Discontinued in 2009
Flora Tristan is a Peruvian feminist institution created in 1979 as a private non-profit organization. Its mission is to "address the structural causes that restrict women's citizenship and/or affect its practice. Accordingly it proposes to influence the expansion of women's citizenship and political and development processes to meet the criteria and results of equity and gender justice." The organization's work is aimed at:
- Strengthening participation, political action and expression of women.
- The formulation and negotiation of public policy and law reform initiatives.
- The management and monitoring of programs aimed at obtaining strategic achievements for women.
- The training key actors in efforts oriented to women's empowerment, equity and gender justice
- Producing information, education and communication to influence public opinion.
In 2002, CRS received funding from USAID and was the lead for a project called Civil Society Support for Peruvian Decentralization (CSSPD). Its goals were to strengthen local government and democracy, with an emphasis on increasing women's involvement in government. These activities were in accordance with Catholic teachings.
A consortium of 11 NGOs including Comisión Episcopal de Acción Social (CEAS), Centro Amazónico de Antropología y Aplicación Práctica (CAAAP) and Flora Tristan was formed to receive funds from this project. This consortium, not including CRS, was called the Grupo Propuesta Ciudadana-Citizen Proposal Group (GPC). Since the GPC was not legally set up in Perú as an NGO, it could not receive funds from USAID. Thus, the USAID funds were channeled by CRS to Centro Peruano de Estudios Sociales (CEPES) which was a legally constituted member of the umbrella organization of 11 NGOs. CEPES in turn, through sub-contracts, distributed the funds to other consortium members, one of which was Flora Tristan. The total sum for this project was $4,020,760. Of this amount, Flora Tristan received $195,727.17 from CEPES over a period of four years.
The project, which sought to guarantee active citizen participation in national, regional and local governments, ended in 2006.
CRS selected Flora Tristan to be a partner in 2007 on a project aimed at combatting human trafficking in accordance with Catholic teaching. The activities included raising the awareness of the dangers of trafficking among poor women and girls. Flora Tristan was contracted to carry out specific workshops on gender-based violence (GBV) prevention. There were a dozen local partners and organizations supporting these workshops, including pastoral agents from the Prelature of Moyobamba.
In 2009, CRS updated its review and vetting process for projects and partnerships to strengthen efforts to ensure consistency with Catholic teaching, the same year a new Country Representative was assigned to Peru. In the new vetting process, Flora Tristan was identified as an unsuitable partner since its advocacy for reproductive rights included access to abortion. Based on this information, CRS informed Flora Tristan that it would no longer be considered as a partner.
In hindsight, though our work with Flora Tristan involved projects that promoted the dignity of human life and benefited poor communities in one of the most needy areas of Latin America, CRS Peru should have raised objections to the inclusion of Flora Tristan in the project that ran from 2002-2006 and not partnered with Flora Tristan in 2007. Such errors are among the factors that have led CRS to develop new policies and partner assessment procedures, including consultation with moral theologians and improved staff training. We approach these issues as a continuing challenge in a dynamic environment which requires constant refinement of our vetting processes as new practices develop and information becomes available.
CRS continues to work with impoverished communities in Peru, largely with Church-based partners, using our Catholic faith to enrich the lives of our brothers and sisters in need.