Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Microsoft: Inviting Girls to Dream Big

Microsoft just launched this month their Dream Big Movement campaign, which was first announced on International Women's Day and WAGGGS learned about it during a panel on girls in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) during the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) recently. It is an exciting new program to get girls involved and engaged in STEM courses as well as following through to a STEM career path.

Here's a cool infographic on why it's so important to get girls/women more involved in STEM careers (if it comes up small in your browser, check out the original here!):

Here's how you can get involved in the Big Dream Movement right now:
In the meantime, we encourage you to SKYPE BigDreamMovement and leave a personal video message. If you’re a professional woman or man, describe your Big Dream and offer advice to young women wanting to pursue a future in STEM. If you’re a young woman, tell us what is your Big Dream is and how a future in STEM can help you get there.
Here's a trailer for the documentary they will be releasing as well:

Get Microsoft Silverlight

More info on the Big Dream Movement and CSW available here: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/msr_er/archive/2014/03/24/inviting-girls-to-dream-big.aspx

Monday, March 24, 2014

Women's Human Rights (W's HR) App

There is an excellent app available for anyone in need of legal information and documents on international women's and human rights. The goal is to make these documents readily accessible to anyone around the world. The app is sponsored by the government of Switzerland and is available for IOS, Android, and Blackberry.

More Info:

The app's search function allows users to quickly find the texts of international conventions, UN resolutions, declarations and other documents relating to various women's human rights and gender issues: from early marriage, to sexual violence to the economic empowerment of women.
From the app's "About" page:

About the Women's Human Rights' App

W’sHR App is a practical tool for easy access to relevant international legal instruments as well as agreed language contained in 128 UN documents on women’s human rights adopted by UN bodies. In addition, it also comprises a range of regional documents. This new innovative tool serves stakeholders as a basis for strong argumentation and allows for more coherent and efficient negotiation processes. It helps to safeguard negotiated achievements and to make further progress in the field of women’s human rights and gender equality.

W’sHR App has a clear and user-friendly structure based on over 100 keywords. For each keyword it provides an overview, keyword-related legal basis and agreed UN language.

In this section, the users will find a short introduction to each keyword. Each overview is based on definitions developed by specialized UN agencies, and/or stipulated in relevant legal instruments and other UN documents approved by UN Member States. Other relevant keywords are cross-referenced where necessary to give a comprehensive understanding of the issue.

Legal basis: 
The purpose of this section is to directly link the keyword to the core legal basis of the issue. The section presents the relevant provisions of international legal instruments, complemented by a selection of important regional legal instruments.

Relevant articles of 18 UN human rights conventions and other international legal instruments are directly linked to each keyword.

This section enables the users to take into account relevant legal provisions from 23 regional instruments and documents adopted by the African Union, the Organisation of American States, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Council of Europe.

Even though the selection of legal instruments proposed is comprehensive, it is not exhaustive.

Agreed language:
The agreed language from intergovernmental processes is based on 87 texts that we consider to be particularly important for the human rights of women and gender equality. These texts have been negotiated and approved by UN Member States within the framework of, amongst others, Conferences, the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, the Commission on the Status of Women, the Human Rights Council, the Security Council as well as the Commission on Population and Development, and were adopted by consensus.

This section is divided into preambular paragraphs (PP) and operational paragraphs (OP), including "additional agreed language." If agreed language is identically used in different texts, the most recent text has been chosen.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Oxfam America Hosts Foreign Aid 101 with Dorothy Ngoma at Fordham University

On April 1, Oxfam America will be hosting Dorothy Ngoma, speaking on US foreign aid. Here is info from the NYC Action Corps' email newsletter:
Have you heard that the U.S. spends one-third of the budget on foreign aid? At least, that's what most Americans think we spend. In fact, only 1% of the federal budget is spent on life-saving foreign aid programs. Learn more about that 1% in our easy to use guide on all things foreign aid, Foreign Aid 101.
For aid myths, truths, and acronyms galore, please join Oxfam America for a reception celebrating the launch of our new, updated report Foreign Aid 101. This new report sets out to answer fundamental questions, such as why the US gives foreign aid, how much it costs, and how to make it more effective for citizens around the world.
Please join us for a conversation with Dorothy Ngoma of the Presidential Initiative on Safe Motherhood in Malawi to discuss maternal health, safe motherhood, and how Oxfam works with partner organizations continue to pressure international governments to fund effective maternal health initiatives around the world and other foreign aid programs. Ms. Ngoma is on a U.S. tour with Oxfam to raise awareness and lobby for effective foreign aid programs that empower citizens in developing countries to hold their governments accountable from the bottom-up.
Fordham University Lincoln Center Campus:
  • 155 W 60th St, McMahon Hall Room 109
    New York, NY 10023
  • Tuesday, April 1, 2014 from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM (PDT)
  • Dorothy Ngoma, Principal Secretary, Presidential Initiative on Safe Motherhood in Malawi
  • Will Fenton, Advocacy Advisor, Oxfam America
Event is free. Refreshments will be served. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

UN International Day of Happiness with Pharrell this Thursday

For the "International Day of Happiness" on Thursday, March 20, the UN Foundation has teamed up with Pharrell, whose song "Happy" has recently become a sensation. Here's the official music video in case you didn't see it, which is actually an abridged version of a 24 hour video they did (which you can check out in full length here: http://24hoursofhappy.com/):

So, what can you do? Share your YouTube video or Instagram photo of you being happy (be sure to use the tag #happyday) and then upload it here: http://24hoursofhappiness.com/ Check back in on March 20 at noon and you may just find your video or photo featured on the website!

