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© copyright 2002 WWSF


Rural Women at a glance

Rural women comprise more than one quarter of the total world population. 500 million women live below the poverty line in rural areas. Women produce 60-80 per cent of basic foodstuffs in sub-Sahara Africa and the Caribbean. Women perform over 50 per cent of the labour involved in intensive rice cultivation in Asia. Women perform 30 per cent of the agricultural work in industrialised countries. Women head 60 per cent of households in some regions of Africa. Women meet 90 per cent of household water and fuel needs in Africa. Women process 100% of basic household food stuffs in Africa.

"...Rural women the world over are an integral and vital force in the development processes that are the key to socio-economic progress. Rural women from the backbone of the agricultural labour force across much of the developing world and produce 35-45% of Gross Domestic Product and well over 50% of the developing world's food. Yet, half a billion rural women are poor and lack access to resources and markets..." (Geneva Declaration for rural women 1992).

Women at a glance

Status of Women

- Women have not achieved equality with men in any country.

- Of the world's 1,3 billion poor people, it is estimated that nearly 70% are women.

- Between 75 and 80% of the world's 27 million refugees are women and children.

- Women's life expectancy, educational attainment and income are highest in Sweden, Canada, Norway, USA and Finland.

- The Fourth World Conference on Women (China, September 1995) resulted in agreement by 189 delegations on a five-year plan to enhance the social, economic and political empowerment of women, improve their health, advance their education and promote their reproductive rights.

- Five years later, the economic conditions faced by women in sub-Saharan Africa and Eastern Europe have deteriorated; increased indebtedness of certain countries is associated with deterioration in girl's enrolment in secondary school; household income inequality increased across a wide range of countries, particularly in Eastern Europe and other developed countries, suggesting that "poor women have not enjoyed much of the fruits of any progress".

Political Participation

- Only 24 women have been elected heads of state or government in this century.

- Of the 185 highest-ranking diplomats to the UN, seven are women.

Women and Education

- Of the world's nearly one billion illiterate adults, two-thirds are women.

- Two-thirds of the 130 million children worldwide who are not in school are girl.

Women and the Economy

- The majority of women earn on average about three-fourths of the pay of males for the same work, outside of the agricultural sector, in both developed and developing countries.

- In most countries, women work approximately twice the unpaid time men do.

- Rural women produce more than 60% of all food grown in developing countries.

- The value of women's unpaid housework and community work is estimated at between 10-35 % of GDP worldwide, amounting to $ 11 trillion in 1993.

Women and Population

- Women outlive men in almost every country.

- By 2025, the proportion of women aged 60 or older will almost double in East and South-East Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and North Africa.

Women and Health

- HIV is increasingly affecting women.

- An estimated 20 million unsafe abortions are performed worldwide every year, resulting in the deaths of 70'000 women.

- Approximately 600'000 women die every year, over 1'600 every day, from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. In sub-Saharan Africa, 1 in 13 women will die from pregnancy or childbirth related causes, compared to 1 in 3'300 women in the USA.

Women and Violence

- Each year and estimated two million girls suffer the practice of female genital mutilation.

- Worldwide, 20 to 50 % of women experience some degree of domestic violence during marriage.

- The primary victims of today's armed conflicts are civilian women and their children, not soldiers.

- The use of rape as a weapon of war has become more evident.

(The statistics are culled from a variety of sources and are valid as of December 1999 according to UN DPI/Rev.1.)

2002 Press Release

Prize for women's creativity in rural life
32 laureates receive a Prize in the year 2002

Geneva, 15 July 2002

Maria Peza, WWSF-Prize program coordinator
Tel: (41 22) 738.66.19 / Email: / Internet

For the ninth consecutive year, the Women's World Summit Foundation WWSF is pleased to announce the winners of the Prize for Women's Creativity in Rural Life. Thirty-two laureates have been selected for the Prize ($500 per laureate) with several countries being represented for the first time this year. We are aware that many more women deserve to receive this empowering award. Rural women the world over play a major role in ensuring food security and maintaining stability in rural areas. Yet, they frequently lack the power to secure land rights or to access services such as credit, inputs, extension, training and education. Their vital contribution to development is recognised more and more and we hope that, one day, at least one rural woman from every country in the world will have been awarded with the Prize (242 awards have been given since 1994).

We hope that the stories of the Prize laureates inspire you to join us in celebrating the power of women. Their life's work shows us the strength that can be found through personal commitment and devoted work for a just and valid cause. These women do not create great events, but perform daily small acts of great love. The world needs to hear more about this kind of positive action.

Six of the 32 winners will be invited to Geneva for an Award ceremony on World Rural Women's Day - 15 October. Exceptionally this year the prize celebration will be held at the Swiss National Exposition Expo.02 (ExpoAgricole) at Morat (Murten). To receive the program of the Day and additional information contact us.

We thank all our sponsors for their support in making the Prize program a success and wish to acknowledge especially MANOR SA.

LINK to list and profiles of laureates 2002 -

To read about all the Laureates and how to nominate candidates for 2003, visit our website at For additional information contact us directly at the Women's World Summit Foundation CP 2001, 1211 Geneva 1, Switzerland. Tel. (41 22) 738.66.19/Fax (41 22) 738.82.48/Email:

2001 Press Release

Prize for women's creativity in rural life
31 laureates receive an award in 2001

Geneva, 1 July 2001

Every year since 1994, we take great pleasure in announcing the winners of the "Prize for women's creativity in rural life" to the international community and media. The Prize (US$500 per laureate) honours creative and courageous women and women's groups around the world for their contributions to improving the quality of life in rural communities. Little by little the world is recognising the important role of women in many fields of development, household food security, the protection of the environment, the transmission of knowledge and the fight against diseases among others.

We are proud to present the 31 laureates selected for the year 2001. We hope their stories will inspire you and encourage other women to make their mark in ending poverty and injustice and preserving our planet and our cultural heritage.

Among the 31 laureates, six are invited to Geneva to personally present their work at a Prize award ceremony held at the United Nations on Monday 15 October 2001.

We thank all sponsors of the Prize program for their generous support and assure them that their donations are well invested.

LINK to list and profiles of laureates 2001 -

Frequently asked questions

Why a Prize for women's creativity in rural life?

- To draw international attention to women's contributions to sustainable development, household food security and peace, as well gain recognition and support for their community work. While rural women are vital in providing examples of sound practices they still do not have full access to tools needed for development, such as education, credit, land rights and participation in decision making. By highlighting and awarding their creative development models, innovations and experiences, WWSF participates in alleviating poverty and marginalisation.

What changes does the Prize for women's creativity in rural life catalyze?

- In innumerable rural communities the Prize has enhanced the status of unknown innovative women active in rural communities who became respected community leaders. Time and again, prizewinners have attained national status and have become involved in decision making both locally, regionally and sometimes internationally.

What do Laureates do with the prize money?

- The award of US$ 500 per laureate, which is our acknowledgement for the Laureate's creative efforts to improve life in rural communities and represents our solidarity gift, is in most cases reinvested in the prizewinner's activities and programs.

What people say about the Prize for women's creativity in rural life

Mary Robinson, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

"... It is with great pleasure that I welcome this excellent initiative to award in Geneva the Prize for women's creativity in rural life and celebrate World Rural Women's Day. I would like to convey my best wishes and salute the Women's World Summit Foundation..."

Dialogue Nord-Sud, Cameroon

"...We appreciate the efforts of your organization to work for the implementation of women's rights. We send you total support..."


"...We are happy to have discovered your organization and congratulate you on the empowerment you are to rural women..."

Zambian Women in Agriculture, Zambia

"...a brilliant idea for you to create and initiate the Women's World Summit Foundation but also a very inspiring and motivating one... A million thanks on behalf of Zambian Women in Agriculture. The community based organization has not only achieved local or national recognition but a slot in the Women's World Summit Foundation, thus creating history..."

Mouvement des Travailleurs Ruraux Sans Terre, Brazil

"...We congratulate you for founding the Women's World Summit Foundation which is a boon to rural women and children..."

International Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture IICA, Costa Rica (a coalition of 34 member states)

"...We are very interested in co-sponsoring your Foundation's campaigns to promote WWSF and the annual award of the "Prize for women's creativity in rural life", and thus becoming an official sponsor of the campaign..."

Mercy and Grace Charitable Trust, India

"...we thank God for the wonderful service your foundation is doing for the welfare and development of women and children who live below the poverty line via your empowerment programs..."

Self-Employed Women's Association SEWA, India

"...we thank you for your encouragement and support and we are all so proud of WWSF efforts in bringing visibility to the struggle of poor rural women..."

Rural Women Welfare Organization, Pakistan

"...WWSF has provided a powerful platform and fruitful campaign for the development of rural women..."

Center for Conflict Resolution, Zambia:

"... I have read your very impressive July 2001 Global Newsletter. I found the contents most interesting and inspiring. The sisterly spirit of your organisation is apparent and I am impressed by the fact that you focus on ordinary women who in small ways are making a tremendous impact on their own lives and those of members in their communities..."

Impact of the Prize for women's creativity in rural life



Laureate from Burkina Faso, Kassena "Femmes Batisseurs" had their work exposed at the Embassy of Burkina Faso in Paris on International Women's Day, 8 March 2002.

Laureate from Chad, Robertine DEMBETTE. It is with joy and great satisfaction that we welcome the award for Robertine Dembette and thank the Jury for having selected Robertine and for the Prize initiatives.

Laureate from Ghana, Joyce VIDA DONKOR, will use the prize money in collaboration with Youth Club for Nature Conservation to acquire bee harvesting equipment and other material and will be exhibited on Oct. 15 WRWD to boost the morale of the women and encourage them to support future initiatives.

Laureate from Kenya, Selline OTIENO KORIR, is adopting many of the WWSF activities: making use of the peace seals in schools an d villages, arranging for translation of the WWSF newsletter in all the 43 indigenous languages and preparing for the World Day for prevention of Child Abuse. Their indigenous wome network is growing stronger."

Laureate from Togo Honorine POIDI thanks the Foundation for its gesture of love, good will and encouragement. "...You perform beautiful work and I pray that your financial resources remain a fountain of living water which never dries out so that you can continue to be a benediction for the world's rural women. Thanks to the award which you had given me, we could help a widow pay the school fees of her two son in college for 2001-2002, for another widow to place her deaf and dumb son of 16 into specialized school in Lomand for an orphan girl to open up a sewing workshop to start her business. All the families are very grateful to you..."


Laureate from Mali, Aata Guindo, became a Member of the National Federation of Rural Women, was elected Treasurer of the East African Union for Rural Women, and elaborated an action plan for three years.

Laureate from Nigeria, Ethel NNE EKEKE, used the Prize money to train youth who have dropped out of school providing them with skills and employment. "I thank the Foundation for its thoughtfulness in bringing rural women out of obscurity".

Laureate from Uganda, Loyce OGOLLA, managed to secure another project for the whole parish on forest livelihood management, which is to begin this month. We have 5000 coffee seedlings ready for planting this season and its targeting women mostly for poverty alleviation. The government has also accepted to support us in our health clinic project this year. For last year's Environment Day, Mudodo women group was awarded a certificate of merit for effective work done and more groups are getting formed. Lastly this is about children's welfare: there is a very big achievement just within four years of my leadership in Mudodo Primary School. We have 727 pupils with 8 classrooms of permanent structures and sanitation which is girl-child friendly.

Laureate from Zimbabwe Patience SITHOLE, donated part of her Prize money towards a sewing machine and materials for women from her community. She is coordinating various income-generating projects women run from their homes.


Laureate from D.R. Congo, Godinda Kini continues to be very active in her work with rural women.

Laureate from Kenya, Dolphine OKECH informed us of the continuing development of her organisation KEFEADO with the creation of a website ( and the launching of 10 development-focused networks Rural Women's Food Security Cooperative Societies.


Laureate from Zimbabwe, Virginia MUPANDUKI, became an Ashoka fellow because of her outstanding work in the field of education. She is building up a broad national organisation consisting of over 40 000 previously illiterate women and using its power to eradicate illiteracy, teach development skills and create a political voice for the women.


Laureate from Rwanda, Godeli MUKASARASI, translated into Kinyarwanda language the Open Letter to Rural Women 2001which focused on traditional knowledge and was distributed countrywide by the Ministry of Gender and the Promotion of Women (MIGEPROFE). The whole month of October focused on activities related to the promotion of women, conferences, debates on decision-making, education of the girl child, the fight against poverty, the cultivation of medical plants, coffee, among others, the inauguration of credit schemes which was also diffused via the radio and television. The Laureate also received the "Prize Nzambazamariya Veneranda" created by the Women's Network working for rural development (Rau des Femmes Oeuvrant pour le Dloppement rural).



Laureate from India, Rajeswari KARTHIKEYAN, was personally invited by the Chief minister of Tamil Nadu who greeted her at her home presenting her with the Prize money. Government officials from the Department of Agriculture, a DANIDA advisor and the director of All India Radio attended the award function in which 2000 farmwomen participated which was well covered by the press.

Laureate from India, Ratni BAI KHATIK, was described, at the World Rural Women's Day ceremony, by noted Social activist and Chairperson of Cittorgarh municipality Ms. Anand Sandhu, as the pride of Southeast Rajansthan emphasizing her strong willpower, commitment and dedication. The newspapers and All India Radio covered the event.

Laureate from India, Vikas Mahila Multipurpose Cooperative Society, "We are very much encouraged by the recognition and appreciation of our struggle for a just society where women are given the requisite respect and opportunity."

Laureate from India, Prema NARASIMHAN, expressed her heartfelt thanks in being honored by Women's World Summit Foundation for her work towards promoting creativity in rural life. "I am extremely excited to be receiving this award from such a prestigious institution. I love my work and the rewards that it in itself offers, but by being recognized for my work encourages me to work even harder in my pursuit of improving the standard of living for rural women. Being placed in the same category as the other amazing women receiving this award is in itself an inspiration." Prema was one of the two Prize laureates to receive a scholarship to attend the Findhorn Foundation's workshop on Ecofeminism in January 2002.

Laureate from India, Helen MANOHARAN, stated that this valuable award, the Prize, encouraged them to commit themselves to work harder to attain more benefits for the welfare and upliftment of thousands of rural women. Helen was among the laureates whose work was exposed at the library of the United Nations this year.

Laureate from Nepal, Mohinee MAHARJAN, "I am very grateful to the International Prize Jury and WWSF for selecting me as an award winner. It is very encouraging and means a lot. It is a prestige for me, my organisation and my community, and encourages me to do more work for in this legal field."

Laureate from Vietnam, Do Thuy DIEN, "What a wonderful global project to recognize these dear workers for a better world right in their own communities."


Laureate from India, Kusum JAIN, "The prize is a great pleasure not only for Ms. Kusum Jain but for Gram Bharati Samiti, the organisation as a whole. It is encouraging and inspiring for the volunteers of our organisation engaged in various activities related to improving the life of rural women in the villages of Rajasthan State of India."



Laureate from Chile, Gladys VASQUEZ POMA, of the year, continues to try to unite the Aymara communities of Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina in order to secure their water rights; she received an invitation to attend a seminar given by UNITAR on self-determination and conflict resolution in Mexico, December 2001.



Laureate from Kyrgyzstan, Meimanbu TASHIEVA, "It is our hope that her international recognition will act as a catalyst in her work as a teacher and rural activist against poverty, and inspire and motivate others.


Laureate from Armenia, Roza Tzaroukyan, was invited in the year 2000 to participate in summer school lessons organised by FAO in the UK where she was granted a special award.

1999 and 1998

Laureates from Latvia, Rasma Freimane and Zenta Skrastina founded the Rural Women's Association and the former organised a training course for rural women on how to start a business. As a result of the Prize, there is a call for nominations for the Prize every year in Latvia, which has been helping to expand the rural women's movement in Latvia along with a resulting improvement of the situation in rural Latvia.

Nomination Guidelines

Awarded since 1994 by the Women's World Summit Foundation (WWSF) - an international NGO for the empowerment of women and children - the Prize ($500 each) annually honors women and women's groups exhibiting exceptional creativity, courage and commitment in improving the quality of life in rural communities. The Prize aims to draw international attention to the laureates' contributions to sustainable development, household food security and peace, thus generating more recognition and support for their projects. While rural women are vital in providing examples of sound practice in rural communities, they still do not have to full access tools needed for development, such as education, credit, land rights and participation in decision-making. By highlighting creative development models, innovations and experiences enhancing the quality of life in rural areas, WWSF hopes to participate in addressing the eradication of extreme poverty and help arrest the drift to urban areas.


- Nominees should be women, or groups of women, currently active in rural life whose efforts have not yet been acknowledged by other awards. They may not nominate themselves.

