GBI turned up the volume of hope at the United Nations!
Published on May 17, 2019
From 9 to 17 March, members from the International President’s Team attended the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women in New York City. During this week, the ‘Delegation of Hope’ attended different workshops and events, participated in negotiations on gender policy and networked with other NGOs passionate about turning up the volume of hope for girls.
What is the Commission on the Status of Women?
The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the principal global policymaking body dedicated to gender equality and advancement of women with over 4000 activists and government officials attending. The Commission meets annually for a period of 10 working days each March in New York to evaluate progress on gender equality, identify challenges, set global standards and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and advancement of women worldwide. You can read more here.
Each year, the Commission on the Status of Women focuses on a theme and this year, we’re exploring how social protection and access to public services can help achieve equality and empowerment for all women and girls. So what kind of issues are being discussed? Elder care, maternal health and pension’s gaps. But also issues that directly impact GB girls like safe public transport and sanitation in schools.
Attending CSW enabled GB International to contribute its unique faith-based Gospel hope perspective, influence global policies affecting girls and women and network with high-level individuals and organisations leading to collaborative partnerships.
Who was part of the GBI’s Delegation of Hope?
Representing GB International at the United Nations was International President, Mrs Priscilla P. Penny (Zimbabwe). She was accompanied by International Treasurer, Mrs Betty McComb (England & Wales) and two International Vice- Presidents – Ms Quindell Ferguson (Caribbean-Americas) and Dr Claire Rush (Europe). The team prepared for this exciting opportunity for several months by participating in several seminars and online calls.
In 2019, the team has three key strategic goals:
1. Inspire – The Delegation of Hope will inspire others about GB’s 126 years of ministry amongst girls across 50 countries as well as the positive impact of Christian faith-based movements for girls.
2. Connect – The Delegation of Hope will connect with other people and organisations to build foundations for relationships and increase the potential for collaboration.
3. Understand – The Delegation of Hope will form a better understanding of how GB and its members could use the CSW and other UN initiatives to maximise its influencing potential to turn up the volume of hope for girls.
What was a typical day like at CSW?
So what did a typical day at CSW63 look like? In essence, there was no typical day as the Delegation of Hope members attended different events. But here is a flavour.
6am: Wakey wakey (for Claire, it is earlier – 4.30am – as she manages social media)
7am: Brekkie and devotions
8am: Daily morning service at the Church Center
8.30am: Priscilla attends morning NGOCSW briefing in UN and others attend parallel NGO sessions
10.00am: Betty, Quindell and Claire head to private discussion meeting with Christian NGOs near Wall Street and Priscilla meets with the official delegation from Zimbabwe.
Noon: Invited to a networking lunch
2.30pm: Betty, Quindell and Claire attend parallel workshops addressing different women’s issues and Claire attends the formal session of #CSW63
4.30pm: Continue to attend different workshops and network, Claire attends a UN side event in the Canadian mission to the UN on religious freedom
6.30pm: Networking dinner with different Christian NGOs
8.30pm: Collapse in bed!
Between sessions the team did try and find a space to breathe – self-care is so important.
What were some of the highlights?
See here for some photo highlights from CSW.
Girls’ Brigade International President Mrs Priscilla Penny from Zimbabwe shares: ‘Thank you to the GB global family for praying for us. It was great to see GB sitting at the table. We have met and networked with so many women of faith. We have participated in exciting presentations on female empowerment, leadership training for girls and persecution and abuse of women because of their faith. We joined in discussions on how we can work together with other Christian faith organisations. We have sat in the CSW63 Sessions and petitioned governments to commit to the protection of women and girls. We are thankful that GB has an opportunity to add its voice to this influential global place of power!’
The International President’s Committee will be evaluating GBI’s future involvement at CSW this summer and discussing how to empower our members to get involved in CSW negotiations in their own countries.
How can you get involved?
There are a number of ways that you can get involved in raising hope for girls.
- Aged 18-25? Check out the Girls Living Life to the Full challenge for details about how you could win a fully funded place to a future CSW.
- Have you used GBI’s fantastic ‘Raising Hope’ Advocacy Toolkit? This free resource is part of GB International’s on-going advocacy strategy to enable girls and young women to turn up the volume of hope in their own communities. It can be used by leaders to facilitate girls and young women (10-18s) and can used at any time during the GB year. Each of the six sessions contains creative activities with a Biblical focus including games, art, team-building, discussions and creative prayers. Download it free here.
- On the fifth anniversary of the abductions, Girls’ Brigade launched its new #GBHopeEndures: Prayers for Nigeria resource. The five year anniversary marks an opportunity for Girls’ Brigade to raise hope for girls; an opportunity for us to pray for Nigeria and all the people affected by Boko Haram’s violence. The programme and prayer resource can be adapted for all age groups and can be downloaded free here.