At the close of the tenth annual Central America Donors Forum (CADF), Seattle International Foundation (SIF) delivered the much anticipated CADF 2020 Awards.

Following a vote from the CADF audience for the two winners of the Resistance and Reinvention Awards, two organizations each won a US$10,000 prize and the remaining four finalists received the 10th Anniversary awards, amounting in US$6,000 each. SIF will present the six awards as grants to support the incredible work and impact of these organizations in Central America.

CADF 2020 took place between September 1 and 3, convening over 700 participants from 20+ countries and hosting over 30 sessions, panels, roundtables and arts & culture activities. In its ten years, this was the first time CADF took to the virtual stage, allowing the event to double its attendance as compared to previous years.

The Six Winners


The awards breakdown:

Resistance Award

This award will go to the Association of Women Domestic and Factory Workers (Asociación de Trabajadoras del Hogar a Domicilio y de Maquila – ATRAHDOM), in Guatemala, for the incredible work they are doing to defend the labor rights of women workers in vulnerable sectors such as domestic work, textile factories and the informal economy.

In 2020, since the Guatemalan government’s humanitarian and agricultural aid vouchers did not reach a large portion of domestic workers or those working in textile factories, ATRAHDOM put together 800 care packages with food and health equipment, participated in forums on food security, breastfeeding and the vulnerability of the rights of women workers during the pandemic, and conducted studies to ensure their resources and efforts are directed toward areas with most need. ATRAHDOM will use the funding from the Resistance Award to purchase COVID-19 vaccines for its beneficiaries who are otherwise not covered by social security.

Reinvention Award

This award will go to Women who Dream in Color (Mujeres con capacidad de soñar a colores), from Guatemala, the first collective of women with different disabilities and their allies in Guatemala. The organization seeks to influence the social, cultural, political and economic environment in Sololá, to promote the inclusion of women with disabilities and to guarantee life free from violence and respect for human rights.

Faced with the pandemic, Women who Dream in Color implemented the emergency home gardening project to foster the resilience of women with disabilities during the COVID-19 crisis and created the project “Guardians of Diversity” through which they explore the right to social and political participation and the right to digital engagement, focusing on the barriers presented by the COVID-19 crisis.

10th Anniversary Awards

These awards will go to:

  • Association for a Life of Dignity (Asociación Colectivo Vida Digna), from Guatemala, is an indigenous organization in the western region of the country focused on Mayan culture and migration that provides a meeting space for skills development for young people, women, families from the countryside and Mayan people. It also creates mechanisms for emerging voices around collective rights, cultural expression, complementary enterprises and forced migration. This year, the Collective distributed “Dignity Baskets” (food, cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment) to 938 people in 18 communities and gave 137 talks on health and hygiene. It also implemented the “Shopping with Dignity” project, which facilitates the daily disinfection of the market and the regulation of how many people visit the market.
  • GOLEES Foundation (Género, Orgullo, Libertad y Empoderamiento de Ellas), from Costa Rica, which creates space for social transformation in which girls and women from vulnerable areas can develop holistically, free from patriarchal restrictions and inequality. GOLEES promotes a more just and less violent society where gender is not an impediment to development, on or off the soccer field. This year, the foundation has focused on four projects with more than 100 recipients that span sports and physical activity, virtual trainings, psychosocial wellness and mental health and humanitarian aid. Their socio-educational and psychological programs take into account the potential insecurity participants experience in their homes and their humanitarian aid program has allowed for GOLEES to make three large deliveries of humanitarian supplies to different communities.
  • GatoEncerrado, from El Salvador, is an independent digital magazine specializing in the environment, gender, politics, justice and fact-checking of public discourse with a focus on human rights. Since the onset of the pandemic, GatoEncerrado has used journalism as a means to foster transparency, encourage accountability and strengthen the fight against corruption in El Salvador and to provide oversight into the ways that those in power have operated in the midst of the pandemic and the sociopolitical crisis. GatoEncerrado strives to ensure fair treatment and equal pay for all of the journalists on their team to reflect the importance of their profession at a time when the traditional media are laying off staff in a massive way.
  • Trans Men Panama (Hombres Trans Panamá), from Panama, seeks the inclusion and recognition of a historically invisibilized population: trans masculine people. This organization promotes a Panama that is inclusive of trans people in all areas, that creates policies that incorporate a gender perspective and that all human rights are respected for all people. In 2020, given the Panamanian government’s decision to allow men and women to break quarantine on alternate days during the quarantine, Trans Men Panama developed a platform through which to collect discrimination cases and compiled the data into a report on discrimination during COVID-19. It also supported 140 trans people from six provinces of Panama with food, medicine, and access to mental health support and promoted a meeting with government authorities to establish a LGBT working group with the goal of developing protocols for navigating the current pandemic and post-pandemic centering a human rights perspective.

The Call for Proposals

The open call for proposals for the CADF 2020 Awards launched on July 28, 2020 to reward and highlight the reinvention and resistance of civil society organizations in Central America that, in the midst of an incredibly complicated year, have strengthened their efforts and reinforced their commitment to their communities they serve.

Between July 28 and August 16, 2020, SIF received almost one hundred applications from all across Central America: Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.

A SIF selection committee carefully reviewed each application and selected a group of pre-finalists. Then a panel of judges, comprised of SIF and representatives from 21 CADF sponsors, selected the six finalists.

On the first day of CADF, September 1, representatives from the six organizations each presented a fast pitch to introduce CADF attendees to their work and their interventions to mitigate the challenges of 2020. On day 2 of the Forum, the organizations participated in a roundtable in which they delved deeper into their impact during the pandemic. Finally, on the last day of the Forum, following a vote from the audience, SIF Deputy Director Katie Steffen announced the winners in an emotive awards ceremony.

In the initial call for proposals, SIF only announced the Resistance Award (US$10,000) and the Reinvention Award (US$10,000). However, after reviewing the applications and the great work of each of the finalists, SIF made the decision to award six awards instead of two; therefor it created the 10th Anniversary Awards (US$6,000 each) to be given to the remaining four finalists.

“We know this is just a small contribution to the complex needs and urgencies these organizations face, but through these awards we hope to support the excellent and necessary work they all do,” Katie said during her speech.