- The nominating organisation or individual must have direct experience of the nominee's work. The nominator may not nominate a family member, be a member of the nominated organisation, nor can an organisation nominate its senior officer (i.e. founder, president etc.). No more than 3 nominees may be presented by the same person/organisation in a given year. The nominator commits to organising an award ceremony if its nominee is selected and to invite the media.


1. A signed letter of nomination indicating how the nominator knows the nominee and for how long.

2. Biographical data on the nominee (full name, age, education, place of work, background) and a detailed history of the nominee's creative project (written by the nominator) including her motivation, innovative aspects, any obstacles overcome, and the impact in the community. Nominations must specify whether the nominee has received or is currently being nominated for other awards.

3. One or two endorsement letters from organisations or individuals other than the nominator and, if possible, additional supporting materials such as newspaper articles or publications.

4. A few good labeled photographs of the nominee(s) for possible publication


The long-term impact of the Prize will depend on the integrity of the nominators and the quality of their nominations. The Prize is an award for successful accomplishments rather than a fund for future projects. The nominee's history (2-3 pages) should demonstrate the creativity, courage and sometimes sacrifice of the nominee in her efforts at the grass roots level to improve life in rural communities. Descriptions should be as specific as possible. Any of the following elements should be emphasised:

- Exceptional courage and perseverance in improving rural life
- Creativity in the approach
- Preservation of and respect for the environment
- Continuing impact on the community

Laureates are selected by an international jury composed of WWSF Board of directors and announced officially each year on 30 August, and celebrated on October 15 - World Rural Women's Day - at a special award ceremony in Geneva. Several prizewinners are invited to attend the celebration personally. The Women's World Summit Foundation has a commitment to annually award 30 or more creative rural women or women's groups around the world (179 awarded to-date).

International Prize Jury: Filomina Chioma Steady (USA/Sierra Leone); Munira N.A. Al-Nahed (Saudi Arabia); Ela Bhatt (India); Sa Benhabyles (Algeria); Gulzar Samji (Canada); Asha Kambon (Trinidad & Tobago); Elly Pradervand (Switzerland/Germany); Wu Qing (China)

Prize Nomination Form

· download the nomination form in MS Word format (30 Kb) -


List of 32 Laureates receiving the Prize for women's creativity in rural life 2002



Innocentia EDWIGE A. GUEDEGBE, Mobilising women for development

R.D. Congo

Mateso NYOTA MWAVITA, Development through collective work


Mariama DIOULDE DIALLO, Empowering through sewing


Gladys CHIKA, Fighting poverty through AIDS prevention


Tekla WANJIKU MBIRIRI, Teaching rural women management skills


Ap KOUNETSRON, Reviving ancestral soap making methods


Peace BYANDUSYA, Mushroom growing brings income


Eliza NGWENYA, Solidarity for food security



Hu MEIYING, Greening the hills


Huashun Feedlot Enterprise, Raising rabbits for prosperity


Xiji County Women's Federation, Skill training for rural women


Women's Federation of Pingluo County, Innovative strategies for the rural poor

Fiji Islands

Navakasobu Women's Group, Saving a wetland ecosystem


Durgaben JAISWAL, Improving rural life


Anthoniammal AROKIASAMY, An innovative ecological farmer


Hirbaiben LOBI IBRAHIMBHAI, A Siddi community leader


Sangeeta SAWALANKHE, Promoting biological control of insect pests


Annapoorni T. MERCY, Opportunities for women and children


Radha VIJAY, Helping women to help themselves


Amber BALOUCH, Fighting women's exclusion from education

Sri Lanka

Bandara MENIKE WEERASEKERA, Leading women towards development and peace



Julia Damiana RAMOS SANCHEZ, Fighting exclusion and environmental degradation

Costa Rica

Rosita ANGULO ANGULO, Defending community water resources


Catarina Eleuterio GOMEZ IXMATA, Education for the Mayas


Leonila ESCOTO DE ZELAYA, A model organic gardener


ARTCAMP Association, Mastering Internet technologies to market their art


Edelmira BARRIOS DE CENTELLA, Where there is a will there is a way



Diellmakaj, A helping hand for the rural blind


Agrita GAILITE, Rescuing traditional knowledge of medicinal plants


Nadezhda MIKHAILOVNA MARTINOVA, Creating an environmental university


Urner Wollhandwerk Team, Innovative products sustain mountain life


Johanna DZ-GILLARDON, Farming flowers for prosperity

List of 31 Laureates receiving the Prize for women's creativity in rural life 2001


Burkina Faso

Kassena "Femmes Batisseurs", Perpetuating traditional art forms


Robertine DEMBETTE, Women take charge


Joyce VIDA DONKOR, Bee keeping saves bees and brings business


Selline OTIENO KORIR, A crusader for peace


Victoria BOSEDE DUNMADE, Appropriate technology for women


Honorine POIDI, Reviving cultural identity and native language


MAWULAWOE,Struggling to provide iodised salt



Zarin GUL, Knitting brings hope


Bao CAILUAN, Greening the hills


Kusum JAIN, Giving hope to the helpless


Rajeswari KARTHIKEYAN, Eliminating chemical pesticides


Ratni BAI KHATIK, Determined to make a difference


Vikas Mahila Multipurpose Cooperative Society, Organising change


Helen MANOHARAN, Challenging the caste system


Prema NARASIMHAN, Innovative rural development


Mohinee MAHARJAN, Making women aware of their legal rights


Do Thuy DIEN, Helping her community begin again



Alcira ESTRADA, Determined to save the forest


Georgina PEREZ MARTINEZ, Transforming wastelands

El Salvador

Mariana HERNANDEZ, From excellence to leadership


Maria de Jesus COLAJ CHALI, Education equals empowerment


COMIXMUL, In union lies strength


Rufina Edith VILLA HERNANDEZ, Fighting for women's rights


Petrona PEREZ BASILIO, Education, the key to empowerment


Zoila VALDEZ CHAUPI, Promoting women's rights



Vnique THEVE, Working towards sustainable rural life


Christa OFF, Perseverance pays


Martina LINTNER, Preserving the rural way of life


Meimanbu TASHIEVA, A tireless teacher promotes self-help groups

Northern Ireland

(UK)Women On Rural Development, Working together for development


Christine ZOLLINGER, Saving Switzerland's seeds

List of 179 laureates receiving the Prize for women's creativity in rural life 1994 - 2000




Fatima BEN YOUCEF, where there is a will, there is a way

Burkina Faso


Mariam MAIGA, an exceptional rural women's leader

Burkina Faso


RECIF/NGO, using information as empowerment

Burkina Faso


Rahamata SAVADOGO, pioneer in rural creativity and family planning



Lesego Veronica MOLAPO, a market becomes a space for rural demands



Mary PEKOKEH, turns village into small town



Alice EWUME, heals with herbs and love

Dem. Rep. Congo


Gode BINDA KINI, empowering women through organisation



W/o Alganesh AWASH, ends violence against women



Gawaher Saad El Sherbini FADL, reclaims the right for women to land and labor



Joan AGBO, reaches out to rural women in farming and trading



Elizabeth ABAKAH, standing for cleanliness and respect



Narki DOKU, educating for village life



Laurine TOKORY, liberating women from sexual slavery



The BAMAKO INITIATIVE GROUP, village doctors on bicycles



Sudanese REFUGEE WOMEN's GROUP, refugees move to self-sufficiency



Theresa MASINDE, a tireless organizer



Naomi JERUTO, a super social worker



Dolphine M.A. OKECH, nicknamed "the Exemplary Educator"



Fleria ODUAR NDEGE, fighting harmful traditional practices



Lucia KAKUNDI KITENG'U, a natural born agronomist



VONONA, "ready and decided" to save the forest



Samake NAKANI and Sangare AMINATA, fight poverty, misery and ignorance



Aissata GUINDO, an exceptionally creative teacher



KHADOUJ, gives loans for freedom



AMAL - Women's Cooperatie for HOPE, fights desertification and illiteracy



OSHITUKAFITU Women's Group, rural poor educate society



Rose ADAMU, overcomes timeless taboos



E.O. OLAWOLU, preserves tradition for tomorrow



Janet AKINBODE, ends hunger - now



Mercy Agu ANAGBOGU, restoring the dignity of women



Ethel NNE EKEKE, empowering through weaving



Espnce MUKANDEMEZO, walk your talk - she does



Godeli MUKASARASI, never discouraged whatever the obstacle



Thse SENGHOR, combats fish piracy in coastal seas



Fatoumata FOFANA, starts first sesame seed cottage industry



Adam TAMBA, improves quality of life

Sierra Leone


Lois THOMPSON, a beacon of hope in war-torn Sierra-Leone

Sierra Leone


Yatta SAMAH, healing the scars of war

South Africa


Sonia HARDNECK, teaches values for life

South Africa


Lephina MAPANGA, helps others to help themselves



Gania ALI AL BASHIR, committed to serve



Huda Adbel-ELHAMEID, expands fishing activities and becomes expert in salted fish



Hawa Adam YAGOUB, with sheep against famine



Amavi KOSSIDONKO, her courage overcomes all obstacles



Coordinating Bureau for Women's Groups, Segou TIDA, educates rural poor



Latifa Meddeb BENT MOKHTAR, a one-woman 'Body Shop'



Petty ANGIDA-OMAGOR, vegetables for war victims



Loyce OGOLLA, trees for development



Rebecca MULWANA, A model organic farmer



Cecilia MAKOTA, good organization is key to success



Virginia MUPANDUKI, empowers women through garden cooperatives



Patience SITHOLE, restoring land using traditional agriculture




Georgina LEE CHEU, leads with culture towards self esteem



Sudaba MURADOVA, organizes women's solidarity for survival



Goaler VITA, a pioneer rural women's group



Jabeda Sattar KHAN, half a million women on the move



Thavrin THONG, extreme hardship creates a leader



Jia JUNQIAO (Longju), teaches new skills and builds village school



Lai XIAO, a mongol herdswoman pioneers scientific strategy for sheep breeding



Cai SHUZHEN, becomes agricultural researcher



Pei GUILIAN, brings prosperity to all



CIRENZONGBA, a woman with a hunchback becomes leader



Chen YUNLIAN, prospers... from peppers



Zhao QUNYING, prospers... with rabbits



ALONIOUNIOU, grows trees for a healthy environment



Miao CHANGLIAN, from rice grower to creative resourcefulness



Luo XIFEN, on peppered path to prosperity



Fang XIULAN, chickens end poverty



Han BAOJING, clean water - key to good health



Hu CHUNLIAN, tops the tea trade



Zuo AIMING, raises chickens and ducks for China



Zhao XIAOJING, creates prosperity with pigs



Bai CAINONG, an illiterate woman becomes deputy



Yang XIANGLIAN, village tailor becomes manager



Zhang AILAN, preventing poverty with pigs



Zou CHUNLIAN, flowers bring prosperity



Ma XUEFENG, Fish ponds bring wealth



Samuben Ujabhai Thakore and Ranbai Jemalji Rauma, lead union of 14'000



Madhuben Bhailal SOLANKI, forms savings group in her village Vakharia



Tulsi DEVI JANI, a tribal woman turns activist



KUNWARBEN, handicapped with leprosy becomes leader



Manchaba Kheraji RATHOD, needles women out of hunger



Shantaben Lakhmanbhai KOLI, a salt farmer protects children



Saviben Debhabhai AAYER, 1000 wanderers become artisans



Puriben Vaghabhai Kehu AHIR, a human rights leader



Menaben Harchandbhai THAKORE, fights the desert (Puriben and Menaben share a Prize of $500)



Ms. RANI, persistence pays off



Lata KACHHAWAH, helps desert women survive



Irula Tribal Women's Welfare Society, claims human rights



Sister STELLA EDDATU, transforms rural women's lives



Radhaben BHANABHAI, a new beginning



Sussela DEVI, restoring dignity to untouchables



Swarnalata DEVI, defending land non-violently



Agnes RUDRAPATI, abolishing child labor



Sangrami DEVI, transforming a poor village



Krishnammal JEGANNATHAN, a Ghandian "Joan of Arc"



Manohari DOSS, campaigning for the rights of the poor



Pasumpon MAYANDI, tireless village activist



R. VASANTHA, women become leaders



Kalawati DEVI, setting and enforcing rules for the forest



Ngatini TARMUJI, fighting the illegal expropriation of land



Abab FARHAN, weaves the magic of Bedouin beauty



Radha BHATTARAI, improves quality of life with education



Nirmala THAPA, empowers women to help themselves



BHUTTRI WOMEN's Organization, promotes health care for rural poor and weak



Farzana PANWHAR, promotes sustainable agriculture



RURAL WOMEN WELFARE Organization, brings development to people



Khatima BIBI, a model woman activist



Ghulam SUGHRA SOLANGI, leads with credit, health and family planning



Ghulam SUGHRA KUBAR, proving women's worth



Portia NAYVE ROSSI, demonstrates organic animal farming

Sri Lanka


Amara PEERIS, ends rural women's poverty

Sri Lanka


H.M. VIMALAWATHIE, organising for development, culture and peace



Sa-ing TAWAISINDH, saves community forest

Viet Nam


GROUP 11, finds right market niche




Najwa SHA'SHA'A, self-confidence, the key



Kawkab I.M. AL-GHNAMEEN drastically improves quality of village life



Hind AL HADJA, learning by doing



Anissa NAJJAR, creating the basis for a distinct rural culture

West Bank


Subhiyyeh Kamel ASAD GHANNAM, a rural woman activist




Rosario Ladies ANDRADES DE QUISPE, from lama herdswoman to community leader



PUEBLO GRANDE Cultural Organisation, establishing a cultural identity



Domitila BARRIOS, grass roots leader fights for justice for the most oppressed



Tawa (Nena) BALTAZAR LUGONES, exceptional leader of wildlife reserve



Hornos "Juana Azurduy de Padilla", promoting seed potatoes in the Andes



CH'ASKA PALOMAS AWAJ WARMIS, weaving for development



Emilia Alves da Silva RODRIGUES, promotes rural knowledge and culture



Raimunda Gomes DA SILVA, fighting for land and rights



The National Articulation of Female Agricultural Workers, organising for women's rights



Sandra Mara RIBAS SANTOS, pioneer organic farmer



RosalJARA NIRRIAM, proves education to be key to development



Bernardita CALFUQUEO, fighting racial discrimination



Milena DUCARA TAPIERO, indomitable activist and women leader



Association of Women of YolombMOY, organising for peace and the environment

Costa Rica


Paulina DZ NAVAS, a courageous woman who wins despite huge odds



Elvia DAGUA, leads women to dignity

El Salvador


Victoria MIRA, shows creativity and innovation despite her age

El Salvador


Maria Ana Angel de CASTILLO, has an indomitable spirit and courage

El Salvador


Salvadorian Association for RURAL HEALTH, rural women for a healthy future

El Salvador


Maria Margarita MALDONADO CRUZ, runs model farm despite illiteracy



Teresa de Jesus RAFAEL, a Maya farmer and political activist



Maria Elena Crisostomo de PEREZ, promotes barefoot pharmacy



Sara MICHEL, the world's oldest practicing rural midwife



Isidora GARCIA, fighting for the indigenous woman



Ethlyn RHOOMS, the most resourceful rural woman of Jamaica



AMEYOLOTZIL WOMEN'S GROUP, pioneers self-reliance



LA POZA DEL CLAVO WOMEN'S GROUP, with enterpreneurship to survival



Norma Patricia SAUCEDO VILLALBA, teaching respect for the environment



Maria Auxiliadora LOPEZ OLIVAS, innovates banking by and for the people



Lucrecia Flores CHAVARR, illiterate cook becomes leader



Gladys CACERES, a tireless leader



Severa Luque BOGARIN, cooperative organisation helps many



Santos Felicita SALCEDO CUEVA, persistence pays



Gladys VASQUEZ POMA, fighting to save the High Andean Wetlands



NETWORK OF RURAL WOMEN OF URUGUAY, a network for survival




Rape VEIZAJ, teaching life skills



Ingeborg AUER, an Ambassador for women farmers



Rosa TZAROUKYAN, creating a model animal farm



Monika LUGMAYER, a strong advocate for women farmers



ALKUVOIMA, their primal force is people



Georgia LAMBERTIN, bringing children closer to the earth

Great Britain


Marthe KILEY-WORTHINGTON, an ecological farmer, teacher and writer



Union of Agritouristic, Artesanal and Home Economic Cooperatives, uniting for rural development



Erzst SZECSENYI, creating an eco-village



Anita HAYES, saving scarce seed



Rasma FREIMANE, runs a dairy farm cooperative



Zenta SKRASTINA, beautifying a rural village



Anne-Grethe BRUSTAD, an authentic biological farmer



Ashild DALE, Reviving mountain farming



Ewa SMUK, revives village life

Rep. of Croatia


Ema MIOCINOVIC, dedicates her life to peace making



Mioara BOANTA, enabling women to organise



Tatjana N. INOZEMTSEVA, innovative farmer, philanthropist & poetess



Vera SOLOVIEVA, adapting to a new rural economy



EL DESPERTAR, with culture to sustainable development



Elsbeth AEBERHARD, finding our rural roots

Yugoslavia -Serbia


Dobrila Vasiljevic SMILJANIC, leads rural women to knit for the world



Valentina SHAPOVAL, organising for development



Natalia BESPALA, helping others achieve success

Award Ceremony

Geneva Prize Award Ceremony 2001

Honoring 31 Laureates with the
Prize for women's creativity in rural life

at the United Nations

On 15 October 2001 - World Rural Women's Day. The Women's World Summit Foundation WWSF convened for the sixth consecutive year a Geneva Award Ceremony/Panel to award Laureates with the Prize for women's creativity in rural life.

