• Published by Kat Noel in: Africa Emergency & Disaster Relief Haiti Indigenous Peoples Latin America & Caribbean Middle East Nicaragua Peace Building Sexual Rights Sudan United Nations Violence Against Women Website Women's Health

    In the chaos of conflict or following a natural disaster, women are the most vulnerable to violence. Serving as providers of support for both their families and communities, women are also often the ones left attempting to rebuild their lives and their country when the dust settles.

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  • Published by Kat Noel in: Afghanistan Africa Colombia Colombia Child Soldiers Indigenous Peoples Latin America & Caribbean Middle East Peace Building Sexual Rights Sudan Uncategorized

    What we’ve written, read, listened to, remembered, watched and been inspired by this week.

    As the world remembers the more than one million lives that were lost and devastated by the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, conflict continues in Syria, Sudan, Israel and Palestine.

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  • Published by Kat Noel in: Africa Environmental Justice Indigenous Peoples Iraq Middle East Peace Building Sexual Rights Violence Against Women Website Women's Health

    What we’ve written, read, listened to, remembered, watched and been inspired by this week.

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  • Published by Kat Noel in: Africa Environmental Justice Indigenous Peoples Kenya Website Women's Health

    Without the means to collect rainwater during frequent droughts and due to the use of a watering hole that was shared with livestock, accessing clean water was once a challenge for the Emayian Maasai community in Kenya.

    Through the efforts of the Indigenous Information Network (IIN) and MADRE, women in the community have been able to set up and manage a water purification system. Now, there is uncontaminated water year-round, which has contributed to a significant decrease in cases of scabies, cholera and other waterborne diseases.

    Accessing water from a local pipeline.

    Accessing water from a local pipeline. (© IIN)

     

     

    Livestock drinking water from a trough. (© IIN)

    Livestock drinking water from a trough. (© IIN)

     

    A water tank in the village. (© IIN)

    A water tank in the village. (© IIN)

     

    With a centralized water system, women in the community no longer have to travel great distances with heavy containers of water. (© IIN)

     

    Children in the community drinking purified water. ( © IIN)

    Children  drinking purified water. ( © IIN)

     

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  • Published by Kat Noel in: Website

    next30 campaign black

    MADRE turned 30! And we’ve been thinking about what an amazing journey these past three decades have been. And who knows what the next 30 years will bring?

    So we thought, why not create a time capsule? And we are! We’re filling it with our answers to this question:

    What will justice for women look like in the next 30 years?

    So tell us — what is your vision of women’s human rights in 2044? Join us – from Monday, March 10 to Friday, March 14 – and share your thoughts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

    Be sure to use the hashtag – #next30  - to have your answers included in our time capsule!

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  • Published by Diana Duarte in: Latin America & Caribbean U.S. Policy Website

    As protests in Venezuela have captured the attention of the mainstream media, these resource below provide a useful, critical perspective.

    Venezuela Protests: The View from West Caracas (by Rebecca Hanson in Foreign Policy in Focus, February 27, 2014):

    “To fully appreciate these changes, however, we need to also appreciate the geographical limits of the opposition protests. Taking into account where protests are not occurring, and why, is important in understanding what they represent for residents who do not live in the zones where protests have erupted.”

    Venezuela is not Ukraine (by Mark Weisbrot in the Guardian, March 4, 2014):

    “Although there are abuses of power and problems with the rule of law in Venezuela – as there are throughout the hemisphere – it is far from the authoritarian state that most consumers of western media are led to believe. Opposition leaders currently aim to topple the democratically elected government – their stated goal – by portraying it as a repressive dictatorship that is cracking down on peaceful protest. This is a standard “regime change” strategy, which often includes violent demonstrations in order to provoke state violence.”

    Stop U.S. Intervention in Venezuela (by the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism in Portside, March 5, 2014)

    “Sensational headlines in the U.S. of opposition protests in Venezuela amid escalating violence have dominated the coverage of the corporate mainstream media over the past three weeks. This is part of a multipronged strategy by the U.S. government and multinational corporations to destabilize Venezuela politically and economically and pave the way for another coup attempt as was the case in 2002 during the Bush administration. These same policies have continued with the Obama Administration despite denials that it is backing the opposition. “

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  • Published by Kat Noel in: Environmental Justice Indigenous Peoples Latin America & Caribbean Nicaragua Sexual Rights Violence Against Women Website Women's Health

    This is the first in a series on MADRE’s trip to Nicaragua.

    Women taking part in the forum's opening march.

    Women taking part in the forum’s opening march.

     

    The Wangki River or Coco Rio that runs along the border of Honduras and Nicaragua. There are about  115 communities settled along the Nicaragua side of the river

    The Wangki River or Coco Rio that runs along the border of Honduras and Nicaragua. There are about 115 communities settled along the Nicaragua side of the river

    To get to Waspam, where the forum was held, participants had to travel for long hours - even days - on little canoes or pangas (motorized boats).

