Sumak is a member of the Cacha community, part of the Puruwa nation in Chimborazo province, Ecuador. She began serving as a UN Volunteer as part of the partnership between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) in 2017, after working for women's rights in the Ecuadorian National Assembly.
UNV and the crocodile skin industry? This surely was different from what most UNV assignments revolved around. Jerome Montague’s description of assignment reads as follows:
Women in Loja, mostly of indigenous descent, play a critical role in their economy, by managing small businesses and/or providing informal care for family members. They participate in crop production and livestock farming, and provide food and fuel for their families. However, indigenous women in Loja are disproportionally affected by poverty, gender inequalities and discrimination and do not enjoy the same rights and opportunities as men. For example, Ecuadorian’ women bear disproportionate responsibility for unpaid care work.
La Paz, Bolivia: During my one-year assignment in Bolivia as a UN Youth Volunteer, I worked at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) within the Indigenous Peoples Unit. I became familiar with indigenous peoples’ rights in a country where 42% of the population identify themselves as indigenous.
My background as a human rights lawyer helped me to understand the serious challenges and threats that are living the Guarani peoples in the Chaco region.
Quito, Ecuador: In spite of progress made at the political and judicial level, violence against women continues to persist in many parts of the world. We still have a long road ahead of us in our plight to end gender violence, and Ecuador is no exception. In this country, domestic violence is common, and many women endure emotional, psychological, and/or physical abuse. For all of these reasons, during my assignment, I wanted to help raise public awareness about gender relations and violence against women.
La Paz, Bolivia: My experience as a UNV Human Rights Specialist working with the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Bolivia is, after two years of work, exceptional.