The ceremony took place at the United Nations Office and more than 100 participants honored and listened to six among the 31 winners. The Laureates were:

- Selline Otieno Korir, Kenya: A Crusader for Peace

- Mohinee Maharjan, Nepal: Makes women aware of their legal rights

- Rufina Edith Villa Hernez, Mexico:Fights for women's rights

- Martina Lintner, Italy: Preserves the rural way of life

- Christa Off, Germany: An example of perseverance

- Christine Zollinger, Switzerland: Saves Switzerland's seeds


Laureates' speeches are available upon request.

Six Jury members attended and helped conduct the award ceremony and receptions.

Each Laureate personally presented her work and received a shawl made by SEWA rural women in India, and a cash award of US$ 500 for their creativity and courage in improving the quality of life in rural communities around the world.

Mr. Themba N. Masuku, Geneva FAO Director and Keynote speaker, stressed the importance of recognizing rural women and their contribution to household food security, one of FAO's campaign in the new millennium. Mr. Masuku supports WWSF efforts to find and recognize creative rural women and thus mobilize them around the world to fight for the protection of their traditional knowledge.

Christoph Erard, Swiss musician, who plays more than 300 instruments, created an atmosphere of joy and celebration with many wonderful musical interludes from around the world.

Azania Steady, a most talented young singer, accompanied by Mr. Ferraro, again enchanted all participants and laureates with her beautiful voice and powerful songs in honor of rural women around the world.

Gilles Roch, a Swiss biological farmer and WWSF member, offered fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers for the delight of the participants and the decoration of the hall, thus marking World Rural Women's Day with diversity and abundance.

A Press Conference was convened at the Swiss Press Club where Laureates presented their work to journalists. The Italian Television channel RAI covered the event and aired a program in Italy, Germany and Austria introducing primarily the Italian Laureate, Martine Lintner. Several prizewinners had already been interviewed on TV and Radio prior their arrival in Geneva and many newspapers published the Laureates' work and reminded to mark World Rural Women's Day, which had as its theme "Protect your traditional knowledge".

A special award dinner in honor of the laureates was organized by WWSF at the Hotel Beau-Rivage during which donors could personally meet some of the prizewinners.

Dr. Maria Peza, Prize program coordinator, accompanied the six Laureates throughout their one-week stay in Geneva during which she helped them make useful contacts for their future work. Dr. Peza's devotion to the well being of the prizewinners merits special acknowledgement. Without her dedicated service, the prize program would not be what it is today.

Acknowledgments: WWSF is most grateful for the financial support received from the Republic and Canton of Geneva as well as from the City of Geneva and other donors who contributed towards the award event, the prize program and the annual World Rural Women's Day global awareness campaign. We are honored by their solidarity and generosity. Our sincere thanks also to WWSF staff and volunteers who make the programs possible.


News from Laureates


Laureate from Ghana, Laurine Tokory, writes that her prize money (she received) helped purchase sewing machines and designing materials to train young women who dropped out of school to save them from fetish slavery. She will continue to educate communities about the environment.

Laureate from Kenya, apart from her work educating against archaic widowhood practices, donated a piece of land on which she and her group have completed a temporary structure where orphans due to AIDS get some basic education; she also formed a women's group to do handicrafts, tree planting and other income generating activities.

Laureate from Nigeria, Ethel Nne Ekeke, says the Prize is pushing her into more action to improve the life of women and children. She uses her Prize money for training of young girls and boys who have dropped out of school.

Laureate from Nigeria, has organised workshops for the wives of traditional rulers so they may raise awareness on women's rights and their abuse, to encourage women to protest against rape, prostitution and other forms of sexual expliotation. She is promoting career development as an instrument for the elimination of sexual exploitation.

Laureada 2000 Aymara de del tripartito Peru-Bolivia-Chile, Gladys Vasquez Poma came to Geneva in November 2000 to attend the Working Group for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at the United Nations to bring her complaint about the devastating extraction of waters from her highland community. WWSF was happy for the opportunity to award her her prize at a small ceremony held at Mandat International in Geneva. Gladys will be leading a large demonstration in Arica, Chile June 21-23 to claim her people's water rights.

Laure de la France, Georgia Lambertin, was elected as a result of receiving the Prize to the Agricultural Chamber of Vaucluse. Her award was published in many French newspapers.


Laureate from Kenya, Naomi Jeruto, was admitted to a course in Women's training at the Mindolo Ecumenical Foundation although she still needs to find the financial resources to attend the course.

Laureate from Uganda, Petty Angida-Omagor, says that the Prize has brought her recognition in her district and in her country at large and the cash helped expand the growing of soya bean and training of single mothers in child care. She prays that more rural women from Uganda will be awarded this kind of prize.

Laureate from India, Suseela Devi, writes that her organisation, SHEBA, is working hard for the prevention of child abuse and the empowerment of women by conducting social awareness, literacy and health programs.

Laureate from Nepal, Radha Battarai, says she is confident that the Prize encourages many women like her to double their efforts in their commitment to work for rural women.

Laureate from Honduras, Isidora Garcia, with support from the Institute for rural development of Honduras and several others Laureates from Central America (Gladis Cres, Paulina D, Lucrecia Flores y Yareli) Isidora organised the Tirad Central American Forum for creativity of rural women (Siguatepeque, Honduras 2-9 September 2000). During the Forum at which also Maria Penaloza (WWSF coordinator of the Prize program) participated, 30 Central American rural women participated in group discussion and workshop on subjects such as self-esteem, the rights of women, domestic violence, biological agriculture, etc. They also included various UN Conventions dealing with women and agricultural workers. The Laureates committed themselves to maintain the network created by the various winners of the Prize in Central America and to organize a Forum at El Salvador.


Laureate from Pakistan, Farzana Panhwar, emphasises the need to help women get jobs as teachers and in health centres in rural areas and to provide loans to women to set up small enterprises in rural areas.

Laureate from Pakistan, The Rural Women Welfare Organisation, implemented a "30 Community School Project" for girls from remote rural areas which culminated in August 2000 in a performance in which the students exhibited their talents and over 1000 rural women participated. They are also working against the "Karo Karo" practice by which 4 to 5 thousand women per year are murdered in impunity on a false charge of illicit relations.

Laureate from Argentina, Rosario Andades de Quispe, President of the Warmi Syajsunko organization, (persevering women in the Quechua language), in Argentine Puna, informs us that she found the necessary funds (145'000 pesos) to put in place a comunal bank offering micro credit for fair trade of camelide fiber. This banking program benefits 1170 Puna citizens.

y presidente de Mujeres Perseverantes de la Puna, relate lograron el financiamiento de 145 mil pesos para crear bancos comunales afde otorgar microcrtos para la promocie la explotaciacional de la fibra de camdo. Este programa beneficiar unos 1170 habitantes de la Puna.


Laureate from India, Tulsi Jain, is fighting atrocities against women via the Tribal Women Awareness Forum active in 100 villages. A Social Reforms Forum is functioning like a court where decisions are being made more speedily, allowing people to get due justice without having to spend years in courts and police stations.

Laureate from Costa Rica, Paulina Diaz Navas, informed WWSF that following her receiving the award, she participated in Geneva at the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations in July 2001 as a representative of her organization ACONAMIC (Association Conseil National des femmes Autochtones d'Amque centrale).

Laureate from Nicaragua, Lucrecia Flores, reports that, as a pioneer in organic farming, she continues to work to promote this practice in her country; she also works as a health promoter, organising vaccination campaigns, assisting at births and preparing natural medicines to treat parasites. Although sometimes she gets discouraged, her strength and motivation keep her going.

Partnership Fund

Partnership Fund for Women's creativity in rural life

Since 1994, WWSF annually awards the PRIZE for women's creativity in rural life and has so far awarded 210 laureates around the world with US$ 500 per prizewinner. Every year WWSF receives hundreds of candidates fromk, which the Jury selects 30 or more creative rural women or women's organisations that exhibit exceptional leadership, courage and sacrifice in improving the quality of life in rural communities.

Since 1996, WWSF annually convenes in Geneva a Prize Award Ceremony and Panel Presentation (a Mini-Geneva Summit) and invites 5 to 6 selected laureates to come personally to Geneva to receive their award, present their projects, and connect with the United Nations, the NGO community and local development experts. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, and Geneva State Authorities have addressed the laureates on these occasions.

Since 1997, WWSF annually convenes and organizes Word Rural Women's Day - 15 October, a global awareness raising campaign to increase knowledge and empowerment for rural women around the world and publishes the 'Open Letter to Rural Women of the World' touching on a specific subject every year. Campaign mailings go to15'000 grassroots rural groups, NGOs and development organisations, human rights advocates, diplomatic Missions and the media.

Since 1993, WWSF annually publishes a Global Newsletter "Empowering Women and Children" which portrays prizewinners and their work, related topics and UN programs.

Since 1991, WWSF actively participates at UN and international conferences and working groups under the auspices of the Committee on the Status of Women and the NGO group for the Committee on the Rights of the Child, and develops a data base for its advocacy work for women's and children's rights.

On 8 March 2001, WWSF launched a 'Partnership Fund for women's creativity in rural life' for the purpose of guaranteeing in the future a sound financial basis for the pursuit of its empowerment programs. WWSF invites governments, corporations, foundations, institutions, NGOs and individuals to contribute to the Fund in a manner appropriate to their level of giving. Financial contributions in partnership with the Fund will strengthen our efforts to reach out more widely in the future, and continue to empower and honor creative rural women and grassroots organisations around the world.

We thank you for joining the Fund by choosing one of the following categories

Council of Sponsors FS 50,000 and over

for the year 2002 2003 2004

Benefactor FS 25,000 and over

for the year 2002 2003 2004

Patron FS 10,000 and over

for the year 2002 2003 2004

Sponsor FS 5,000 and over

for the year 2002 2003 2004

Sustainer FS 1,000 and over

for the year 2002 2003 2004

Please indicate your level of giving and sign below. As a contributor you are invited to the annual Prize award ceremony and dinner given in honor of the laureates during which you may wish to address the audience. You will be featured as a sponsor on our web site with a personal message if you so desire. Detailed budgets for the above mentioned programs are available upon request.

We thank you in advance for your generous support and look forward to a lasting partnership with you. Acknowledgement of your support will be sent upon receipt in the Bank. An annual audited financial report is available to all sponsors.

Bank Relation: UBS, P.O. Box, 1211 Geneva 20, Account No. 279-C8112823.0

Name and address _____________________________________

Date ____________________ Signature ___________________


World Rural Women's Day was launched by several international NGOs during the 4th UN World Conference on Women in Beijing 1995 and a worldwide empowerment and educational campaign is annually organized since1997 by the Women's World Summit Foundation WWSF. Celebrations and events take place in more than 100 countries around the world.

WWSF also publishes every year an OPEN LETTER TO RURAL WOMEN OF THE WORLD on a special subject (20,000 poster and Open Letters are mailed to NGOs, development organisations, Human Rights groups and the media). The year 2001 theme was " Protect your traditional knowledge " and for the year 2002 the theme is "Claim your right to safe water".

About the day... World Rural Women's Day takes place each year on the 15th October. Rural women the world over play a major role in ensuring food security and in the development and stability of the rural areas. Yet, with little or no status, they frequently lack the power to secure land rights or to access vital services such as credit, inputs, extension, training and education. Their vital contribution to society goes largely unnoticed. World rural Women's Day aims to change this by bringing rural women out of obscurity at least once a year - to remind society how much they owe to rural women and to give value and credit to their work.

About the activities... Activities can be organized independently in different ways according to specific local priorities and traditions. It is important, however, that any activities or events be concrete and visible to raise the profile of rural women in the public eye. It is up to your own organization, group or committee to make this day meaningful according to your own circumstances.

Some ideas: Exposure and publicity. Mention World Rural Women's Day in all your publications, newsletters, networks or homepage, contact your local or national radio explaining why it is important that the role and work of rural women is recognized. Hold a press conference, organize an exhibition, and create a national award for exceptional rural women or women's groups.

Collaboration: Link up with sister organizations, other women's group for a joint event and to reinforce each other's efforts. For example, convene a panel discussion and invite rural women's NGOs to present their projects, discuss their needs, what works and what doesn't. Find out what your national FAO committee for World Food Day is doing - suggest a joint activity - join in with their celebrations.

Contacts: Inform local authorities, such as local extension agents, mayor, headman, tell them what you are doing.

Issue raising: Write a letter to your Minister of Agriculture or Prime Minster drawing attention to the contribution and problems facing rural women in your country. If possible, propose to visit the Minister with a delegation - or invite the Minister to come to your World Rural Women's Day event.

Special events... Organize, for example, a village fair, a stand in the main street, a sale of foodstuffs or handicraft, put on a play or a show, with songs and music to draw attention to your contribution to sustainable development and problems as rural women, invite the mayor, headman, local authorities as guests, organize a regional workshop on an issue of specific concern to rural women, a national parade through your capital city, with banners, music, etc.

Did you know... Rural women comprise more than one quarter of the total world population. 500 million women live below the poverty line in rural areas. Women produce 60-80% of basic foodstuffs in sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean. Women perform over 50% of the labor involved in intensive rice cultivation in Asia. Women perform 30% of the agricultural work in industrialized countries. Women head 60% of households in some regions of Africa: Women meet 90% of household water and fuel needs in Africa. Women process 100% of basic household foodstuffs in Africa.

Poster/Open Letter

Poster 2002


The logo of the poster is Trademark Registered ä and may be reproduced for information purposes without removing logos and names of the organiser and sponsors. The use for commercial purposes needs prior permission in writing from the campaign organizer. Reproduction of the Open Letter is permitted provided the source is mentioned.
Copyright © WWSF 2002

Open Letter to Rural Women of the World - 2002
"Claim your right to safe water"

Dear Sisters,

The theme of this year's letter is your right to safe water. When one speaks of basic human rights, the right to safe water is the most basic of all. Access to safe drinking water is, above all, a political issue which must be guaranteed by your Governments and International Institutions. All of us, however, have an obligation to preserve, protect and respect water which is life, a gift of nature to all humanity. It is a unique component of our environment and is indeed one of our most precious resources. All our social and economic activities rely heavily on the supply and quality of water which requires careful conservation and sustainable management by men and women.


- 1,5 billion people lack adequate and safe drinking water of good quality

- 2,5 billion people have no sanitary conditions

- 5 million people, predominantly women and children, die every year from diseases related to water quality

Health and water

As the water carriers in most parts of the world, and due to increasing environmental and population pressures, many of you are walking further and further - 10, 20, 40 km - to fetch water for household use. As the food providers and mothers responsible for family hygiene and for your fields and gardens, you are the first to realize the importance and clear link between health and water. You cannot attain health without safe water and sanitation and your effective involvement in water management is therefore crucial. Eighty percent of common diseases in developing countries are caused either by dirty water or lack of sanitation. Water-borne diseases kill about 25,000 people per day, most of them children. Since we all share the same need for water, managing water resources should be the responsibility of men and women. You need to be involved both at the community and at the policy making level and evolve from mere water carriers into planners and managers of supply systems. There is also a strong link between girl-education and developing water schemes. Easier access to drinking water will release crucial time needed for their education as they are often withdrawn from school to help with carrying water among other tasks.

