G a b r i e l l
MAKING MOTHERS HEARD THROUGHOUT THE WORLD Makemothersmatter Newsletter http://www.makemothersmatter.org/
MMMI on the international stage
Editorial : MMMI on the international stage
Make mothers heard and voice their concerns :
UN New York UN Geneva Europe Delegation UNESCO
Both in Geneva and New York, MMMI has spoken out to underline the major role mothers can play in dealing with the challenges currently facing society. Marie-Laure des Brosses, MMM France‘s President, spoke at an expert panel at the UN organized by the Commission for Social Affairs in New York describing the best practices in France for reconciling responsibilities in the family and the workplace. Her remarkable performance was underlined and it figures on the DESA page( Department of Economic and Social Affairs) of the UN website. The Secretary General, Mister Ban Ki Moon will include it in his report.
MMMI network in action : MMM France : let’s talk about being a mother
MMM Liban : Recycling initiative
Spotlight on an MMMI association : Enfance sans drogue
The missions of the MMMI
Expert Group Meeting on « Good practices in Family Policy Making » New York, May 2012
Dr Josi Salem, MMMI Advisor on Mental Health Issues (Jordan), together with Valérie Bichelmeier, Permanent MMMI Representative at the UN in Geneva, adressed the UN Council for Human Rights in Geneva on the role of mothers in the protection of children in crisis situations. She also stressed the difficult situation of mothers in the Middle East with an official Statement on violence committed against women. More and more the international authorities are recognised as the essential actors for resolving issues which become universal, as proved by the Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to the European Union. As a player on the international scene, MMMI understands this and has always prioritised voicing the concerns of mothers throughout the world, both at grassroots level and to the major international authorities.
Gabrielle de Milleville, Chief Editor Newsletter MMMI n°3 I December 2012
MAKE MOTHERS HEARD UN New York : The MMM France at the Commission of Social Affairs MMM France’s president, Marie-Laure des Brosses gave a presentation to a panel of experts from the Social Affairs Commission at the UN, setting out the best French initiatives on reconciling family and professional life : maternity leave, parental leave, child keeping methods, social innovation, most importantly, within pioneering companies…the main aim of this panel was to make a list of the best world methods in order to offer recommendations on family policy for 2014, the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family. The flexibility and freedom of choice favoured by French family policy was determined as being particularly beneficial for families and will be promoted at an international level. http://social.un.org/index/Family/EGMonGoodPracticesinFamilyPolicyMaking.aspx
The MMMI at the UN Council for Human Rights Geneva At the session of the Council for Human Rights in June, Josi Salem (MMM member, clinical psychologist and MMM Advisor on Mental Health Issues) based in Jordan, took part in a panel on the role of the family, civil society, government and the United Nations in the protection of children in crisis situations. She underlined the key role of parents particularly that of the mother – the real anchor point of the family. It is in the heart of a family environment where a child learns love, understanding, empathy and mutual support, responsibility, and the recognition of and respect for the needs and skills of each family member, that the child develops the resilience to cope with threatening and tragic situations. With Josi’s input, MMMI was able to present a statement during the plenary session devoted to violence against women. This declaration brought the attention of the Council to the particular situation of mothers in the Middle East whose husbands are absent and who are obliged to move from their home with their family. These women without the protection of a husband are easy prey and the consequences of the violence they suffer are not only physical, psychological and emotional, but equally social, based as they are on shame and exclusion.
Josi Salem, on the left, speaker at UN Geneva
In September, MMMI, working with the International Women’s Council, showed a film « A Choice in the Himalayas » followed by a discussion with the film-maker. This film portrays the difficult situation in an outlying Himalayan village where the women work very hard in the fields to ensure subsistence, with no infrastructure, bringing up their children as best they can. It underlined in a very vivid way the issue of women’s unpaid work, particularly that of mothers, and the total absence of any recognition of their economic and social value. It also showed that a well-structured, co-operative craft enterprise enables them to earn a little financial independence as well as self-confidence – the only way these women can give themselves the chance to make choices and have some control over their own life.
Newsletter MMM1 n°3 | December 2012
VOICE THEIR CONCERNS Françoise de Bellefroid decorated by the King of the Belgians King of the Belgians, Albert II, granted the Honorary President of MMM, founder and former President of The MMMI European Delegation, an honour of the highest level: the title of "Commander of the Order of Leopold." With great pride, we warmly congratulate Françoise de Bellefroid for this wonderful recognition of the work of a lifetime (see http://www.mmmeurope.org news section).
Françoise de Bellefroid
The MMMI European Delegation partners in new projects
“Vivamus porta As part of the 20th est anniversary sed est.” of the International Year of the Family celebrated by the United The European Delegation joined the Alliance for the European Year 2014
Nations in 2014, the European Delegation of MMMI joined the "Alliance for the European Year 2014" initiated by COFACE. This alliance brings together European NGOs, social partners and family organizations from across the EU, asking for the designation of year 2014 as European Year for reconciling work and family life. For this purpose, MEP Marian Harkin has launched a written declaration with the support of the Alliance for European Year 2014. If you wish to join in this effort, please let us know by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org. The European Delegation has become a project partner DORIAN The MMMI European Delegation became partner in a new research program that began January 1, 2012 for three years and is funded by the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission. Its main objective is to discover if there is an impact between maternal obesity during pregnancy and their children’s health including unhealthy ageing. MMMI main task is to increase the visibility of the project to policy makers and the public (see website www.dorianfp7.eu)
UNESCO : Education for all The NGO Working Group on Education for All continued its work by focussing on its first aim – the development and improvement of Education in Early Childhood. UNESCO has highlighted the role of NGOs notably in two directions: -
The creation of original structures and the improvement of existing structures bearing in mind sustainable development in the framework of the Millennium Development Goals and Education for All.
