You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘MDGs’ category.

Check out this video from Matilda Johnson, a World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women from the Gambia. She discusses why the Millennium Development Goals have a woman’s face. She also evaluates the MDGs and discusses what she hopes will come out of CSW58.

Check out the following video from the chaplain at the Church Center for the United Nations Rev. Dionne Boissiere, who discusses the use of difficult Bible texts in this year’s UN Commission on the Status of Women and how we should interpret such texts. Specifically, she explains the use of 2 Kings 6: 28-29, the story of “The Two Starving Mothers” to center a worship service around Millennium Development Goal #1, “eradicating poverty and extreme hunger” which was led by our young adult delegates on 11 March 2014.

This morning’s worship service was led by Ecumenical Women’s young adult delegates from Church Women United and the Presbyterian Church (USA). Focusing on Millennium Development Goal #1, “Eradicate Poverty and Extreme Hunger,” the young adults worked with an extremely difficult Bible text, 2 Kings 6:28-29, through song, prayer and reflection. Check out the following videos from worship below.

Our Call to Worship/ Welcome

 

Singing “Canticle of the Turning.”

 

Furthermore, we ask you to reflect as well on how to deal with difficult Bible texts like 2 Kings 6: 28 -29. Please send us your comments and we’ll be sure to share them with our delegates!

 

A variety of views about the text were then shared. One woman suggested all the characters in the story were selfish and that this reflected on the selfishness of all those who have privilege. Someone else commented that despite the horrific manner in which she went about it, the woman who cooked her son was acting in a form of solidarity with the other desperate woman. Another delegate stated that there is something powerful about dwelling in anger, in being angry at the desperation of many of those girls and women living in extreme poverty, and that there is hope in action. Another young adult commented that desperation makes people do things that we cannot even imagine, but that righteous indignation at that desperation empowers us to help end systems of injustice. Chaplain Dionne ended the conversation and raised our spirits in proclaiming “the joy of the Lord is our strength!”

1972480_716797568365337_1793422833_n

This post was written by Dustin Wright, an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America seminarian who is currently serving as Communications Coordinator for Ecumenical Women. The views expressed below are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization.

This past Saturday at Ecumenical Women’s Orientation Day for the United Nations 58th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), I was honored to give two brief workshops about advocacy, the Millennium Development Goals, and the power of sharing stories. We had extremely powerful conversations in both workshops that opened up a bunch of new insights for me about how the sharing of stories relates to Christian witness and working to end gender inequalities. Most importantly, folks got to share how they had used stories in their own local contexts to organize against gender injustice and accompany other girls and women in processes of liberation. Hopefully we all picked up a few new ideas and were able to share something from our own stories as well. As the crazy, awesome energy that is CSW swarms around me, I figured it’d take a quick break and briefly outline what we talked about. Thanks for reading, and I’d love to hear any feedback you might have.

We began by talking about the power and use of stories in the Christian tradition… how Jesus used stories and how we organize our Christian community around the story that is Christ death and hope-bringing resurrection over the worst of human sin. The group then got into discussion around one of Jesus’ stories, a parable not regularly heard in many of our congregations called “The Parable of the Growing Seed:

He also said, ‘The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come” (Mark 4: 26 – 29).

Many participants offered interpretations about how this parable related to their advocacy work… some talked about the frustration of spreading seeds and not seeing how they grow into justice. Others talked about the joy when they do succeed in their work. One woman contributed a great interpretation, that she was not the person scattering seed but rather a seed itself. God was helping her grow and change into her calling as she engaged in advocacy work.

We next watched part of the following film from Participate, an organization that is bringing the perspective of the world’s most marginalized people into the debate about what will follow the Millennium Development Goals in 2015:

While Participate is primarily a secular organization, it’s amazing about how their approach reflects the best of the Christian liberation theology tradition, which believes that Christ chooses to especially locate Himself in the lives of those who are most marginalized in the world, whether it be by poverty or other forms of oppression. The lives of oppressed people then serve as sources of revelation, and thus, prove the main source of liberation from whatever or whoever may oppress them. With this in mind, folks and organizations like the Church cannot simply swoop in and “make things better” in a patriarchal manner, but rather should simply accompaniment those living under oppression in their walk toward liberation, using whatever privilege they may have to amplify those voices who are not currently being listened to by decision makers. Furthermore, the global Church is likely the organization that in practical terms has the most direct contact with those living under oppression, including girls and women. The Church (and we as Christians) are therefore called to accompany oppressed individuals in are local communities as they seek to free themselves.

