UNACCOMPANIED CHILD MIGRATION: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES IN THE UNITED STATES

Mary Jo TollSr. Mary Jo Toll, Chair of the NGO Committee on Migration at the United Nations, says “the UN is an essential forum for finding solutions to unaccompanied child migration because national politics make long-term solutions difficult to achieve in the United States. Immigration advocates are aware of increasing numbers of young people traveling alone seeking asylum status. Numbers of minor children crossing the US/Mexico border from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Mexico have risen to 60,000 so far in 2014.

Unaccompanied minors

NGOs and Church groups assist these young persons with basic shelter and social needs and register them for school. Being able to attend classes had been out of the question for children afraid to leave their houses for fear of gangs. A great majority of these children are fleeing countries among the most violent in the world; grounds for asylum exist and the children require legal representation.”

 Read more:  ngo-migration.org/

 

WIDEN THE CIRCLE: PARTICIPATE IN UN MEETINGS IN 2015

Through the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur NGO Office, persons are able to participate in major UN meetings. There is no fee to attend these UN sessions, but participants are responsible for their room and board and transportation while attending the meeting. Funds are available to assist Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur from Latin America and Africa. If you are interested in attending a major UN meeting in 2015, contact Jean Stoner as soon as possible at SNDatUN@sndden.org.

WE’RE HERE FOR GOOD: WORKING FOR GOOD AND STAYING FOR THE LONG TERM

On my way to a UN meeting in midtown Manhattan a few years ago, I noticed a sign that said, “We’re Here for Good”. These words, posted in the window of the local YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association), struck me as describing as well the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and the United Nations. Both are also working for good and staying for the long term.

DPI NGO 2015As the UN gets ready to celebrate in 2015 the 70th anniversary of its founding, we are reminded of how much the world has changed since the original 51 countries signed the UN Charter. With 193 member nations today, issues addressed by the UN are significantly more complex than in 1945. The good news is that collaboration and cooperation continue to facilitate change on a regular basis around the world. And we NGOs accredited to the UN work together to advocate governments to honor their global commitments and eliminate inequities wherever they exist.

Nigerian sisters.jpgSisters and Associates of Notre Dame continue to proclaim God’s goodness and minister with those living in poverty as our first Sisters did more than 200 years ago. Our priorities at the UN — Education, Financing for Development, Migration, Poverty Eradication, Sustainable Development, Stopping Human Trafficking, Women and Girls’ Rights — insert us into networks advocating for change and celebrating what is being accomplished. We are here for good in the long term too.

We choose to live with less until all have enough.
Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur

SND PHOTOVOLTAIC PROJECT: ‘POWER OF THE SUN’ SHINES AT THE UNITED NATIONS

Highlight from previous issue (2012):

At a special event during the recent UN Commission on Social Development, Sister Kristin Hokanson spoke about the global impact of our ground-breaking Photovoltaic Project in Congo and Nigeria.  Principal and founder of Notre Dame Virtual School (NDVS), Kristin highlighted NDVS’ special educational projects which link Notre Dame Schools in support of the Photovoltaic Project. Through technology, NDVS students around the world are analyzing electrical graphs coming out of project sites in Congo and Nigeria, studying about Solar Power and water purification systems, and using E-languages to connect with each other. Truly the Power of the Sun is shining everywhere!

Kristin Hokanson, SNDdeN

“The experience made me realize how an idea to build solar-powered energy can unite a community to achieve life-sustaining goals. At the United Nations I observed NGOs striving to create a world in which all live with dignity and respect. A key to the eradication of poverty is using our technology network where we can communicate in ways never thought possible. It is through all types of technology that we are creating a better world, and what better place to share this experience than the United Nations.”

www.elanguages.org/171170

Update:  In 2013, the 10th anniversary of the Power of the Sun Project, the Sisters of Notre Dame embarked on a campaign to raise another $1 million to establish additional full sites in Congo and provide supplementary equipment and materials to multiple sites in Nigeria.

www.sndden.org/en/news-and-events/photovoltaic-project/

 

