Supporting the work of the Grandmothers Advocacy Network (GRAN), the Grassroot Grannies advocate through displays, speaking engagements, media, letter writing campaigns, and participating in organized advocacy events. We have signed petitions, spoken to our MPs and marched on Parliament Hill several times urging our federal government to keep their promises.
On this page of our website, we are now including the GRAN Updates on a quarterly basis.
GRAN Update - February 2023
Advocating for grandmothers, vulnerable children and youth in Sub-Saharan Africa
All-of-GRAN Campaign: The Right to Food
“As long as poverty, injustice, and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest.” -- Nelson Mandela
The Right to Food (RtF) campaign continues to surge ahead with learning and advocacy related to global hunger and food security. Our work this month has included development of an Advocacy Action Plan and the decision to pursue the Right to Food campaign for a full year, ending January 2024. In the lead-up to the 2023 Federal Budget, GRAN co-hosted two learning events with our partners at Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB) and ONE Canada on global hunger and Canada’s response. We developed a backgrounder on global hunger and a template for a letter to Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland regarding the need for an increase in international assistance. Watch for more actions coming soon, including a template that GRANs can use in writing a Letter to the Editor for your local news media.
A Somali woman affected by the worsening drought due to failed rain seasons, holds her child, as her grandmother Habiba Osman looks on, outside their makeshift shelter at the Alla Futo camp for internally displaced people, in the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia September 23, 2022. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
You will find links to the events and templates for letters to Minister Freeland below under Action. All feedback regarding the ongoing campaign is most welcome. We would love to hear from you. You can contact us with your suggestions and questions at firstname.lastname@example.org .
“Give a child love, laughter, and peace, not AIDS.” -- Nelson Mandela
On February 1, 2023, at the inaugural meeting of the Global Alliance to End AIDS in Children, twelve African countries pledged to end AIDS in children by 2030. This is a big step forward towards providing life-saving treatment to all children with HIV and ensuring that mothers have babies born free of the virus. Currently around the world, a child dies from AIDS-related causes every five minutes. Children account for 15% of all AIDS-related deaths, even though only 4% of the total number of people living with HIV are children. This is due to the fact that only half of the children living with HIV are receiving life-saving treatment, far behind adults. (Three-quarters of adults with HIV are receiving antiretrovirals). Click here for the recent press release and a link to the Dar es Salaam Declaration for Action to end AIDS in Children.
Another positive development, this one in TB treatment. The World Health Organization released new guidelines on the treatment of drug-resistant TB, including a new recommendation on the use of an all-oral 6-month regimen which offers better outcomes with a much shorter length of treatment, and thus an improved quality of life.
The climate change-induced drought in the Horn of Africa, the worst in 40 years, has greatly increased the number of malnourished children in the area. Even those who survive will suffer long-term health effects, including stunting and developmental delays. Click here to read about the impact of the drought in Kenya on child health. Dr. Sila Monthe from Nairobi says: “With stunting, over time, it starts to affect their mental development and their ability to grow. They will be thin and short. They will be more prone to infections and mental development problems. If you have a population that’s stunted, in 10 years, the workforce will be sick.”
Click here for more information about the many effects of climate change on today’s young people from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Children often get a big portion of their daily food intake from meals they get at school, and research shows that when students get school meals, they study well and stay in school longer. Good nutrition is essential for students to be able to attend school, concentrate, and learn. Read how the Global Partnership for Education supports school feeding programs in many partner countries.
Literacy is a gateway that can open the door to a world of opportunities or just as quickly shut it tight. According to the World Bank, a startling 70% of children in low- and middle-income countries are currently unable to read proficiently by age 10.
