International Women’s Day – 8th March 2012


If every International Women’s Day event held in 2012 includes girls in some way, then thousands of minds will be inspired globally.

Each year around the world, International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8. Thousands of events occur not just on this day but throughout March to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women.

Organisations, governments, charities and women’s groups around the world choose different themes each year that reflect global and local gender issues.

Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs -IWD

Some examples of resources:

Below are examples of some great International Women’s Day resources to share:

– UN Women Secondary School Kit 2012
– Deloitte’s International Women’s Day Toolkit
– We are Equals posters, badges and stickers
– Celebrating Working Women International Women’s Day video

Previous United Nations International Women’s Day themes:

– 2011: Equal access to education, training and science and technology
– 2010: Equal rights, equal opportunities: Progress for all
– 2009: Women and men united to end violence against women and girls
– 2008: Investing in Women and Girls
– 2007: Ending Impunity for Violence against Women and Girls
– 2006: Women in decision-making
– 2005: Gender Equality Beyond 2005: Building a More Secure Future
– 2004: Women and HIV/AIDS
– 2003: Gender Equality and the Millennium Development Goals
– 2002: Afghan Women Today: Realities and Opportunities
– 2001: Women and Peace: Women Managing Conflicts
– 2000: Women Uniting for Peace
– 1999: World Free of Violence against Women
– 1998: Women and Human Rights
– 1997: Women at the Peace Table
– 1996: Celebrating the Past, Planning for the Future
– 1975: First IWD celebrated by the United Nations

And if you want a longer historical perspective:


From Cultural Survival

In the spirit of the historical value of International Women’s Day, it is also important to understand the struggles Indigenous women face. Gender based violence and gender discrimination is an everyday reality for many Indigenous women. A 1999 study of the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that Native American women are 2.5 times more likely to be raped or sexually violated than women in the United States in general. In Canada, the rate of single mother Aboriginal families is nearly double that of the general population (Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada). In the Somali region of Ethiopia, a recent survey found that the literacy rate for female pastoralists was 4.8 percent, compared to a 22.7 percent literacy rate for male pastoralists (UNPFII).


While these examples paint the gravity of the challenges Indigenous women face, it can also be said that the spirits of Indigenous women remain unbreakable. One of the many things Indigenous women have taught us is that where there is struggle, there is strength, and where there is persecution, there is endurance. While Indigenous women are more likely to be robbed of their lands and languages, there are many Indigenous women like jessie little doe Baird and her language apprentices from the Wampanoag Nation of southeastern Massachusetts, who are revitalizing threatened languages. And while Indigenous women often lack political representation, there are increasing numbers of Indigenous women serving as local, regional, and national representatives as in Peru and Venezuela where Indigenous women have been elected members of their national parliaments. Read more.

  • Watch. Celebrate International Women’s Day and U.S. Women’s History Month with the Independent Television Service’s online film festival featuring “extraordinary women and girls on the front lines of change around the world.” Watch We Still Live Here: Âs Nutayuneân through March 31st and meet Cultural Survival’s Endangered Languages Program partners at the Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project: jessie little doe Baird and language apprentices Nitana Hicks, Tracy Kelley, and Melanie Roderick, and the Wampanoag Nation of southeastern Massachusetts.

RIO+20 – getting prepared for the UN conference on Sustainable Development (1)

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) is being organized in pursuance of General Assembly Resolution 64/236 (A/RES/64/236). The Conference will take place in Brazil on 20-22 June 2012 to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), in Rio de Janeiro, and the 10th anniversary of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg. It is envisaged as a Conference at the highest possible level, including Heads of State and Government or other representatives. The Conference will result in a focused political document.

The objective of the Conference is to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assess the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development, and address new and emerging challenges

The Conference will focus on two themes: (a) a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication; and (b) theinstitutional framework for sustainable development.

To get prepared and to encourage discussion a series of issue briefs have been prepared:

Issues Brief 1 – Trade and Green Economy, UNCSD Secretariat and UNCTAD

Youth Employment: Youth Perspectives on the Pursuit of Decent Work in Changing Times

Another reference from the INEE newsletter:

 Youth Employment: Youth Perspectives on the Pursuit of Decent Work in Changing Times


Today we have the largest generation of young people the world has ever known. They are demanding their rights and a greater voice in economic and political life. We need to pull the UN system together like never before to support a new social contract of job-rich economic growth. Let us start with young people!

