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 - October 2017
Advocating for grandmothers, vulnerable children and youth in Sub-Saharan Africa

Canadian grannies 
African grannies

The Orange Campaign was started by the United Nations in 1991 and has spread all across the globe. The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign runs from November 25th, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day. It is a time to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world.  

Actions can be as simple as “Oranging” your Facebook or twitter account. Go to this link, getting your grandchildren into orange T-shirts for a photo we can post on the GRAN Facebook page or writing your MP.

We are putting some new resources up on the website under the Orange Campaign tab. Look for a great document from UN Women on Violence against Older Women, and a template letter to your MP, encouraging him/her to wear Orange in Parliament during the 16 Days. You will also find a cheat sheet on using social media.

So, as you develop your plans and start taking great orange photos, send them our way! Just email to Janet Siddall.

Last month, we encouraged you to send letters to your MPs urging them to support M.P. Raj Saini’s motion #M-132 which states: 

“That the Standing Committee on Health be instructed to undertake a study on ways of increasing benefits to the public resulting from federally funded health research, with the goals of lowering drug costs and increasing access to medicines, both in Canada and globally; and that the committee reports its findings and recommendations to the House no later than one year from the time this motion is adopted.”

We are pleased to tell you that the motion did pass first reading in the House at the end of September with the second reading being planned for the end of October. If the vote goes well, it will be sent to the Standing Committee on Health soon after. At present GRAN knows of 37 letters that have been sent to 27 MPs. You received an action post earlier this month encouraging more letters to be written. With your help we can reach our target of 100 letters! 

The time for the Global Partnership replenishment conference is coming up quickly. It will take place on February 8th, 2018 in Dakar, Senegal and will be hosted by both France and Senegal. This marks the first time that a conference of this nature is being held in the global south. At the last conference, developing countries made huge commitments to the GPE and it is hoped that there will be a repeat performance this time.

Canada is still holding out on making its commitment to the GPE. So over the next couple of months your voice is more important than ever – continue calling your M.P and sending your letters to both Minister Bibeau and your MP. Letter writing parties are happening across the country and we are so pleased with all your support.

October is “Growing the Grassroots” month

Many groups across the country have organised events in response to our ideas on growing our local GRAN groups. There are a couple of examples below and I am sure we will get more reports as the month progresses.

The overall feedback from the participants in the Gathering was very positive with the unanimous agreement that it was wonderful to meet with other GRANs. It was a very rich experience. Let us hope we can do this in other regions across our land
Advocacy Actions

1) Carry on with planning your Orange Campaign activities.

2) Continue urging our government to contribute its fair share to the Global Partnership for Education for the next replenishment period 2018 to 2020.

There is plenty of material on our website to help you with both these activities

3) If you have not already done so, please could you send a letter or email to your M.P in support of Raj Saini”s motion #132 

Ending Violence against Women
GRANs across Canada are again busy organizing events. Some wonderful ideas were shared at the Western GRAN Regional Event. We seem to have an emerging theme around developing new and existing partnerships. Toronto is partnering with the Canadian Federation of University Women and Saskatoon is partnering with the Business and Professional Women. Ottawa GRANs have found that Police and Fire Chiefs, as first responders to violence against women, are great allies who are willing to attend events and light up their buildings. Victoria GRANs are supporting indigenous women’s Orange Shirt Day, a reminder of the humiliation and suffering generations of indigenous children and families were forced to endure, and honouring their resilience. Toronto is lighting up its sign again and is hosting a panel on Nov 25th with some very interesting speakers.
Women and children in Vanuatu celebrate the United Nation's Orange Day Campaign
Access to Medicines
GRANS in Saskatoon presenting the Education Readers Theatre to their G4G group.
The presentation was followed by a letter writing session.
24 individual handwritten letters were sent to Madame Bibeau.
Next month will be GRAN’s Aeroplan month when we encourage donations to help leaders travel to meetings and visit GRAN groups. We also try to help speakers and participants attend regional events and national events like Hello Friends. 
We are a part of Aeroplan's member donation program. All miles donated are topped up by 10% by Aeroplan, so any gift of miles that you give, large or small, immediately grows. At the beginning of November an Aeroplan donation page will appear on the website, although you are able to donate at any time by going to www.grandmothersadvocay.org and clicking on the 'DONATE' button.
We urge you to consider donating points to GRAN. Our goal this year is to raise 125,000 points. Many thanks.
November will be our Aeroplan Month
GRAN Western Regional Event 

On September 26 and 27 Greater Vancouver Gran had the delightful pleasure of hosting a Regional Gathering in Vancouver. Approximately 30 people attended from Victoria, Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast.  

Our first evening after dinner, we did an exercise called “Bursts of Excellence” -- sharing the successes of our various groups.
GRAN Northumberland took part in Brighton Ontario’s Applefest. Setting up their display of literature and orange items during an arts and craft sale, the GRANs passed along information to local citizens as well as visitors from out of the area. At the end of the day they had garnered 2 new members and collected a significant amount of money in their donations jar! 

On October 22nd GRANs in Ottawa will set up an information table at the Grand Marketplace which is a huge G2G market at Lansdowne Park. They are also setting up a booth at the upcoming Volunteer Ottawa recruitment event in November.

Congratulations to Suzanne Dufresne who made her first GRAN presentation to the Retired Union members of the Regional Council of Montréal of the Federation of Laborers of Quebec. It was very well received.

Well done all of you – personal connections are all important in growing our grassroots!

Joyce Nicolson's display table in Brighton
Vancouver’s Greater Van GRAN group recently celebrated their 100th GRAN meeting. Congratulations to you all!

Back row: Melodie Brandon, Lynne Kent, Ann Frost and Ginger Shaw,
Front row: Heather Fraser and Pauline Barrett. 

The next full day we had two major speakers. Peggy Edwards spoke on “Older Women Count! Supporting the Rights of Grandmothers in sub-Saharan Africa”. Janet Siddall with help from Colleen Stefanich, spoke of the upcoming Orange Campaign and the great need to advocate for an end to violence against women and girls in sub-Saharan Africa.

Phyllis Webster (pictured below in red) a member of the Victoria GRAN group and a member of the Education Working group, presented her compelling Reader's Theatre about barriers to education for girls in sub-Saharan Africa.

After spending time talking about “Where do we go from here?” we ended with a ritual marking “International Day of Older Persons” (October 1st), noting a gift we see or feel in aging while lighting a Red Candle for Passion for Life.

The keynote speakers 
Peggy Edwards and Janet Siddall
They obviously had a fun time too!
Ottawa Event - November 25, 2017

In Ottawa, there will be a candle light parade from the Minto Park (corner of Gilmore and Elgin) to City Hall (Jean Piggot Hall). City Hall will be lit up in orange, as will many major buildings across Canada. Mayor Watson will read the Proclamation and the Fire chief and police will be present to show their support as they are usually the first responders in violence cases.  

Please join us for this event. Wear something orange. Invite friends - spread the word to groups, friends and family - retweet information, post on Facebook.

It is a Saturday evening but be aware that the Grey Cup is the next day on Sunday 26th so it could be busy the day before downtown. 

It is time to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world