International Peace Initiatives, founded by Kenyan WLS recipient Karambu Ringera, hosted their second annual Women's International Grassroots Peace Congress August 20-23, 2009 in Meru, Kenya. Participants, including grassroots leaders from across Africa, networked in order to create global alliances, share solutions and best practices, and dialogue across borders for sustainable peace. With a theme of "Women, Peace and Community," the Congress, conceived by Ringera, celebrated the gains women have made in choosing to speak for themselves in working toward prosperity, health, and human rights. For more information on Ringera's work and the Peace Congress, please visit www.ipeacei.org.
Eunice (pictured at podium) presents at the OMNC Women’s Day Celebration.
WLS Recipient Organizes Women’s Day Celebration in the Philippines at the Occidental Mindoro National College
by Eunice Barbara C. Novio
The Women's Day Celebration has been recognized by militant and progressive organizations for some time, but mainstream Mindoro is not generally aware that March is designated Women's Month, in memory of the women who fought and died for their rights. The general populace of Occidental Mindoro is yet to imbibe the importance of Women's Day or Women's Month. Therefore, conducting a celebration such as the Occidental Mindoro National College (OMNC) Women’s Day Celebration was very encouraging.
I have found in my advocacy work to advance women's rights, it is no longer difficult to partner with educational or governmental institutions. This is a result of the Women in Nation Building Act (WIN Act) and the Gender and Development Program (GAD), which promote programs such as the OMNC Women’s Day Event. The Philippine Government mandates all institutions implement GAD to spearhead women's issues and concerns.
Still in its infancy, the GAD program of Occidental Mindoro National College needs more refinement and analysis to become gender-responsive. My training and education contributed a lot to facilitating such activities. I developed the concept paper of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office of the Province of Occidental Mindoro to conduct the Women's Month Celebration.
For many years, I was lobbying the implementation of the GAD program in various institutions particularly in OMNC and the Provincial Government, although, mine was a voice in the wilderness, it has finally reached the ears of concerned people.
WLS Recipients Attend Day of the International Student at the World Forum in The Hague
by Tabi Cherrycharry Agwa
Day of the International Student was organized by The Netherlands Organization for International Cooperation in Higher Education (Nuffic) as an expression of gratitude for Nuffic sponsored international students studying in the Netherlands. On Saturday, 8 November 2008, more than 2,100 students attended the Day of the International Student in The Hague (DIS 2008). Many missed the performance of the Senegalese percussion group Sène Percu and the welcome speeches by Niffuc's Director; General Sander van den Eijnden, the Dutch Minister for Education; Ronald Plasterk and the Mayor of The Hague; Jozias van Aartsen, because there were simply no more seats in the packed concert hall of the World Forum.
The annual event, centered on the theme 'Connecting Cultures’, was organized to welcome and demonstrate appreciation for international students studying in the Netherlands. This bright day, coloured with the orange T-shirt worn by almost all, created an opportunity for visiting students to meet other international students following the same courses and fellow students from their respective countries. This wonderful day was a mix between a huge party, a conference, a seminar and an opportunity to meet people. This gave me an opportunity to meet Glory my fellow country person studying in the Netherlands receiving the same sponsorship through The Channel Foundation’s Women’s Leadership Scholarship. We were equally able to meet other Cameroonians studying in the Netherlands, which gave us once more a spirit of oneness, discussing about home and sharing some of our experiences for the time being studying in the Netherlands. This day will always bring fresh memories in every participant of that great event in the Netherlands.
WLS Recipient's Work Featured in World Pulse Spotlight
WLS recipient Dr. Karambu Ringera wrote an account of her work fostering peace dialogues in some of the internally displaced persons camps in Kenya. The article, titled "When Elephants Fight, the Grass Below Suffers," was featured in World Pulse Spotlight.
WLS Selection Committee Member Receives Human Rights Award
WLS Selection Committee Member, Paulina Lopez, was awarded the 2007 Human Rights Distinguished Citizen Award provided by the City of Seattle, Office for Civil Rights. She received the award at a ceremony on December 6, 2007, commemorating International Human Rights day.
Paulina is active in many community organizations throughout Seattle, and is a strong human rights advocate and leader. At the time of the award, she was the International Services Program Manager at Seattle-King County Red Cross. Her program provided interpreters and translators to local community organizations and individuals, and advocated for the rights of non-English speaking individuals.