1975235_716798388365255_964671084_nAfter we discussed this concept, I highlighted two platforms through which the United Nations is providing an avenue for increased participation in evaluating the Millennium Development Goals, the World We Want 2015 platform and the MYWorld global survey of priorities for global development. Whether it pertains to the MDGs or otherwise, amplifying the voices of those living under oppression is important in any community organizing or advocacy effort, whether on a local or global scale. Thus, we spent the second half of the workshop discussing how we had used stories in our local contexts. We heard about the power of stories in combat human trafficking. We heard about the power of stories in helping women reclaiming their lives after being victims of domestic violence. We heard about the power of stories in helping women discern how to interpret privilege and oppression. We heard about the power of stories in helping women gain access to education and sexual/ reproductive health services. At once point, one participant stated that “silence kills” when trying to overcome various forms of oppression. I couldn’t agree more, and I feel extremely grateful for being able to hear the stories of all who participated. What an amazing experience, and I look forward to hearing and sharing more stories throughout the week.

God’s peace,
Dustin

What follows is the powerful Call to Worship that was part of Ecumenical Women’s service this morning in the Church Center for the United Nations chapel:

LEADER: Come praise the Lord with me as we lift up our voices together in prayer and advocacy coming from north, south, east and west.

PEOPLE: We will affirm our work together.

LEADER: Cry out to the Lord for the least of these. Do not become weary. Do not lose heart.

PEOPLE: We will wait on the Lord. We will share our stories. We will 

listen to the stories of others.

LEADER: The Lord requires us to love mercy, seek justice and to walk humbly with our God.

ALL:  The Lord is a God of hope. We will persevere. We will eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. We will achieve universal primary education. We will promote gender equality and empower women. We will reduce child mortality. We will improve maternal health. We will combat HIV/ AIDS, malaria and other diseases. We will ensure environmental sustainability. We will create a global partnership for development. These are human rights for God’s people. If we have faith of a mustard seed, God’s grace and justice will endure to all generations!

1794720_716834441694983_1903460493_n

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 ninth installment, a story from EW member organization United Methodist Women has partnered with the Ecumenical Development Foundation to support rural Zambian women in ending sex work by encouraging sustainable agriculture. This relates to a number of the MDGs, including MDG #6 – combatting HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. What follows is an excerpt, but you can find the complete story at UMW’s website here.

… In a village in Zambia, Nelly and her family once depended exclusively on chemical fertilizers to produce the crops on their farm. As years went by, the quality of their soil degraded to a point that hunger and poverty took over the family’s already precarious situation. Nelly’s family tried shifting cultivation to charcoal burning as a source of income, but their situation worsened due to scarce rain and the resulting bare fields. Nelly’s father migrated to the city to look for provisional jobs, leaving Nelly’s mother with seven children without an income or means of support. At the ages of 13 and 15, Nelly and her sister began a life as sex workers to earn a subsistence income and help their mother and siblings survive. In just a short time Nelly’s sister contracted HIV and passed away from AIDS.

The Ecumenical Development Foundation (EDF), a partner of United Methodist Women, became aware of Nelly’s situation and began a rehabilitation program for sex workers. The program emphasized empowerment through the acquisition of basic skills, such as sustainable farming. The program required that all participants learn to raise chickens and pigs, as well as basic land farming without the use of chemical fertilizers. Nelly completed the program and with the help of EDF staff implemented the skills she had learned on her family farm…

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

Handkranz-Kopie_480pxReflecting 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 fifth story, this one about how EW member organization Medical Mission Sisters works to help girls and women in India’s Dalit community organize for better education and greater freedom. This work directly relates to fulfilling MDG #2: Achieve Universal Primary Education. The story is from Smita Parmar.

