Saskia Voortman

Annual Report of the Graduate Women International – Netherlands

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At the GWI-NL AGM April 2019, the members approved the annual report 2018, the budget 2019 and (re-)appointed the board , the yearly membership fee for GWI-NL was enhanced to € 37,50, the AGM approved GWI-NL joining two other women’s NGO’s in the Netherlands namely: the Dutch Women’s Council (NVR) and WO=MEN.

In view of the GWI 100 year theme ‘Peace through Education’ Marie Bamutese, now living in Belgium and a former refugee from Rwanda, co-author of the book MARIE – Surviving with death (Leuven, 2015) gave a lecture “A case from Rwanda” about the problems refugees encounter in our societies. Marie was elected as Woman of Peace 2016 in Belgium. Together with her husband, Belgian VRT-journalist Peter Verlinden, she wrote her story. The book is a pressing personal account of the genocide in Congo, 1996. After the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 a lot of Rwandese fled to East-Congo. However it wasn’t safe there either. In 1996 under the eyes of the UN a new, silent genocide took place. More than a half million Rwandese were bombed in the refugee camps by troops of the Rwandese president Kagame.

Participation UWE Meet & Greet in Dundee, Scotland 17-19 May 2019, conference theme: “My Identity. My Story”, the conference was a combination of discussion, culture and friendship.

Participation UWE AGM 2019 which took place during the GWI Triennial General Assembly in Geneva and UWE Collective Complaints procedure on Equal Pay.

Participation GWI-NL at GWI Triennial AGM and Centennial Conference “Peace Through Education” – July 2019

Some 10 members of GWI-NL joined the 33th GWI Triennial AGM and Conference in Geneva. GWI-NL proposed a resolution on Women and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in cooperation with NFA’s from Lithuania, Russia and England. The resolution was accepted.

GWI-NL members took part in the annual German speaking friendship meeting of the DACH (NFA’s of Germany, Austria and Switzerland) in Dresden, Germany, October 2019. The theme of the conference was: ‘Mitte Europas – Sachsen im Wandel’. GWI-NL will participate in the organisation of the DACH(H)-Treffen in 2020, which will take place in the Netherlands. Because of COVID-19 this meeting is postponed until the spring of 2021.

GWI-NL Expert Meeting in House of Europe, The Hague, 27 november 2019

1.Sexual and reproductive health education as a human right for all – by Marieke Ridders from Rutgers, the Dutch expertise centre on sexual and reproductive health, and rights 

2.Skype presentation by Fabiola Wollants of AMUS, El Salvador on “SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH EDUCATION AS A HUMAN RIGHT FOR ALL”, GWI 2019 Resolution no

3. GWI-NL Workshop: developed suggestions for AMUS

At a global perspective we’ve seen a large push back from many different communities like the global gag rule. Some governments released a policy that restricts access to safe abortion services and information for women worldwide. Nowadays The Rutgers Organization, and other international planned parenthood federation experience a strong push back on comprehensive sexual education program (CSE).

CSE is mainly based on prevention. It helps young people to get to know their own body and to prevent a lack of self-confidence. It helps them in problem-solving and give them trust, rather than controlling. CSE forms the basis for later behavior regarding sexual contacts.

Some results of the GWI-NL workshop with suggestions and ideas which have been presented to AMUS, El Salvador:

  • Start with finding out the root course of the lack of sexual and reproductive rights in El Salvador and then connect with the grass-root actions, among others, by using social media if possible where men and boys are prominently included.
  • The Netherlands has experienced that contacts with and education of the police is essential and use positive statements of the church.
  • Also try to find allies in the educational sector and use GWI as a champion in your overall approach.
  • Important is also GWI’s regional network as your regional power and connect to the other NFAs in South and Central America and of course to Panama who is the co-signer of this resolution.
  • Look for success stories in hospitals and clinics. Positive storytelling/emotions are of utmost importance.
  • You could emphasize that El Salvador’s economic value increases when women’s sexual and reproductive health is addressed.

Success for SDG goal 3, Good Health & Well-being is also rewarding for politicians; you create a “win/win” situation.

Programme GWI-NL 2020/2021

  • July 2020: GWI-NL Webinar: ‘Graduate Women International – Significance for GWI-NL’
  • September 2020: GWI-NL AGM & Lecture
  • October 2020: NVR Young Feminist Weekend 2020 in The Hague
  • November 2020: GWI-NL Expert Meeting in The Hague: Corruption in Education

Corruption in Education from a European perspective in relation to SDG 16”; compare the report “The Global Corruption Report” which Transparency International published in 2013. Corruption can be found at all levels of our education systems, undermining the right to education, from ghost schools and fake diplomas, to undue corporate influence in university research. https://www.transparency.org/whatwedo/publication/global_corruption_report_edu cation

  • Spring 2021: Visit to the European Parliament in Brussels
  • 28-30 May 2021 DACH(H)-Treffen in 2021 in Rotterdam
  • Summer 2021: GWI-NL Webinar on Twinning Activities

 

On behalf of GWI-NL:

Saaskia Voortman/CER