Our mandate as INERELA+ remains unique and more relevant than ever in a world characterized by war, climate change and numerous man-made and natural disasters. We remain focused on investing in Religious Leaders in order to SAVE millions of lives, contribute to greater equity, stronger societies and to produce substantial health, social and economic gains. Our work is key to the realisation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The third quarter of 2023 was a busy period as most of our Country Networks implemented a number of activities that helped contribute to the improvement in the quality of lives for communities that we serve.
Strengthening Ties for Greater Impact
Notable Projects to celebrate are the launch of a multiple ESA country four-year SIDA Civil Society Strengthening and SRHR grant in August 2023 in partnership with Childline, Sonke Gender Justice, Africa Disability Forum, Eastern Africa Child Rights Forum, Child Rights Network of Southern Africa, African Child Policy Forum, Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust, Pan African Human Rights Defenders Network, REPPSSI, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance. The lead Partner for this Project is SAVE The Children International. Women and girls including those who are refugees or internally displaced face a heightened risk of violence – including domestic violence, early and forced marriage, and trafficking. Through this initiative INERELA+ priority will be reducing child marriage and child protection in six targeted countries thereby contributing to preventing and reducing child, early and forced marriages, gender-based violence and teenage pregnancy through working at multiple levels (individual, community, national and regional). Rooted in harmful gendered norms and rampant poverty, and linked to high rates of school dropout, this form of gender-based violence has disastrous, long-term impacts on girls’ lives. Crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic have increased this practice. INERELA+ recognizes the critical influence of faith-based leaders to challenge harmful social norms as well as engagement of adolescents through life skills workshops to become “adolescent champions” to amplify their voices and influence their peers. Communities will be mobilised through campaigns and sensitised to challenge harmful attitudes and behaviours in order to prevent child marriages. INERELA+ will assess the policy and legal environment to better understand the situation of children in collaboration with parliament committees as well as civil society and child rights organizations.
It is our hope that our Country networks will forge a supportive community where everyone is committed to protecting girls’ rights, build a safe environment for all and coordinate more for greater impact. We look forward to better profiling and showcasing our work with other likeminded agencies and the rest of the stakeholders our Country Networks interact with.
INERELA + has been working hard to ensure that the voices of women and girls from the global south in all their diversity, inform the decisions and policies that affect our lives. By taking part is Women of the South Speak Out (WOSSO – an initiative managed for the UK government by a consortium comprised of ARROW and Gender Links in partnership with Mannion Daniels) – dialogue sessions on SRHR and climate change hosted in Septer 2023, I managed to share our valuable experience and suggestions on how best we can be supported to carry out the crucial advocacy work we are doing in order to advance gender equality and women’s rights.
From 24 to 25 August 2023, I attended a climate justice workshop which was hosted by the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance in Nairobi, Kenya. The workshop brought together representatives of Save the Children and partners in the SIDA Civil Society Strengthening program with the aim of supporting the capacity of the organizations and sharing experiences to improve the outcome and sustainability of climate action advocacy and programming. The training was a unique opportunity for the exchange of knowledge and experiences as well as fostering cross learning and collaboration. The impacts of climate change, environmental degradation and disasters are unequally felt across the region. Climate change disproportionately affects women, youth and Indigenous people. While 45% of the COP26 team are now women, almost all of the senior public-facing roles are taken by men, despite the fact that in certain countries only 56% of men consider climate change a serious problem — against 83% of women. 80% of those displaced by climate-related disasters and changes around the world are women and girls. Women, girls, and marginalized groups have less access to information, resources, finance and technologies, leaving them with greater challenges in coping and rebuilding after a crisis.
INERELA+ emphasis was that we need a gender lens in climate action to ensure women and girls’ full and equal participation in decision-making. Young people and children need full support in discovering solutions to the challenges they face. INERELA+ indicated the importance of bolstering and investing in gender statistics and data to underpin evidence-based feminist climate actions. Ms Munya Mandipaza emphasized that, because the climate crisis is also linked to colonialism, capitalism, domination, and patriarchal gender norms and masculinities, climate justice cannot be achieved without gender justice and vice versa. She called for the protection and prioritisation indigenous peoples’ rights to promote indigenous people as rights holders in combatting climate change.
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