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon


The latest World Youth Report explores the transition of young people from schools and training institutions into the labour market, a phase marking a critical period in the life cycle. The current employment scenario for young people, worsened by the global economic crisis, poses an urgent challenge with long-term implications for both young people and society as a whole. Young people themselves are crucial stakeholders in the pursuit of decent and productive work for all. Yet, too frequently, their voices go unheard and their positive and negative experiences and viewpoints unshared, particularly with decision-makers

A summary of the report is available here


Most young workers in developing countries are in the informal economy, which includes unpaid family work to which young people often contribute (International Labour Organization, 2010, p. 3). Work in the informal economy does not provide access to entitlements such as health insurance, social security and other social protection measures.

Education for Crisis-Affected Youth, Literature Review

This publication was reviewed by INEE Adolescent and Youth Task Team and published in  the recent newsletter:

Education for Crisis-Affected Youth, Literature Review

This document reviews the field of education for youth in crisis using three categories: Secondary and

Tertiary Education; Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and Livelihoods Training; and Life Skills, Peace Education and Recreational Activities. A review of the lessons learned in each category is presented, followed by a summary of lessons across all three categories.


The document is available here.   

World Day of Social Justice – 20th February

“Social justice is more than an ethical imperative, it is a foundation for national stability and global prosperity. Equal opportunity, solidarity and respect for human rights — these are essential to unlocking the full productive potential of nations and peoples..”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

The World Day of Social Justice is held on February 20 and aims to promote poverty eradication and social integration. Established by the United Nations and first observed in 2009, it also focuses on the goal of achieving full employment.

Participating governments have made a commitment to the creation of a framework for action to promote social justice at national, regional and international levels. They recognize that economic growth should promote equity and social justice and that “a society for all” must be based on social justice and respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms.

How it all began – in 2009

Some activities of students on the World Day of Social Justice

And news about the Social Justice Youth Forum -in Australia


and here is a reference to the role of the United Nations in Social Justice


International Mother Language Day [UNESCO] – 21st February 2012

International Mother Language Day is an observance held annually on 21 February worldwide to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.

International Mother Language Day was proclaimed by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in November 1999 .

On 16 May 2009 the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution A/RES/61/266 called upon Member States “to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world”. By the same resolution, the General Assembly proclaimed 2008 as the International Year of Languages, to promote unity in diversity and international understanding, through multilingualism and multiculturalism.

International Mother Language Day has been observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. The date represents the day in 1952 when students demonstrating for recognition of their language, Bangla, as one of the two national languages of the then Pakistan, were shot and killed by police in Dhaka, the capital of what is now Bangladesh.

Languages are the most powerful instruments of preserving and developing our tangible and intangible heritage. All moves to promote the dissemination of mother tongues will serve not only to encourage linguistic diversity and multilingual education but also to develop fuller awareness of linguistic and cultural traditions throughout the world and to inspire solidarity based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue.

From the UN website

How to participate | Possible action fields:

Projects on languages and multilingualism take many forms – building capacity, research and analysis, raising awareness, supporting projects, developing networks, disseminating information – and have diverse outreach (local, regional or global). These activities are often interdisciplinary, but they can also address particular aspects of language issues, including:

  • Educational initiatives promoting inclusion and quality learning by supporting bi-and multi-lingual education, especially the use of the mother-tongue, at all levels and in formal and non-formal settings; including special attention to teacher training, literacy provision and health education.
  • Projects in the field of science aimed at enhancing communication and collaboration between scientific researchers and institutions across linguistic divides; translating and disseminating scientific materials to communities in order to overcome language barriers; recognizing the central role of vernacular languages in indigenous ways of knowing.
  • Social and human sciences projects focusing on languages and human and cultural rights, migrations and urbanization and other social issues (e.g. exclusion and poverty).
  • Culture-centered projects on cultural diversity, dialogue and exchange, protecting cultural heritage, safeguarding endangered languages (i.e. through translations and publications for instance).
  • Communication and information initiatives that concentrate on building knowledge societies in which everyone can participate and benefit; promoting universal access to information and wider access to ICTs by ensuring the use of a greater number of languages; promoting cultural and linguistic diversity in the media and international information networks.


