Side by Side participates in PaRD General Assembly: Growing a faith movement for gender justice.

Home |  News | Side by Side participates in PaRD General Assembly: Growing a faith movement for gender justice.

Side by Side is a member of the International Partnership on Religion and Sustainable Development (PaRD). PaRD brings together governmental and intergovernmental entities with civil society organsiations such as religious and value-driven organisations to harness the positive impact of religion and values in sustainable development and humanitarian assistance.

In June 2018, we gathered in Geneva for the General Assembly. Side by Side contributed to the General Assembly in two ways. Firstly, as a co-lead of the Gender Equality and Empowerment workstream, we facilitated workshop discussions that focused on exchanging knowledge, identifying ways to build capacity, and planning joint advocacy events. We will be updating you soon on the work that we are contributing to in this area.

Secondly, Side by Side was invited to present during the Open Sessions. The brief for the Open Sessions was to be creative and to stimulate discussion (no PowerPoints allowed). Side by Side Steering Group member, Jorgen Thomsen (Dan Chruch Aid) and I led this session. We used our time to discuss the early growth of Side by Side, using the metaphor of a tree.

We discussed planting seeds, strengthening roots, nurturing growth and where fruits are currently flourishing. We also shared some of the challenges that we have faced and the lessons that we have learnt. We then invited participants to collectively grow a faith movement, identifying the seeds, roots, trunk, branches and climate required for a movement to bear fruits.

We identified our vision as the seeds of the movement. Our vision is to see people free from cultural and interpersonal systems of privilege and oppression, and from violence and repression rooted in gender inequality. Originally these seeds were planted in March 2015 by the Anglican Communion, Christian Aid, Dan Church Aid, Church of Sweden, Sonke Gender Justice, CAFOD and others. We discussed the sowers of our seeds are our members, who are at the core of our work. Our members are people of faith, faith leaders and faith-based organisations across the world who are committed to partnering together to challenge barriers to gender justice.

We explained how we are rooted in the belief that we are stronger and more powerful when we work in collaboration at national, regional and international contexts. We shared stories from our grassroots movements in Latin America, Scotland and East, Southern and West Africa. We discussed how every national and regional Side by Side movement is unique, where our members identify their context specific barriers to gender justice and develop an action plan that is locally owned.

We concluded our presentation by discussing some of the fruits of our movement. Sharing stories of how our Side by Side movements have been advocating for fair gender representation in parliament and speaking out on Gender Based Violence in Uganda.

Side by Side Uganda during 16 days of Activism 

By Rachel Tavernor, Side by Side International Coordinator

Posted by: Rachel Tavernor | Monday, July 23rd, 2018
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