Annual report 2021

Supporting local action to promote human rights

and local action

Acento was born in 2020, with the aim of supporting the efforts of groups, organizations and networks that work at the local level, to promote and defend human rights and social justice in Mexico.

The impacts of the human rights crisis are felt most immediately at the local level; and the populations affected have had to organize themselves, in order to be able to respond to the changing context as quickly as possible. However, it’s also more difficult for resources to reach these spaces and support their efforts. Because of this, Acento emerged, with the objective of mobilizing resources to make access fairer for local initiatives.

Based on an understanding of the complicated circumstances in which these local groups and movements work, Acento aims to generate processes to work closely alongside them, and develop collaborations based on trust. When these groups and organizations receive funding from Acento, they become partners. A financial contribution is provided to support them through flexible resources, and they may also be offered institutional development activities, in accordance with their needs and interests. 

Over the year 2020, Acento’s team focused on developing a work model that takes these local movements’ need to develop solid institutional foundations into account.

In 2021, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, we began collaborating with the first generation of partners. Over this year, it became even more apparent how crucial their fieldwork is to mitigate the effects of the health and economic crisis, and to shine a light on the inequalities that have worsened during this critical period, which has not yet come to an end.

Although the situation is adverse, there is no doubt in our mind that local organization is the foundation from which a fairer future can be imagined. It is here, supporting these changes, that our story begins.

in numbers


In 2020 the most relevant activities that we carried out as part of the founding stage of Acento were:

“The funding from Acento has allowed us, as a collective, to focus searching for missing persons and obtaining justice for our missing children. Prior to receiving this funding, we used to spend a lot of time organizing raffles and events to cover our costs”.
"Guerreras en busca de nuestros tesoros", Nayarit


Over 2021, Acento provided with financial contributions, as well as institutional development activities to:

different groups, organizations and networks across the country.

the number of states where our partners are working to advance the human rights agenda.

the number of communities where our partners carry out their day-to-day work.

The partners that we support:

For 8 of the 50 partners, this was their first opportunity to receive financial support.

Commitment to local
organizational processes

One of Acento’s objectives is to contribute to institutional development in the context of human rights and social justice. So, rather than backing specific thematic agendas, we aim to strengthen the strategic role that a movement or organization plays in the advancement of human rights in their community.

At the local level, our work in human rights responds to diverse inter-related and interdependent issues. Although some partners work on specific agendas, the great majority aim to tackle multiple issues that are evident in their communities. In many cases, these local organizations are the first point of reference for victims of any kind of human rights violation, or they are the direct response of people who have been directly affected by any kind of violation of their rights.

Here, we provide an overview of the issues in which the partners that we support have an impact:

Inequality and discrimination
Women’s rights and gender equality
The right to communication
The rights of indigenous peoples
The right to a healthy environment
The right to food
The right to health
Labor rights
The right to education
Grave human rights violations
Construction of peace
Human mobility
Sexual diversity
Participative democracy
Sustainable cities
Rights of the child
“With Acento’s support, we have improved the working conditions for our team. We are also able to visit the areas where we work, to promote sexual and reproductive health. The professional development activities that they have shared with us, such as the Diploma in Non-Discrimination, have helped us to develop more tools and build alliances to promote midwifery. Thanks to these activities, more and more midwives are proud of their profession and are joining the movement”.
Camati, “mujeres construyendo desde abajo”. Chiapas.

Supporting social participation

In addition to financial support, Acento also provides our partners with opportunities for institutional development. Through this program, we are able to contribute to process of professionalization of their teams, to help maximize the influence of their work, as well as the sustainability of the organization. This support is personalized, using a model that responds to their individual needs and respects their internal dynamics.

Institutional development activities may include technical support, as well as spaces for learning, liaison and promotion. These are the 2021 featured activities:

informative talks, open to all partners, about legal and tax issues in the context of civil organizations.

people from 14 organizations participated in courses or specialist diplomas in specific issues related to their work.

partners were provided with technical support in different areas, such as: tax, legal, and psychosocial support.

In total, was invested in these activities: 

“The close support that we have received from Acento has made things easier for us. We really like the way they communicate and the treatment. We appreciate the flexibility and ease offered to us in the management of the funding that has helped us to carry out our work”.
Centro de Derechos Humanos del sur de Veracruz, Bety Cariño. Veracruz.

Experiencing other forms
of collaboration

In 2021, we covered expenses and transportation costs for 24 representatives of 15 different collectives of relatives of missing persons from four states of the Republic, so that they could attend meetings with experts from the United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearance. This support was given via an Emergency Response Fund created to provide groups and organizations that work at the local level, with financial support in emergencies and strategic time-sensitive initiatives.

“The relationship with Acento has been beneficial. I am grateful that they believe in our processes as a collective, and support grassroots movements. I hope that they maintain these principles and continue to work with similar movements in the future”.
Colectivo de Semillas Much’ Kanan I’inaj. Quintana Roo.


Acento’s work is made possible thanks to generous support from the MacArthur Foundation, as part of their legacy in Mexico, after more than three decades supporting the human rights agenda in our country.

We also receive funding from the Ford Foundation.

Total Budget spent in 2021:

Support provided to the partners:


Administrative costs:


Emergency Response Fund:


Contribution to the Patrimonial Fund:


Operational costs:


Moving forward

These two first years of Acento’s existence have been a steep learning curve, requiring a lot of growth and creativity. Most importantly, we have been able to identify the need that Acento aims to cover by facilitating access to resources, including both financial and institutional development activities to groups, organizations and networks that work at the local level, in issues and with populations that have historically been excluded from this kind of support. We believe that Acento’s focus will support local initiatives in their work to protect human rights in their communities, over a medium-term, which will in turn help to generate lasting structural change.

2021 marked a milestone in Acento’s history as it was the first year that we began working with our partners. At the close of this year, we are grateful to them, as well as to our donors and the individuals and organizations allied to us that have supported us over these first steps.

We move into 2022 with the challenge and the responsibility to continue developing a model of close, flexible, collaborative work, that supports the strategies employed by movements and organizations to impact the human rights agenda. We trust that, through these spaces, those that have been most marginalized from access to resources and guarantee of their human rights will find new pathways for this to become a reality.

Let's keep betting on local action!