Ask Questions, Incite Peace

newprofile_web1“What to do when the country I live in totally loses its compass… when the regime that collects my taxes uses them to deploy its high-tech military, armed to the teeth, against activists sailing to oppose a criminal siege?” asks Rela Mezali of New Profile, referring to the 2010 Israeli raid on the aid flotilla heading to Gaza.

16 Days logo16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence

Tell us what you think

What would be the best thing about living in a world without violence?


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In response, the women of New Profile are trying to chart a more humane Israeli society by raising awareness of the ways Israel has grown increasingly militarized. They do this by providing legal and moral support to Israeli youth who are conscientious objectors to mandatory military service. The space New Profile provides for Israel’s youth to question militarism is rare since many cannot raise those issues in school or at home. They also have a traveling photo exhibit that takes a critical look at the militaristic contents in education, culture and media that normalize violence, particularly violence against women.

In April of 2009, the home offices of New Profile activists were raided and their computers seized. They were also under investigation for “inciting military deserters," but that case was closed due to lack of evidence. Yet, they remain fearless and focused on challenging the norm and pushing for a new paradigm for peace in Israel and Palestine.

 

Building a Safe Haven

uphil_web1The Bangsomoro Human Wellness Center in southern Philippines stands tall amid crossfire between insurgent and state armies engaged in one of the longest running conflicts in Asia. Founded by the United Youth of Philippines – Women, Inc (UnYPhil-Women), this crisis center represents a “safe haven, an empowering place for women and girls” impacted daily by a conflict that has killed more than 150,000 people and displaced two million more.

16 Days logo16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence

Tell us what you think

What would be the best thing about living in a world without violence?


TwitterTweet your answer to @GlobalFundWomen using #16days or post your answer on our Facebook page

Earlier this year, male representatives from insurgent groups, state military, and local government put generations of hostilities aside to come together to celebrate the opening of the Center with UnYPhil members and staff earlier this year. In a legacy of conflict, a remarkable feat!

Since 2007, the Global Fund has supported UnYPhil’s tireless work to organize conflict resolution trainings, livelihood programs, and legal guidance for women and children survivors of violence. Before the Center, UnYPhil says communities lacked the support structures and physical safety to address pressing issues like displacement, rape and trafficking. This center is the first of its kind in Maguindinao province, providing a secure venue for UnYPhil to continue its exceptional work.

 

A Beacon of Nonviolent Resistance

womeninblack_web1

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What would be the best thing about living in a world without violence?


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For the past 20 years, amidst wars in the former Yugoslavia, Women in Black remains a beacon of nonviolent resistance to militarism, war, sexism and nationalism. Whether standing still and silent on the streets of Belgrade or organizing theatrical performances, advocacy campaigns or street actions, Women in Black is a powerful voice in demanding gender justice. By publishing materials on feminist antimilitarist theory, and establishing inter-ethnic and inter-cultural peace coalitions, Women in Black make invaluable contributions to transitional justice and new concepts of human security.

Women’s Court for the Crimes of the Former Yugoslavia is the group’s most recent groundbreaking effort in peace building. Created by seven women’s organizations from the Balkans, Women’s Court intends to establish a new, alternative and safe political space for women’s voices and testimonies to be heard. Here, women’s activists create a model of justice based on feminist ethics of responsibility and care. They are working together on transitional and restorative justice activities, and gearing up for the court’s proceedings planned for next year.

 

Something to Celebrate

sofad_web1Kashindi, a widow and mother of six, has something to celebrate. After her husband’s death, her in-laws pressured her to marry her brother-in-law. When she refused, they responded by selling her house and land. However, with the assistance of Solidarité des Femmes Activistes pour la Défense des Droits Humains [Women Activists in Solidarity for the Defense of Human Rights (SOFAD)], Kashindi got her home back.

16 Days logo16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence

Tell us what you think

What would be the best thing about living in a world without violence?


TwitterTweet your answer to @GlobalFundWomen using #16days or post your answer on our Facebook page

Continued armed conflict, lack of rule of law, and high rates of gender-based violence are a daily reality for women in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. In this context, stories like Kashindi’s are common. SOFAD, one of the Global Fund’s long-term partners in the DRC, has established over 60 peace networks in villages throughout the South Kivu Province. With cadres of trained women’s activists, these networks promote women’s rights, address sexual abuses and even expose weapons at the local level. One such network successfully arbitrated Kashindi’s case.

SOFAD’s peace networks have impacted the lives of over 20,000 women and children in the DRC by arbitrating women’s cases, conducting legal and civic education, and raising awareness of women’s rights at the village level. This is how SOFAD is building the women’s movement: from the ground up.

 

Remembering Patsy Preston

patsy_preston_heroBefore it became popular in U.S. philanthropy, Gladys "Patsy" Pulitzer Preston had already laid the foundation for investing in girls education. While we mourn her passing, we celebrate her life as a revolutionary philanthropist and tireless advocate for women and girls.

“I am so proud to be part of the Global Fund,” Patsy said in a voicemail message to our CEO, Musimbi Kanyoro, in August of this year. “I intend to remain that way as long as I live…and being a member of it is an honor and a privilege.”

Patsy has been a friend of the Global Fund for Women since 1998. She founded the Preston Fund for Girls’ Education, which was housed at Global Fund and became a cornerstone of our endowment.

“I felt warmly embraced by Patsy,” said Musimbi, who has fresh and fond memories of their meeting in New York this fall. “Her commitment to social change philanthropy will never be forgotten.”

In addition to serving as a member of Global Fund’s advisory board, Patsy did work for many organizations, including Planned Parenthood, the International Refugee Commission and Republicans for Pro Choice.

“What strikes you as you travel and learn, is the fundamental need for the work of the Global Fund,” Patsy wrote in 2006. “The Global Fund really comes through for women and girls. It is a privilege to be able to give what you can, based on what you feel, to a cause in which you believe.”

 

Read a letter of support written by Patsy in 2006 »

 
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