Revenue Watch Welcomes New Capacity Advancement Fellows from Ecuador and Vietnam

RWI CA Fellows Nguyen Thi Hai Van and Maria del Carmen Pantoja Mendez
Country: Ecuador, Vietnam
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The Revenue Watch Institute is pleased to introduce its new Capacity Advancement Fellows for 2010-11: Maria del Carmen Pantoja Mendez of Grupo FARO in Ecuador, and Nguyen Thi Hai Van of People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature) in Vietnam.

The Capacity Advancement (CA) Fellowship, currently in its third year, aims to build the capacity of mid-career civil society activists by deepening their understanding of the extractive industry and broadening their skills to connect local, national and international campaigns. After training and research in New York City, fellows are expected to return to their organizations and coalitions with specific knowledge and skills that will enable them to better meet current challenges and develop broader training, advocacy and research agendas. The program targets key individuals to develop a cadre of future leaders for extractive industry transparency campaigns. 

During this year-long program, fellows investigate international best practices for extractive resource management and the current role of local and international civil society organizations in promoting change. During the first half of the program, from August 2010 through January 2011, CA Fellows will work from Revenue Watch's offices in New York and take part in day-to-day RWI project activities, related classes at leading academic institutions, and donor and civil society networking events. Fellows will also receive hands-on support for original research and personal mentorship from an industry expert. After they return to their home organizations, CA Fellows will implement a project based on their research and learning experience in New York, with the continued support of their program mentor. Revenue Watch will publish a short report from each fellow online at the culmination of the term, highlighting what was learned. 

Maria del Carmen Pantoja Mendez is a graduate of the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador in Economics and received a Revenue Watch fellowship to participate in the "Specialization in Extractive Industries: Monitoring and Sustainable Development" program at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru. She has worked on analyzing public policy with a focus on fiscal, economic and social issues in government and private organizations. Since July 2009 she has worked as an investigator in the Public Finance Department of Grupo FARO in Ecuador. During these years she principally collaborated as a researcher, monitoring oil revenues, networking and doing advocacy. Her work includes the analysis of gender policy, local government transparency and social investment with the collaboration of organizations as UNIFEM, UNICEF, GTZ and FUNDAR. 

Before Grupo FARO Maria conducted research for the Quito Chamber of Commerce and was a member of the Analytic Research Advisor Group of the Ecuadorian Statistical Institute. She is an activist who seeks to strengthen public policy through better economic planning and greater social equality. She aspires to become a policy maker in the future. Her goal through the CA fellowship training is to learn more about the administration of fiscal instruments such as funds as well as to gain a better understanding of contract issues that can be applied to Ecuadorian extractive sector restructuring. 

Nguyen Thi Hai Van received a Bachelor of Environmental Science with honors from Hanoi National University, College of Science in 2008. She currently works as a policy researcher for the nonprofit People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature) in Vietnam, where she coordinates projects on environmental protection and natural resource management and conducts advocacy and capacity building work on environmental law monitoring. 

Van has coauthored a number of policy briefs on environmental impact assessment, prosecution for environmental crimes and biodiversity conservation in Vietnam, among other topics. While at Revenue Watch, Van will be working with the RWI Revenue Transparency Index team to research levels of transparency in Vietnam. In addition her research will focus on the environmental externalities of mining, the economic impact of the extractive sector and contract transparency. After the fellowship, Van seeks to increase awareness of transparency and Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative issues within government and civil society in Vietnam.

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