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NGO CSW has collected photos from the International Women’s Day March on March 8, 2012 near the UN.  Women were invited to write a cause they are active in on yellow sashes that they wore while marching.

View photos of the march taken by Nancy Eagan here!

Bonnie Fatio of Switzerland, Goodwill Ambassador for the World YWCA, on what she learned about inter-generational work from portraying Naomi in the Biblical story of Ruth for Ecumenical Women morning worship.


Last Friday at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York, Bread for the World and the Presbyterian Office at the United Nations co-sponsored a side event called 1,000 Days: Improving Nutrition for Rural Women. Other co-sponsors included the Women’s Missionary Society of the AME Church, Franciscans International, the 1,000 Days Partnership, Save the Children, and Family Care International. The effort was coordinated by staff at The Hunger Project. A standing room only crowd of over 100 came out to hear about the importance of maternal and child nutrition in the 1,000 day period between pregnancy and a child’s second birthday.

The expert panel was moderated by Mary Ellen McNish, president of The Hunger Project. Lucy Sullivan of the Washington, DC-based 1,000 Days Partnership office shared basic information about how critical it is for women and children to have good nutrition in the 1,000 days period from pregnancy to a child’s second birthday.  If malnourished, children can suffer permanent cognitive and physical delays, including shorter height, poor eye sight, diminished intellectual capacity, and weakened immune function.

Isatou Jallow, from the Gender Unit at the World Food Programme framed the issue. It is critical for women, particularly rural women, to have control of land and money because women are responsible for feeding children. And women are more likely than men to invest any profit back into their family.

Carolyn Miles, the first woman to be president and CEO of Save the Children shared about their 2012 Nutrition Report. She highlighted ways in which Save the Children includes nutrition in their programs to address poverty and hunger issues with women and children.

Catherine Bertini, Professor of Public Administration and International Affairs, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University addressed the role of the US government in improving nutrition for women and children. She talked about the Global Health Initiative and Feed the Future, the two flagship programs administered by USAID that  address nutrition within the larger context of health and agriculture. She also highlighted the importance of the domestic WIC program, which helps thousand of mothers and young children improve their nutrition.

After the presentations I talked about “1,000 Conversations,” the vehicle that the Women of Faith for the 1,000 Days Movement is using to spread the word about proper nutrition in the 1,000 day window. Women of faith are pledging to have 1,000 conversations in 1,000 days about maternal and child nutrition. It is critical that we spread the word about nutrition and put pressure on our government officials to continue to fund and promote nutrition programs. To learn more about “1,000 Conversations,” visit and “like”

Nancy Neal is associate for denominational women’s organization relations at Bread for the World and a member of the Presbyterian Church delegation to the Commission on the Status of Women.

As we leave New York and the UN, heading for home, let’s be sure to take one another and the joy of worship together at CCUN home with us in our hearts, buoyed by the beat of Caitlin Reilley Beck’s drumming.

Bernice Cosey Pulley speaks about the important part the YWCA played in her life, and invites us to “google” Anne Hutchinson!


Peng Leong, volunteer at the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations, met Theresa Symons during the International Women’s Day March. She interviewed Theresa about her ministry. Here’s how Theresa responded:

I am working as the Executive Director of Pusat Kebajikan Good Shepherd (Good Shepherd Welfare Centre) in Malaysia.

The primary focus of our work is with women and children experiencing crisis situations such as domestic violence, pregnancy crisis, abuse and other forms of crisis.  We also work with women who come from impoverished backgrounds especially those living in rural areas  with minimal access to basic services such as education, healthcare, water, sanitation and decent wages. I oversee 5 residential services and 6 preventive programs in different parts of Malaysia.

This is my first CSW and it was an awesome experience for me.  It was so good to with many women from different parts of the world, sharing the same joy, challenges and passion in advancing the status of women and girls; especially in the areas of human rights and basic necessities such as education, water and sanitation, health and decent wages. It was good to hear stories, to exchange best practices, to network with like minded women and to know that there is a wealth of information and resources available in different parts of the world.

I leave the CSW a different person from when I first came – equipped with more information, made some new friends and learned how to use human rights documents for advocacy and systemic change. I praise God for this opportunity and privilege to be here.

The picture shows Theresa (r) and Peng (l) at the International Women’s Day March.

Peng Leong wrote this article.

The following are a list of statements submitted by different delegations of Ecumenical Women regarding CSW56.

Ecumenical Women

Presbyterian Church (USA)

The Salvation Army

United Methodist Church

Society of Catholic Medical Missionaries

World Young Women’s Christian Association, Young Women’s Christian Association of Nigeria and YWCA of Canada

Anglican Communion Delegation

If you would like to read any other statements, they can be found at:

United Methodist Women supported delegate, Tomoko Arakawa from Japan’s Asian Rural Institute, says we need food and life. Commission on status of women, 2012.


