Review the great Girl events during CSW 58

The Working Group on Girls always have girls to the fore advocating on their own behalf for their own issues.  This is an exciting group to belong to.  Visit the website and see some of the girl advocates that will be advocating throughout CSW 58 Teen Delegate Orientation on Sunday and the list of other CSW 58 Girl-centered events.  Share these with the girls you work with.

Visit NGOCSW website and see the multiple flyers of events that will be taking place Click here and see our Good Shepherd Ad Here by scrolling down to Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd 

The Working Group on Girls has a position paper wanting a stand alone goal for girls in the new Post 2015 Development Agenda with specific targets on

  • Implementing the full spectrum of girls’ human rights.
  • Eradicating violence and the root causes of violence against girls
  • Providing quality education and lifelong learning
  • Ensuring health lives

Read the full document What Girls Want...

March 8th – Happy International Women’s Day!

The United Nations commemorated International Women’s Day today Friday at the UN Headquarters in New York. The theme for the celebration “Equality for Women is Progress for All.”  The full event was webcast.  Access here!

Words from UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon “we also know equality for women is progress for all.  Countries with higher levels of gender equality have higher economic growth. Companies with more women on their Boards have higher returns. Peace agreements that include women are more successful. Parliaments with more women take up a wider range of issues – including health, education, anti-discrimination, and child support. Gender equality and women’s empowerment have been a top priority for me from day one. And I am committed to making sure that the UN walks the talk.”

Follow Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women Here                                            ” Together we must make sure that:

  • SHE is Safe and Secure from gender-based violence.
  • SHE has Human rights that are respected, including reproductive rights.
  • SHE is Empowered economically and in every way through Education, Equal opportunity, participation and leadership.
  • This is the SHE imperative to which I call on you to commit.

Let us all cross the line and stand on the right side of history. Today and every day, UN Women will stand strong for women’s rights, women’s empowerment and gender equality. Equality for women is progress for all.”

UN Women also launched  ‘He For She’ campaign  – a new equality branding campaign, in which men all over the world are being encouraged to speak out against the inequalities faced by women and girls. Check it out! –  See the website  Are we reaching out to men and boys asking them to speak out against the inequalities faced by woman and girls on a daily basis.  

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On Monday March 10, 2014 the 58th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women opens. The Priority Theme this year is ” Challenges and achievements in  the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls.”  Read our Good Shepherd Statement to the Commission published in the 6 languages of the United Nations Statement here!

Conclude your reading with this reflection shared by Shirley in Ireland.  International Womens Day Reflection 2014




This high level panel comprises 11 women together with one co-chair President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and the Special Advisor of the Secretary-General  Amina J. Mohammed (ex-officio) on Post-2015 Development Planning.  The panel comprises a range of expertise.   I am happy to see  3 women who will follow  the human rights of girls and women with single-minded purpose.   Queen Rania of Jordan, an advocate and a humanitarian, Queen Rania serves as an Eminent Advocate for UNICEF and Honorary Chairperson for the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI).   The issues of girls will be well represented.  Ms Graça Machel (South Africa)   is a current member of The Elders, an independent group of global leaders who work together for peace and human rights.   She is also a UN independent expert on the impact of armed conflict on children, international advocate for women’s and children’s rights, former freedom fighter and Education and Culture Minister of Mozambique.  Ms Tawakel Karman is a young Yemini journalist, human rights activist and politician who was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize for her role in promoting the “non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work” during the 2011 Yemeni uprising.   As I review the list I note that 8 members almost one third of the panel come with economics plus World Bank and the International Monetary Fund experience.  3 members bring expertise on international development, 2 members have experience in the MDG’s,  2 have experience in foreign ministries, 1 from the private sector, 1 Environment, 1 Health and Welfare , 1 Urban rehabilitation and 1 from the Center of American Progress.   One hopes that a progressive new agenda to bring about a just, human rights based, equitable and sustainable  society, free from  poverty,  will be able to emerge from within a group that is predominately experienced in economics.

UNICEF Executive Director Mr. Anthony Lake visists in Tigray, Ethiopia.



In Ethiopia, UNICEF Executive Director sees equity strategy accelerating development

TIGRAY, Ethiopia, 1 April 2011 – UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake has been in northern Ethiopia this week, witnessing first-hand the progress made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals through an equity-based strategy that reaches out to the poorest and most vulnerable communities.
You can read the full article by clicking on the title above.  In the article it states that an estimated 2.8 million Ethiopian children do not attend primary school.  I wonder how many of these children are girls?  I would like if Mr. Lake had  mentioned what ratio of the children attending school were girls?  Has the community an awareness of a girl’s right to attend school?   ‘Teberh wants to be a teacher when she grows up and Goitom wants to be a pilot…’ I am happy to read that Teberh, a girl is one of the facilitators in the child to child strategy but the replies to the questions about what they want to do in the future indicates gender stereotyping exists.  There are many positives to recommend these sorts of programs – community based, needs based, and flexible.   I would have liked to read a little more about the education of girls.

Civil Society Forum in preparation for the Commission on Social Development

The NGO Committee for Social Development held the Civil Society Form on the theme of ‘Poverty Eradication: Human Dignity Demands It!’ prefacing the 49th Session of the Commission for Social Development

While opening remarks by the community of experts both lamented and celebrated the co-existence of greater poverty and greater progress, it concluded this polarisation only served to highlight that the ‘System’ has failed. It has failed because it has increased inequality. It has failed because it does not generate descent work. And it has failed because it has destabilised global climate. However, H.E. Jorge Valero, Chairperson of the 49th Session of the Commission for Social Development echoed the many voices from the Forum in asserting a new economic model that is human-centred must be implemented. Jane Stewart, Director of the International Labour Organisation added that social development needs to link strongly with both economic and environmental development in order to truly commit to the eradication of poverty.

