ELAW Fellows: Making a Difference

Many grassroots advocates work in isolation, without access to the legal and scientific tools they need to protect communities and the environment.  ELAW Fellowships provide ELAW partners with critical skills and resources, and enhance international collaboration so they no longer feel so alone.  More than 100 grassroots advocates have traveled to Eugene to work with ELAW as Fellows.

Euren Cuevas I DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

ELAW Partner Euren CuevasThroughout the Caribbean, communities face similar problems: Developers interested in quick profits pollute and destroy fragile marine areas.

“When I listened to Danielle describe her work in Jamaica, I could have been listening to my co-workers here in the Dominican Republic,” says Euren Cuevas, an ELAW Fellow in Eugene until early December.

Danielle is an attorney with the Jamaica Environment Trust.  She traveled to the Dominican Republic last year with ELAW Staff Attorney Jen Gleason, to share her work in Jamaica with Euren and his colleagues at the Institute of Lawyers for the Protection of the Environment (INSAPROMA).

Euren is a founding member and President of INSAPROMA.  He has worked to conserve “Dunas do las Caldera,” a marine protected area, and challenged the illegal dumping of coal ash waste and installation of chemical storage tanks on Dominican beaches.  He has also fought the illegal extraction of aggregates from Dominican riverbeds.

Support from the John D.  and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is making it possible to protect biodiversity in the insular Caribbean by building collaboration between the Caribbean’s leading grassroots advocates.  These advocates and the communities they serve face similar challenges.  By collaborating across borders, ELAW duplicates victories and levels the playing field for disadvantaged communities.

Mara Bocaletti | GUATEMALA

Mara Bocaletti
 
Mara and her son at a workshop in Huehuetenango.

 

“In a young democracy like Guatemala, human rights must be constantly reinforced. That is how I became interested in environmental law. Most indigenous people live in extreme poverty, and careless exploitation of natural resources makes them even more vulnerable.

We are trying to change this dynamic of domination and exploitation. We are choosing solidarity, awareness of diversity, respect, and collective participation. We are bringing to the table the communities that are most directly impacted by climate change, the greenhouse effect, massive migrations, and desertification. We want to give them a voice.”

Mara Bocaletti is the co-founder of the Environmental and Water Law Alliance (ADA2) in Guatemala. She leads judicial trainings and provides environmental law support to attorneys and community organizations. She teaches law at Rafael Landivar University and environmental law and conflict resolution at University del Valle.

American English Institute, University of Oregon

The University of Oregon’s American English Institute provides tuition-free scholarships to ELAW Fellows who want to strengthen their English skills through AEI’s 10-week Intensive English Program. This program has proven extremely valuable for many environmental leaders in the ELAW network.

This summer, ELAW Fellows Pablo Fajardo from Ecuador and Mara Bocaletti from Guatemala studied English at AEI. Euren Cuevas from Dominican Republic began his English program in October. Many thanks to Martine Wigham, Peggy Dame, and everyone at AEI for their generous support of ELAW’s Fellowship Program.

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Summary: 

Many grassroots advocates work in isolation, without access to the legal and scientific tools they need to protect communities and the environment. ELAW Fellowships provide ELAW partners with critical skills and resources, and enhance international collaboration so they no longer feel so alone. More than 100 grassroots advocates have traveled to Eugene to work with ELAW as Fellows.