ImageIf you’ve participated in worship with Ecumenical Women, one of these mornings at 8am, you will know Grace as the amazing woman who comes in early each day to make music with us.  Today we made music for her–a kazoo, whistle, and tambourine rendition of “Happy Birthday!”  We are so grateful for your gifts, Grace! Today and every day!


Today’s worship, led by the WFMUCW, featured the parable of the persistent

Mia Adjali dressed as "a woman at the well."

widow and a dramatized meeting of women at the well.  This litany was a part of their service:

Leader: O God of infinite possibility, grant to us all the opportunity to act boldly on our faith in Jesus Christ.

All: I can do it! You can do it! We can do it!

Leader: O God of abundant life, grant to us all emotional, physical and spiritual wholeness so that we might better serve others in your name.

All: Hear our prayer, O God!

Leader: It is more important to perform God’s commandments from inward conviction and in humility.

All: I can do it! You can do it! We can do it!

Leader: God looks upon the heart, while humans often look upon outward appearances.

All: God, you are our covering.

Leader: We can always find healing for all the needs in our lives through the Word of God.

All: Lord, we thank you for your Word.

Leader: O God of strength, give us courage, hope and open hearts, that we might experience expanding possibilities and grow through change.

All: Hear our prayer, O God!

Leader: Nurturing God, you have inspired and empowered women throughout all ages. 

All: Give us the courage and wisdom to act boldly on our faith in you, O Creating, Redeeming and Sustaining One.

Leader: We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

All: I can do it! You can do it! We can do it!

 While I am here at CSW 56 I had the opportunity to participate in very good discussions specially related to sustainable development and the inclusion of women.  This issue relates very much with the work we are doing back in my country and also in my family.

 One of the side events I had the pleasure to attend was “Voices of Rural Women: perspectives on Development Agriculture and environment”. As I was there, listening to Ana Chã, from the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement – MST/Brazil, I reflected a lot in the issues we are struggling in Brazil and that are affecting specially women.

 As Ana commented, we have in Brazil the invasion of big companies coming to invest in agribusiness, leaving behind 5 million landless people. Seeds are being modified, natural resources being used without limits and it relates to the lives of many small farmers that just want to have a peace of land to work and produce their food. Among them many are women.

 Beyond that, it is also really concerning the fact that Brazil is the major consumer of agricultural pesticides in the world. The medium quantity of pesticides consumed in Brazil is estimated in 5.2 litres per Brazilian per year. The advance of agribusiness utilizes a production model that beyond the concentration of land uses high amounts of pesticides to ensure industrial-scale production.

 As we discuss the empowerment of rural women, the CSW theme, we need to address and take in account all these issues. A sustainable development can’t be build without thinking on how protect diversity and the continuation of food production. A just and sustainable development needs to consider the voices of the women who have a historical relation in preserving nature and producing food and it also means find ways to stop land grabbing and the use of pesticides.

I am going back to my country strengthened to continue the work towards a world more inclusive and sustainable, where women can have space to discuss and to advocate for their rights. I am going back more strengthened to continue advocating for a rural space that produces food free of pesticides, where people can have food sovereignty and quality on life.

There is no sustainable development if we don’t think about inclusion of women, youth and the poor. There is no diversity without inclusion of all. And to include all we need education for people to know their rights.

 Daniele Schmidt Peter

 Daniele works for CAPA – Suport Center for Small Farmers , an NGO created by the Evangelical Church of Lutheran Confession in Brazil – IECLB – a church member of the Lutheran World Federation. CAPA’s mission is support small farmers to sustainable development, producing food through ecological agriculture. Ecological agriculture is a way of life and means producing food without pesticides and chemical products but above all, means the inclusion of family and all its members in the decision making in the work and in the outcomes of this work.

From last week’s side event “From Stories to Skills,” Kym McNair and Kathy Maskell from The Poverty Initiative at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York, lead reflections on Luke’s Persistent Widow and Hosea and Gomer speaking from their experiences working with women affected by domestic violence and human trafficking.

Take a moment to join women from around the world in prayer.  You will hear Mieko Nishimaki from Japan pray in Japanese, Pritty Sangma from North India pray in Garo–the mother language of her tribal homeland, Claudette Kigeme from Burundi pray in French, Rosalind Halder from Bangladesh pray in Bangli, France Vizamar from Haiti pray in Creole, Petra Jeong Woon Lee from Korea pray in Korean, and Alyse Sibaen from the Philippines gives the benediction.

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