Martin Lees, International Affairs Expert recalled the words of Albert Einstein that “no problem can be solved in the same consciousness that created it”, which serves as a timely reminder that the advances that catalysed industrialized nations into
their current prosperity are no longer appropriate mechanisms to lift today’s least developed nations into economic stability. Mr Lees reminded us all that the impending catastrophic effects of climate change will bring food and water security to the point that civilisation as we know it will be compromised; poignantly citing that “nature will not wait; it is indifferent to the fate of
humanity”. However, he provided us with the hopeful truth that it is also humanity that can prevent this catastrophe if we reframe our current economic systems of growth, accept, anticipate and mitigate the environmental reality, embrace the
positive potential of globalisation to undo the inequality it created and place a strong emphasis on women in the economy.

In the afternoon, our own Good Shepherd NGO Representative, Sr Winifred Doherty artfully facilitated a very dynamic and thought-provoking workshop on microfinance, featuring Caroljean Willie from ‘Microfinancing Partner in Africa’, Inez Murray
from ‘Women’s World Banking’ and Susan Saiyorri from ‘Jamii Bora,’ Kenya’s largest microfinancing institution. Susan roused the room with her exclamation “the poor are bankable!” and inspired us with her story of how Jamii Bora grew from 50 street beggars to more than 300,000 members in eleven years.

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Millennium Development Summit September 20 – 22, 2010

You can access the various statements of the Member States here   A short video of each Head of State delivering the statement can be accessed here.

Declaration from the 63rd DPI conference in Australia.

A report on the UN NGO DPI (Department of Public Information Conference) held in Melborne, Australia can be accessed here  Michaela Gutridge who attended the conference wrote the following :   63rd Annual United Nations Department of Public Information,  Non-Government Organisation Conference: Advance Global Health,  Achieve the Millennium Development Goals
 Beautiful opening ceremony included Indigenous Opera performance from Pecan Sunrise.
 General overview of common issues arising at the conference:
·         “The right of a human being is non-negotiable” Dr Aleida Guevara, Cuba (daughter of Che Guevara)
·            Health, education and even the basics of life, like water, food and shelter have become commodities bought and sold and no longer human rights for all
·         Need to hold governments to account
·         Need to develop networks and coordinated campaigns, particularly regional collaborations with organisations under similar thematic missions. Recommendation: Choose one issue all can agree on, despite differences
·         Remember the destruction caused by transnational and multinational corporations. Consider the problem of NGOs delivering aid without questioning these corporations who cause the conditions that necessitate the aid. Consider private sector collaboration to hold corporations to account
·         The best data in the world means nothing if it doesn’t translate to community needs
·         Empowering women eliminates poverty
 Attended seven workshops. The two most thought-provoking:
1.      Indigenous Health and Self Determination, NACCHO
·         The issue of political will arose throughout the conference and again at this workshop. A delegate offered this: “We are looking for political will in the wrong places. We must remember we are the body politic, we are the political will and the health of the body politic is crucial. The question is the lack of political courage and wisdom of governments and our own political will”
·         Indigenous projects should not only focus on outcomes, but also processes
·         Indigenous health services on average report to 52 funding bodies
·         Statistics/evidence used too often to justify existence of organisations, rather than to help the communities they exist to serve
·         The very large number of young Indigenous people places an equally large pressure on them to succeed and to become the change-makers
2.      Signposts and Indicators of Progress in Gender Equality, CARE International
Teo Vimenes, Timor Leste: Seven strategies to gender equality in education:
1.    Improve girls self-esteem
2.    Promote leadership and self motivation, foster critical thinking and creativity
3.    Encourage girls to analyse opportunities for women in their society
4.    Cultivate strong role models in female staff
5.    Tell stories in language about females who are smart, funny and great problem-solvers
6.    Share knowledge with parents
7.    Build capacity to advocate at the government level
Four challenges to gender equality in education:
1.    Settling the disparity, promoting equal chances between girls and boys
2.    Qualitative measures for gender progress
3.    Sustainable change of attitudes
4.    Adaption to community needs
Jo Crawford, IWDA: Making sure the outcomes matter: Consider how the locals define poverty and what is most important for the community to overcome.
Prior to voting on the Conference Declaration, Rob Mooney said “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good”. The Declaration was passed with overwhelming support and received a rousing standing ovation. All GS Delegates voted for the Declaration, which can be found at this link:
Rev. Tim Costello of World Vision moved a motion to UN Under Secretary-General Kiyo Akasaka for a two year debt moratorium for Pakistan.
Next meeting: Bonn, Germany on the theme of Sustainable Societies.

Michaela Guthridge
Justice Development Manager
Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand
An NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, New York.

DPI-NGO Conference in Australia August 30 – September 1st 2010

The annual 63rd Department of Public Information – NGO conference following the theme of Advance Global Health – Achieve the MDG’s  has just ended in Australia.  You can follow the conference events on Webcast at    7 Good Shepherd participants from Australia have attended including 2 youth.   This team is headed up by Michaela Gutridge, Justice Development Manager, Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand and includes Jacinta Unger,  Lisa Gardner, Orlando Morales,  Roberto Morales, Rosemary Hoban and Amy McKeown.  We look forward to having a report of their experience of the conference.

Open Letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

This letter is a response to the Secretary General’s report on the Millennium Development Goals ‘Keeping the Promise’.  It has been signed by 113 organizations.  Open Letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon  It is also available in French Lettre_Ouverte[1]  and Spanish Carta_Abierta[1]