On November 24 three hundred and eighty three children gathered at Swabhiman Bhavan to celebrate the Children’s Day. They were of Dalit Community, (Dalits were formerly known as “untouchable”)  They are economically weak, socially backward and politically voiceless. Prior to the celebration, we spent one and half months’ preparing the children with input as well as practice. Out of these 383 children 113 were from the Musahar (Rat eaters) community. We MMS and the staff focus on the development of the Musahar community. Education until today has not become a priority for them since allmost all the adults are illiterate. MMS have managed to get 23 girls below the age of eighteen years and admitted themin a residential school for Dalit girls run by the Government. Four girls have managed to reach up to 7th standard. It is very important for girls to stay in the hostel lest they will be married off since child marriage is highly prevalent. We conduct two coaching centers for those above six years in one of the three hamlets. It is difficult to get instructors from high castes to teach in Musahar hamlets.

MMS stays in contact with the Musahar hamlets through Self Help Groups (S.H.Gs). There are seven active S.H.Gs of which six are women’s groups. One of our health workers goes around during the day to men (who work in the brick kilns) to get their wages or else the money will be spent for liquor and meat. It is with great hope that we were able to form one men’s group. Musahars, unskilled as they are, work as agricultural laborers. Paddy harvest provides them with the hay that keeps them warm during cold winter days besides the wage in kind they get. The rest of the year they work in the brick kilns. During rainy seasons, and in heavy winter, they quit the work and take out loans from the land / brick kiln owners. These loans are readily available as this is the trap by which these laborers can be turned in to bonded laborers. Our attempt to get them other jobs like security guards failed as they are not free to leave due to their indebtedness .

We entered the Musahar hamlet about eight years ago. Women showed interest in saving the money and we could easily form a SHG . At one time one family could save a pregnant woman who had hepatitis, with the help of the entire money saved in the box. People are generous and cooperative when a matter of life was concerned. As the days went we noticed their box was often empty. Finally the group vanished. One and half years passed. One Musahar man was beaten up by a man of Dusad community. It was at this time MMS intervened to bring justice to the victim. The Dusad who was higher in caste  was punished by the local court and had to pay a penalty to the victim. This was unbelievable and shocking for many. But the unimaginable event brought new courage and confidence to the Musahar community.

When we put were about to put  up a shed for the children’s coaching center, the land owner and his  gang came and agitated over the matter. They were ready to file a police case against MMS. Missionaries are welcome to build a hospital, but not a shed for education; it could be made by the Government (which they know will not easily happen).  The reality is if the Musahar children progressed in studies and got job, there will not be cheap labor available as the case is now.

Even without the shed, classes went on and the children who attend daily coaching have proved their talents and leadership through a variety entertainments, speeches, etc. on 24th Nov.  We continue to give hope to these insecure people and trust in God that one day they also will be able to live in freedom and dignity.

urlReflecting 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 the fourth of such stories about how EW member organization Medical Mission Sisters works with those affected and infected by HIV/ AIDS in India. This work directly relates to fulfilling MDG #6: Combat HIV/ AIDS, Malaria and Other Diseases. The story is from Sister Regy Augustine Peringarappilly.

Medical Mission Sisters are involved in the field of health and healing since 1925 with women and children as our special focus. All the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) are touched upon by our involvement in 17 countries around the globe, particularly among the people living in poverty. As the UN Representative I had been collecting stories from around the world and here is a story by Sr. Regy on MDG 6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.

Sr. Biya Joseph MMS and I are implementing a project for HIV infected and affected people in Iddukki and Kottayam district S. India. The target population is from two southern states, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.  At present 29 families are in contact and getting benefit under this project.

Due to the social stigma attached to this illness, it was very difficult to contact and get the people together. As an initial step, we conducted a few medical camps along with HIV test for the residence of a tea estate.  We could contact four families with the help of some NGO’S. They narrated their practical difficulties such as inadequate financial resources, inability to do work in the field, not able to pay for medicine, lack of nutritious food etc. As a supportive measure they were provided with nutritious food, and reimbursement of medicine. This has lead to an increase in the number of participants, but they were not ready to give their identity or to mingle with each other. We organized awareness classes promoting, positive attitude towards life and Rights of people living with HIV/AIDS besides counseling.