Environment and water

Today, water in many areas of the world is rare and has become a cause of conflict. By 2025, 96 countries will face considerable water shortage and 45 will face very serious water problems. It is therefore vital to eliminate the wasting and pollution of water while at the same time slowing population growth, or we shall be faced with tough competition for water resources. Rural areas often suffer desertification when water is piped away towards cities without the consent of rural communities. Water is polluted as a result of poor waste management (sewage dumped directly into rivers, lakes and seas) and leaching of agricultural and industrial chemicals. Global warming is altering the balance of water resources worldwide, causing some areas to be flooded while others are becoming dryer, in addition to causing sea levels to rise.

Poverty, food security, privatisation and water

Clean drinking water is an essential part of healthy nutrition and food security. Lack of water is already a major obstacle to local food production, and access to water by the poorest populations is also threatened by privatisation of supply systems. Privatisation will not solve the problem of scarcity but is enabling large corporations to charge monopoly profits. It is absolutely unacceptable that one of the most basic resources of existence becomes a major source of profit, often at the expense of the poorest of the poor. You must protect it as a public good. Water-value is the most precious social capital of our present time. It is a resource that belongs to all and must be managed as such. A high pricing of water can bar especially the poorest from access to improved water supply for basic hygiene, consumption and food production.

Agriculture and water

Agriculture is often your prime subsistence and economic activity in developing countries and accounts by far for the largest water use. Especially in your rural areas, agriculture determines to a large extent how water is managed at community and household level and plays an important role in the division of water related tasks, means and responsibilities. Water and its declining supply therefore calls on men and women to manage it sustainably. It is widely recognised that improving supply systems and keeping water clean is largely your responsibility. However, you are almost totally absent from the field of water management in spite of the fact that you are the main users.

So what can you do?

Starting from the premise that you have mostly been excluded from orientation and decisions, you now must ensure that no important decisions regarding water supply and management are taken without your participation

- train yourselves in operating and maintaining village-level water systems as you have the strongest incentive to keep the systems operating properly, and learn about systems of maintaining water balance so that your water wells and household gardens do not dry up; analyse the current situation in relation to gender and water in your communities; investigate the potential of wells powered by solar energy as it is the energy of the future.

- plan specific actions to preserve safe water while at the same time ensuring the distribution of sufficient quantities, and create powerful coalitions to avoid privatisation of your water sources.

- learn from indigenous societies about their approach to defend water quality, preserve springs, and other methodologies they have mastered, and organise meetings, plays, press conferences, radio programs and events to sensitise your community.

- denounce unsuitable farming techniques that use pesticides and other chemicals which pollute your water.

Demand that Governments and Transnational Corporations

- involve you in the definition of policies at every phase of water supply and sanitation projects

- give priority to safe drinking water and sanitation in rural areas in all national development plans, including primary health care plans.

- legislate the rights and duties related to water and sanitation and the establishment of consultation and arbitration bodies at both the national and regional levels with the responsibility of managing conflicts around water management.

- grant community rights to water in order to protect these rights globally and initiate an international legally binding framework for such protection.

- train you to increase your knowledge and mastery of water management technologies.

Dear Sisters, we honour you and wish you success in your deliberations and celebrations on World Rural Women's Day 2002. Continue to enrich humanity with your creativity, power and strength and claim your right to safe water.

Elly Pradervand, Campaign Director - World Rural Women's Day - 15 October
Executive Director - Women's World Summit Foundation WWSF, HQ in Geneva, Switzerland

For further information and posters, contact WWSF,
PO Box 2001, 1211 Geneva 1, Switzerland
Tel.: (+41 22) 738 66 19. Fax: (+41 22) 738 82 48. E-mail:

Poster 2001


The logo of the poster is Trademark Registered ä and may be reproduced for information purposes without removing logos and names of the organiser and sponsors. The use for commercial purposes needs prior permission in writing from the campaign organizer. Reproduction of the Open Letter is permitted provided the source is mentioned.
Copyright © WWSF 2002

Open Letter to Rural Women of the World
"Protect Your Traditional Knowledge" 2001

Dear Sisters,

Although, you may not realize it, you are rich in knowledge: knowledge about the many uses of native plants and farming methods, knowledge about your environment that is indispensable for the pursuit of life in your communities, knowledge you depend upon for your livelihood and well being that has been transmitted from generation to generation by your ancestors in your native languages, knowledge you have adapted, enriched and modified constantly over centuries as you face new situations and challenges. It is usually transmitted orally and governed by unwritten customary laws. As the primary conservers and transmitters of your indigenous knowledge, you are the main actors who can ensure its preservation for future generations. Often this also means preserving your native languages, which embody this knowledge, as the loss of language can result in the loss of knowledge together with the only words to describe plants, animals, techniques and concepts.

Your traditional knowledge, practices and innovations are receiving growing attention worldwide as modern society, institutions and governments become increasingly aware not only of how vital this knowledge is for our common survival, but how valuable it is economically. It is rapidly being lost, however, as ecosystems are degraded, as people move to cities, as traditional communities and cultures disintegrate or are absorbed into modern society, and as children are educated only in modern ways and beliefs and in the dominant language. Your knowledge is priceless. However systems called "Intellectual Property Rights" (IPR) designed to prevent people from stealing someone else's invention and selling it for a profit, are now being applied to traditional knowledge and life forms. Your governments are currently taking part in international discussions on how to apply IPRs to your traditional knowledge either to protect it but also to commercialise it. As rightful owners, it is crucial that you be included in any decisions being taken with regard to the formulation of policies aimed at safeguarding your knowledge in the field of health, agriculture, pest and disease resistance, environmental protection, handicrafts, languages and culture.

- In the field of medicine, a great part of the 60 billion dollar world market for herbal medicines is based on your traditional knowledge. Transnational corporations send specialists into your communities to obtain your know-how and herbal remedies, with which these companies make millions of dollars of profits. Most often, very little, if any, of these profits return to you.

- In the field of agriculture, your traditional knowledge plays a key role in the preservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Possibly two thirds of the world's people could not survive without the food provided by the indigenous knowledge of plants, animals, insects, and farming systems. Due to the fact that their agriculture is largely based on monocrops of single varieties grown over large acreages, the developed world is now relatively poor in plant genetic resources, while developing countries are still rich in genetic diversity, therefore the developed world are very interested in exploring your knowledge on biodiversity in order to patent new varieties of crop plants.

- In the field of culture, you are the main holders and transmitters of your cultural traditions, i.e. of songs, legends, celebrations, handicrafts, customs, languages and food products which are intricately linked with the perpetuation of your indigenous knowledge. You are the hidden treasure and your knowledge is of great value for the well being of life on the planet, which is why it must be recognised and duly rewarded.

Your challenge: how to preserve your knowledge from disappearing due to modernization, and how to protect it from appropriation by external commercial interests for their own financial benefit. Many NGOs have called for a moratorium on the patenting of life forms. The long-term economic development of your communities may well depend on your ability to harness your traditional knowledge for your own economic benefit. It is your most precious capital, and constitutes an important potential source of poverty alleviation. One way is to document your past knowledge and innovations involving the younger generation. Your Government has an obligation to help you maintain your knowledge and include you in all relevant discussions.

We stress that traditional practices resulting in the domination of women, causing physical, emotional or material harm, such as female circumcision, forced marriages, and discrimination against women in inheritance and land rights, among others, are NOT included in the definition of traditional knowledge. Those practices not only harm women, but also harm their ability to harness and transmit knowledge, and must be eliminated. In general, however, and especially in the field of agriculture, animal behaviour, herbal remedies, health therapies and techniques, food conservation, building materials, waste disposal, etc. not to mention your customs and celebrations so rich in wisdom, you hold a wealth of knowledge of living values humanity urgently needs. Preserve it! Do not let it be taken from you without your consent! Protecting your knowledge and culture is also protecting your identity and self-worth.

Dear Sisters, we honour you and hope this letter will empower you in becoming more aware of your precious knowledge, which is your power. We urge you to organize yourselves into coalitions and networks, exchange experiences and above all, claim your economic, social and cultural rights. We wish you a most fruitful World Rural Women's Day.

In celebration with you,
Elly Pradervand, Global Campaign Director - World Rural Women's Day - 15 October
Executive Director - Women's World Summit Foundation (WWSF) HQ in Geneva, Switzerland

Impact Report 2001

For the fifth consecutive year an awareness and information campaign was organized and more than 16,000 campaign posters and letters were disseminated around the world by the Women's World Summit Foundation WWSF to mark World Rural Women's Day 2001 as an annual global event to continue to raise the profile of rural women, bring them to the forefront, point out to governments and the public their crucial role in development and local household food security, and promote action in their support. The theme for the Day and the Open Letter to rural Women of the world was "Protect your traditional knowledge" and several countries have translated the letter into local languages.

Feedback is important so that we can assess the value and impact of the campaign and the societal transformation it helps bring about. Below is a short report from grassroots groups, non-governmental organisations, institutions and the media that shared with WWSF information of events, celebrations and activities, photographs and videos produced on the World Day.

Download the Impact Report 2001 in:

- MS Word document (101 Kb) -

- Acrobat pdf document (61 Kb) -


The Millionth Circle

As of 2001, GEA, New York, coordinates the Millionth Circle movement.
Aim: to celebrate the millionth circle as the metaphore of an idea whose time has come.
To know all about it, go to

Circles of Compassion

For compassionate societies and a compassionate globalisation

Since 2001 WWSF, a partner of the Millionth Circle Movement, offers occasional trainings on how to create Circles of Compassion and disseminates guidelines in French, English and Spanish.

By compassion we understand "taking the other one in and being sensitive to their suffering".

"Until we extend the circle of compassion to all living things, we will not find peace".

Albert Schweizer



WWSF is pleased to share with the NGO community, UN agencies, and civil society at large the idea of creating circles of compassion and 'the Millionth Circle 2005', a movement for a dialogue process leading up to the 5th UN World Conference on Women in 2005. A circle dialogue is a special kind of conversation with the purpose to learn and reflect about important subjects and experiences in a non-confrontational way, and find solutions.

During the 5-year Review Conference on Social Development (June Geneva 2000 Forum) WWSF and NGO leaders discussed how to engage in a dynamic preparatory process towards the 5th UN World Conference on Women in 2005 and promote dialogue circles with women and men around the world for the purpose of achieving the Beijing development goals *.

Birth of the concept 'The Millionth Circle 2005'

As a follow-up to the inspiration, a first circle meeting was convened in California in March 2001 (25 women attended from the USA and Europe) to discuss the creation of 'The Millionth Circle 2005' concept and re-introduce the ancient circle methodology in community dialogues and meetings. The idea was born out of many synchronicities and WWSF grasped its potential. A core group was formed to see how the various aspects of circle work can be made more available not only locally, but globally. The group focused on a large and heart-filled vision how to bring this into the world and produced a common Statement of Intention.


Circles encourage connection and cooperation among their members and inspire creative and compassionate solutions to individual, community and world problems. We believe that circles support each member to find her or his own voice and live more courageously, and intend:

- To seed and nurture circles, wherever possible, in order to cultivate equality, sustainable livelihoods, preservation of the earth and peace for all.

- To bring the circle process into UN accredited NGOs and the UN World Conference on Women in 2005.

- To connect circles so they may know themselves as a part of a larger movement to shift consciousness in the world.

WWSF is committed to encouraging the formation of Circles of Compassion as a way to bless and help bring the much-needed changes to the world.

The metaphor 'Millionth Circle' taken from Jean Bolen's book with the same title captured our enthusiasm to inspire the growth of circles with the purpose to change the world and ourselves. Circle meetings over time can be a process that transforms and an experience that heals. They teach us to relate in a new way where no one is inferior or superior.

Countdown to 2005

The metaphor 'Millionth Circle' taken from Jean Bolen's book with the same title captured our enthusiasm to inspire the growth of circles with the purpose to change the world and ourselves. Circle meetings over time can be a process that transforms and an experience that heals. They teach us to relate in a new way where no one is inferior or superior.

NGOs participating in the 45th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York (March 2001) actively discussed the need to have a 5th UN World Conference on Women in 2005. They called on governments to reconfirm their commitment to the Beijing Platform of Action PFA, and develop further strategies to meet the new and emerging issues that are of great concern for women around the world. The central aim of the 5th UN World Conference on Women should be an appraisal of the progress made in the implementation of the Beijing PFA and the Outcome Document of the UNGASS on Beijing + 5. The declaration can be obtained from

Let us recall that in 1975 a UN World Conference on Women took place in Mexico City; in 1980 in Copenhagen; in 1985 in Nairobi; and in 1995 in Beijing. China hosted a watershed event in the history of women's rights. Over a 10-day period, more than 40,000 participants from 189 countries took part in one of the largest global conferences ever held. The conference galvanized the global women's movement and forged partnerships with governments and international organizations in their struggle for global gender equality, development and peace, and emphasized the crucial link between the advancement of women and progress for society as a whole.

* 12 critical areas of concern identified in the Platform for Action (PFA) also known as the Beijing goals for the 2005 review

1. The persistent and increasing burden of poverty on women
2. Unequal access to and inadequate educational opportunities
3. Inequalities in health status, and unequal access to and inadequate health-care services
4. Violence against women
5. Effects of armed or other kinds of conflict on women
6. Inequality in women's access to and participation in the definition of economic structures and policies and the production process itself
7. Inequality between men and women in the sharing of power and decision-making at all levels
8. Insufficient mechanisms at all levels to promote the advancement of women
9. Lack of awareness of and commitment to internationally and nationally recognized women's human rights
10. Insufficient mobilization of mass media to promote women's positive contribution to society
11. Lack of adequate recognition and support for women's contribution to managing natural resources and safeguarding the environment
12. The girl-child.

What is a Circle

In her book 'Women Circling the Earth', Beverly Engel offers a powerful guide to fostering community, healing and empowerment. A circle is not just a gathering of people who sit in a circle on the floor or a meeting where the chairs are arranged in a circle. Circle meetings provide simple, yet powerful tools to help teach people how to communicate more honestly and openly. What we wish to promote is an alternative to box-like hierarchical structures and confining systems which dominate today. Among other things, circles can help us to:

- Listen without judgment

- Foster cooperation and understanding

- Help implement creative solutions to problems

- Bridge differences

- Help settle disputes and reach consensus

- Encourage reconciliation and apology

We live in a world that cultivates separateness between people. When people join together in circle, they become keenly aware that such separateness does not really exist on a deeper level. Circles help alleviate the feeling that we stand alone against the harshness of modern society. They remind us that we are all one.

Circle Guidelines

Circles provide a replenishing and sanctuary place and can be considered laboratories of grace where people can learn to relate in a way so conflicts and problems can be resolved. To participate in a circle, all you need is the desire, the willingness to attend the meetings, and agree to follow the guidelines. Each group determines their own rules but there are some universal circle guidelines that all agree help circle meetings to function more successfully for all participants. They include:

- Create the circle as a sacred space

- One person speaks at a time (in most circles a talking piece (stone, stick or bowl) is passed around the circle and you speak only if you are the one holding the talking piece)

- Speak and listen from the heart (heart consciousness)

- Encourage and welcome diverse points of view

- Listen with discernment instead of judgement

- Shared leadership and resources

- Decide together how decisions will be made

- Work towards consensus when possible

- Offer experience instead of advice

- When in doubt or need, pause and silently ask for guidance

- Decide together the parameters of confidentiality

- Speak from you own experience and beliefs rather than speaking for others

- Open and close the circle by hearing each voice (Check-ins and check-outs)

Circle meetings are excellent places for people to learn positive lessons about power. Circles rotate leadership so that each member gets a chance to experience the role of the leader. There is no hierarchy, only interactive, distributed leadership and accountability.

Create your own Circle of Compassion

Invite your friends, colleagues and acquaintances and make sure to ask that people make a commitment to working within the circle to achieve the group objective. We encourage you to focus on the twelve critical areas of concern mentioned above by making them your rallying points, thereby participating in the preparatory process leading up to the 5th UN World Conference on Women in 2005. Appeal to all women and men of goodwill and to all those in power to focus on the promised Beijing goals.

Women with experience in circle methodology can bring circles into communities. Each new circle represents one more on the way toward the 'Millionth Circle', which is a symbolic number, contributing to change commonly-held perceptions of what matters and what is possible. Experienced circle facilitators are available to help you start off in organizing your own circle.

You may wish to add a spiritual dimension to your Circle

A prayer-meditation component in your circle connects members to each other at the soul level, deepens the group, reveals what really matters to the members, and brings spirit into the circle and through the circle into everyday life. When opening the circle, use a go-around fashion to encourage each person to share briefly what is closest to their heart and what is most important in their lives at that particular moment. To close the circle, acknowledge any situation that was discussed and in need of a remedy and have the circle give it its blessings. Close with a final go-around. It is important to provide ample time for silent prayer or contemplation before closing. Each person is free to pray in his/her own way. Circles are not intended to replace already-established religious practices.

