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Absent in statistics, unnoticed by researchers, neglected by national and local authorities and mostly overlooked by civil society organizations – the situation of many widows around the world is both desperate and invisible.  Millions of the world’s widows endure extreme poverty, ostracism, violence, homelessness, ill health and discrimination in law and custom. The United Nations has stated that the abuse of widows and their children constitutes one of the most serious violations of human rights and obstacles to development today. To raise awareness and provide opportunities for action towards achieving full rights and recognition for widows, the UN has established June 23rd as International Widows’ Day. 

Dr. Ghazy Mujahid of the Ontario Society of Senior Citizens Organizations (OSSCO) has initiated an E-Petition to urge our government to recognize and safeguard the interests of Canadian seniors by appointing a Minister or Special Advisor to the Prime Minister for Senior Affairs.  This petition is sponsored by MP for Mississauga-Erin Mills, Iqra Khalid, and is open for signatures until July 4.

 in a National Post "Grey Matters" article by Wanda Morris, CARP VP of Advocacy, making the case for having a voice for seniors in government.

To read the full text of  E-petition 1566 on the House of Commons website .

Prime Minister Trudeau has announced that Canada will champion girls' education in crisis situations at the G7 Summit in June – backed by a significant financial investment.  This is great news!

Read more about the critical importance of education for girls in crises at 

 

A new HelpAge International report Freedom to Decide for Ourselves brings together the findings from a consultation with 450 older people in 24 countries to find out their perspective on their rights to autonomy and independence, long-term care and palliative care that are central to human dignity.  to access further information and download the report "Freedom to Decide for Ourselves" to read why these rights should be in a Convention on Older People's Rights.

 

Tuberculosis is a communicable disease with high incidence rates in many sub-Saharan countries. Although curable, it kills more people than any other infectious disease.  TB often co-habits with HIV, causing treatment challenges.  In Canada, the highest rates occur in Indigenous populations and in foreign-born Canadians. A high-level meeting is planned at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2018 to consider problems related to diagnosis, treatment and drug resistance.  March 24th, World TB Day, is an occasion to raise awareness for the need to achieve a TB-free world.   from Results Canada's website.

Good news!  Canada will double its pledge to the Global Partnership for Education to $180 million over the next three years (2018-2020).  Prime Minister Trudeau announced Canada’s pledge at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week. This renewed commitment represents an increase in Canada’s giving from $30 million a year to $60 million a year.

   
As you know, GRAN, along with members of the Canadian International Education Policy Working Group (CIEPWG) and other Canadian civil society organizations, has been calling on the Canadian government to increase its political and financial commitments to girls’ education.  Our voices were heard, despite the announced commitment falling short of the $260 million Canadian CSO’s and the GPE had been asking for.

  
We are encouraged by this pledge, knowing that Canada recognizes the importance of education in achieving gender equality and the full empowerment of girls and women. However, education in development still only receives 8% of Canadian Official Development Assistance (ODA), falling short of the 15% that global advocates are asking donor countries to give. We look forward to more bilateral and humanitarian announcements to support global education in the upcoming year.


Many Canadians became engaged in education issues in the past year.  Along with our partners in the CIEPWG, thousands of actions were taken to bring forward the need to support education.  GRAN members were a significant part of actions taken and we thank you all for your commitment and continued efforts.

  
This is an exciting time for improving the human rights of girls and women of all ages.  An important step forward in the fight for gender equality was taken this week.  The journey continues.  The road of advocacy is not easy, but we can celebrate that we have been a part of making change and breaking down barriers so that many girls and women in sub-Saharan Africa will be better able to claim their rights and lift themselves out of poverty.

 
You can read the Prime Minister's full news release .

 

GRAN member Myrtle Blinn took part with thousands of others in Saturday's Women's March in the nation's capital, one of many such marches held around the world to stand up for equality and justice and to stand against gender-based harassment and violence.

Myrtle speaks eloquently in an Ottawa Citizen article about why she is marching. .

The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Financing Conference  is coming up in just two weeks. 43 civil society organisations, among them GRAN, have written an open letter to Prime Minister Trudeau and the other leaders of the G7 countries to urge them to increase their commitment to funding education.

As one of the wealthiest economies in the world, Canada is in a unique position to demonstrate its continued commitment to financing education around the globe.  GRAN is hoping Canada will set a powerful example by making a bold and generous pledge in Senegal on February 2nd.

You can read the full text of the letter to the G7 leadership.

 

Schools do not exist in social isolation from their communities.  The way teachers behave can reflect the beliefs, attitudes and prejudices existing in the wider society around them. Education and its teachers have a central role to play in challenging the negative social norms that drive gender-based violence and to ending violence in schools and in their communities.  Read more to find out how teachers can be a strong force in the fight to end gender-based violence.

 

We can let our decision makers in Ottawa know that we want to support the building of strong national education systems with well trained teachers in sub-Saharan Africa.  Consider leaving a phone message to Minister of International Development Marie-Claude Bibeau’s office  to support funding for the Global Partnership for Education.   A sample message.  

 

 

 

 

According to the UN, young women between the ages of 15 and 24 are twice as likely to become infected with HIV as young men of the same age. In eastern and southern Africa, young women account for more than 25% of new HIV infections even though they only make up 10% of the population. Why is this happening?  For one thing, there is no easy way for many of these young women to protect themselves against HIV during sex. It is time to invest in providing women with options for HIV prevention that they can control.  Promising new technologies and Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy offer new hope, says Lebogang Motsumi, a South African HIV activist.  Find out more about the role Canada can play .

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