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As we continue preparations for CSW58, we wanted to thank all of those who have been a part of our online Ecumenical Women community over the past year. In 2013 we surpassed 25,000 views to our website for the first time!!! For more information about who was viewing our website and what the most popular topics were, check out the report below. And once again, thanks for joining us!

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 25,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 9 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Reflecting the CSW58 priority theme of “Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for women and girls,” over the coming months Ecumenical Women will be posting stories about our individual member organizations’ efforts to implement the MDGs. This is our eighth installment, a story from EW member organization United Methodist Women has partnered with Acción Médica Cristiana to empower women and feed families in Nicaragua through a cow bank. What follows is a portion of the article and its accompanying video. You can find the complete article on UMW’s website here.

… During Acción Médica Cristiana trainings women started sharing concerns, needs and wishes and began looking for ways to improve their situation: Could they sell some of the produce they were growing? Start a small business? And what about having access to milk? For a poor peasant in Nicaragua, owning a farm animal is a synonym for wealth – and for a woman it is life changing.

Responding to these women, AMC contacted United Methodist Women, and the first 15 cows were provided in 2001. The groups agreed that the cows would be owned only by the women members, who would attend trainings to learn how to care for the animals and “pay back” the cow with the first offspring, which would be given to another woman of the group.

“We want the woman, not her husband, to own the animal,” said María Ruthbeli Pérez, 35, mother of two and coordinator of the project in San Joaquín. She explained that the norm was that the man owned all family property and had single-handed decision-making power. “During one of our visits with a family, the husband noted that when the cow gave birth the wife decided to sell the calf to buy a bull to use for breeding, and now she has more cows. Women have learned how to negotiate with their husbands, and husbands have recognized the value the women have for the sake of the family.”

“It has been a pleasure to meet the people from Acción Médica Cristiana,” said Emerita Garcia Mairena, 54. “I used to think that being a woman was not that important, that women did not have a chance to develop or own things. I thought that men were the only ones to own cattle. Now I know women also have rights. I used to think that because I was a homemaker, my job had no value. But now I know my value. I feel I am important.”

She and her husband have seven children and five grandchildren. Her first cow came in 2007, and now she owns three animals. “The original cow, another cow and a calf,” Ms. Mairena said, with a smile on her face.

Everybody in her house drinks the milk and eats cheese with their meals; whatever is not consumed is sold. The extra income makes a big difference. “I use the money to buy medicines for the cow and to buy chickens which give eggs for our food. I buy food for the chickens, and I also help my daughter who is in school. Before, only my husband would bring money to the house, but with the cows this has changed…”

world_ywca_logoReflecting the CSW58 priority theme of “Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for women and girls,” over the coming months Ecumenical Women will be posting stories about our individual member organizations’ efforts to implement the MDGs. This is our seventh installment, a report from EW member organization the World YWCA on “The Future That Young Women Want” in relation to the post-2015 development agenda. What follows is a short excerpt, with a link to the report in its entirety below.

… The time to mobilize young women to contribute towards influencing the post-MDG agenda is now. While the final content is yet to be decided, the next set of goals will significantly direct human, technical and financial resources of major international and regional institutions, and governments. It is imperative that this framework is shaped by the voices of the world’s 860 million young women, who are among those most vulnerable to poverty, hunger and poor health outcomes. The post-2015 development agenda must capture the needs, assets and aspirations of this critical population group.

Her Future has been compiled by the World YWCA in the lead up to the review of the MDGs to give young women a voice in the future they want for their families, communities and countries. It has been developed following extensive consultation with young women across Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, The Caribbean, Middle East, Pacific and North America and encompasses both new research and the outcomes of recent meetings of young women at regional and global levels…

To read “The Future Young Women Want” in its entirety, click here.

EW LogoEcumenical Women has just released our CSW58 advocacy statement to the general public, which will guide our advocacy efforts throughout the 58th Commission on the Status of Women, set to begin on March 10. You can find the statement in its entirety here: CSW58 Advocacy Statement.

While highlighting the important role faith communities have played in implementing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the statement recognizes that there has been unequal progress made under the MDGs, particularly as they relate to women and girls. As the international community begins moving forward toward a post-2015 development agenda that will succeed the MDGs, this statement affirms that the promotion of gender equality from a human rights perspective and the contributions and empowerment of women and girls of all ages are fundamental, as enshrined in the Beijing Platform and international laws, and are necessary to ensure gender justice and sustainable development.

