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 bi-monthly basis.

GRAN Update - Apri 2017
Advocating for grandmothers, vulnerable children and youth in Sub-Saharan Africa

Canadian grannies 
African grannies
The GRAN AGM: You Are Invited – Please RSVP
The GRAN Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held by conference call on Wednesday, May 10th at 3:00 pm EDT. All GRAN participants are encouraged and welcome to attend. Please let us know (this includes the members of the Steering Committee) that you are planning to attend by sending an email titled: "RSVP to the AGM" to the GRAN. We will then send you the Annual Report, Financial Report, Nomination Committee Report and an Agenda. These documents will be sent out to you two weeks in advance of the meeting.

Please plan to join us and learn more about GRAN and what we have achieved this year!

Orange the World Campaign

Once again we are proposing that GRAN join the 2017 United Nations UNiTE to End Violence against Women “Orange the World” campaign. Last year GRAN groups from coast to coast held awareness events, large and small. Over 25 communities across the country participated. The range of activities from marches, to vigils to school presentations was significantly expanded. This year we hope to make it even bigger and better! 
Ending violence against women is one of the three priority areas for GRAN but it lends itself to all of our issues: AIDS is both a cause and a consequence of violence against women; violence against women presents a significant barrier to the education of women and girls. Violence against women is a violation of their fundamental human rights. 
End Violence against Women  

Marie Dunn, Christine Bennett, Marlee Ritchie, Patti Soltys and Constance Woloschuk in Saskatoon Nov 25th 2016

The theme of the 2017 Orange Campaign has not yet been announced by UN Women. However we intend to link our Campaign to the Sustainable Development Goals that speak to our issues. We are confident that the UN theme, when announced, will be broad enough that we can adapt our messaging to accommodate. The Working Group is looking for someone to handle the social media aspects of the campaign. If you are interested or if you know someone who might be interested, please let Janet Siddall know. 

Access to Medicines
Recognition in the MSF Dispatches Magazine

GRAN is featured in the spring 2017 MSF Dispatches for its contribution to their successful pneumonia vaccines campaign. This magazine for MSF donors has a distribution of 150,000, so our work is getting known far and wide!

Click here to read the full article.

Many of you will recognize the photo which was taken on Parliament Hill at Hello Friends 2015. 

World Malaria Day, April 25th 2017 

This year’s global theme is “End Malaria for Good”. The spotlight is on prevention of a disease that continues to kill more than 400,000 people annually. Since the year 2000, disease prevention has yielded good results. In sub-Saharan Africa, a greater share of the population is sleeping under insecticide-treated nets. In 2015, an estimated 53% of the population at risk slept under a treated net compared to 30% in 2010. In 20 African countries, preventive treatment for pregnant woman increased five-fold between 2010 and 2015. However many countries are struggling and investment is still needed to increase rates of prevention. As we get closer to April 25th, here are a few websites to review for further updates. Global FundMalaria No More, and the Malaria No More UK site. 
New medicines for drug resistant Tuberculosis (TB)

TB is the leading infectious disease cause of death globally, and new medicines to treat drug-resistant strains of TB are urgently needed. The risk of TB is estimated to be between 26 and 31 times greater in people living with HIV than among those without HIV infection. For this reason GRANs welcome any development of new drugs which will ease the suffering of families in Sub-Saharan Africa. Current treatments for drug-resistant TB can last up to two years and include up to eight months of daily injections. Even when patients are able to tolerate these grueling and often toxic regimens, fewer than half of those treated are cured. However a new drug, sutezolid, has been developed which seems effective in treating drug- resistant TB. Recently MSF reported that John Hopkins University has made the decision to license their patent for this medication to the Medicines Patent Pool. This will help considerably in reducing the cost for developing countries.

The link here tells the compelling stories of patients in Swaziland suffering from drug-resistant TB and the impact on their lives and communities: 

Malala receives Honorary Citizenship and speaks to Parliament

GRANs were present on the Hill on Wednesday to welcome Malala to Ottawa. Valerie Wright, co-chair of the Education Working group, was lucky enough to receive a personal invitation to hear Malala address the house. She reported “Malala’s speech was moving, smart, inspirational and filled with humor. Yet her messages were strong with many clear expectations given for what has to be done to move forward”
Click here for the full text of her speech.