Education Cannot Wait (ECW) is the UN global fund established to support the education of children living in crisis and emergency contexts. Canada helped establish ECW in 2016 and is currently its seventh-largest donor, having contributed $82.5 million CAD since its inception. ECW hosted a High-level Conference on February 6, 2023 to highlight the educational needs of the 222 million children and adolescents currently living in areas of conflict and other crises. The conference included announcements of financial pledges in support of Education Cannot Wait. Canada announced a new commitment of $87.5 million CAD to ECW for the coming four years (2023 to 2026). Click here to read more. On February 10, a collective of civil society organizations, activist groups and scientists in the Global South launched the Manifesto for an Ecosocial Energy Transition from the Peoples of the South. The manifesto outlines the shortcomings of the plans of the richer countries of the Global North for the transition away from fossil fuels. There are grave concerns that this transition will be a repeat of the fossil fuel era as pressure on the Global South increases for extraction of rare minerals. Extractive industries have an abysmal track record of ignoring human rights, with displacement of Indigenous people from their lands, pollution of the land and water, and violence against land defenders. Women, especially small-scale farmers, are often among the most impacted, with a correspondingly enormous impact on local food security. The Manifesto articulates eight demands, that include the rejection of land grabs and other forms of colonialism, and the elimination of energy poverty in poorer areas of the world. GRAN has signed the Manifesto as an organization. Click here to read more, and for the opportunity to sign the Manifesto as an individual.
Over the last half-decade, Somalia has received roughly $2 billion-a-year in development aid and humanitarian assistance from abroad. But after four consecutive failed rainy seasons, more than 7 million people (almost half of the population) face acute food insecurity, with more than 200,000 on the brink of starvation.
International assistance comes with constraints designed to ensure the money is well-used, but which also effectively exclude local organizations from accessing the funds they need to make local priorities a reality. Hassan Mowlid Yasin, the head of a climate change non-profit organization in Somalia, has seen little spending that he thinks will build lasting resilience to worsening drought. Local people often know best how to adapt. Click here to learn more about local solutions and why funding to build climate resilience and food security at the local level is so important.
Graphic source: WoMin African Women Activists and collaborators in the Manifesto.
Malnourished infants are coaxed to drink a high-calorie formula in the malnutrition ward at the Ammusait General Hospital in Kenya.
UN Convention on the Rights of Older Peoples (CROP)
The thirteenth session of the UN Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing will be held from April 3 – 6, 2023 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. This session will focus on two areas: The Right to Health and Access to Health Services and Social Inclusion. From a human rights perspective, the full social inclusion of older persons focuses on the removal of existing barriers to inclusion in a full life, as well as adoption of measures that actively promote inclusion of older persons.
The Working Group is striving towards a Convention on the Rights of Older Persons (CROP) and has covered many focus areas that impact on social inclusion and/or exclusion of older persons. Some of these areas are: neglect, violence and abuse; long-term care and palliative care; social protection and social security; education, lifelong learning and capacity building; and economic security.
In anticipation of this 13th Session, The Global Alliance for the Rights of Older People (GAROP) has launched the second virtual Global Rally, to be held from February 27 - March 5, 2023. The goals of the Global Rally are to activate, mobilize and push forward more advocates, non-governmental agencies, and all forms of governments to support further work on older people's rights in the Human Rights Council and agreement in the Open-ended Working Group to draft a new UN convention. As a member of GAROP, GRAN will continue to support the work of the Open-Ended Working Group to draft a new UN Convention on the Rights of Older Persons. Click here for more information on the Global Rally.
