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 - September 2022
Advocating for grandmothers, vulnerable children and youth in Sub-Saharan Africa
Advocacy Planning Team (APT):
Climate Justice Watch Group
Bev was a dedicated, fierce and long-standing activist in GRAN. She had an extraordinary ability to connect people to each other and to the GRAN cause. Through thick and thin, through governments that don’t listen, and through global events that keep harming the most vulnerable, Bev kept us going. She was the ultimate volunteer – there wasn’t a job that she wouldn’t take on, from talking to the Prime Minister to setting up Zoom meetings, to making late night snacks for hungry Leadership Team members.
Bev passed away on September 3rd in Ottawa. The following is excerpted from GRAN’s tribute to Bev at her Celebration of Life service.
GRANS Jo-Anne Stead, Barb Rother, Bev (centre) Annie Creighton and Stella Val at Orange Campaign Reception hosted by the Mayor of Ottawa.
A grassroots advocate, she loved working with whatever team she joined, because she loved the people she worked with. Always the first to support others and to celebrate their advocacy, she was humble and modest about her own amazing advocacy skills. Of all of us who wrote Letters to the Editor about vaccine equity, it was Bev who just four short months ago got her letter published in the Ottawa Citizen.
The Grandmothers-to-Grandmothers Campaign of the Stephen Lewis Foundation was a natural choice for Bev’s social justice commitment initially. Over the years, she led and supported many G2G fundraising events and was a key member of “Grannies All About Kids”. Her group did yard sales, bake sales, so many other events. She was very much appreciated for hosting participants in the G2G regional bike rally at her home.
Bev co-chaired the Ottawa Orange Campaigns for at least three years and was involved on the organizing committee for all of them. She never shied from the work, volunteering for anything and everything, even visiting all the stores/restaurants along the Elgin St. Orange Campaign route -- and gained supporters for GRAN as she went.
Bev was a great collaborator and built relationships with advocacy groups such as the Interagency Coalition for AIDS and Development, the HIV Legal Network, Results Canada and ONE. Her involvement went beyond GRAN and her generosity was immense. She supported many causes, including supporting refugee families to become settled in their new homes. Her obituary can be found here. She gave us so much and we will miss her!
Bev, Myrtle Blinn and Angela Quinlan
at an early "Hello Friends"
Bev was a part of the very earliest days of GRAN. She was at the centre of so many Hill events especially in our CAMR (Canada’s Access to Medicines Regime) Campaign for accessible HIV medicines, and provided leadership to our local and regional GRAN groups. Bev also co-chaired the Ottawa component of our national conference, Hello Friends.
The Advocacy Planning Team (APT) will soon issue a call for proposals for the 2023 all-of-GRAN campaign. We want to provide lots of time for interested GRANs to generate ideas and prepare proposals for a campaign that will bring GRANs together in a united effort around one of our issues. We will share criteria for assessing proposals and provide clear dates for submission.
As the current Health Equity Campaign begins to wind down this fall, we will ask the group to look at what level of activity may be needed beyond the Campaign (to maintain partnerships, support and amplify actions of others, etc.). The APT will also review results and learnings from the Health Equity Campaign over the fall.
The Health Equity Team continued to advocate for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria through the summer, working closely with a coalition formed with non-governmental organizations including Results Canada, ONE Canada, Global Fund Advocates Network, STOP TB Partnership, and Global Citizen. The hashtags #FightForWhatCounts and #1Point2Billion have been widely used on social media. In early July, GRANs were encouraged to reach out to their MPs and perhaps make plans to meet with them. Greater Van GRAN members Gail Mullan and Kathleen Wallace-Deering met with Minister Sajjan at the annual community barbecue in his riding of Vancouver South and had a productive discussion with him about the Global Fund and Canada’s overseas development work.
On July 20, GRAN members took part (in person and online) in the Swarm the Hill event led by ONE Canada to flood the Prime Minister's office with calls to support the Global Fund's efforts to end malaria.
GRAN Gail Mullan, Minister Sajjan, and GRAN Kathleen Wallace-Deering talk Global Fund at annual community BBQ.
1. Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence Legislation: This summer GRANS in the MJ Watch Group began actively working to convince Members of Parliament that Canada needs strong, meaningful measures to hold Canadian companies accountable for their operations abroad.
See Actions at the end of this Update for more details about how to participate in collecting signatures for the petition.