NGO ADVOCACY AT THE UNITED NATIONS

Amarachi Grace Ezeonu 1By Amarachi Ezeonu, SNDdeN

A few of the activities of Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) at the United Nations include the following roles: policy advocacy, information dissemination, awareness raising, development education, joint operational projects, providing technical expertise, and collaborating with UN agencies, programs and funds. NGOs fulfill these roles individually or by networking with other like-minded groups to form committees and sub-committees on different issues such as Anti-Trafficking of Persons, Working Group on Girls, Financing for Development, Education, Social Development, Poverty Eradication, and various others. NGOs enrich the capability of the UN through providing their field experience and insights to various networks and during UN sessions and associations.

Statements (oral or written) by NGOs at UN sessions are often considered credible and valued because of their expertise and contact with people at the grassroots. According to ECOSOC Resolution 1996/31:

“Written statements relevant to the work of the Council may be submitted by organizations in general consultative status and special status on subjects in which these organizations have a special competence. Such statements shall be circulated by the Secretary General of the United Nations to the members of the council …”

meetingThough most NGOs work with people at the grassroots, however, their presence at the UN is invaluable because this affords them the leverage to also influence policy formulation at global, regional and national levels on some of the issues which directly or indirectly impact on the lives of people these organizations work with. NGOs may not be able to directly challenge member states of the UN who have not lived up to their commitments to the conventions and treaties they have signed and ratified, but these countries are often very aware that the NGOs are watching. Therefore, this monitoring compels them to strive to honor their commitments.

For more information, go to:

www.ngosocdev.net/
www.ngocsw.org/
www.girlsrights.org/

POST-2015 AGENDA: THE WORLD WE WANT

Highlight from previous issue (2012):

In 2000 the United Nations agreed on eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to address the needs of the world’s poorest by 2015. While efforts to achieve the original MDGs continue, the UN has launched a global conversation to determine steps after 2015. An Inter-Governmental Working Group is preparing Sustainable Development Goals, and a High Level Panel of twenty-six members of government, civil society and the private sector is working on a Post-2015 Development Agenda. Beyond2015, a coalition of 400+ organizations, is also addressing this issue. UN Agencies are leading nine thematic consultations and more than fifty national discussions. Countries participating in consultations include Brazil, Peru, Congo, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa; plans are in place to add more countries to the list. For an overview of the entire Post-2015 process, go to www.beyond2015.org (in English, French, and Spanish).

An opportunity to participate in a collaborative effort between the United Nations and civil society: The World We Want Campaign invites people around the world to share their visions for the post-2015 world. Materials are accessible in multiple languages. Go to www.worldwewant2015.org/ and click on your language.

PLANNING FOR THE THIRD INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE GIRL

Day of the GirlOctober 11 will mark the third UN International Day of the Girl. Some of our schools are already preparing. “To help galvanize worldwide enthusiasm for goals to better girls’ lives and providing an opportunity for them to show leadership and reach their full potential” is the aim of young women at Notre Dame Academy, Toledo, Ohio. The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme is providing leadership to a project which will not only fulfill requirements for a culminating project for the IB Diploma, but it will “raise awareness of the hardships girls around the world face solely based on their gender”.

NDA Toledo OH studentsTwo young women, with the support of their IB director, Ms. Angela Joseph, recognize that many girls living in poverty lack basic necessities, among them feminine materials and care. This situation results in girls’ inability to attend school on a regular basis. Carra Gibson and Isabel Abu-Absi are planning a multi-media education segment for the Day of the Girl, in their words, “to spread awareness about these issues and not only inform NDA girls about the needs that are commonly present, but to engage them and finally, empower them to do something about it”. Carra and Isabel are in touch with Sr. Jeannette Pierre-Louis, SND de Namur. Sister works at Notre Dame Family Center in Les Cayes, Haiti, to provide rudimentary education, health services, and job training skills to women and children. NDA will assist with funds for feminine care products and in the process get to know local culture and members of the local youth center, along with their volunteers.

beijing20.unwomen.org/en/in-focus/girl-child

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