Tell us about your Circle(s) of Compassion ( and we will publish your activities in our Global Newsletters and on our web site


WWSF wishes to acknowledge all the pioneers in circle work who have helped bring this idea whose time has come to the world, such as the Chakra Circle, the Circle of Seven, The Women's International Dialogue, The Millionth Circle phenomena, PeerSpirit, Women Circling the Earth, Calling the Circle: The First and Future Culture, Visualizing Alternative Structures Video, and others. In addition we honor all the wise women everywhere, young and old, who continue to gather in circles as a way to bring the spirit of community closer together in their circle of hearts.

To order CIRCLE CALENDAR (s) 2003 contact.

Workshop Report

Report of a training workshop
"how to create circles of compassion"

Lausanne, Switzerland, 20 April 2002

Following the announcement last year by the Women's World Summit Foundation WWSF, partner of the Millionth Circle movement (, to introduce in Switzerland and throughout its global NGO network a methodology for the promotion and seeding of circles of compassion in order to cultivate equality, economic justice, sustainable livelihoods, prevention of abuse, learning to forgive and live in peace, among others, a first presentation was organized on 20 April 2002 (in French) by WWSF and Vivre Autrement Workshops VA which has included a training on circles of compassion on its list of regular workshops offered to the public.

Elly- (WSSF) and Pierre Pradervand (VA) ran the first circle presentation/workshop which was a moving and even sacred experience. Participants numbered 12 women and 3 men, plus the two presenters.

After an initial presentation by each participant, participants were asked to share their reasons for attending and what they expected from the workshop. The answers ranged from concern with the destruction of the environment and for the future of our children, the erosion of basic human values, concern for economic justice, how to end suffering and gain a deeper understanding of compassion, how to learn to communicate on a deeper level, avoid being a victim, open one's heart and be compassionate, learn to forgive, love and share more, to name some of them.

After introducing the basic rules of the workshop (everyone is master and student at the same time, the absence of hierarchy, to speak in the first person, the workshop being a co-creation with all participants, etc.), a variety of exercises in small groups was proposed. Topics covered included e.g. true listening (e.g. empathy compared to sympathy and related ideas developed by psychologist Carl Rogers, as well as a few key concepts relating to circles, dialogue and communication.

Elly then presented the basic approach and guidelines for creating circles in general and circles of compassion in particular (or women's circles, the method is exactly the same, only the name and the concerns change, plus the presence of men). The approach can be summarized in the following points:

- Create the circle as a sacred space with absolutely no judgement of persons

- Each one speaks in turn - no one interrupts. The circles have adopted the American-Indian idea of the "talking stick": i.e. each person who speaks holds a stick (or other object: we had a beautifully engraved egg-shaped African stone, which symbolised the weight of the speaker's word) and as long as a person holds it, no one else can speak or interrupt

- Creating a space where everyone is really listened to, including those who are not used to speaking in public

- Really speaking from the heart

- Participants share their experiences, they do not offer advice

- Leadership in the circle is always shared between all participants

- Whatever is shared remains confidential.

- Open and close the circle by hearing each voice.

Elly presented the work by Jean Bolen, Beverly Engel and Christina Baldwin. Pierre emphasized the importance of seeing the circle as principle and form and its sacredness, which has been resonating in us for eons. Circles in general and especially circles of compassion open people up to honest communication without barriers. In such circles, one listens and speaks from the heart.

Participants discussed in small groups the different ways they communicate, what communication means to them and the mechanisms we have internalized to judge what we hear. Feedback was put on a flip chart and discussed. Texts on listening were shared and read.

Another topic we introduced was shadow and projection often emerging in circle work and how to deal with it. By projection is meant to project an aspect of oneself (positive or negative) on another person or group. Once this mechanism is recognized it can become a precious tool to reclaim those parts, which have been denied.

Other aspects presented included tools to create circles and/or circles of compassion, i.e. where to meet, number of people to invite, frequency and length of meetings, rotating leadership, centering the circle, creating a center piece and deciding on a talking stick or object, ensuring that participants have a commitment to attend regularly, as well as the importance of creating a sacred space, security, and the quality of the first circle meeting.

In the later part of the afternoon, the group decided to apply the notions, which had been presented. We moved from theory to practice and built a center piece with a candle and talking object. It was really a rare experience. Participants decided on the theme of forgiveness. The quality of listening was extraordinary, the love between participants just flowed so easily - as well as the humour and laughter at times, despite the "seriousness" of the topic. It was for both a truly sacred experience. Participants unanimously decided to meet again mid June to spend a whole afternoon deepening the sharing on forgiveness.

The whole experience was profoundly spiritual. We are excited by what we see as the potential of this kind of approach to create grassroots community circles for collective responsibility about the state of our planet and develop the capacity for compassion in the world. More and more we experience that people are looking for new forms of spiritual connectedness, and also for new ways to meet. We will be doing a lot of listening to try and hear where such an experience might lead us and feel grateful for having been able to launch this first very modest workshop of empowering people to create circles of compassion in their busy lives. Long live the Circle movement.

Calendar 2003

Pre-Order Your 2003
Millionth Circle Calendar Now!

Don't Miss Out. Last year the 2002 calendar sold out and many orders could not be filled.


As always, the calendar is beautifully designed. Combining inspirational art and text with its unique round shape, the calendar embodies a new way of thinking in order to bring healing to our injured planet. This year's theme is the act of rediscovering ourselves and the Earth as holy. Join us as we illuminate the connections between the human race and Mother Earth. Join us as we create circles of compassion, forgiveness, and enlightenment.

Remember, The Millionth Circle 2003 Calendar is a fund-raiser for GEA and the Millionth Circle project.


It supports the Millionth Circle website, database, conferences and presentations at the UN and other venues. It also supports the international circle of dedicated volunteers who help promote, nurture, mentor and connect circles around the world. For more information go to

Please help by ordering now.

For orders of 9 calendars or less the cost per calendar is $15
For orders of 10 or more the cost per calendar is $13.50
For orders of 20 or more the cost per calendar is $12.00


Download the order form in MS Word document ( or print this page and send the form with check or money order payable to:

Global Education Associates
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Shipping and handling charges within the US are $3.50 for the first calendar and $.50 for each additional calendar. S/H charges outside the US are $8.00 for the first calendar and $1.00 for each additional calendar.

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WWSF is grateful for all contributions towards its empowerment programs for rural women in the world

Sponsors for the Prize for women's creativity in rural Life 2001 include:

Le Canton et la Ville de Gen, Soci Borel & Barbey, Aport International de Gen, SGS, Dnce SA, Ministry of Foreing Affairs-Principality of Liechtenstein, H Beau-Rivage Gen, Banque Pictet, Solange Demole, Marie-Louis Parreil-Younes, Karin Jensen, Catherine Bonnard, Mr. And Seiler, Bernard Jaeger, Albrecht Fontana, Jacques Maire, Ratio AG, Commune de Cologny, The Stable Foundation, the World Family Foundation, the Gabriela Somary Fund, Lady Michelham, Elly and Pierre Pradervand, Maria Penaloza, Margaret Fulton, Elinore Detiger.

Sponsors for World Rural Women's Day - 15 October campaign 2001 include:

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC, World Food Program, International Fund for Agricultural Development, and the Wise Women/Global Network. Their contributions made it possible to reach out and mail over 15,000 campaign packets to rural community leaders and relevant organisations and institutions including the media around the world.


Why a World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse?

Together, let us create a culture of prevention

Child abuse, especially sexual abuse, is a universal and alarming problem and increased attention and efficient protection skills and prevention measures are necessary at family-, local-, national- and international level.

After a long tradition of silence, sexual child abuse is being more and more denounced and becoming a public and political topic.

Alerting Governments and civil society organizations to play a more active role in the promotion of and respect for the rights of the child (article 19 and 34* of the Convention on the Rights of the Child), and contribute to the prevention of child abuse, WWSF launched in 2000 the World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse, a Day to be commemorated every 19 November in synergy with the anniversary of the International Day for the rights of the child (20 November) which has as its objective to be a rallying point around the issue of child abuse and the need for urgent effective prevention programs.

To make the Day a global call for action, WWSF launched in 2001 an international NGO coalition that marks the World Day with appropriate events and activities to focus on and increase prevention education.

* Art. 19 - States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.

* ART. 34 - States Parties undertake to protect the child from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. For these purposes, States Parties shall in particular take all appropriate national, bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent:

(a) the inducement or coercion of a child to engage in any unlawful sexual activity;
(b) the exploitative use of children in prostitution or other unlawful sexual practices;
(c) the exploitative use of children in pornographic performances and materials.

Why a NGO Coalition to mark World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse?

The main purpose of the NGO Coalition is to contribute to the creation of a culture of prevention of child abuse and form a global partnership network to raise awareness, mobilise public opinion and action, and disseminate prevention programs.

To join the Coalition, members commit to mark the Day with local and national events and activities; mention the Day in their publications and on their web sites; distribute posters, educational programs and information; create partnerships with local organisations working for the promotion and protection of the rights of the child, alert the press and radio stations, inform local authorities of the existence of the Day and planned activities, and lobby governments for official proclamation of the Day as a National Day.

In 2001, the international NGO coalition united 149 organizations in more than 60 countries. Each one marked the Day with either local or national activities and events. The different activities are compiled in a published impact report. To view the report, click here (ACROBAT).

We encourage international and national organizations to join and support the Coalition. There is no membership fee to join.

What people say about the Day

Extracts from messages:

Kofi Anan, United Nations Secretary General, " ... would have liked to participate in this important event which will focus on the prevention of child abuse and the rights of the child. He welcomes your advocacy on behalf of the world's children... ". (2001)

Dr. Juan Miguel, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography " ... It is largely thanks to the work of NGOs that the issue of child abuse is now on the international agenda... We must continue the fight in order to ensure that this concern results in concrete changes... On this day of commitment and reflection... I invite you to continue to provide me with information, which will enable me to carry out my mandate, and intervene to help children... "

" ... Unicef supports all initiatives that sensitize public opinion and civil society and supports prevention programs as well as the reintegration of survivors into their families, schools and society... Unicef thanks WWSF once more for its commitment to promoting protection of abuse and rights of the child programs..."

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do we need a World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse?

Every year over 1 million children are pulled into the sex trade. Almost daily we hear of new child abuses, and even employees of respected international institutions have been found to be involved in sexual abuse. It is clear that an intelligent and effective approach to this problem consists in increasing prevention measures and protective skills, raising public awareness and encourageing denunciation of abuse.

What difference does the World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse make?

In 2001, 150 NGOs joined an international coalition to mark the Day with public awareness campaigns and prevention education. More than 100 organizations sent reports of local and national events organized on 19 November. They are part of an emerging movement for the creation of a culture of prevention. The Republic of Costa Rica is the first country that declared by Presidential Decree 19 November a National Day.

Geneva Event 2001

Press Release on the occasion of World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse

The Women's World Summit Foundation WWSF launched the World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse on 19 November 2000 (a date to create a synergy with the anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child) in response to an unacceptable announcement in a respected Swiss daily paper of a pedophile network having created an international day for pedophilia. Sexual abuse and exploitation of children and youth being a universal and complex problem which defies both simplistic analysis and easy answers, the World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse aims above all to create a culture of prevention around the world.

At its launching message and inauguration in 2000, WWSF disseminated Dr. Sherryll Kraizer's educational program "Protecting Children from Abuse". This public briefing has circulated the world and has been translated into many national and local languages and is now used in many schools. It seems to fill a need for parents to give their children basic skills to fight off sexual aggressors. However, such programs alone are not an absolute guarantee against child abuse and increased prevention information and education is needed to reinforce the promotion of existing programs, improve circulation of information, and create new strategies for action.

Nevertheless, efforts to speed up prevention do come up against difficulties, e.g. the world scale of the problem, the vulnerability of children, the lack of political will to address this issue on a regular basis, the power of vested interests, including financial interest, etc.

The issue of child abuse is too complex to be addressed from a single perspective. No one group has the expertise to address all the issues of children who have been abused. Inter-sectoral and integrated approaches as well as joint actions and networks that maintain a broad ranging perspective are necessary.

In the face of such challenges and to increase cooperation, experience sharing and resource dissemination, WWSF launched in 2001 an international NGO coalition for the dignity of children. The NGO coalition, keystone of the World Day campaign, brought together 149 NGOs from 60 countries that committed to mark the Day with significant local or national activities and events.

Encouraged by civil society's response in recognition of the necessity for such a World Day, and stressing that more about abuse prevention and protection needs to be done, WWSF is reinforced in its commitment to continue with the annual campaign and disseminate innovative approaches and information on Internet to the benefit of coalition members and the NGO child rights community in general.

In Geneva, several events marked the commemoration of the World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse

A public demonstration in front of the United Nations

The official remittance of the "Petition Fusterie" to UNICEF demanding urgent intervention by the UN, governments and the media in order to ensure urgent implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Petition was launched in the year 2000 and generated 17,000 signatures from around the world.

A press conference, followed by a public debate. Elly Pradervand succeeded in bringing together a large number of personalities from diverse backgrounds that agreed to address the media on the World Day and underlined the importance of prevention measures and efficient protection skills against child abuse. Interventions also included the urgent need to adequately finance prevention programs as a society can be evaluated by the way it treats its children

A commemoration at the Temple de la Fusterie in the evening with speakers and music to close the Day.

Poster/Open Letter

2002 Poster and Open Letter


OPEN LETTER to Coalition Members & Partners marking
World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse - 19 November 2002

Creating a culture of prevention

Dear Coalition Members and Partners,

For the third year, the Women's World Summit Foundation WWSF * invites you to organize pertinent activities to mark World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse on 19 November. Last year 149 organizations joined the international NGO coalition created to mark the Day. We thank all those who sent us activity reports which are published on the web (Children's Section).

This year, in order to increase efficiency, we encourage you to not only join the international coalition to mark the Day, but to create national coalitions linking relevant groups and actors. Aim: to foster collaboration and strengthen your community impact, share prevention measures, protection skills and rehabilitation programs, and above all, highlight the new promises made by Heads of State and Government at the UN General Assembly Special Session on Children (UNGASS, New York, May 2002). The key is partnership and you are powerful catalysts for change. No single organisation, by itself, can provide the ongoing research and strategies required to create a culture of prevention. Coalitions outweigh what one individual member cannot achieve, and serve as a platform for focused action by all interested partners; they bring together a range of expertise, enhance the capacity of individual members by sharing knowledge, skills and experiences. Coalitions increase public awareness of the need for effective prevention measures and help mobilize funds for your activities. To help you build coalitions, see instructions on our web site.

Child abuse includes sexual abuse, physical, emotional, medical and educational neglect; child pornography and on-line solicitation, sale of children, using a child as a servant or soldier; hitting, hurting, bullying, ridiculing and manipulating a child, and leaving a child without supervision. You may wish to focus your activities and events on any of these issues and condemn all forms of abuse and violations that endanger the lives of children as stated in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.


- Empower NGOs and networks at national and community levels

- Present them the opportunity to organize joint activities for social mobilisation on the World Day

- Increase and disseminate widely education on abuse prevention and protection skills

- Remind Governments regularly of their new promises to "protect children from all forms of abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence" signed at the UN Special Session on Children (May 2002). The World Day provides you an opportunity to remind your Heads of State to walk their talk via the "Walk your Talk" postcard campaign (see Internet:

- Strengthen partnerships with your Government for collaborative action and lobby them to declare 19 November a National Day and to use the Day to convey a message to the children about their new commitment to protect them from abuse, exploitation and violence,

- Bring information to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, about violations of concern to his mandate and knowledge of sexual abuse and exploitation in your respective country. To do so, consult

- Invite the media (both print and electronic) to help increase awareness about prevention of child abuse and cover regular prevention messages including TV-spots and interviews.


Ensure that the diversity of social, economic and cultural contexts are reflected in all your programs. Declare community ownership and responsibility in all aspects, such as financing, administration, training, etc. Allow children to be involved where appropriate and to have a voice. Assimilate new information and prevention measures without jeopardizing local values and language. Identify organisations and groups that will mark the World Day with you.


Your impact report is vital to us and we thank you in advance for sending us valuable information and insights into ways you use to prevent child abuse. A summary of reports received is published on the web for others to learn from your participatory approach on how to empower civil society to prevent child abuse.


