Advocate Dayana Blanco Quiroga is currently participating in the Human Rights Advocates Program (HRAP). She is the Coordinator for Pueblos de Montaña Foundation in Bolivia.
Why did you apply to HRAP?
I applied to HRAP because of the benefits this unique program offers human rights advocates from around the world. Through this program, I can connect with advocates from different backgrounds and fields working with human rights. By sharing our experiences, strategies, and diverse ways of managing challenges in our organizations, we can enhance our performance as human rights advocates.
My organization, the Pueblos de Montaña Foundation in Bolivia, manages two projects focusing on reducing the higher levels of physical, psychological, and economic violence Indigenous women are suffering from and reducing the effects of climate change. As the organization’s coordinator, I realized that we needed more resources that could benefit my organization and spread our work to more Indigenous communities in Bolivia. The Human Rights Advocates Program provides us with the tools we need through different workshops on human rights, Indigenous rights, and fundraising, which are crucial for my organization to achieve our goals.
In this program, we can connect with organizations in New York leading similar projects and create relationships to work together.
Those benefits are difficult to find in our countries and HRAP helps us access those tools and information networks by creating a group of advocates who are able to work together in the future to benefit our communities.
Tell us about your HRAP experience so far
So far, my experience in the Human Rights Advocates Program has helped me assess my work with victims of violence. For example, in a workshop with Human Rights Watch, I found resources on how my organization can manage interviews with women who are victims of violence without revictimizing them again. In a workshop with Philantropia, we were provided with crucial information on fundraising and how to connect with organizations. For example, I learned about the “Fondo de Mujeres Bolivia Apthapi Jopueti,” which is an organization I had not known about previously. I connected with them, and we had a meeting with a fund director who encouraged us and gave us all of the information we needed to apply for different funds. Also, they said that they would be happy to work with us because they focus on supporting projects in different Indigenous communities.
I could connect with Isabel, another advocate in our cohort, who shared with me how I can join the International Indigenous Women’s Forum. We will now be attending the 67th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW67) supported by FIMI.
Finally, during the online portion, HRAP connected me with great people who provide the Pueblos de Montaña Foundation with information, contacts, and funds.
What are you looking forward to seeing/doing in NYC?
I am looking forward to enjoying Columbia University’s classes and learning from the community. Also, I am excited to visit the different libraries. In just a few days in NYC, I could see how the meetings of the United Nations and other organizations are held. I want to join many of those meetings where we share and represent our organization and country as well as the different crucial issues we face.
Finally, I want to meet with different organizations and build alliances and bridges of cooperation with them.
Additionally, I hope to explore the city with my group of advocates and go to the theater, different famous bridges, and the opera.
What has surprised you so far?
From my first day, I was very surprised at how enormous and different the city is from my Indigenous community. I also appreciate the diversity of NYC and how you can connect with people from different universities and nationalities.
When we met with my group of advocates, I was surprised by what they do, why they do it, and how this program here in NYC connects us. It is really an incredible experience.