Below are some notes from the INEE website:

As the  theme this year is “Mother tongue instruction and inclusive education,” it highlighs the importance of mother tongue as part of the right to education. Below is  a message from the Mother-Tongue Based and Multilingual Education Network:


Children from 0 to 5 years of age need a strong foundation in their home language and culture to become good students and productive adults. Yet in conflict environments, preschool and school age children are often forced to learn in an unknown language in culturally different schools. Research results reveal that when children are unable to understand the language of instruction, they do not learn well. They usually withdraw and are unable to cope with home and school environments.


There are several advantages to teaching children in their mother tongue. Learning in a familiar language helps them to deal with their new reality, learn better and more rapidly, and benefit from cultural continuity with their former home. Once they are able to read and write in their first language and have learned developmentally appropriate concepts, they will be ready to learn in another language.


Many nations now accept that early childhood services and the early primary school grades should be provided in the mother tongue. They know that research has shown that teaching in the home language is more effective than teaching in a foreign language in achieving positive learning outcomes and developing children’s strong cultural identity and sense of self worth. It is also more cost effective and cost efficient, and prepares children for success in multilingual education (MLE). In addition, mother tongue instruction and services are internationally acknowledged in Articles 2, 17, 20 and 30 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.


Some humanitarian assistance workers believe that it is hard to develop mother tongue-based (MTB) materials and activities because they lack the requisite skills or it is cost prohibitive. Yet effective methods for developing MTB learning materials exist. Should aid workers lack those skills, specialists are available to help them, and mother tongue speakers can assist teachers and help to bridge language barriers. Moreover, providing materials in a language that children understand will help them learn, thereby increasing success rates and cost-effectiveness.


The MTB-MLE Network, located in Washington, DC but with a global membership, has developed a website to provide guidance and resources that can help educators and others, including those working in emergency and crises situations, to develop MTB-MLE programs, materials and services ( A short list of related resources pulled from the MTB-MLE “e-library” and INEE Toolkit can be found at the end of this message.


While providing children with a linguistically and culturally appropriate education in a conflict or post-conflict situation is vital, efforts also should be made to collaborate with ministries of education to identify how MTB-MLE services can be integrated sustainably into national educational and health policies and service systems. Ultimately, ensuring that children and their families have access to education, health and other vital services in their home languages is key to ensuring a successful future.


Some background documents:

Legal Instruments

Youth participatory research – new reports from UNICEF – we cant lose another generation.

It is often the case that research is undertaken on young people -but the tide is turning and there are more examples of engaging young people in research as researchers themselves. Apart from supporting Article 12 of the CRC (right to free expression and the right to be listened to, these reports remind us that education reform without engaging with the main stakeholders will not be effective. These reports are comprehensive and key points can be applied across the globe. From other reports we are finding out that many school students are just not learning – we cant lose yet another generation.

Demand for Education Innovation: Adolescent and Youth Perspectives on Education Quality in the CEECIS Region


In 2010, UNICEF RO CEECIS and the UNICEF Kosovo, Georgia and Tajikistan Country Offices engaged 89 young people in Kosovo, Georgia and Tajikistan as youth researchers to work with an international research team and national implementation partners to design, test and implement nationally representative studies of youth opinions of education quality in their respective countries. The study involved 2,444 youth respondents overall, including 1,963 randomly sampled and surveyed 13- to 24-year-olds (517 in Kosovo, 581 in Georgia and 865 in Tajikistan), and another 481 youth of the same age range engaged in 61 focus group discussions. Dozens more participated in four youth consultations, where youth developed survey topics and questions, and in events to develop youth advocacy statements.

The full report is available here 


From the same region:

Case Study on Youth Participatory Research on Education Quality in CEECIS: Innovative Practices, Lessons Learned and Recommendations


A new case study on youth participatory research supported by UNICEF’s Education in Emergencies and Post-Crisis Transition (EEPCT) programme, or Back on Track, looks at the methodology and processes used in ‘A Study of Adolescent and Youth Perspectives on Education Quality in the Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CEE/CIS) Region’ (henceforth referred to as ‘Adolescent and Youth Perspectives Research’).

The full report is available here