We invite you to continue to use the public briefing "Protecting children from abuse" (courtesy Dr. Sherryl Kraizer) as a regular community education program which can be downloaded ( or ordered via Email ( For your information, the Geneva Public Education Department (Switzerland) has recently elaborated a new workshop for children aged 7-9 (in French only) "Promotion de la santt Prntion des abus sexuels" (Email:


Permission to reproduce the World Day logo for information purposes is freely granted provided that the names of the organizer and sponsors are mentioned. Permission to use the logo for fundraising purposes requires a written request addressed to WWSF, including event program and budget. WWSF cannot be held responsible for any legal, financial and administrative liabilities which may result from local or national activities organized by coalition members.


WWSF thanks the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and "Vivre Autrement " for their financial contributions, and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography for his support.


The Women's World Summit Foundation WWSF * is the global organizer of the World Day. For correspondence, write to World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse c/o WWSF P.O.Box 2001, 1211 Geneva 1, Switzerland - Tel: (..41 22) 738.66.19 Fax: (..41 22) 738.82.48 Email: Internet: (children's section) Bank relations: UBS SA, P.O.Box, 1211 Geneva 20, Account No. 279-C8112823.0

* WWSF, an international, non profit, non-confessional NGO and empowerment/advocacy network (with United Nations ECOSOC and UNFPA consultative status), works for the implementation of women's and children's rights and convenes annual awards and campaigns for rural women and children. WWSF is member of the NGO group for the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the NGO committee on Unicef, the Children's Caucus, the NGO subgroup on sexual exploitation of children, the NGO working group on girls, CRIN and ISPCAN.
Copyright © 2002 Women's World Summit Foundation

2001 Poster and Open Letter to NGO's


Open Letter 2001

Dear Coalition Members and Campaign Partners:

The Women’s World Summit Foundation WWSF* takes this opportunity to thank all 149 organizations from 60 countries that have answered the call to join the international coalition and expressed commitment to mark the World Day for Prevention of Child abuse on 19 November 2001 with appropriate activities and events to call forth a culture of prevention around the world. Broad based coalitions are more and more recognized to be one of the most energetic parts of civil society and coalition members are important touchstones for change, creating movement, awareness, life, energy, and ignite the spirit of human dignity. The problem of child abuse and exploitation, especially sexual, is an alarming universal problem, which needs increased local, national and international attention and ongoing effective prevention and protection measures.

As coalition members you are part of a growing global partnership network engaged in different activities including education, advocacy, empowerment, prevention, protection and rehabilitation programs, children’s rights activities, advice, hot-line services and participation in international fora. Together you are making the World Day a discernable moment in time for increased public awareness and mobilization. The names of your organizations are featured on the global poster to give visibility to your participation and on our web site (19 November). Your national programs for 19 and 20 November 2001 will also be added on the web as we hear about them from you.


International coalition members commit to

Participate in creating a culture of prevention by convening annual events and joint activities to mark the World Day, in synergy with the anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (20 November)

Empower communities to take responsibility for the future of their children by teaching them protective skills

Develop local expertise and alternative opportunities for children in vulnerable situations and provide protective filters and guidelines for the good use of the Internet

Be a platform for information sharing and awareness raising about effective prevention-, protection- and rehabilitation programs and activities in your communities

Innovate and continue to improve partnership approaches for prevention and protection of child abuse and neglect

Help create the political will and remind Governments of their ratification of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, especially Article 34

Lobby governments for official proclamation of the World Day as a National Day, to enact legislation and strengthen appropriate mechanisms

Increase outreach at a national, regional and international level including the media

Working Principles For Coalition Members

Empower organizations and the media to address the problem of sexual abuse with local interventions and communications. There are no standard prevention services that can be applied everywhere. The diversity of social, economic and cultural contexts has to be reflected in all programs

Support local projects that catalyse change, i.e. drama, dance, music, puppets, drums, story telling, dialogue circles, etc.

Declare community ownership and responsibility for your local events in all aspects, such as financing, administration, training, etc.

Strengthen local moral values and allow children to be involved in programs where appropriate and to have a voice

Assimilate new information and prevention programs without jeopardizing local values and language

Identify other organisations and religious groups that will take on prevention of child abuse and rehabilitation programs


Prevention: Primary programs aimed at the general population include education and awareness raising. Secondary programs targeted at those considered at higher risk, because of poverty, ethnicity, separation from families, etc. and other programs that work with children and young people who have already been exposed to abuse and that would prevent further abuse.

Protection: is linked to prevention and refers to programs protecting children from abuse or from further harm once abuse has occurred. It can include revising judicial systems and sensitivity for children in the judicial systems.

Rehabilitation: refers to services that assist children to move on from their experiences of abuse.

Educational Briefing

WWSF disseminates a public educational briefing "Protecting children from abuse" as of the age of 3 (courtesy Dr. Sherryl Kraizer) (in four languages), which WWSF launched worldwide on the occasion of inaugurating the World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse - 19 November 2000. The program can be ordered via Email or downloaded via Internet (19 November).

Use of Logo

Permission to use the logo of the World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse for information purposes is granted provided that the names of implementing- and sponsor organizations are mentioned. Permission for fundraising purposes requires a written request addressed to WWSF, including event program and budget. WWSF cannot be held responsible for any legal, financial and administrative liabilities, which might result from local activities by coalition members.

Impact Reports

Feedback on local and national activities and events organized around the Day are highly appreciated; they provide valuable additional information and insights into ways of how to create a culture of prevention of child abuse upon which future interventions and activities can be built. A summary of impact reports received (programs, press releases, news clippings and photographs) will be published on the web site for other actors to learn from participatory approaches to empower local civil society.

Coalition Members

International Coalition Members who committed to mark with activities and events the World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse - 19 November 2001

149 organizations worldwide

International Organisations

- Action Against Trafficking & Sexual Exploitation of Children - ATSEC India

- Africans Unite Against Child Abuse

- Centre for International Peace building

- Femmes et Enfants du Monde

- Foundation Appeal of the Nobel Peace Laureates for Children

- Institut International des Droits de l'Enfant - IDE

- International Alliance of Women

- International Bureau for Children's Rights

- International Council for the Future of the Children of Tchernobyl

- International Commission for Justice and Peace for All Creation - ICJPC

- International Council of Nurses - ICN

- International Council of Women

- International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse & Neglect - ISPCAN

- Peace Child International

- Soroptimist International

- World Association of Early Childhood Educators

- World Movement of Citizens to protect Innocence in Danger

- World Union of Catholic Women's Organisations - WUCWO

- Women's World Summit Foundation - WWSF

National organisations



- Association pour la Dnse des Droits de la Femme - ADDF

- Ligue Burundaise pour l'Enfance et la Jeunesse - LIBEJEUN


- Centre de Recherche sur les Questions Internationales et de Dloppement -CERDRAA

- Comitational d'Action pour les Droits de l'Enfant et de la Femme - CADEF

- Dnse des Enfants International- DEI Cameroun

- Fration Camerounaise des Associations, Centres et Clubs UNESCO

- United Action for Children


- Association Jeunesse Anti-Clivage - AJAC

D.R. Congo

- Action-Femmes pour les Enfants Niget Abus- AFPENA

- Centre Chren pour la Protection de la Flore et de la Faune - CCPFF

- Eglise RrmPresbytenne au Congo, Jeunes Chrens Rrmpour le Dloppement

- Fondation pour le Dloppement Stichting Bambale


- Les Enfants pour le ProgrIntal - EPI

- Mouvement pour l'Enfant Congolais - MEC


- African Peace Network - APNET INT'L

- Child Warefare Foundation

- Defence for Children International- DCI Ghana

- Right for Women's Network

Ivory Coast

- Volontaires du Dloppement rural


- Economic and Development Centre - ECODEV

- Learning and Development Kenya - LDK

- Mother's Rural Care for Aids Orphans


- Enda Tiers Monde-Mali


- Association Bouregreg

- Forum International des Femmes


- Child Defense Foundation - Chidef

- Christian Care Foundation

- Civic Education Foundation

- Peace Child Nigeria

- Youngstars Foundation

R. Mauritius

- Centre d'Education et de Dloppement pour les Enfants Mauriciens - CEDEM

Sierra Leone

- Agrogaliness Farm Farmers Association

South Africa

- Resources Aimed at Preventing Child Abuse & Neglect - RAPCAN

The Gambia

- Shelter for Children


- Organisation des Volontaires Acteurs du Dloppement-Action Plus - OVAD-AP




- Open Family Australia

- PR & Events Pty Ltd


- Azerbaijan Women and Development Centre


- Dus - Bangladesh

- National Federation of Youth Organizations in Bangladesh

- Peace for All


- Center for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect and Dept. of Pediatrics


- City Montessori School

- Extensive Rural Poor Development Organisation

- Indian Committee of Youth Organizations - ICYO

- Indian Institute for Peace, Disarmament and Environmental Protection

- Li Environmentica

- Sambhav Social Service Organization

- Save the Children-India

- Society for Underprivileged People - SOUP

- Stop Trafficking Oppression and Prostitution of children and women - STOP

- The Concerned for Working Children

- Trust for Rural Upliftment and Empowerment - TRUE

- Youth Welfare Club (R)


- Indonesian Center for Education Study and Advocacy of Children - PERISAI >


- Lebanese Council to Resist Violence Against Woman >


- Malaysian Coalition for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse


- Miran Education Society

- Rozan, Aangan Program

Papua New Guinea

- Village Development Trust>


- Bahay Tuluyan

- Childhope-Asia, Inc.

- Grassroots Women Empowerment Center, Inc.

- People's Recovery, Empowerment and Development Assistance Foundation, Inc. - PREDA

- Rep. of Vanuatu

- Live in Vanuatu Everday - LIVE

Sri Lanka

- SECDO Women Development Centre

- Worldview International Foundation



- Casa de la Mujer

- Grupo "Desde el pie"

- Hermanas Adoratrices Esclavas del Santmo Sacramento y de la Caridad

- Indeso-mujer (Instituto de estudios juridico sociales de la mujer)

- ONG Mujer Siglo XXI - Centro 'Nuevo Amanecer'

- Red de Madres por los Derechos de Nuestros Hijos


- Asociacifecto contra el Maltrato Infantil

Costa Rica

- Defensa de los NiInternacional - DNI Costa Rica

- Casa Alianza

- Fundaciumanitaria Costaricense (Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation)

- Fundacianiamor


- Instituto Ecuatoriano de las Naciones Unidas de Investigaciones y Capacitacie la Mujer (IECAIM-INSTRAW)


- Asociaciivil Pro Ni Nientroamericanos - PRONICE


- Help & Shelter


- BAR - Profesionistas por una Vida Digna, S.C.

- Centro Universitario de la Costa de la Universidad de Guadalajara

- Fundaciest, A.C

- Red por los Derechos de la Infancia en Mco

- Yaocihuatl A.C.


- Centro de Investigaciones de la Realidad de Americalatina


- Base Educativa y Comunitaria de Apoyo - BECA

- FundaciEDAI - Centro de Asistencia Integral

- GLOBAL...Infancia


- Centro de Investigaci Estudios Econos, Educativos, Sociales y Culturales - CIESCU

- Instituto de Comunicaci Medio Ambiente - ICMA

- Red Nacional de Promocie la Mujer - RNPM

Trinidad & Tobago

- Trinidad and Tobago Coalition Against Domestic Violence


- Coalition for Children

- Global Youth Action Network

- Pathways to Peace - The World Peace Prayer Society

- Performing and Fine Artists for World Peace

- Sage Project

- The Simon Wiesenthal Center

- Women of Vision


- Red de Prevenci Atenci la Violencia Sexual en Ni Niy Adolescentes



- Prntion von sexuellem Missbrauch und Gewalt (Prevention of Child Abuse and Violence)




- NGO MiRTa, Split

Czech Republic

- Stredisko Pomoci Detem a Rodinam - STREP (Center for Assistance to Children and Families)


- Association La Mouette

- L'Ange Bleu

- STOP-Association de soutien aux victimes d'abus sexuels


- The Smile of the Child>


- Lobby fschenrechte e. V. (Lobby for Human Rights)

- M.E.L.I.N.A Inzestkinder/Menschen aus VerGEWALTigung e.V.>

- United Evangelical Mission


- Polish Forum for Child Rights


- Associa de Mulheres Contra a Violencia

- Confedera Nacional de Ac Sobre Trabalho Infantil - CNASTI

Republic of Macedonia

- First Children's Embassy of the World-Medjashi - FCEWM


- Voronezh Regional Department of Russian Children Fund - VRDRCF


- Child Protection Centre and National Gender Centre


- South East European Child Rights Action Network - SEECRAN


- Kvinnoforum, The Foundation of Women's Forum


- Association C.T.A.S (Centre de Consultation pour les Victimes d'Abus Sexuels)

- Comitnternational pour la Dignite l'Enfant - CIDE

- Fondation FREDI (Fondation pour la Recherche d'Enfants Disparus, par l'Internet)

The Netherlands

- Philippine Network of Rural Development Institutes, Inc. - PhilNet-RDI


- Women for Women's Human Rights


- The African Families Foundation


- SOS Hotline and Center for Girls

Membership Registration

- Download the registration form -

- Print it

- Please send this form signed and dated to

Women's World Summit Foundation WWSF
P.O. Box 2001 - 1211 Geneva 1 - Switzerland
Fax (+41 22) 738 82 48

Coalition Impact

Coalition Impact 2001

Activities and events organized by international NGO coalition members



I - The Women’s World Summit Foundation

- Presentation
- Message
- Program to mark the World Day
- Pictures and newspapers clippings

doc (757Kb) -
pdf (118 Kb) -

II - List of international coalition members

III - Activities and events organized by coalition members

- Africa

doc (783Kb) -
pdf (161 Kb) -

- Asia and Pacific

doc (778Kb) -
pdf (142 Kb) -

- The Americas

doc (764Kb) -
pdf (158 Kb) -

- Europe

doc (785Kb) -
pdf (164 Kb) -

Photo Gallery

United Nations (Geneva) - 19 November



Togo, Nigeria and D.R.Congo - 19 November

SOS Enfants Dt- Togo


Christian Care Foundation - Nigeria


Action Femmes pour les Enfants Nigls et Abus- D.R.Congo


Kenya and Zambia - 19 November

Mother's Rural Care for Aids Orphans - Kenya


Learning and Developing - Kenya


Young Christian Education Club of Zambia - Zambia


India and Peru - 19 November

Extensive Rural Poor Development Organization - India


Farmers Development Agency - India





To help end sexual abuse and exploitation and educate to prevent such practices


The World Fund for the Dignity of Children was created by the Women's World Summit Foundation in August 1996 as a response to the urgent call for action launched at the first World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (Stockholm, August 1996).


To contribute in the eradication of sexual child abuse and educate to prevent such practices; support the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and empower children to claim their right to dignity.

The Fund supports annually NGOs, grassroots associations and groups working on prevention and rehabilitation of sexually abused children.

Project selection

Applications for funding are examined by a coordinating committee, which annually selects relevant prevention and rehabilitation programs based on strict criteria. The amount dispersed is dependent on contributions received from Fund members. An activity report is published annually.

Your donations can be sent either directly to
WWSF, P.O.Box 2001,1211 Geneva 1

Or transferred to the bank account at
UBS SA, P.O. BOX, 1211 Geneva 20, Switzerland. Account No. 279-C8112823.0

* A partnership project with Wise Women/Global Woman Network (UK).

Membership Registration

- Download the registration form -

- Print it

- Please send this form signed and dated to

Women's World Summit Foundation WWSF
P.O. Box 2001 - 1211 Geneva 1 - Switzerland
Fax (+41 22) 738 82 48

Application Criteria for Sponsorship

Eligibility conditions

Organizations that solicit sponsorships must imperatively

- Be active in prevention programs and/or rehabilitation work of sexually abused children

- Present comprehensive documentation on their organization (statutes, mission, programs, partners and budget)

- Supply comprehensive information on activities and on the prevention programs and/or rehabilitation project (goal, target group, place of implementation, date of project start and duration, total amount requested)

- Indicate if the organization has already received financial aid from other sources for the project submitted to the Fund for the Dignity of Children

- Ensure that the application letter is accompanied by two or three letters of recommendation from third parties.

Materials must demonstrate the organization's capacity and track record to carry out rehabilitation and prevention work.

Selected grant projects will be announced in July of each year and the organizations and their project are presented in our Global Newsletter "Empowering Women and Children".

