Católicas por el Derecho a Decidir (CDD)-Argentina (in English, Catholics for the Right to Choose-Argentina) is part of a network of NGOs that promotes sexual and reproductive health and rights in Latin America and the Caribbean from both a Catholic and intersectional feminist perspective. In 2020, in the midst of an internal reorganization process, CDD-Argentina reached out to Catalystas Consulting for advice and training on fundraising and project management. Over the course of a year and a half, our firm provided context-sensitive and feasible recommendations to expand their financing horizon as well as design, implement, and evaluate impactful projects.
According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, 97% of women of reproductive age living in the region of Latin America and the Caribbean are subject to restrictive abortion laws. After the Spanish and Portuguese colonization of the Americas, representatives of the Catholic Church have played an active role in denying the right to request and access free and safe abortions, even in extreme cases when the life of the pregnant person is at risk. The Network of Catholics for the Right to Choose and, particularly, its branch in Argentina, have undertaken the challenging yet essential task of deconstructing oppressive religious narratives that curtail women’s, girls’, and LGBTQI+ reproductive rights.
In Argentina, CDD was a founding member of the National Campaign for the Right to Safe and Free Legal Abortion, kickstarted in 2004 under the slogan “Sex education to decide, contraceptives to avoid abortion, legal abortion to avoid dying.” The NGO, alongside other social activist and advocacy organizations, was essential in the passing of the legislation that legalized the voluntary interruption of pregnancy in 2020. Before the Argentine National Congress began debating the draft law, CDD decided to undergo a reconfiguration process to expand its reach and continue defending sexual and reproductive rights while upholding Catholic values.
In 2020, Argentina made a historic decision to legalize abortion after months of fearless and relentless activism by women’s groups like : Católicas por el Derecho a Decidir-Argentina
Expanding the Financial and Programmatic Horizon
The first project Catalystas was commissioned for by CDD-Argentina aimed at expanding the financial resources and capacity of the organization. To this end, our firm set up a preliminary meeting in which we assessed the financial needs and fundraising capacity our client had at that stage. After completing the organizational profile through compiling findings in desk research, we produced a fundraising mapping and a trends analysis report. In both documents, we were able to gather information on which fundraising opportunities, both conventional and unconventional, existed in the region and in the sector. Our team also examined whether the financing horizon expanded or contracted should CDD-Argentina consider other programs and campaigns.
The second step involved producing a comprehensive fundraising handbook on intersectional feminist fundraising, tailored to the needs and context of the Catholic organization. The handbook included key definitions on:
Within five days of presenting the handbook, Catalystas also held an online workshop for members of CDD-Argentina where we dove deep into each section of the guide, answered questions, shared examples, and applied the knowledge to practical use cases. At the end of the workshop, jointly with the handbook, all participants received templates to design and implement a successful feminist fundraising strategy.
After our successful first collaboration, Catalystas helped the Argentine NGO and more than five partner NGOs to build their capacity on project management. Following the same methodology as before, we drafted a comprehensive handbook with ready-to-use templates. In a collaborative manner with the participants, we debated in depth how best to design and execute projects in the third sector, as opposed to traditional for-profit initiatives. By the end of each workshop, everyone received a certificate attesting to their new skills.
Sofía is a professional with more than six years of experience in research, project management, fundraising, training & capacity building, public speaking, and communications strategy design in the fields of international law, democracy and governance, and new technologies. She holds a Master’s in Law applied to International Security from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and a Bachelor’s of Science in International Relations from Universidad Católica de Córdoba, Argentina.
A doctoral student in legal theory and legal tech, she is part of the BlockchainGov project, an interdisciplinary effort financed by the European Research Center and comprised of members of Harvard University and MIT.
She started out working in The Hague in the field of law-making, public international law, and human rights with major international non-governmental organizations and international organizations, as well as members of parliament from democratic countries all over the world.
More recently, she has collaborated with startups, social enterprises, civil society organizations, and academic networks in the Global North working on blockchain-based applications to identity, voting, representation, and currency. Sofia has also advised NGOs promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights in the Global South.