Anthropology, Activism & Engagement
Since 2001, I have fought alongside local Ecuadorian communities in their demands for healthcare and basic infrastructure. I have developed a health education curriculum in the region, delivered over forty workshops on a wide range of topics, and trained health promoters. My non-profit experience has not only given me hands-on experience with diverse programming strategies and research methodologies in global health, but it has also helped refine my skills in grantwriting. In addition to the funds I accessed as a graduate student, I have helped raise over $400,000 for my non-profit organization through key multisectoral partnerships. My practical experience in global health has allowed me to consistently reflect on and apply the knowledge I have gained in the field and classroom, and to benefit from the mutual enriching relationship between research and engagement. When given the opportunity, I hope to share these lessons and insights with students and encourage their development as engaged scholars.
Project: A Multipronged Approach to Combatting Intimate Partner Violence in Rural Coastal Ecuador, funded by Feminist Review Trust, Amount: $17,000
This project addresses culturally-specific dynamics of intimate-partner violence in rural Ecuador. Within Ecuador, the northwestern region of La Laguna is widely considered a lawless frontier. Violence against women is extremely common, in part because it is perceived as legitimate. Recent advances in knowledge of rights and access to state-based justice have offered powerful opportunities for some women in the region, but the empowering potential of these efforts is limited by women’s extreme social and economic vulnerability. Many suffer from increased violence and attempted suicide when their newly discovered right to live free from violence conflicts with the lack of means to change their circumstances.
These findings underscore the importance of women’s rights interventions that are paired with economic empowerment and new types of social supports. Based on over twelve years of research and activist involvement in this region, this project will implement linked interventions to mitigate the dangerous contradictions of human rights education and to encourage a more supportive and sustainable socio-economic environment for men and women seeking to diminish intimate-partner violence in La Laguna. The interventions will incorporate (1) educational workshops (legal training, rights-awareness, and workshops on alcoholism and the cycle of violence), (2) creation and consolidation of economic opportunities through targeted investments in existing micro-credit institutions, and (3) establishment of protective mechanisms, through the training of a Men-Against-Violence task force and community-based “safe-zones” for victims of gender-based violence. This project builds upon and fortifies longstanding community resources (identified over the course of twelve years) through capacity-building and strategic community-owned investments in order to ensure sustainability and minimize dependency on external interventions.
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