Confused why there is an International Day of Happiness? Here is a great article from Huffington Post, "Why in the world do we need an International Day of Happiness?": http://www.huffingtonpost.com/valerie-alexander/why-in-the-world-do-we-ne_b_4938095.html

Who is this guy Pharrell anyway? Great article on who he is and why he's so darn happy from Radio.com: http://news.radio.com/2014/03/07/pharrell-williams-and-united-nations-foundation-team-up-for-international-day-of-happiness-2014/

World Water Day: Simple Action You Can Take!

This Saturday will be World Water Day and in recognition of the millions who go without clean drinking water and sanitation, UNICEF has a simple action you can take to make a difference. UNICEF has partnered with Giorgio Armani Fragrances for a fifth year as national sponsor of the UNICEF Tap Project. This year, the company will donate funding equivalent of one day of water for a child in need every 10 minutes someone goes without their phone from March 1-31. Check out this video for more details:
You can also get more info on the program here: http://tap.unicefusa.org/

Also, UNICEF is collecting photos using the hashtag #wateris and tagging @UNICEF. Share your photos of what water means to you, such as this example:

Be sure to get involved and let us know about the actions you are taking!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Equator Prize in Sustainable Development: Nominations Due March 22

Do you know someone involved in sustainable development and climate change? The Equator Prize is looking for candidates for it's 2014 contest. Please check out their website for more info! Here are details from the webpage:

Bubbles Jan 31The Equator Prize 2014 will recognize twenty-five local sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities. Profiles of past Equator Prize winners can be found here.    
Equator Prize 2014 winners will each receive $5,000 (USD), with several selected for ‘special recognition’ and an additional $15,000 (USD). 
Representatives of winning communities will be supported to participate in a series of events held in conjunction with the United Nations General Assembly, scheduled for September 2014 in New York.

In order to be eligible for the Equator Prize 2014, nominees must:
✔  Have been in operation for at least 3 years
✔  Be a community-based or local group, operating in a rural area
✔  Be located within a country receiving support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), excluding countries with a high level of development
Please review our eligibility requirementsselection criteria and FAQs for more information.

More details from and email we received:
The Equator Prize 2014 will honor twenty-five (25) local initiatives working to reduce poverty through the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystems. 

This cycle of the award has the theme local climate action and special recognition will be awarded in:

o   Smallholder agriculture and food security
o   Forest management (including REDD+)
o   Sustainable land management
o   Ecosystem restoration
o   Sustainable energy
o   Water security
o   Disaster risk reduction
Nomination forms are available in 16 different languages here.  Nominations can be completed online here.
The deadline for nominations is March 22nd, 2014.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Every Mother Counts Collecting Items for Ugandan Mothers

From the Every Mother Counts website

The non-profit Every Mother Counts, based in New York City, is collecting items for their "Every Mother Kit Drive." The kits will be sent to Uganda to help support mothers and mothers-to-be, providing them with basic items that many women struggle to access.

According to their press release, here’s what each Every Mother Kit needs:

  • Items should be put into 1 (preferably) or 2 gallon –sized sealable plastic bags. 
  • Baby blanket (new or gently used) 1-2 cotton baby sheets (new or gently used, crib size, fitted or not fitted) 
  •  Baby hat Cloth diapers (2) &, if diapers require it, 4 large safety pins 
  • Washcloth 
  •  Gentle bar soap 
  • 2 gauze rolls (90cmX5cm) 
  • 1 box feminine pads (ultra)
Kits can be shipped to:

Every Mother Counts
180 Varick Street Suite 1116
New York, NY 10014

Please be sure to share with both Every Mother Counts as well as the WAGGGS UN Team photos and information on your fundraising if you participate!

For more info or to collaborate with our organization, you can email us at: WAGGGSUNNYC [at] gmail [dot] com

Be sure to check out the Every Mother Counts website here for more info on the kits drive as well as on the organization: http://www.everymothercounts.org/blog/201402/we-need-your-help-announcing-emc-s-every-mother-kit-drive

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Volunteer Opportunity: Arcade Fire

The band Arcade Fire has excellent opportunities for social justice-minded fans. Fill out the form here to volunteer at one of their upcoming shows and to learn more info: http://www.plus1.org/afheartshaitivolunteers/

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Happy International Women's Day!

Happy International Women's Day! 

All this week the WAGGGS and other organizations will be meeting around the United Nations for the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). Be sure to follow the WAGGGS Delegates on Twitter at @WAGGGSdelegates!

And check out this article from Forbes: "10 Things We Should Be Talking About On This International Women's Day"  http://onforb.es/1ihg2Nm

Friday, March 7, 2014

YUNGA's Junior Farmer Field & Life School for Vulnerable Youth

In an email from YUNGA, we received the following announcement:

Recent developments from FAO: YUNGA, 7th March 2014


Over half of the world’s 1.8 million youth live in rural areas; with half of this number working in the agriculture sector. YUNGA has partnered with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Food And Agriculture Organization (FAO) to produce the Junior Farmer Field and Life School (JFFLS). JFFLS aims to empower vulnerable youth, and provide them with the livelihood options and gender-sensitive skills needed for long-term food security while reducing their vulnerability to destitution and risk coping strategies. One of the other major objectives of the JFFLS is to promote the creation of gender-equal attitudes, by enabling youth to exercise the same roles and responsibilities and developing their capacities to assess relationships and understand the risks and resources present within their community. The strength of the JFFLS is its unique learning methodology and curriculum, which combines agricultural, life and entrepreneurship skills in an experiential and participatory learning approach uniquely suited to rural communities and low literacy levels.
Check out the following modules that YUNGA have developed:

You can see all the available modules and facilitator guides on the right hand side of the FAO-ILO JFFLS pagewww.fao-ilo.org/fao-ilo-youth/fao-ilo-jffls/en