(Met some friends at the film)

Last evening a 40 minute film was premiered in New York and will be launched today across the globe.  It is a new phase in the climate movement.  It is the story of four communities preparing to participate in Break Free from Fossil Fuel actions in May 2016.

Link to the film    You can access the film in different languages HERE

If you check out this link you can get access to a discussion guide that can help initiate discussion Click the tab Posters and More

This is a natural continuation of  COP 21 which was held in Paris last December and the signing of the Paris Agreement at United Nations headquarters on Friday April 22nd, 2016.

It could be part of your celebration of Laudato Si which was published one year ago.  Naomi Klein is also interviewed on this film.  Have you read her book  ‘This Changes Everything’?





A newly released documentary “Maisha: A New Life Oustide the Mines”.

A newly released documentary “Maisha: A New Life Oustide the Mines” connects the story of a Good Shepherd Sisters’ project in Kolwezi, located in the DRC’s mineral-rich Katanga region and its great results, with the larger picture of human rights violations in the mining sector and the international advocacy work of many NGOs to change this situation.  The film was launched in Rome on Thursday, October 29, 2015

Here are links to an interviews with Italian and US Media


English – go to 13.20 an interview with Sr Brigid Lawlor.

Vatican Radio also did a piece.   The U.S. Embassy to the Holy See sponsored the film and at the screening Ambassador Hackett told Susy Hodges why there is an urgent need for greater awareness and transparency about the global supply chain of “digital” minerals and about the horrific exploitation of these miners in the DRC.    Read and hear more here

Congratulation to the Sisters Catherine, Jane, Margaret and all Mission Partners in Kolwezi who day by day journey with the local community in making a difference.  The support of the  Fondazione Internazionale Buon Pastore ONLUS towards the mission under the leadership of Cristina Duranti is admirable.  One advocacy point in the Statement of the Good Shepherd International Justice Peace Office to the Commission for Social Development is 

  • Launch the ambitious, forward-thinking and sustainable policies required for a paradigm shift by challenging current models and policies of economic development, trade agreements, land grabbing, extractivism and engaging with models of economic development that democratize ownership of resources and economic gains, and solidarity-based forms of ownership and management.





Link to Webcast on Child, Early and Forced Marriage

UN Webcast of panel discussion on child early and forced marriage.

FlaviaPansieri (1)Ms Flavia Pansieri, UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights addressed the panel via video link.

Her address is especially relevant as Ms. Pansieri pulls together the numerous root causes of child, early and forced marriage emphasizing the need for comprehensive strategies towards its elimination. One of the main recommendation of Human Rights Council Resolution on ‘Strengthening efforts to prevent and eliminate child, early and forced marriage: challenges, achievements, best practices and implementation gaps’ is the need for comprehensive approaches to eliminate it as  part of the broader development agenda  together with promoting  equality and eliminating  discrimination against all girls and women.   Integrating the elimination of child, early and forced marriage into the overall development approach is critical.  Target 5.3 of the Outcome Document of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals  submitted to the UN General  Assembly recently reads “Elimination of all harmful practices including child, early and forced marriage.”  It is important that this target is retained as there are a host of human rights violations interconnected.

Within child and forced marriage the informed consent of the girl or woman is absent.  This is a serious human rights violation.    Access to education, information, health, services, as well as productive resources and decision making are equally at risk in child and forced marriage.

There is a need for a common understanding of the meaning of the terms – child, early and forced – based on authorative guidance from human rights mechanism.

The human rights of the girl or woman who is ‘married off’ are violated and this in turn sets up and solidifies a cycle of discrimination and denial of human rights. These rights violations have high development costs. The elimination child, early and forced marriage will require overcoming many development challenges with regard to access to education and the eradication of poverty.

In child, early and forced marriage, the marriage is a way to provide economically for girls who  themselves have no autonomy,  have no access to resources or income especially in situations of extreme poverty.  The economic benefits of child, early and forced marriage are greater when the children are younger as the dowry is lower for younger brides.

Child and forced marriage are strongly associated with girls and women with little or no formal education, and  persists where there is poor quality education,  overcrowding, untrained teachers, and gender based violence.   These increase the likelihood of child and forced marriage. Finding effective ways to lift communities of out of poverty and keep girls in school must be a key development priority and strategy to end child, early and forced marriage.

But this is not enough.  The roots are in discrimination based on sex, and widespread stereotypes about the role girls and women have in the family and society.  Sustainable development is impossible as long as the talents and skills of 50% of the population are effectively squandered.

Child and forced marriage is one of the most glaring manifestations of how discrimination and stereotypes have hindered progress for girls and women.  If ‘married off’ the  girl has less opportunities for education, employment,   access to land and other productive resources and experiences challenges in achieving her rights  Sustainable development needs to urgently  address the  harmful stereotypes of girls and women’s role within marriage and in society.