Consequently during our meetings and discussions they were more open to share their life struggles such as experience of discrimination from family members, in schools and hospitals. The group said that “now we feel that we are respected as human beings”.  Gradually they developed solidarity among themselves and felt the need for coming together and to support each other.

They expressed their interest to have some skill training for income generation program, hence we made use of this opportunity to visit their homes to get to know their real situation. We were very respectful to their family members and neighbors as they do not know about the sickness of the person concerned.  It helped a lot to understand their living situations and build a rapport with them.   Some are widows with their HIV positive children working hard to make both ends meet.  We reached out to help with their requests for help from our small project. At present there are seventeen families getting a small income for their daily maintenance from this scheme and they are physically and mentally more healthy and continue their life journey with hope and self esteem.

To sum up, I would say that stigma and discrimination are an everyday experience of people living with HIV/AIDS.  As an epidemic, AIDS affects not just the individual, but the entire family and the community. It emerged as the most dreaded disease not because of the fact that death is certain, but it is due to the stigma and social exclusion that they suffer most. HIV/AIDS is an epidemic of global population and hence it should be a concern of the entire world to educate, support and above all to include them in the mainstream society.

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. What follows is a story about the Awareness Generation Program for Rural and Poor Women run by the Medical Mission Sisters, and EW member organization, a program that strongly relates to MDG #5: Improve Maternal Health. The story was originally written by Joan Chunkapura.

On January 2, 2013, the Awareness Generation Program for Rural and Poor Women began at camp Koombanmala, Kerala, India, with twenty two women. After a prayer and distribution of the New Year’s cake, class began. Many Medical Mission Sisters participated in giving input and leading discussions.

Rosamma George, an experienced nurse who holds a Master’s degree in psychology, dealt with the concept of health and the different components of health. She gave specific attention to women’s health. In discussing pregnancy she also talked about saving the girl child and female feticide.

MMS1Regy Peringarappilly, a practicing lawyer and social worker, explained the causes of human trafficking, such as poverty, dowry, migration, unemployment, and overpopulation. She gave input on different laws and on increasing awareness that trafficking might be happening. She explained different ways that sexual harassment of women takes place and discussed female infanticide, sex selective abortions, and gender sensitization. Regy also gave input on social action. She started her class with the incident of the Delhi gang rape and the response of society. She said that most of the women are not interested in social action because many are not socially oriented enough and not ready to take risks. Another one of her topics was the Dowry Prohibition Act. She informed the participants that asking for dowry and giving dowry is punishable by law. She presented the statistics of dowry deaths in recent years in India. She explained that child marriage is punishable under Prohibition of Child Marriage Act. A girl needs to complete eighteen years and a boy complete twenty-one years to get married.

Biya Joseph, a social worker and a counselor, gave a class on responsible parenting. She emphasized that the responsibility of parents is not only for providing food, shelter and academic education, but also for forming responsible citizens. Being a responsible parent means not only caring for a child’s well-being, health and safety, but also giving guidance and direction that will influence children for the rest of their lives. Biya gave input on rape and its punishment, divorce, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, sexual harassment at the work place, indecent representation of women, and the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005. In talking on marital disputes she named as the common causes: sex, money, raising the kids, in-laws, divergent ideas, adjustments, and housework. Happy family life needs good communication, freedom, loyalty and shared responsibility.

Lilly Isaac Vathalloor, an environmentalist, gave input on women and economy. She highlighted income-generation programs that can be done by women and taught a zero budgeting way of cultivation in which women can take initiative. After eight days at the camp the participants said in their evaluation that they were energized, more aware of women and the law. They went away ready to share what they learned and to implement new skills. They felt proud to be women in India today.

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. What follows is the second of such stories, comprised of excerpts from a recent report by World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women (WFMUCW) President Ann Connan (see picture below). In the the report, she discusses her organization’s ongoing work towards achieving the MDGs.

At the 2011 Assembly a new Action Plan was developed, furthering the work on the MDGs. There were three components: personal; church/community; and government.

Today I’d like to challenge you as members of this Council to reflect on what you have done to improve life for the inhabitants through these 8 areas – and I’ll show you what some of the Federation women are doing. The theme for the West Africa Area Seminar held in May in Banjul, The Gambia, was Food Security and Women’s Empowerment. Fuel efficient and reduced-smoke-emission stoves were promoted. We learned that although men have the larger farms with mechanical help the women are the rice-growers – the staple food crop – with no technical help.

