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November 18, 2010

Amber Munger ’08 Continues Work in Haiti

2008 Oregon Law alumna continues to devote her life to the beleaguered country

Nearly one year since the devastating earthquake, and with a cholera epidemic and the remains of Hurricane Tomas ravaging the tiny country, Haiti still has Amber Munger by its side.

The 2008 Oregon Law alumna first visited Haiti 13 years ago, and has been working on social and environmental issues in some of the country’s most remote regions with various humanitarian organizations ever since. Most recently, she founded the Article 29 Organization and has been tackling women’s rights, sustainable agriculture, and healthcare in the desert region of Anse Rouge.

“A lot of people have a work life and a personal life,” Munger remarked. “The work in Haiti is my life.”

Munger currently is hospitalized in the United States for an E. Coli infection. She contracted the bacteria while traveling to a remote mountainous area in Haiti, but didn’t feel the truly painful effects until she flew to a meeting in Boston and was sent to a hospital when walking became excruciating.

Although she cannot physically be there for the country she loves, Munger has been working tirelessly from her hospital bed coordinating relief efforts and translating information sheets on cholera into Creole and sending them to her colleagues in Haiti in an effort to prevent widespread panic.

“There’s no one else my equal [in rural Haiti] representing the people or who has the same relationships with the rural system and the U.N. emergency response system,” she noted.

When Munger returns to Haiti, she will assume a board position with Article 29 as she becomes the Economic Recovery and Livelihood Coordinator for Oxfam America’s Haiti Livelihood Program.

“Oxfam’s work has always inspired me,” she said. “I am excited about the support they are providing to the people of Haiti.”

Although Munger is not a practicing lawyer (she went to law school never intending to practice), she said everything she does in Haiti is guided by the Human Rights-Based Approach that she discovered at Oregon Law. She returns frequently to the law school as a guest speaker and currently is working with Oregon Law students to develop programs for the Article 29 Organization.

“As a non-practicing lawyer, I use just about every class I ever took in law school.”

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