Vance Center Secures New Funding for Regional and Global Work

November 2023

The Vance Center has received additional support for important initiatives on judicial independence in Central America and equity and inclusion in South Africa.

The National Endowment for Democracy has renewed its support for the Vance Center’s ongoing work on judicial independence in Central America and the Caribbean for two more years. NED’s commitment enables the Vance Center to deepen the impact of its initiatives to address and raise awareness around issues and threats affecting judges, within specific countries and at the regional level.  

These efforts build on more than a decade of Vance Center work to support judges in combating corruption and protecting themselves and their colleagues from threats to their independence and integrity. This work is possible through collaboration with key regional partners including the Guatemalan Association of Judges for Integrity (AGJI), Central American Federation of Judges for Democracy (FECAJUD), the Costa Rican Association of Judges (ACOJUD), and others. 

As a further testament to the importance of this work, the Vance Center has also been selected to partner in a separate project to promote an independent judiciary in Guatemala. The new project will provide training to civil society organizations in Guatemala City, Quetzaltenango, and Chiquimula on judicial independence and integrity matters, based on the relevant national and international regulatory frameworks. 

Also in Guatemala, the Vance Center received funding from the U.S. State Department to support its work with women in the legal profession. The eight-month project focuses on developing a network of support for women lawyers across legal fields, especially those at the frontlines of work to uphold the rule of law and combat corruption in the country. The project will identify the heightened challenges women in the legal profession are facing in Guatemala and develop a network of women, representing various sectors of the legal profession, to share experiences, discuss challenges and strategies to address them, and provide support as they continue their work.

In South Africa, the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria recently awarded the Vance Center new funding to support its work to promote equity and inclusion in the legal profession and improve legal access for marginalized communities in South Africa. These efforts will build on the Vance Center’s two years of work through its Advancing Women in the Workplace (AWW) project, also generously supported by the Embassy, which will conclude in March 2024 with a forum and the launch of a report highlighting findings from a survey of women in the South African legal field.  

Through this new project, which began in October, the Vance Center will develop an equity and inclusion toolkit based on the survey findings and facilitate workshops in three provinces to present the toolkit and facilitate conversations among legal organizations on equity and inclusion, among other activities. Also in October, the Vance Center had an opportunity to celebrate its partnership with the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria with a reception graciously hosted by the U.S. Ambassador to South Africa, Ambassador Reuben E. Brigety II, while Vance Center staff and Committee members were visiting Johannesburg for the organization’s 20th Anniversary celebration.