At the Methodist Agricultural Project women raised fruit trees and produced jams from fruits and vegetables they grew. In the Solomon Islands the church-run hospital providing the only health care in the west of the nation had insufficient fertile land to grow enough food to feed patients more than one meal a day. A series of above-ground garden beds, fertilizer and a chomper were sent by a Federation group in Melbourne.

Handcrafts, as we all know, provide a great source of income for women; and sales of handcrafts are an important part of Area Seminars to help lift families out of poverty and to fund fares to meetings. For the past two years the British Unit of Federation has been working in partnership with a small charity Children Unite who campaign on behalf of Child Domestic Workers around the world. They have helped the charity to raise awareness of the International Labour Organisation’s convention on the protection of domestic workers, which has not yet been ratified by the UK. Hundreds of women have signed rubber gloves, forming an unusual petition. Just as rubber gloves protect our hands from harsh chemicals, so the ILO convention could protect child domestic workers from abuse and the loss of educational opportunities.

Over the past 6 years Victorian Federation groups in Australia have sent over 6,000 backpacks to 7 countries in the Pacific where there are partner Churches of the Uniting Church. Although most of these countries have universal primary education, the quality of schooling is very low. Backpacks contain exercise books, writing and colouring tools, healthcare items, lunchbox, drink bottle and either a ball or skipping rope…

…The Church of South India Women’s Empowerment Centre in Nandyal, Andhra Pradesh, one of the poorer areas of India, trains and employs women in crafts, sewing, making church vestments and communion wafers…

They also continued to educate on the issue of HIV/AIDS and preventable diseases, while all African Units are actively involved in Health Education, provision of mosquito netting and practical help to families suffering from HIV/AIDS…

… The British Unit gathered in Mansfield for a one-day conference entitled Hope for Creation, looking at MDG 7. A highlight of the day was a live Skype conversation with Julie Edwards, a British mission partner, who is sharing her expertise in environmental education with the Methodist Church in Fiji and the Pacific Conference of Churches. The work is of urgent importance in the Pacific, where some countries, such as Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands, are predicted to disappear in the next 50 to 70 years.

Women in India are tackling the issue of recycling. The South Asia Area Seminar featured a 3-R Workshop: Re-use; Re-cycle; Re-duce. Women are making sanitary napkins from tailors’ cotton waste and distribute these to young girls who traditionally miss school while sitting in sand during their menstrual period. In Ghana women use the packaging from bulk bottled water to manufacture shopping bags…

… “We commit ourselves: to ignite the Deborah in us and pray unceasingly for healing [for the world]; to encourage the proper interpretation of Scripture for the enhancement of the dignity of women; to work towards replenishing the earth’s resources; to be persistent in the accessibility of quality education as a tool for emancipation.”

Happy International Day of the Girl Child everyone! On December 19, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly declared 11 October as the International Day of the Girl Child, to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world. For its second annual observance, this year’s theme is “Innovating for Girls Education.” As you can see from the infographic  to the right from MDGMomentum, we have achieved MDG #3, equality in primary education enrollment rates between girls and boys. Yet, as we development a post-2015 development agenda, we still have lots of work to do, like improving the equality of primary education and increasing enrollment in secondary schools.

Be sure to check out this great video below of girls discussing their own efforts advance the rights of girls in their local communities.

Twitter Timeline

RSS UN Gender Equality Newsfeed

  • Work of doctor who helped treat rape victims focus of new film
    The work of a gynaecologist who treats rape victims who have been subjected to sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is the focus of a film which has just been released. "The Man Who Mends Women", tells the story of Dr Denis Mukwege.
    UN Radio
  • Report lays out "baseline" for progress in gender equality
    Although women are outpacing men in achieving higher levels of education, they are still more likely to pursue the humanities as opposed to science, technology, engineering and mathematics. That's according to the World's Women 2015, a UN report which looks at how women worldwide are faring in eight critical areas such as health, education, work, p […]
    UN Radio

Disclaimer:

The views expressed in this blogroll are those of individual bloggers and do not necessarily represent the views of Ecumenical Women.