The winner of the 2018 Topacio Reynoso Youth Award is the Movimiento AJODER (Asociación para el Desarollo y Rescate Social), a youth organization based in Coban, Alta Verapaz. The youth group uses art and political action to promote human rights, and in particular the rights of youth, women, and Indigenous Peoples.
The Movimiento AJODER is committed to the defense of land and territory, and the rights of Indigenous Peoples, which is shown through communications work, promoting hip hop in defense of life, and through political formation and action. The youth develop communications to denounce and raise awareness of activities in their territories, and transmit that information outside. The group shares the effects of the robbery of land and territory for mega-projects, hydroelectric projects, protected areas and mono-crops.
“This prize motivates and strengthens our commitment to continue our political work in defense of our land, territory and our rights. It will contribute to strengthening our capacity in alternative and popular media. We are grateful and above all show our respect for the work and memory of our sister Topacio Reynoso Pacheco who planted the seed for the struggle and dignity, mapping the path for youth working toward transformation of
Guatemalan society,” stated Movimiento AJODER.
The group will use the $1000 prize to increase capacity for audiovisual technology and community communications in the defense of land and territory. They are planning to buy two tablets, a semi-professional camera and hold a workshop on audiovisual tools and communications for fifteen youth community journalists.
The family Reynoso Pacheco stated, “We wish we could support all the applicants, because we think all youth should have financial support. We want to give the prize to the organization facing the worst conflict in the moment. We hope this prize will be of help to the group, and we congratulate AJODER for the work they do in defense of Mother Earth. We applaud their work, and we recognize their efforts with the Topacio Reynoso Pacheco prize, with much appreciation.”
The award and cheque for $1000 USD will be presented to the Movimiento AJODER on a trip to Coban in September.
Prize contributors include: the Church in Action Committee from the Maritime Conference of the United Church of Canada, the Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network, Mining Watch Canada, the Mining Injustice Solidarity Network and the United Steelworkers Union.