Blog Post - Aug 1, 2023
Making a Safer World: A Future Without Violence
Making a Safer World: that’s our vision as we strive to leverage business for good. Through products, technical support, and service, we keep people and infrastructure safe. But we are compelled to promote safety in other forms too, alongside carefully selected humanitarian groups who work to address human suffering, such as our partner, International Justice Mission (IJM).
Dairyland just committed to a three-year focused investment in one of IJM’s global field offices to “build a future without violence, where survivors can flourish without fear.” In this post, you will learn why this partnership matters to IJM and our team, and the possibilities it creates for survivors of violence.
What the Team Had to Say
When we were approached with the opportunity to deepen our engagement with IJM by partnering with a field office, we could not pass it up. The partnership will span at least three years, allocating funds and helping the Dairyland team immerse themselves in IJM’s work as informed partners.
To select a site that would be representative of Dairyland’s commitments and convictions, we asked all Dairyland team members to help us pick. After much deliberation and a tally of votes, it was determined that we will partner with the Guatemala Field Office (soon to become the Northern Triangle Office including Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador).
Here are a few excerpts from the Dairyland team about why partnering with the Guatemalan / Northern Triangle field office is important to them:
“No one wants to leave their home, but many are willing to take on the risks if they don’t feel safe in their own country…creating a safe home environment is the first step in saving countless lives. And that is in addition to the other work being done [by IJM] in this specific field office.”
“While circumstances are dire all over the world, there is something compelling about making sure your country’s neighbors are well – especially the individuals who are vulnerable because of realities beyond their control.”
“This could help lots of children not get drawn in and preyed upon.”
Guatemala’s Current Reality
Guatemala is a beautiful Central American country that has faced more than its share of political instability, violent crime, poverty, and other systemic challenges. A shadow side of the instability has produced rampant sexual violence against women and children without accountability for perpetrators. Analysis shows that 1 in 4 adolescent girls are victims of sexual violence, while 1 in 5 girls are sexually abused at least once. And while laws exist to prevent this, few are consistently enforced.
After years of advocacy and grassroots efforts by IJM, the Guatemalan government determined that change must become a priority and has taken on notable efforts to reverse this plight. Recognizing IJM’s expertise, the Guatemalan government established them as a respected partner and requested their support in model design, implementation support, data analytics, and more to provide survivor-centered care.
“To have all the services in one place helps the victim feel more at home and feel like other people will support them with legal matters—and will help them physically and psychologically—beyond just listening to their stories.”
—Scarlett, survivor leader with Mi Historia Importa (My Story Matters), a survivor-led movement supported by IJM.
IJM has targeted interventions in what is known as “red zones,” areas that are especially dangerous and where the prevalence of violence is highest. Their team—comprised of lawyers, social workers, investigators, survivor advocates, and additional professionals—has worked tirelessly to understand the complex dynamics, apply their professional expertise, and advocate for victims in a trauma-informed manner. As a result, not only have victims been rescued, perpetrators held accountable, and survivors restored, but violence is being prevented and justice systems are growing stronger throughout the region.
Rather than abandoning efforts because of difficulty or cynicism, IJM has approached the situation with hope, perseverance, and collaboration. Transformation is no longer hypothetical; it is being measured with ownership from the Guatemalan government and is cause for celebration.
IJM now has a proven model of success showing that systems can be reformed and be successful at protecting vulnerable women and children. Now it is time to scale for greater and more widespread impact throughout the region. Funding & support partnerships, like the one between Dairyland & IJM, will support the establishment of a Center of Excellence which equips partners and government agencies to scale the work in an accountable and unified manner.
Over the next three years, Dairyland will seek to not only support IJM’s Northern Triangle team financially, but also through personal relationships, encouragement, and curious learning. Interestingly, we already have a head start! Last year our President Mike Tachick, Board Member Julie Tachick, and EVP of Culture & Formation Kailey Dharam met and talked with IJM’s Regional VP of the Northern Triangle, Juan Miguel Rivera (pictured right). We look forward to more personal touchpoints in the months and years to come!
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