"And where the words of women are crying to be heard, we must each of us recognize our responsibilities to seek those words out, to read them and share them and examine them pertinent to our lives.” -- Audre Lorde
The recently released report Soil to Sky: Climate Solutions that Transform from The CLIMA Fund is a lengthy but invaluable insight into the work of grassroots movements in the Global South working to meet the challenges of climate change. Today’s food systems across the globe rely heavily on industrialized agriculture, which has increased yields, but has revealed serious flaws, including proprietary technology, and synthetic pesticide, herbicide, and fertilizer use, which in turn have contributed to climate change and land degradation. The report provides an in-depth dive into the contextual issues such as colonialism and false climate mitigation actions, and offers climate justice solutions building on traditional ecological knowledge, energy democracy, and food sovereignty. Key to food security is transitioning the food system from a focus on industrial agriculture to agroecology/regenerative agriculture that includes soil health, local food systems, and farmer-managed seed networks. Women are disproportionately impacted by climate change as outlined in this recent article, “Gender inequality forcing African women to bear brunt of climate change storm” from the Daily Maverick. There are three interconnected ways in which climate change affects women disproportionately. First, it adds to household burdens, threatens economic opportunities and increases health risks for some. Second, women often don’t own land, and third, they have declining water access. Approximately 250 million Africans live under extreme water stress; globally, women and girls spend almost 200 million hours collecting water each day. However, women have emerged as leaders in generating solutions. And yet much remains to be done to increase the involvement of women in decision-making and to improve their access to financing.
The worsening climate crisis poses a threat to women and girl, Daily Maverick. (Photo: Black Star / Spotlight)
February Fundraising Month
We are once again reaching out to you for our annual February fundraising campaign. As you know, ongoing donations from GRANs and friends are the only source of revenue for the work of GRAN. While the majority of our work happens through the generous volunteer hours of hundreds of GRANs across the country, a small budget is needed to support GRAN communications and learning events, maintain our website, and cover annual membership dues in partner organizations. You can donate by e-transfer, online with a credit card through PayPal, or by cheque. Click here to access our donations page for further information. Thank you for considering this. Many thanks for all the ways you contribute to GRAN’s ongoing work.
Click here to access our donations page for further information. Thank you for considering this. Many thanks for all the ways you contribute to GRAN’s ongoing work.
Thank you to GRAN Leaders
GRAN values the partnerships and alliances we are able to develop with like-minded organizations, and the opportunity this gives us to collaborate in shared advocacy efforts.
In January, Pat Dolan, GRAN Co-Chair, collaborated with Healy Thompson, Senior Manager of Advocacy with the Stephen Lewis Foundation in putting together a learning event on advocacy which provided a great opportunity for dialogue between GRANs and G2G members. Many of us belong to both organizations. We look forward to future opportunities to work together in amplifying the voices of grandmothers in sub-Saharan Africa. Click here for a recording of that event. In February, Peggy Edwards, co-founder of GRAN, participated in a panel discussion hosted by the British Columbia Centre for International Cooperation (BCCIC) in recognition of International Development Week. Thanks to Peggy for speaking so eloquently to the lived experience of African grandmothers, the power of intergenerational solidarity, and the Right to Food. For those who missed it, click here for a recording of the event.
In support of the Right to Food campaign, and in the lead-up to the 2023 Federal Budget, GRANs are asked to send a letter to Minister Chrystia Freeland regarding the global hunger crisis and the need for an increase in funding for international assistance. To help you with information, ideas, and wording, here is a link to the learning event Global Hunger and Canada’s Response, a Backgrounder on global hunger, and a letter template. Last month, we asked you to sign on to CIEPWG’s petition calling on Canadian leaders to commit to meaningfully invest in education in the 2023 Budget. We are at 2700 signatures. The goal is 5000. If you have signed the petition, thank you. If you haven’t, please sign the petition and share among your groups and networks. Click here for information regarding the virtual Global Rally in support of a UN Convention on the Rights of Older Persons, to be held February 27 to March 5. The next Global Climate Strike organized by Fridays For Future is on March 3rd. Many GRANs have turned out over the years to support our youth in climate action. Click here for a map that will provide information on a rally near you.
Thank you, GRANs, for your tireless engagement and advocacy!
Merchants of Grain: The Power and Profits of the Five Giant Companies at the Center of the World's Food Supply by Dan Morgan
The first and only book to describe the seven secretive families and five far-flung companies that control the world's food supplies. Little has changed their central role since Morgan's best-selling book first appeared in 1979.