Applications for sponsorship must be received no later than 1 March of each year and be addressed to

World Fund for the Dignity of Children
Program Administrator
c/o Women's World Summit Foundation
P.O.Box 2001, 1211 Geneva 1, Switzerland
Tel: (+41 22) 738.66.19 Fax: (+41 22) 738.82.48
E-mail: Web site:

Activity Report

Activity Report 2001

1) PEOPLE FOR A NEW LOVE FOUNDATION, Vichuquen 263, Santiago, Chile

This non-profit charity organization works since 1993 for the rehabilitation of children living in dangerous situations and providing spiritual, medical, psychological, educational support. The "Rescue of minors involved in sexual trade" is a pioneer program, staffed with volunteers who work in the street. The project assists sexually abused boys below the age of 14 to integrate them into society and create contact with their families, or a substitute family. The aim: to protect minors in all possible situations by introducing personal development, a spiritual dimension, complete social integration, promote laws that protect them from sexual exploitation and that punish perpetrators more severely.


30 Major Dizon St. Industrial Valley, Marikina City, 1800 Metro Manila, Philippines CRIBS is a private non-profit organization, which develops programs for children and families facing special difficulties. It launched in 1986 the "New Beginnings Program" initially for girls involved in prostitution, and then for abused children who are victims of rape, incest and sexual aggression. It offers a nurturing environment to girls aged 7 to 17 who have been sexually abused. The girls follow a two year program in residence which focuses on recovery, including 14 intervention programs such as socialization, self control, the elimination of negative behavior, learning to share experiences, participation in promotion of prevention programs for the sexually abused, advice, and training in basic skills including cooking, cleaning, drawing, etc. as well as physical, cultural and sports activities.

2000 Activity Report

In its fourth year of activities and outreach, the World Fund for the Dignity of Children used its energy and funds to redesign and publish a new brochure in four languages which includes a public briefing on "Protecting Children from Abuse" as the educational arm of the Fund, as well as the launch of a WORLD DAY FOR PREVENTION OF CHILD ABUSE on 19 November.

1999 Activity Report

1) Children's Human Rights Center of Albania (CRCA)
Kutia Postare 1738, Tirana

A non-governmental, non political and non profit organization established to protect children's right in Albania. Their main priorities are child abuse, child prostitution, child labor, and street children. Since there is no center for abused children in Albania, the CRCA feels that the establishment of such a Center for Counseling and a Hot Line will improve the psychological situation of those children who have been abused.

2) Farmers Development Agency
240 First Cross, Chickballapur-562101 Karnataka, India

FDA works with bonded laborers on advocates for their release and rehabilitation. It conducts trainings and networking activities and has identified 242 Bonded laborers among them 62 children. FDA works to end this outrage against humanity and supplements universal efforts to end slavery and servitude. We received their 1999 budget and appeal to the Dignity Fund for help to increase their public awareness campaigns.

3) Comit'Echange et d'Information sur la Femme et le Dloppement CEIFD/SUD-KIVU
B.P. 3762 Bujumbura II, Burundi

CEIFD is a women's organization committed to ending ignorance and empowering sustainable development. They conduct a project on the prevention and rehabilitation of sexually abused children in the region of Uvira and in Fizi where more than 2000 children have been raped, forced into marriage or abandoned by their families which drove them into prostitution. To help eliminate such exploitation permanent education of children and their families is needed to guarantee a future for these children and honor their right to social integration.

4) Barefoot School for Street Children/Orphan Trust Fund
P.O.Box 70235, Ndola, Zambia

The Barefoot School is especially geared to teach children to work hard and to become self-reliant. The statistics point a very disturbing picture for the year 2000 when the number of orphaned children will have risen to 1'600'000 in Zambia alone. We simply cannot imagine the impact this might have for the future of the country. One boy wrote a letter to thank his teacher for teaching him skills, because he can now live by honest means, and not by stealing. WWSF supported the school already in 1997.

1998 Activity Report

1. Jordan River Children Project - Jordan River Foundation
PO Box 2943, Amman, Jordan

Established to effectively advocate for the rights of children in Jordan and to protect them from any form of violence or abuse, The Jordan River Children Project through tangible services such as education, raising awareness and community participation, works for rehabilitation and reunification of families that have suffered from child abuse; the establishment of a nationwide coordination effort to prevent and treat child abuse and neglect; the establishment of a child protection center and temporary shelters for victims of abuse; the lobbying for amendments in current laws that do not provide sufficient protection for children; for launching public awareness campaigns; conducting research into understanding the scope of the problem in Jordan, the development of innovative techniques pertaining to identification, and for the training of legal, health and education professionals working on the identification of abuse and report procedure. The project also aims to empower children in danger to help them ensure their security and protection.

2. Kitzeh Children's Eco-Village Community
Kitzeh, Kaluzhskaya Oblast, Baryatino rayon, 249650, Russia

Created by Dimitry Morozov, Kitzeh is a rural spiritual community home providing an atmosphere of loving care to orphaned and abandoned children, has been working since 1993 as a non-governmental, non-political, non-confessional and non-commercial partner of foster families. Comprising 25 children and 8 families, which serve as adoptive families for the children, the goal of the community is to grow to accommodate 200 children with 50 families and to replicate Kitzeh in other regions. The community is concerned with consolidating efforts to bring about economic, social, environmental, political and educational changes needed in Russian society. The principles of this developing environment are for all members to learn about life through experience, to live in loving harmony with each other and with nature, to be willing to give unconditionally, to raise children to believe in themselves, and to provide a sound education, thereby creating a positive future for all.

3. Fundaciumanitaria Costerricense
Apartado 458, Santa Ana Centro, Costa Rica

The Foundation was created to provide opportunities to exchange friendship, goods, services and small financing among different cultures, socio-economic classes and language groups. Their commitment is to developing a better quality of life for every individual they work with, while supporting vulnerable populations, thus ensuring greater choices for their futures and fostering greater sensitivity in the provision of services. They are currently supporting more than 30 projects, including recreation programs for orphans, literacy classes, English classes in rural schools, financing and construction of low-income housing, hydroponic gardens for low-income and handicapped populations, academic scholarships and job training for poverty-stricken youth, eco-camps for vulnerable youth, and art therapy for women in prison. Participants are rewarded with a sense of personal enrichment, satisfaction and pleasure at seeing quality of life improve and personally being part of that process.

1997 Activity Report

1) The Barefoot School for Street Children
P.O. Box 70235, Ndola, Zambia

Organized by the International Community of Dominican Missionary Sisters, most of them nurses, who treat the street children for their diseases and make them attend school where volunteers teach. An old shed behind a pig farm was converted into a regular "barefoot boarding school" for street girls. The name is to indicate that these street children can learn without having to buy shoes and a uniform. They can come as they are, barefooted and in rags. They are given meals and can bathe, but they are still free to either stay or leave. The girls also learn sewing and household skills so that even if they cannot continue with academic work, they can find employment as housemaids and can earn their living without falling into prostitution.

2) Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Sexual Abuse (CPTCSA)
37, Tomas Morato Street, Quezon City, Philippines

CPTCSA recognizes the large number of children in Philippines experiencing sexual molestation (approx. 10 million). Only a handful of services reach out to victims of sexual abuse and only a smaller handful of professionals are equipped to provide therapy to victims. CPTCSA is the only organization providing materials focusing on prevention of child sexual abuse and set out to fill the gaps between treatment service available and the number of child victims of sexual abuse in the Philippines by providing services to a total of more than 100 children in their first 2 years of operation. CPTCSA also works towards preventing child sexual abuse so as to remove the need for treatment services by providing competency and conceptual lessons to a total of about 3000 children in private and public schools and social service agencies.

3) Buakhao White Lotus Foundation
P.O. Box 1240, 1211 Geneva 1, Switzerland

Prevention programs in the village Saen Suk (Thailand), shelter today 62 children. They are chosen by the project coordinators on the criteria of family situation: poverty, single parent with many children, parent drug addicts, beaten children or children in danger of being sent to the city for prostitution, distance of school access, children rescued from brothels or factories. The children come from 14 different villages, they learn to live in a community which includes auto-discipline and group work. After their homework, they share household work. They also have recreation activities and receive adequate nutrition. Every child is regularly checked with regard to status of health, hygiene, cleanliness, emotional status, spiritual status, responsibility for and development in their studies and community work.

4) Friends of Street Children Oscar - Fundaciogar Oscar
Cra 3a No. 8-54, Bocagrande, cartagena, Colombia

A non-profit, non-political and non-religious organization, working to improve the lives of street children by offering them an alternative to street life. The project provides a space where street children can clean up, wash their clothes and spend time studying. It is also a place where the children can relax away from the tensions of street life and theft. The program includes providing medical attention and some beds for children who are ill and pregnant. Still in its implementation stage, WWSF is happy to contribute to the blooming of the project.


"Walk your Talk" ä

Annoucement - Press Release

UN Special Session on Children - May 2002

Postcard campaign & Honorary Award 'Walk Your Talk'ä
annually awarded by children in Geneva
Two NGO projects in support of the Global Movement for Children

Children will hold world leaders to account and honor their new commitments

On the occasion of the UN General Assembly Special Session on Children (May 2002), the Women's World Summit Foundation WWSF, in partnership with the International Council of Women and the International School Psychology Association announce of the postcard campaign 'Walk your Talk' and the Honorary Award to Heads of State of the same name. As the well being of children is foremost the responsibility of Heads of State, Governments and other world leaders, the 'walk your talk' campaign has a double aim:

- To remind world leaders via a postcard campaign of the promises made when signing the Declaration and Platform for Action 'A World fit for Children', the official UN document for the decade;

- Acknowledge and celebrate with an annual Honorary Award the Head of State who demonstrates the most significant commitment and results in the realization of the promises made to the children.

'Walk your Talk' postcard campaign

As every child without exception has a right to dignity, security and happiness, we invite NGOs working for the rights of the child, civil society in general and particularly youth organisations to join in the postcard campaign. You are encouraged to address cards (see attached sample) to your Head of State and regularly remind him or her of their commitment made at UNGASS on Children 2002, i.e. Promoting healthy lives; Providing quality education; Protecting against abuse, exploitation and violence; Combating HIV/AIDS.

'Walk your Talk' Honorary Award ä

An Honorary Award will be given by children to a Head of State who keeps the promises made to them. As a first date for such an award November 20th has been retained (International Children's Rights Day). The ceremony will be organized at the United Nations in Geneva, known as a city in service of peace.

Empowering leadership

Children will hold world leaders to account and honor their new commitments

We have a leadership crisis. The world's people, the stake holders, want to see results. The children are waiting and demand performance not only talk.

The minds of leaders have to evolve in order to fulfill the purpose of leadership, namely, solving the problems of today and implementing their commitments while preparing organizations to solve the problems of tomorrow. There is no end state, no final utopia where all problems are solved. Instead we are all engaged in an evolutionary journey in which the complexity of our problems increases at each turn. In today's political climate, the problems we face have serious consequences and our leaders need to be empowered to deliver on their promises, especially those made to children - our future.

An annual Honorary Award is awaiting a world leader who does most to implement the Declaration and Plan of Action adopted at the UN Special Session on Children in New York (May 2002). Achieving a "world first for children", was the aim of the Special Session, which reviewed the promises made 12 years ago at the first World Summit for Children in 1990.

The "Walk your Talk Award" will be given from Geneva in partnership with global non-governmental organizations working for children's rights and development. As of May 2002, the children and youth of the world are invited to regularly send postcards to encourage world leaders to keep their promises.

An increasingly complex set of problems are facing our world leaders and many people and organizations work to evolve them in their problem solving capacities. Our leaders have the power to make massive changes, for the better, and the world community has to empower them to succeed in what they have set out to do.

An appraisal system to challenge implementation of their promises will help identify annually as of 2003, a Head of State who is making the most significant efforts in his/her country in realizing the promised goals and is implementing the Declaration and Plan of Action signed at the UN Special Session on Children (May 2002). The Award is meant to empower them to stay on course and walk their talk.

Postcard Campaign



Back 2

Honorary Award given to Heads of State

(Project in process)

Registration Form ''Walk your Talk''ä Initiatives

- Download the registration form -

- Print it

- Please send this form signed and dated to

Women's World Summit Foundation WWSF
P.O. Box 2001 - 1211 Geneva 1 - Switzerland
Fax (+41 22) 738 82 48

List of Partners with the ''Walk your Talk'' initiatives

- International Council of Women ICW (2001)

- International School Psychology Association (2001)

Build a coalition


National NGO Coalition Building to mark
World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse
19 November 2002

A Guide for NGOs

By: Elly Pradervand, Executive Director
Women's World Summit Foundation WWSF

Introduction: Millions of girls and boys are being used daily in prostitution, pornography, trafficking and other forms of sexual exploitation and abuse. Research has shown that abused and exploited children often become either abused and exploited adolescents and adults or abusers and exploiters themselves.

Purpose of the World Day: Enable organizations and networks to become powerful advocates for the creation of a culture of prevention of child abuse worldwide. Our commitment to combat sexual abuse of children is based upon a firm belief in child rights and the urgent need to better protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse in all countries.

NGO coalitions emerge in reaction to a need. They offer a different process than governments, which they seek to influence by educating and mobilizing the grassroots. By inviting relevant NGOs to create National Coalitions to mark the World Day, WWSF hopes to catalyze an annual dynamic process focusing on prevention education, protection skills and rehabilitation measures for the abused; remind governments of their obligations inherent in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, hold them accountable to their promises made at the UN Special Session on Children (May 2002) where they made an explicit promise to protect against abuse, exploitation and violence, and to generate national media interest for the World Day.

Why create National NGO Coalitions to mark the World Day: To address the increase of child abuse and its negative impact on children and society as a whole and act as a catalyst for change; to bring together organizations that share a common concern for prevention of abuse, protection of children's rights and their well-being, and for effective rehabilitation programs. Coalitions generally outweigh what one individual member cannot achieve and serve as a platform for focused action by all interested partners; coalitions bring together a range of expertise and experiences, enhance the capacity of individual members through the sharing of knowledge, skills and experiences. Coalitions raise awareness in the public at large and also help mobilize funds for child right's activities.

The power of coalition campaigns

The power of coalition campaigns depends on the number of organizations you can reach which in turn depends on the number of people you can employ to work on the campaign, which is in part determined by the amount of funds you can raise to powerfully organize an annual campaign. The use of Internet has dramatically reduced these costs, however, a critical amount of funds is still needed to reach grassroots organizations not yet connected to Internet.

WWSF is inviting governments, foundations, NGOs and civil society at large to sponsor WWSF's annual World Day campaign program to create and increase national NGO coalitions that will use the Day as a rallying point in the creation of a culture of prevention. We are grateful to the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC for their generous support last year to launch the international NGO coalition campaign.

Challenges: Coalitions are sometimes vulnerable to competition between members and disparities in the size and influence of member organizations. This can lead to tensions between coalition members and also to the danger of pedophile infiltration.

Objectives of the workshop include:

- Present the opportunity of organizing annual awareness campaigns on World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse - 19 November;

- Increase education on prevention and protection skills worldwide;

- Empower NGOs and networks at national level, strengthen partnerships with Governments for collaborative action to address and help eliminate sexual abuse of children.

- Create local and national programs for social mobilization and events on the World Day, and invite the media and relevant groups to announce regular prevention messages including TV-spots and interviews;

- Develop Progressive Action Plans and address the situation and rehabilitation of child victims;

- Remind governments and the public at large of their crucial role in protecting children from all forms of abuse and exploitation, especially sexual abuse, as laid down in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, articles 19 and 34;

- Invite coalition members to join the NGO Group for the Convention of the Rights of the Child;

- Bring information to the international treaty body (legally responsible for monitoring the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child) and to UN Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, about violations of children's rights and knowledge of abuse and exploitation in your respective countries.

Outline of steps to implement a national coalition:

- Organize a group with relevant organizations working on prevention of child abuse and exploitation

1) Select a coordinator
2) Expand knowledge of the issue

- Prepare and execute a program

1) Set goals and strategies

. The group should agree on the goals and they should be realistic and attainable.
. Brainstorm or think and talk about ideas from various members.
. Involve all members and eliminate competition and give everyone equal status.

2) Develop a plan and budget

- How will you reach your goals?
- What type of publicity will you use?
- Divide responsibilities
- Set up a reporting system

3) Keep on track

- Keep records on the work and progress and on who is involved
- Make a regular assessment; what works and what doesn't
- Documentation is important
- Recruit new members as you go on
- Give feedback to members
- Publish successes and thank you's
- Thank people in groups for their participation no matter how small
- Network with other organizations; unlikely prospects could end up being valuable participants
- Publish an event impact report with recommendations to the Authorities

Summary: Traits of a well structured coalition

All key players or members are involved
Have a realistic strategy
Have an established shared vision and mission
Agree to disagree
The group makes promises that can be kept
Ownership is built at all levels
Distribute leadership
Changes are made when necessary
Successes are publicized

Basic checklist for forming a coalition

Determine the focus
Find potential coalition members to join in marking the day
Identify your target audience (public at large, schools, NGOs, media)
Initiate a first planning meeting
Ensure follow-up activities, manage eventual changes, include new ideas and members.