    To get to Waspam, where the forum was held, participants had to travel for long hours – even days – on little canoes or pangas (motorized boats).

    Last October, over 900 women, men and youth participated in the fifth annual “Forum of Indigenous Women of the Wangki” in Waspam, a community on the North Atlantic coast of Nicaragua. Each of the 115 communities along the Nicaragua border of the Wangki River sent a delegation to participate in the four-day event.

    One Miskita woman, who traveled four days with her 7-month old baby, shared that she was eager to participate and learn about women’s rights. “This is the only chance we have to get information, and I am glad to be here,” she said.

    Indigenous women leaders and other important community stakeholders convened to strategize around implementing the national Law 779 – a landmark legislation that defines crimes of violence against women,  provides avenues for women to access justice and protection from violence, and hold perpetrators accountable – and to brainstorm  solutions for other health and human rights issues that impact women in the area.

    At the closing of the forum, a declaration was produced stating the agreed upon commitments to improving the quality of life of all women living in communities along the Wangki.

    Read the Spanish declaration here and the English translation here.

    "Promoters against Violence against Women" is a project of the Women and Children’s Division of the National Police in partnership with Wangki Tangni. The project has trained 110 promotoers to engage women from the communities in spreading information and gathering evidence on violence against women.

    “Promoters against Violence against Women” is a project of the Women and Children’s Division of the National Police in partnership with Wangki Tangni. The project has trained 110 promotoers to engage women from the communities in spreading information and gathering evidence on violence against women.

    Mostly male wihtas, traditional indigenous judges, learning how to implement Law 779 in cases of violence against women at community level.

    Mostly male wihtas, traditional indigenous judges, learning how to implement Law 779 in cases of violence against women at community level.

    Sahita Pierre-Antoine, MADRE's Program Coordinator, and Yifat Susskind, MADRE's Executive Director, hold the forum's banner with Aurelia "Bibidilia" Clarence, one of  Wangki Tangni's founding members and former midwife in the community.

    Sahita Pierre-Antoine, MADRE’s Program Coordinator, and Yifat Susskind, MADRE’s Executive Director, hold the forum’s banner with Aurelia “Bibidilia” Clarence, one of Wangki Tangni’s founding members and former midwife in the community.

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  • Published by Diana Duarte in: Afghanistan Asia Violence Against Women Website

    The Afghan President Hamid Karzai has a proposed law on his desk. It’s already been passed by the parliament, and it’s just waiting for his signature. If he does sign it, it will seal off an escape route for Afghan women facing violence.

    The law would prohibit relatives from testifying against abusers about the violence they witness. Given that domestic violence often occurs behind a home’s closed doors, the most likely witnesses would be family members. Women seeking justice for their trauma and suffering would find it harder — or perhaps impossible — to pursue prosecutions against their abusers.

    When we found out about this proposed legislation, our Executive Director Yifat Susskind had this to say:

    “This new law awaiting President Karzai’s signature is appalling. If passed, it would silence witnesses who could otherwise support women’s pursuit of justice for the torture and abuse they have faced in their homes. It would condemn women to endure further violence. And it reflects an all-too-common tactic to suggest that domestic violence is a private matter, rather than a crucial human rights issue that governments are obligated to address.”

    Women for Afghan Women has prepared two petitions to denounce this law. You can sign those by clicking here:

    Urge President Karzai Not to Sign New Afghan Law

    Urge President Obama and Secretary Kerry to Stand with Afghan Women

    Read more about this issue:

    Afghan Women Rally against Domestic Violence (February 13, Washington Post)

    A law that would permit Afghan men to hurt and rape female relatives, by Manizha Naderi (February 6, The Guardian)

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  • Published by Kat Noel in: Website

    What we’ve written, read, watched and our actions this week in relation to the conflict in Syria.

    —-

    The United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820 which acknowledges the impact of conflict on women – including the use of sexual violence as a tactic of warfare, and the pivotal role women play in creating  sustainable peace.

    Read the outcome statement and watch archived footage from the two-day convening of 50 Syrian women in Geneva at the beginning of January.

     MADRE, the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), Code Pink, Nobel Women's Initiative and other women activist participate in a manifestation for peace in Syria in Montreux, Switzerland where the Geneva II peace talks are being held.

    MADRE, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), Code Pink, Nobel Women’s Initiative and other women activist participate in a manifestation for peace in Syria in Montreux, Switzerland where the Geneva II peace talks are being held.

    “I am a Syrian woman” – in this video, women share what Syria means to them and their hopes.

    CODEPINK examines who should be should have a seat at the negotiation table.

    Equal Power – Lasting Peace, a comprehensive study on the important role women play in laying the groundwork for peace in their communities and the harsh resistance they face when demanding inclusion in peace processes.

    Peace talks commenced without any representation of Syrian women.