The result of one meeting was this note written by MP Laurel Collins in the monthly newsletter to her constituents: Human Rights and Due Diligence: "I presented a petition on behalf of individuals concerned that Canadian companies are contributing to human rights abuses and environmental damage around the world. Petitioners note that Indigenous people, women and marginalized groups are disproportionately affected by these harmful working conditions. We are calling on the House to adopt human rights and environmental due diligence legislation that would require Canadian companies to prevent human rights abuses and environmental damage throughout their global operations and supply chains. I will continue to raise the issue of human rights and environmental due diligence."
MP Laurel Collins receives petition from GRAN Anne Young on human rights and due diligence legislation
The Education Watch Group has had the pleasure of establishing a relationship with a community-based organization, The Village Rock, operating in rural Sierra Leone. This relationship came about because one of the group’s founders, Thabile Cele, heard about GRAN – from Ottawa GRAN member Barbara Rother - and expressed an interest in joining. Naturally, she and her organization were welcomed.
EdWG members met on August 30, via Zoom, with Thabile and her colleague, Rev. Moses Khanu. We learned that The Village Rock was founded in May 2019. Their priorities are protecting the rights of girls and women, and the education of girls. They aim to provide a safe environment for girls and women, a female mentor in each community, girls’ clubs, and support for educational opportunities and economic improvement for women.
We learned that The Village Rock finds male engagement to be vital in this process. Rev. Moses has written a book explaining and condemning female genital mutilation in Sierra Leone entitled A Path to Womanhood. He is a very brave man; there have been threats to his life for writing such a book. Several members of the EdWG have purchased and read the book and we recommend it to others.
Extreme weather events are being experienced across the Global South, from flooding across many parts of India and Pakistan to the third consecutive year of failed rains and drought across the Horn of Africa. These events have taken lives, destroyed crops and resulted in mass internal migrations. Countries in the Global South have identified reparations for Loss and Damages as a priority issue for COP 27 (Conference of Parties to the Paris Agreement) scheduled for November in Egypt. Canada has yet to acknowledge financial support for Loss and Damages, or to meet its fair share of funding for international climate finance.
Photo Courtesy Fridays for Future
The Climate Justice Watch Group will be collaborating with Grand(m)others Act to Save the Planet (GASP) in advocating with the Senate for support of the Climate-Aligned Finance Act (Bill-S243). This bill, sponsored by Senator Rosa Galvez, is aimed at aligning the activities of federally regulated financial institutions with Canada’s climate commitments under the Paris Agreement and the Canadian Net Zero Emissions Accountability Act. Currently, Canadian banks and Economic Development Canada are among the top funders of fossil fuel projects at home and globally, contributing significantly to increasing greenhouse gas emissions. GASP is an Ontario-based grassroots non-partisan community group committed to climate action and advocacy.. For more information on this dynamic group you are invited to watch their five minute video. Click here.
New Coordinating Team Members: Welcome Phyllis and Diane!
The Coordinating Team is delighted to welcome new members Phyllis Webster and Diane Scaletta, both from Victoria GRANs. With just one meeting of the full team so far, we know these two are going to make a huge contribution! Phyllis is also a member of both the Education and Mining Justice Watch Groups and more recently has been part the Health Equity Campaign.
Diane is a member of the Advocacy Planning Team, the Mining Justice Watch Group and is also part of the Health Equity Campaign.
32nd UN International Day of Older Persons -- "The Resilience and Contributions of Older Women" -- Monday, October 3, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. ET The vital contributions of older women and inclusion of their voices is critical to creating policies responsive to local, national, and global challenges. This event will be a multi-stakeholder dialogue on the resilience of older women in the face of environmental, social, economic and lifelong inequalities and will call on member states, UN entities, UN Women, and civil society to include older women in the centre of all policies, ensuring gender equality. Click here for a flyer with the list of speakers. This event will be streamed live online via UN Web TV and should be available as a recording after the event as well. [Note: Registration is not required for those intending to watch on line, only for those attending the event in person at UN Headquarters in NYC.] In support of Mining Justice, call on the Canadian House of Commons to adopt human rights and due diligence legislation, by printing off this paper petition, collecting 25 signatures, and delivering it to your MP. Please take a photo of the completed petition before delivering it to your MP and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org (Co-Chair of GRAN’s Mining Justice Watch Group)