grantees » Vanessa Dubois Cisneros

Vanessa  Dubois Cisneros, Costa Rica

Vanessa is an environmental management and ecotourism professional who never stops learning. She grew up in the rural South Carribean coastal region of Costa Rica with a botanist father, and has always been passionate about the environment. She learnt very early on about various facets of working with her natural surroundings, from organic farming to wildlife and water conservation. “I always wanted to study something related to environmental issues that would allow me to travel to learn from others’ experiences”. After her postgraduate studies in Environmental Management, Vanessa started working with the Freshwater Action Network – Central America (FANCA), a network of Central American CSOs facilitating the participation of all stakeholders in freshwater-related policy-making. Today, Vanessa is the Regional Project Officer for FANCA, giving implementation support to their national networks, as well as monitoring, evaluating, reporting and fundraising.

Using the JWH initiative grant, Vanessa developed a complete leadership development plan based on three phases: theory, investigation and implementation. Firstly, she strated a Master’s in Women’s Studies at the University of Costa Rica, as well as an Ecological Economy Diploma focusing on environmental responsibilities and economic value. Vanessa then visited international partners and participated in the 5th World Water Forum, allowing her to investigate in further depth the international discussion on gender and water policies.

Overall, Vanessa feels she benefited enormously: “The opportunity to improve my skills and knowledge has enabled my growth as a professional: I gained experience in regional project management, and I have better oral and written expression in advocacy and negotiation processes. My interaction space is now bigger, and working in a network and on water issues, it is necessary to build alliances with other actors. Now I feel that I have the tools to integrate gender and water management.

Vanessa did not hesitate to share her knowledge, leading international workshops and developing a gender module for a program on community-based water management; “One of my main achievements is to have created a permanent capacity-building program for women in the entire region, and improve their active participation in different spaces, especially decision-making spaces.” 

In future, Vanessa will continue to improve her knowledge on project management to support her practical experience, and above all wants to keep being a part of global projects “to have the possibility to learn about other realities related to environmental and social issues, especially in the water sector”.



Skype: vduboisc