    “Our message is simple yet vital: there can be no lasting peace without women. Women have been at the heart of the non-violent, pro-democracy movement. With their leadership and close ties to grassroots communities, Syrian women can ensure that this peace process responds to the people’s needs, not just to the demands of armed groups.”- Yifat Susskind, MADRE’s Executive Director

    MADRE published a Q & A on the conflict in Syria and how it impacts women and children.

    Mairead Maguire, a Nobel Leareute from Northern Ireland speaking at the Women Lead to Peace Summit. On her left, Ann Patterson also from Northern Ireland and Yifat Susskind, MADRE's Executive Director.  On her right, Chaba Seini from Western Sahara.

    Mairead Maguire, a Nobel Leareute from Northern Ireland speaking at the Women Lead to Peace Summit. On her left: Ann Patterson, also from Northern Ireland and Yifat Susskind, MADRE’s Executive Director. On her right: Chaba Seini from Western Sahara.
    (Image courtesy of WILPF)

    Women activists from various countries convened in Switzerland for the Women Lead to Peace Summit. They shared testimonies on the realities of conflict, offered strategies learned from their own struggles for peace and discussed what the peace negotiations should look like. Archived footage and photos of the summit.

    Survey of 110 Syrian women reports that they feel excluded from decision making on their country’s future.

    …rape is not just destroying one woman, it’s destroying an entire family, an entire society, communities. It’s really tearing apart the fabric of a country. And right now that’s Syria.” – Lauren Wolfe, Director of the Women Media Center’s Women Under Siege project

    This crowd-sourced map documents sexualized violence in Syria.

    Trailer of a Sundance Institute-supported documentary gives a glimpse of what life was like at a school for girls in Damascus before the uprising in Syria erupted.

     

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  • Published by Bethany Iddings in: Colombia Guatemala Latin America & Caribbean Peace Building Website

    On October 9, 2013 I was fortunate to attend The Church Center for the United Nations (CCUN) celebration of their 50th Anniversary, “The Things That Make for Peace.” Located directly across the street from the United Nations headquarters in New York City, the Church Center is owned and operated by the United Methodist Church and is noteworthy as “a building built and owned by women,” pointed out speaker Cora Weiss, president of the Hague Appeal for Peace.

    We were invited to join the celebration of the United Methodist Church’s Women’s Division because they have been a dedicated partner of MADRE since 2006, forwarding our work for peace and justice in Colombia, South Africa, and Guatemala. They have been especially supportive of our Indigenous women partners at MUIXIL, in Guatemala, where our collaborative work has empowered grassroots women activists to protect women’s health, combat violence against women, pursue economic and environmental justice, and build peace.

    The CCUN’s 50th year celebration offered Gospel singers, modern dancers, and keynote speakers including José Ramos Horta, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and Ms. Lakshmi Puri, Deputy Director of UN Women. All of the program speakers were noted humanitarian figures and spiritual leaders, and all spoke eloquently about the importance of women in peace building processes.

    “There can be no peace without gender justice,” stated Ms. Puri, asserting a key premise in MADRE’s work. At present, our peacebuilding and transitional justice programs benefit women and families in places like Colombia, Guatemala, and Syria. Peace is more than the absence of war, Roma Bhattacharjea, Senior Gender Advisor for the United Nations Development Program, reminded us, pointing out that enduring peace requires an engaged and active civil society, an improvement in access to justice, and collaboration with women around the world.

    “To reach peace, teach peace,” advised Weiss. Peace was a founding goal of MADRE, back in 1983 when we first began our work as a friendship association with women impacted by the devastating US-sponsored Contra war. Since then, our peacebuilding efforts have taken place in collaboration with grassroots women leaders confronting the impacts of wars in Colombia, Sudan and other countries.  Across the street from the United Nations, an institution where women are consulted in “7% of formal peace negotiations,” the Church Center’s work—and MADRE’s—will  continue to battle and promote gender equality in every corner of the world.

    Quoting Gandhi, Cora Weiss asked “what is faith, if not put into action?” Faith took center stage as each CCUN- affiliated speaker approached the microphone, surrounded by candle light and the insignia of the world’s various religions decking the walls. The speakers noted our shared moral imperative to address social injustice and improve human rights. They spoke with passion and dedication about their long careers nurturing moral and humanitarian efforts for the last half-century.

    The Church Center for the United Nations celebration was a moving example to me of the benefits for all when people from all backgrounds cooperate on common initiatives. We may differ in gender, religion, and ethnicity, but we are alike in that “Peace begins in ourselves, within,” as Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdury pointed out.

    At MADRE,  just as at the celebration, every day, I see and read about women who feel the urgency of peace, who know all about “ the things that make for peace,” and who work to build peace that we can all feel, see, and take comfort in.

    A central theme that speakers evoked one after another during the celebration was that women have a human right to peace. So simple, so radical: a human right to peace. So inspiring.  So MADRE.

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