The training of all those involved in education in its broadest sense, including the family, paying particular attention to pre-and post-natal education.
Newsletter MMM1 n°3 | December 2012
THE MMMI NETWORK IN ACTION MMM France : the working parent – how best to cope ? The difficulty of being parents is a burning reality which raises numerous questions which MMM France tries to answer. - 127 parents accepted MMM France’s invitation to a dinner on June 7 to exchange experiences on the way they organise their working life, the care of their children and how they deal with unexpected problems. Each one was pleased with the enriching exchange of views led by a trained facilitator on each table. To know more look on our website www.mmmfrance.org (in French only). - The MMM Workshop « Let’s talk about being a mother » started in October at the ‘Maison des Femmes’ (Women’s Centre) in Argenteuil – each week half a dozen mothers meet for two hours to discuss very frankly their methods of bringing up their children.
MMM Lebanon : recycling initiative Most of the rubbish in Lebanon is collected by a private company commissioned by the government and paid for by the local councils. However, the waste collected is not recycled and, in some of our outlying districts, is abandoned on the side of the road or by drainage ditches. In two sectors in particular this is becoming a serious health risk: water and forestry. Back in 2010 MMM Lebanon decided to deal with this problem by persuading some newlyelected councillors to encourage the population to recycle waste. MMM Lebanon obtained information from AFKAR, a department of the Ministry for Administrative Reform, which was managing a multi-million dollar project to construct recycling plants, about how to reuse existing products and to coordinate individual recycling efforts. AFKAR’s recycling CD and documents show how concerted and coordinated actions between local government, schools and communities can enhance the efforts of the population - particularly mothers who deal with household tasks and educate their children. After our initial experience in the Mont Liban area, as well as in the south and north of the country, in 2012 we worked with other NGOs to extend the activities. For example, the collection of plastic corks enabled one association to make wheels for wheel-chairs, and a competition among school children led to the making of badges to encourage young people to recycle. More recently MMM Lebanon, working closely with the local council, organised a get-together on October 13 in the village of Hammana in Mont Liban. An expert on waste sorting and recycling set out the measures and actions necessary to share the responsibility for these between the local authorities and communities. Around 35 people, including the Local Council, attended and decided that a plan would be drawn up to be adopted by the council and put into action by the local community. Sorting and recycling rubbish : meeting in Hammama 4
Newsletter MMM1 n°3 | December 2012
SPOTLIGHT ON AN MMMI ASSOCIATION ENFANCE SANS DROGUE Created in July1999, the “Association Enfance Sans Drogue” (Childhood without Drugs) aims to inform parents about the dangers of the drugs easily available to their children – a well-informed parent is equipped to teach their child how to refuse drugs. The association disseminates information and offers its expertise and experience on its website: www.enfancesansdrogue.org.
Parents: the most effective means of prevention
Enfance Sans Drogue answers our questions
Parents are the best teachers and specialists for their children – because they love them. That is why they want to tell the truth about drugs. But to engage their child successfully on this vital subject a parent needs training.
How many young people are involved?
Enfance Sans Drogue offers information, training sessions and a website – also in English – bringing together objective and scientific information on the substances, along with studies and personal stories... Time is well-spent studying our website because it gives parents solid facts to overturn their children’s opposing arguments. The more drugs are available, the more they are likely to be used – and this is true for all countries in the world. In France, cannabis is commonplace. It is the first step into drugs, leading to drug abuse and the trapping of adolescents in a vicious circle.
Marie-Christine d’Welles, founder of the association, has talked to more than 250,000 young people in France, and she estimates that 70% of secondary school children use cannabis on a more or less regular basis. We get the same answer from teenagers themselves. This situation is a result in the rise in THC, the main active constituent of cannabis. Thirty years ago it was 0.6-6%, now it ranges from 1030% - cannabis has become more addictive. Does a young person use cannabis because they feel bad about themself? We find quite the reverse: it is because they take drugs that things go badly for them. All psychotropic drugs lead to feeling bad about oneself, depression, suicide – and also absenteeism from school, increasing violence, aggression, murder... there is a direct link with taking drugs. Parents are worried about alcohol abuse and young people... Alcohol abuse masks, in the majority of cases, use of cannabis. It is the reason why there are currently so many ethyl-linked comas. Alcohol is used as a multiplier: using certain stimulants together enhances their effect… and cannabis drastically raises the alcohol tolerance threshold!
Newsletter MMM1 n°3 | December 2012
THE MISSIONS OF THE MMMI For a more secure and stable world : give mothers a voice Mobilise and bring mothers together. Offer a network to support and inform them. Train mothers contribute in their everyday activities to developing security and social cohesion in : their family life, the way they teach their children the first lesson of life, their workplace, their community and society as a whole. Heighten awareness and obtain recognition for the way - mothers take positive action for peace - mothers contribute to economic, social and cultural development. Enable mothers to fight discrimination , exclusion, and violence affecting them and their children. Represent mothers and voice their concerns, needs and aspirations with international and national authorities.
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Newsletter MMM1 n°3 | December 2012