The statement also highlights four areas of successes and challenges in the MDGs as they relate to women and girls:

  • Poverty and hunger
  • Access to quality education, employment and decision-making
  • Health
  • Violence against women and girls

The statement then concludes by highlighting that the ecumenical community effectively has been pursuing the ideals of the Millennium Development Goals for centuries and we will continue to pursue a just development system long after 2015. While continuing to work towards the achievement of the MDGs is important, we also acknowledge that a transformative change must take place to achieve equality and to generate a more peaceful and prosperous future for all.

We encourage you to read our statement in its entirety, and continue to check out http://www.ecumenicalwomen.org as we release additional information in the run-up to the 58th Commission on the Status of Women. Thanks so much!

Anglican_Alliance_3Reflecting the CSW58 priority theme of “Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for women and girls,” over the coming months Ecumenical Women will be posting stories about our individual member organizations’ efforts to implement the MDGs. What follows is our sixth installment, this one about how the Anglican Communion, an EW member organization, recently held regional consultations using the MYWorld Global Survey to discern individual’s priorities for global development/ the post-2015 development agenda. What follows is an interesting look at the results of that effort.

The MY World survey shows that a good education, better healthcare, and an honest and responsive government, are the top three priorities for the world so far.  These priorities change when targeting different demographics:

Both men and women

  1. 1. A good education
  2. 2. Better healthcare
  3. 3. An honest and responsive government

Both Brazil and Burundi

  1. 1. A good education
  2. An honest and responsive government
  3. Better healthcare

UK

  1. A good education
  2. Access to clean water
  3. Affordable and nutritious food

You can see more results – split by country, gender and age – here: http://www.myworld2015.org/?partner=alliance&page=results

Priorities from Anglicans
The Anglican Alliance held regional consultations in 2011, to hear Anglicans’ top priorities for development, relief and advocacy in each region.  These largely addressed the gaps in the MDGs, such as disability in emergencies and economic inequality.

Consultation in Hong Kong (Asia)

  1. Economic empowerment and peace and reconciliation were the key issues.
  2. Climate change and youth empowerment
  3. There was discussion about changing women’s empowerment to making it women and children, or making youth empowerment a cross cutting issue.
  4. Governance within the church as well as in communities.
  5. Extractive industries, including issues about indigenous people, climate change and justice.

Consultation in Honiara (Pacific)

  1. Climate change, survival and food security
  2. Forced migration, migrants and refugees
  3. Youth empowerment – including violence against young women and gang culture
  4. Peace and reconciliation

Consultation in Nairobi (Africa)

  1. Access to finance and economic empowerment
  2. Food security and climate change
  3. Financing for provision of services, in particular water and sanitation
  4. Governance

Anglicans have also voted for their top priorities post-2015 on the Alliance MY World partner page.  In order of priority, Anglicans worldwide have chosen:

  1. Affordable and nutritious food
  2. Access to clean water and sanitation
  3. A good education
  4. Better healthcare
  5. Equality between men and women
  6. An honest and responsive government
  7. Protection against crime and violence
  8. Action taken on climate change
  9. Reliable energy at home
  10. Protecting forests, rivers and oceans
  11. Freedom from discrimination and persecution
  12. Support for people who can’t work
  13. Better job opportunities
  14. Political freedoms
  15. Better transport and roads
  16. Phone and internet access

Women make up 75 per cent of Alliance votes.  Countries with a high human development index (HDI) make up 45 per cent of votes, and 45 per cent come from countries with a very low HDI.

Most Anglican votes have come from Bangladesh, where women at the grassroots have shown notable engagement with the survey; over 500 women have already voted using a paper ballot system and another round of votes is currently taking place. Their top five priorities are:

  1. Better healthcare
  2. A good education
  3. Affordable and nutritious food
  4. Access to clean water and sanitation
  5. Reliable energy at home

Regional results also vary:

Africa

  1. A good education
  2. An honest and responsive government
  3. Access to clean water and sanitation

Asia

  1. A good education
  2. Better healthcare
  3. Affordable and nutritious food

Oceania

  1. Protecting forests, rivers and oceans
  2. Affordable and nutritious food
  3. Action taken on climate change

Americas

  1. Access to clean water and sanitation
  2. Affordable and nutritious food
  3. An honest and responsive government

Europe

  1. Access to clean water and sanitation
  2. Affordable and nutritious food
  3. A good education

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