands.
    The 2010 earthquake that rocked Haiti brought AFSC back into the country. Fabiola Jean, a community peace leader, heads a team that produces goods for sale and promotes safety.
  • Young adults work on a construction project with rebar.
    This class In Martissant, Haiti, taught masonry skills, part of a larger program that creates alternatives for unemployed youth.
  • Group of young men stand and squat in front of a banner about peace.
    Participants in AFSC’s Local Peace Networks in Guatemala City connect neighbors and help improve safety. They recently transformed an abandoned lot into this community gathering place.
  • Woman stands in front of a group of seated people and speaks into a microphone.
    At a 2015 mayoral forum in Mejicanos, El Salvador, young participants expressed their concerns and hopes and urged candidates to support the city’s youth.