Child and forced marriage is a matter of health and survival.    90% of adolescent pregnancy occurs within marriage with the risk of dying either during pregnancy or in childbirth.   These girls and women are not empowered to make decision about their sexual and reproduction health, cannot decide on the number and spacing of their children thus compromising their health and lives and are also exposed to sexually transmitted infections and HIV.   Age appropriate, culturally relevant sexual education is essential coupled with accurate knowledge about sexual and reproductive health.

Putting the human rights  of every girl and every woman at the center of sustainable development means that no girl drops out of school to get married,  that each girl is fully empowered to choose if and when and whom to marry and to choose  if and when to have children.  Girls are equal member of society with the right to study, to work and to lead, not an economic assets or vessel of reproduction.    Implementing a human rights based sustainable development agenda benefits not just the girls and women but everybody,  man women and child.

Check out ‘The Girl Child’ Good Shepherd Position Papers  and the L Platform from the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action The Girl Child

The inaugural issue of ‘The 2015 Post’

The United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS) is pleased to share its new e-magazine, The 2015 Post. The aim of the e-magazine is to provide a range of different voices and views on key issues as momentum builds on the post-2015 and post-Rio+20 processes. It also offers a selection of opinion pieces, interviews and thought-provoking articles on some of the main issues at hand, as well as reports and resources from the UN system and civil society.

If you have been following my posts on this blog you will be familiar with some of the information – See April 22, April 10 and March 22. Read more bu  Accessing  the first edition here

See page 4 on where national consultations are being held?  Have you heard, read about or participated in these national consultations.  If so why not share your comments and reflections.  See page 28 and the case of El Salvador.

Do you live in one of the Least Developed Countries?  See the list below and page 39 of ‘The 2015′ Post’

List of Least Developed Countries

Definition of least developed countries.

The term “Least Developed Countries (LDCs)” describes the world’s poorest countries with following 3 criteria:

 Low-income criterion
based on a three-year average estimate of the gross national income (GNI) per capita (under $750 for inclusion, above $900 for graduation)
 Human resource weakness criterion
involving a composite Human Assets Index (HAI) based on indicators of:
(a) nutrition; (b) health; (c) education; and (d) adult literacy.
 Economic vulnerability criterion
based on indicators of the instability of agricultural production; the instability of exports of goods and services; the economic importance of non-traditional activities (share of manufacturing and modern services in GDP); merchandise export concentration; and the handicap of economic smallness.
List of Least Developed Countries (LDCs)
Angola Benin Burkina Faso Burundi
Cape Verde Central African Republic Chad Comoros
Congo, Dem. Rep. of the Djibouti Equatorial Guinea Eritrea
Ethiopia Gambia Guinea Guinea-Bissau
Lesotho Liberia Madagascar Malawi
Mali Mauritania Mozambique Niger
Rwanda Sao Tome and Principe Senegal Sierra Leone
Somalia Sudan Tanzania Togo
Uganda Zambia    
Afghanistan Bangladesh Bhutan Cambodia
Lao PDR Maldives Myanmar Nepal
Timor-Leste Yemen    
Australia and the Pacific      
Kiribati Samoa Solomon Islands Tuvalu

Source: Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
see also:   Criteria for determining the LDCs

A Localized Approach to Ending the Global Problem of Gender Based Violence by Victoria Ashley

Victoria Ashley, a current Good Shepherd Volunteer in the New York Province  writes… “During the second week of the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women I attended a forum held to discuss the best approach for addressing the global issue of gender based violence (GBV), specifically in the poverty stricken country of Nepal.

The panelist brought up some interesting facts about Nepal, which gave me a better idea of the country’s political and social state. I learned that currently Nepal’s poverty rates rank 157th out of 187 countries, and has been and continues to face high levels of illiteracy rates (a major factor shown to contribute to gender based violence). These statistics are partially due to the displacement of citizens after the civil war ending in 2006, and lack of true governance for the people. I also learned that many of the cultural traditions and practices of Nepal are rooted in their patriarchal caste system, which still remains a powerful influence on Nepalese society to this day.

Dr. Mary Crawford, a Professor of psychology at the University of Connecticut, was one of the panelists leading the discussion on gender based violence in Nepal. She raised the contemporary issue of sex trafficking in this war torn country. Based on her own research and work in Nepal, Dr. Crawford witnessed the extent of gender discrimination and limitations placed on Nepalese women. From this research she wrote the book; Sex Trafficking in South Asia: Telling Maya’s Story, which describes the social construction of trafficking and its destructive and limiting effects on women and girls within the society. To demonstrate the severity of discrimination that is faced by women, Dr. Crawford quoted a Nepal proverb which states; “Educating your daughter is like watering another man’s garden.” I thought that this raised many issues, one being that in Nepal the son’s education is valued above the daughters and secondly, the daughter’s education is not a high priority for those holding power in Nepal.  This proverb demonstrated how deeply embedded these problems are within the Nepalese society, and after hearing this it became easier to understand why Nepal currently ranks 113th out of 144th on the UN’s gender equality index.