The video is only of the first part of her speech but scroll down and read the entire text – you will be glad you did – it really is inspiring!

We are continuing to develop materials for you to use as you educate yourselves and others on the need for increased funding for education. Last month we encouraged you to read the “education for all” backgrounder which is still available on the GRAN website. This month we have a power point presentation for you to use. Go to the GRAN website and you will find it under the education resources tab. There are also some background notes to accompany the power point. Feel free to change it and choose the slides that will be most meaningful 
GRANs on the Hill – Joanne Stead, Stella Val, Bev McKibbon, Valerie Wright and Myrtle Blinn

We have also prepared an education display board. If you contact Valerie she will be glad to email you the photos and text so that you can set up your own display board for any event you may be having.

Next month we will be encouraging you to celebrate June 16th which is the Day of the African Child by writing letters and postcards to your MPs and Prime Minister Trudeau on the need for increased support from Canada for the next replenishment of the Global Partnership for Education fund.

A fun activity to do with your grandchildren!

There are 130 million girls not in school worldwide. ONE is aiming to make the longest video by asking everyone to pick a number and video themselves saying that number or giving a short message. You will see GRANs you may know at #2099, 6048 and 190515. I did this with my grandchildren and they thoroughly enjoyed showing me how to make and upload a video and then went on to do another one by themselves!

Go to Girls Count to do this. 

Bad News 

The Federal Government gave no increase to Official Development Assistance (ODA) in the 2017 Budget
This is in spite of the Government’s commitment in last year’s budget that Budget 2017 would be informed by the outcomes of the International Assistance Review. The results of this review have still not been announced, though the consultation process ended in July of 2016. The mandate of the Minister of International Development to implement a new funding framework for Canada’s international assistance remains unfulfilled. This budget continues Canada’s historically low commitment to international assistance. At 0.26 per cent of gross national income, Canada’s ODA for 2017 falls far short of the international benchmark of 0.7 per cent, placing Canada well behind its peer countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

“We are deeply disappointed in the Government’s decision not to increase Canada’s aid envelope,” stated Julia Sánchez, President—CEO of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC). “The Government says it wants to improve Canada’s reputation as a global leader among its peers – and to reach the most in need, in particular women and girls. With Budget 2017, Canada falls short on one key metric: the broad and significant financial commitment necessary to achieve this objective.” 

Good News

You will remember that, when GRAN was actively opposing the TPP last year, one of the stumbling blocks in the proposed agreement was the investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) which allowed companies to sue Canada if they felt that Canadian law was interfering with their profits. A similar provision was already in place in NAFTA and Eli Lilly, an American pharmaceutical company, sued Canada for 500 million dollars under this agreement. Canada had revoked the patents on two of its medications because there was insufficient evidence that they were effective. It was great news to hear that Eli Lilly failed in its efforts to use the dispute settlement system to extract hundreds of millions from Canadian taxpayers, and that the company was ordered to pay millions in costs.

Panel Rejects Eli Lilly Claim Over Canadian Patent Law, Orders Company to Pay Millions in Costs

This Tribunal decision represents an enormous win for the Canadian government and for the supremacy of Canadian law and the judicial system more broadly. But we cannot be complacent - dangers of the system remain a reality. As new trade deals are being negotiated or renegotiated we need to be vigilant that access to effective, affordable medications is not compromised in any way.

Uganda Trip

We are pleased to say that the Jan 2018 GRAN trip to Uganda with GIVE International is now full with 16 excited participants. If you regret not signing up, do let Hilary know and she will put you on the waiting list for this year and you will be first in line for the (very likely) trip next year. We are looking forward to hearing the stories and experiences of these travelers on their return. 

Advocacy Actions

1) Go to the website and download the education power point and accompanying notes. Adapt it to your needs and present it to your group. This can be a large public event or a couple of friends in your own home on your own computer. Take a photo of you making the presentation and send it to the chair of the education working group, Valerie Wright. She would love to know that her presentation is being used.

2) Go to Girls Count, claim a number and raise awareness of the 130 million girls not in school.

If ever you feel despondent or question whether you are making a difference in the world, be inspired by these words from Mahatma Ghandi
“It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there’ll be any fruit.  But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.”