Christina Fetterhoff

Christina Fetterhoff (Center for Economic and Social Rights, Ecuador): Christina was involved with human rights in Latin America long before she undertook her AP fellowship. She lived and studied for six months in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she researched the role of Argentine human rights organizations during the 1976-1982 military dictatorship. She also traveled to Cuba as a delegate for MADRE, a women’s rights and humanitarian aid organization. Christina graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 2003 with a B.A. in Political Science. At the time of her fellowship, she was studying for an M.A. in Latin American Studies through Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

(Re)defining the Partnership

19 Jul

What will be the relationship between CDES and the Advocacy Project after I leave Quito? This is a question that I have been mulling over for quite some time, and one which I discussed with Patricio, Director of CDES, last Thursday. We had a really good talk and I am now feeling more confident that CDES and AP will be able to construct a truly beneficial partnership.

I have been a bit concerned, recently, that I have become somewhat of an ambassador from CDES to Washington and that instead of developing an integrated system to send information from here to there, translating has become my main task. While I know that this is vital to disseminate information about the work of CDES to the Washington and international communities, I fear that once I leave all information exchange will cease-or that the e-mails will at least become fewer and far between.

Patricio, as well, I think, recognizes this challenge and has highlighted the need for CDES to continue working with native English-speakers in order to broaden the spectrum of information recipients. At the same time, we are continuing to work on restructuring the e-mail system in order to make the most efficient use of this technology.

Overall, public relations appears to be the key for CDES right now. After ten years of work in Ecuador, it is a very well established and respected organization. Many other NGOs, as well as the government, know that it exists, but it would be great if they could also be informed about what CDES is doing now. Besides e-mailing information, the CDES website will be an essential part of this task.

Every apparently small step in the struggle for the respect of economic and social rights is, in reality, a giant advance, especially in a country with such a sad and difficult history with regard to these themes. Thus, these advances should be publicized and lauded in order to encourage others to join and continue the struggle.

I know that AP will strive to help CDES with this task-I only hope that I have been able to begin the path during my month here and that I will also be able to continue to make a positive contribution to both the work of CDES and the formalization of its relationship with AP.

When I arrived in Quito to work with CDES, I tried very hard to keep an open mind-not to have too many expectations, in order to allow myself the chance to learn about the group’s work and function in Ecuadorian society. Many times, I still find myself in awe of how much such a small group of dedicated people has accomplished-truly inspiring.

However, at times I also worry about the future of CDES and its work-will it be able to continue to truly advance the cause of economic and social rights, or will it find itself bogged down in the everyday necessities of office-life? Mountains of e-mail to be answered, bills to pay, translations to be done, etc. I believe that with these tasks, AP will be able to offer some truly needed help and support, so that the CDES staff here in Quito can concentrate on the much more challenging task of promoting economic and social rights for all Ecuadorians.

Posted By Christina Fetterhoff

Posted Jul 19th, 2004

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