Dr. Crawford explained that since GBV has been a low priority for the government of Nepal, NGO’s have taken the initiative, leading campaigns to raise awareness and provide support services. However, Dr. Crawford brought up some of the problems that have resulted from these initiatives. In an effort to raise awareness to the issue of sex trafficking, NGO’s unintentionally scared women into staying home from school, in fear of leaving the safety of their own homes. Issues of violations of privacy were also occurring after certain NGO’s inadvertently disclosed private information concerning victims. In trying to provide care and prevent further harm some efforts have only made matters worse for Nepalese women. Noting this in her research, Dr. Crawford concluded that in to avoid these types of problems and successfully deal with the issue of GBV, a localized approach must be taken with attention to individual cases.

Interestingly enough, Dr. Crawford suggested more training and support for NGO staff, insuring greater and professional expertise for in every case. In some cases staff members have received less than 6 months of training. She also pointed out that education is key to intervention, along with providing alternatives to former life styles for women trying to support themselves. She suggested income-generating programs would be an important resource that would provide other options for these women, and a chance to leave their former life styles for good.

After getting a better idea of the bigger picture and understanding the extent of which GBV permeates the Nepalese culture I could really see the importance of the points Dr. Crawford raised. Taking a localized approach to dealing with problems within a society is imperative to creating lasting change. Progress will only come with internal changes gradually made over time, rather than sweeping legislative agenda and support programs that only tackle one aspect of the problem. By getting a better understanding of the culture and the way that it influences women’s lives is the only way to offer unique, supportive services for specific populations. What works well in Nepal may not in Thailand, and vice versa.  Dr. Crawford’s discussion was extremely informative and I believe that that raises an important point as well, and I’ll end with this; listening to the voices that offer first-hand accounts is crucial to ending gender based violence. These voices bring insights and perspectives that should be taken back to the table where plans are made and ideas shared, only through that sharing will we continue to connect on a global level and successfully make an impact on gender based violence. “

Congratulations Sr Niluka

IMG_6357 IMG_6456 IMG_6454 IMG_6457

Sr Niluka Perera, Good Shepherd International Justice Peace Intern from Sri Lanka:

– Receiving her UN badge;
– Receiving guidance from Sr.Hedwig Jöhl, GS NGO representative in Geneva;
– Attending work on the the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and
– Greeting and Networking with Ms Hiranthi Wijemanne, Sri Lankan member of the UN Child Rights Committee.

Clare Nolan, training facilitator is currently visiting in Geneva with Hewig and Niluka.

Interview with Theresa Symons – Executive Director of Good Shepherd Services, Malaysia

This interview was conducted by the Director of Communications, Denise Richardson at the Salvation Army in New York. Theresa Symons was one of her guests.  Theresa  attended The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 56) over the past two weeks.  You can access the full interview at this link.  http://wor710.com/pages/podcast/123550.rss   This interview will give you a flavour of CSW – with reference to the international women’s day celebration and non-governmental organizations at the commission.  Together with Theresa are Layla Alkhafaji from Iraq, and Aime Nelson from West Africa.  They share on the lives of rural women from Iraq to Malaysia to West Africa.  Issues range from bread on the table to politics and the importance of both.  Listen to Theresa experience of CSW!

Resource Tool – Good Shepherd Position Papers

The Good Shepherd Internation Justice Peace Team offers you a tool, developed with input from Good Shepherd people across the world and affirmed by the congregational leadership team.  We hope that these papers will be helpful to you in living our directions for mission and ministry.   Any one of the 6 position papers – Human Trafficking, Migration, Economic Justice, Prostitution, Girl-child and Ecology –  can be used as a reference or resource according to your Unit and regional realities and priorities:  Chapter Implementation:  Setting Unit Priorities: Formation Resource Material: Direction for Good Shepherd mission and ministry development and evaluation: Orientation for co-workers and partners in ministry: Development of local mission and ministry statements, polocies and practices: Advocacy Direction and Social Analysis.  The Resource Tools are in three languages English, Spanish and French

Resource Tool Herramienta de Trabajo   Outil de Travail                      

Prepared by the GSIJPO January, 2011   New York & Geneva  Contact:  Cnolan8345@aol.com  Phone 1 212 599 2711  Skype:  clarenolan62


Picture this: We Can End Poverty

A phot0 competition –  based on the 8 Millennium Goals.  Click here http://picturethis.undp.org/  Working globally to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.    If you want some background reading see  the report of the Secretary General “Keeping the Promise”  SG Report on the MDG’s    A good resource book on poverty is ‘Rethinking Poverty’  Report on the world Social Situation 2010 published by the Economic and Social Affairs, UN http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/rwss/2010.html