Educational Briefing

Protecting Children from Abuse

This educational briefing by Dr. Sherryll Kraizer
is meant for children as of the age of 3


Evidence is mounting that child mistreatment is the precursor to many of the major social problems of today:

- 95% of child abusers were themselves abused as children

- 80% of substance abusers were abused as children

- 80% of runaways cite child abuse as a factor

- 95% of prostitutes were sexually abused as children

- 78% of prison population was abused as children

- 50% of suicide attempts reported having been sexually abused at some time

(Source available upon request)

Not every child who is abused has problems of this magnitude, but we know child abuse robs far too many children of their ability to freely reach their full potential. Their loss is our loss and adequate measures are needed to end the cycle of child abuse.

Another way of looking at the statistics is to realize that if we were able to stop or even prevent part of the child abuse, we would significantly contribute to solving some major problems in our society.

We now know that children can prevent abuse and abduction if they are given skills they can understand and practice in every day life. Child abuse is in the headlines with alarming regularity. Over the past fifteen years, reports of child abuse have steadily increased.

Part I - Basic principles of prevention

Children are the first line of defense against abuse. Parents, schools, and organizations can use all the avoidance technology at their disposal, but experience tells us that we are almost always surprised to discover perpetrators in our midst.

Prevention of child abuse can be taught without talking about abuse. Children do not need to be told what abuse is, who the offenders are, how they operate, what they do, or why. Neither do they need to be told that the people they love might hurt them. Rather, we can deal with prevention positively and concretely, giving children the skills they need to act effectively on their own behalf when they are in a potentially abusive situation.

There are times when children can and must be responsible for their own well being, such as when they are alone with a potential abuser. At such times, they need permission to speak up. They need specific techniques to stop what is being done to them. And, they must know they will be believed and supported by the adults in their lives. The best overall defense children have against abuse is:

- A sense of their own abilities

- The ability to accurately assess and handle a variety of situations

- Knowing where and how to get help

- Knowing they will be believed

Children have a right to be safe without being afraid. Children who have been taught to think for themselves are the safest.

Prevention of sexual abuse

Training to prevent sexual abuse begins with children's natural abilities, what they already know, and the experiences they have already had. The fundamental messages in prevention of child abuse by people known to the child include:

1. Your body belongs to you

2. You have a right to say who touches you and how

3. If someone touches you in a way you do not like, in a way that makes you feel funny or uncomfortable inside, or in a way that you think is wrong or that your parents would think is wrong, it is okay to say "no"

4. If the person does not stop, say, " I am going to tell!" and then tell, no matter what

5. If you are asked to keep a secret, say, "No, I am going to tell!"

6. If you have a problem, keep talking about it until someone helps you

Children learn that they can have some control over what happens to their bodies when we teach them, and when we show them through our own behavior, that their bodies do indeed belong to them. Children, as young as two and three, already know what touch they like and what touch they do not like. Touch they do not like makes them feel uneasy and seems wrong to them. This approach to prevention simply gives them permission to speak up. It teaches them how to speak up effectively and in a way that is appropriate.

Techniques to prevent child abuse must be learned not just as ideas, but also as real skills. This means practice. Part of effective prevention education includes role-playing, giving children an opportunity to see how it feels to say "no" in a difficult situation. Parents can do some of this, but the essence of the classroom programs is actually giving children an opportunity to practice these skills so they can really use them should they find it necessary. Just as children do not learn to ride a bicycle by talking or reading about bicycling, children do not learn to prevent child abuse without opportunities to work with techniques and to practice and feel comfortable with the skills.

Safety with strangers

Children need to know that strangers are just people they don't know and that they encounter strangers every day of their lives. There is no reason to be afraid, but there are safety rules which should be followed with all strangers when children are not with an adult who is taking care of them (e.g. playing in the front yard or at the park). The concepts and rules for safety around strangers are simple and straightforward and should be taught without fear of horror stories. They can be utilized by children as young as three and should be adapted as children get older.

The rules to follow by a child alone or with friends when approached by a stranger are:

1. Stay an arm's reach away. This is the length of a grown-up's arm plus another step back. If the person continues to approach, keep backing up to maintain the arms reach circle of safety.

2. Don't talk to the person. This includes requests for help, questions, and seemingly simple conversation. Even if the person knows your name, that does not mean s/he knows you.

3. Don't take anything from the person. Not even something that belongs to you or your parents.

4. Don't go anywhere with the person. Even if s/he says it is an emergency, go to someone you know and check it out.

5. If you begin to feel that something is wrong or to feel uncomfortable or afraid, back up four steps, then turn around and run. Do anything you can to attract attention! Ask for help. Adults cannot tell you are in trouble unless you get their attention and ask for help. Do not get stuck because you failed to follow one or more of the rules and are now in a difficult situation.

Again, in all areas of prevention, the rules and concepts have no value if they remain ideas. Children learn by doing. All the research has shown that these rules must become skills in order to protect children. This means practice, role-playing, and acting out everyday situations. This can be awkward for parents, which is part of the reason that it is so important for schools to participate in this educational process.

Safety in self-care

For all practical purposes, there are times when your children are alone. For example, you are in the shower and someone comes to the door; or you're in the yard and the telephone rings.

With only the rarest exceptions, all children are alone - however briefly - at one time or another and when they are alone, they wonder what could happen. Knowing and talking about your children's concerns not only reassures them, but also prepares them to be safer. Setting up a series of guidelines and discussing options for unexpected situations is a good first step.

Answering the telephone

1. Answer the telephone with "hello". Children should not give their name or answer any questions over the telephone unless they are talking with a close friend or family member.

2. If they are home alone, they should say, "My mom (father) is busy, may I take a message?"

3. If a caller refuses to leave a message or is giving the child a hard time, it is all right to hang up the phone.

4. If your child cannot take a message, for whatever reason, ask the person to call back at a specified time.

Answering the door

Children should keep the door locked when they are at home alone. Always go to the door when someone knocks or rings. Ask, "Who is it?" Do not open the door for anyone except a member of the family or a friend if you have permission. With your children, establish specific responses for people delivering a package such as, "Please leave it by the door." If a signature is required; "Please come back later" or "Leave it with the neighbor".


Children need to know what is expected of them in an emergency and how to make an emergency call to Emergency Health centers, ambulances, etc. They need to know that all rules are called off in a life-threatening situation and that they have your permission to do whatever needs to be done at the moment to protect themselves or others.

Be prepared - the following list will give you a starting place for family discussion

My name
My mother's name
My father's name
My address
My phone number
My mother's work phone number
My father's work phone number
Neighbors/Other resource people
If the phone rings, I will
If somebody comes to the door, I will
I can let the following people in
If there is an emergency, I should
If I get scared, I will
My responsibilities are

Be an advocate

Providing prevention education for children is only the beginning. Each and every one of us has a role to play.

Speak up

Recognize that you are an advocate for each and every child you know or with whom you come into contact. If a child is being maltreated and you do not speak up, who will? To report suspected child maltreatment call local services for child protection.

Educate yourself

Read this briefing about prevention of child abuse and pass it on.


There are many service organizations in communities and hundreds of children who need role models, homes and advocates.


Whether it is time, materials, or money, the need is there. Community service organizations will be pressed ever more as children come forward and reveal what is happening to them. Part of ending the cycle of child abuse is taking good care of these children. That means more resources will be needed.

Acknowledge yourselves

This project reflects our commitment to reducing the level of child abuse in our community.

Child abuse is a complex problem. It requires considerable thought, commitment and multi-faceted programming to enable families and schools to reduce the vulnerability of children. School-based prevention of child abuse education, which has been shown to be effective and which does not diminish the child's education sense of well-being, is a key element in that effort. Reporting child abuse is essential. Provide follow-up care and treatment to reduce the secondary effects of child abuse is essential.

By giving each and every child in this community the opportunity to learn prevention skills, by listening and helping when they come to us, and by adequately addressing child abuse when it happens, this community can move a step closer to making real its declared commitment to the well-being of each of its children.

Part II: What is child abuse?

Child abuse occurs when an adult causes, or threatens to cause, physical or mental harm to a child. Child abuse includes physical, sexual, and emotional abuse as well as neglect, which may include lack of supervision, inadequate physical, medical, or educational care, and abandonment.

Who are abusers?

Abusers can be strangers, family, friends, or neighbors, someone the child knows and trusts. Child abuse is not limited to any one group. It happens in all socio-economic racial, ethnic, and religious sectors. Studies show that most sexual abuse involves no physical damage to the child, the damage comes from the violation of the relationship and has far more long-lasting effects than physical injury.

What abuse does to children

Children who have been abused not only suffer a wide range of effects from their victimization, but also are at greater risk to be abused again. Abuse and neglect commonly produce feeling of: guilt, violation, loss of control, lowered self-esteem

Even those children who seem to be handling their abuse are concerned that:

- It will continue to happen

- They did something wrong

- Other relationships might become abusive

Long-term effects of abuse and neglect

Common problems for abused and neglected children include: emotional difficulties, disruptive behavior, and poor performance in school, vulnerability to further abuse, depression, and suicide attempts.

While these problems are not always not obviously linked to the abuse, they must not be overlooked or allowed to develop unchecked.

Long-term studies of low achievers, runaways, substance abusers, prostitutes and incarcerated individuals paint a disturbing picture. Abuse and neglect are consistent and pervasive elements in their backgrounds. Low self-esteem and poor self-concept are ever present.

Knowing this, there can be little doubt that we must commit our energy and resources to preventing, intervening, and treating child abuse and neglect in order that present and future generations have the opportunity they deserve to meet their full potential.

How to respond if a child tells

The trauma of a child reporting abuse is very real. If this happens, the first concern is to remain calm and supportive of the child. Give the child an opportunity to tell you in his or her own way what happened. Do not overreact or criticize in any way.

The child needs to be reassured:

1. That you believe him/her and you are glad s/he told you

2. That s/he did not do anything wrong

3. That you will do your best to see that s/he is not hurt again and make every effort to get help.

Do not promise the child that you will do anything specific. You may not be able to keep that promise. Children who report sexual or physical abuse need to be examined by a doctor. Make the child a part of the process. If possible, find a physician the child knows or one who is particularly experienced in abuse cases.

Remember almost without exception, children do not lie about abuse, except to deny that it happened. Remember also the trauma of abuse is long lasting and not always apparent. When a child reports being abused, the process of recovery begins. The next step is to report the abuse to the appropriate authorities and begin the treatment of the child and, whenever possible, of the perpetrator.

Reporting suspected abuse or neglect

The decision to report abuse is always difficult. Most sexual abuse, and virtually all-physical and emotional abuse, involve someone known to the child. Interpersonal relationships and community considerations frequently bring hesitation to report.

At these times, it is to remember that the total responsibility for the offense lies with the offender. Reporting protects the child and may ultimately result in getting the offender professional help. A person who reports suspected abuse is not responsible for ruining the offender's life. The person who has the courage and takes the responsibility to report is saving a child and most probably others.

Any person who has knowledge or reason to believe that a child has been or is being abused is responsible to report to the 'Service de la Protection de la Jeunesse' on behalf of the child.

Anyone may report a suspected case of child abuse or child maltreatment. It is important to know that the law does not require certainty before reporting. Any suspected case should be reported. The law protects any person, official, or institution that makes a report in good faith (meaning an honest belief that a child is being abused). While reporting child abuse can be difficult, if you do not act on behalf of the child, who will?

What to do after abuse is reported

The degree of impact that abuse has on a child is determined by several factors:

1. The type and severity of the assault

2. The relationship of the offender to the child

3. The duration of the assault situation

4. The reaction of the people around the child after the assault is reported

5. Support available to the child, which enables full recovery.

One of the most important things you can do to aid a child's recovery is to make sure the child knows the offender is responsible for what happened. Parents have a role to play, but a professional can also be very important in helping a child to resolve the many issues which arise following abuse.

It is not true that a child will forget the abuse if the adults do not talk about it nor allow the child to talk about it. The Incident is very real for the child and can color every aspect of his or her life, whether s/he talks about it or not. Supporting the child to complete the process of recovery should not be undervalued.

Another area of concern is treatment for abusers. This is particularly important with adolescent abusers. Teenagers who abuse others are beginning a lifelong pattern of abuse that can result in hundreds of children being abused. Intervention at the earliest possible time cannot be stressed enough and adolescence is the most successful moment for intervention.

Community resources

It is left up to every individual or group to research local community resources for the protection of child abuse, i.e. Children's hospital; Police Brigades, Protection & Health Services, etc.

How to use Internet to protect children against sexual abuse Internet users who come across pornographic web sites should inform the police or other appropriate help centers that have the duty to stop the site and its origin.

Expert Paper

Prevention, Protection and Recovery of Children from Commercial Sexual Exploitation

Jane Warburton for the NGO Group for the Convention on the Rights of the Child

Download full text: doc (174Kb) -

Executive Summary

The sexual abuse of children and young people through commercial exploitation, is a fundamental violation of their rights. It is a universal and complex problem, which defies both simplistic analysis and easy answers. It encompasses a range of abusers, different forms of abuse, and varies in the type and degree of impact on the victim. The recognition of this abuse as a universal phenomenon has been positive, but clarity about incidence or trends is less forthcoming. There are continuing concerns around divergence in terminology and the poor quality of much of the research aimed at establishing both incidence and impact.

Since the First World Congress Against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, in 1996, which served to focus attention on the issue, there has been a substantial increase in activities designed to counter a potential increase in the incidence of abuse, and its negative impact on children and young people. Interventions have increased through specific targeted projects, and most significantly through an increased recognition that sexually abused and exploited children are frequently the same children who are facing a range of difficulties. They are the displaced and refugee children, street children, children in hazardous labour etc. An inclusive approach, one that incorporates these interventions into programmes for these multiply disadvantaged group, is a positive way to enhance access to services, and reduce the marginalisation and segregation experienced by abused and exploited children. Despite this, opportunities for reaching children at risk or experiencing sexual abuse, are still being underused, particularly through those organisations addressing the threat and impact of HIV/AIDS, and drug addiction.

Rather than highlighting or focussing on the particular needs of sexually exploited children, many services explicitly choose to adopt an holistic approach, operating in ways that are consistent with key principles and approaches for working with all children. These include work that is based on children's rights, supporting their participation, and incorporating activities that encourage or strengthen resilience. They try to reduce isolation and alienation. They support alternative survival strategies that allow children to exit the sex trade. They use cultural differences when this is positive, but confront traditional practices that maintain this abuse. Service providers learn from each other and are supported by networks. At a macro-level legislative, political and social systems need to support efforts on an individual or community basis.

Whether or not this increased awareness and growth of services has been accompanied by a comparable level of positive change for the beneficiaries, children and young people at risk or already abused through commercial sexual exploitation, is less certain. The lack of evidence is the result of a shortage of programme and project evaluation. The expansion of prevention, protection and recovery measures, should be based on transferring good practice and positively learning from mistakes; thus evaluation is critical. In the absence of evaluation of the impact of most projects, it is possible to generate certain practice standards, against which projects' performance can, in principle, be reviewed. Standards, derived from international instruments, practice guidance, children and young people's views, plus evidence from research, are proposed in this Paper. By referring to them, it is possible to identify elements of good practice, and highlight ways in which standards are translated into practical activities, citing examples from around the World. These include interventions with children abused in commercial and non-commercial settings, as their reactions are known to be similar in many circumstances, and there is value in sharing ideas and expertise.

There are relatively few examples of evaluations that focus on the impact of services. By referring to some examples of evaluations that incorporate children's own assessment, the potential of such exercises is highlighted. They have personal experience from which to assess services - have they been instrumental in achieving positive change, has their quality of life improved, do they see new opportunities for their future?

Looking forward to the next World Congress, what is its potential impact? From the perspective of those practitioners working directly with children and young people, it will be evaluated on the basis of answers to certain fundamental questions. Has it re-focussed world attention on the issue of the sexual abuse and exploitation of children? Has it raised the awareness of the impact of this abuse on these children? Has it generated sufficient input and information about new approaches to inform and refocus projects? Have organisations been encouraged and supported to record, assess and publicise their work, to ensure that learning and practice examples are derived from all continents? Were organisations made to review the impact of their work? Has it encouraged and listened to what young people have to say about the problem and response strategies? From the young peoples' perspective, will prevention, protection and recovery programmes increase and generate positive changes for those most at risk? If the Second World Congress can achieve the objectives implicit in these questions, it will have contributed significantly to improving services that enhance prevention, encourage better protection and support the recovery and reintegration of children and young people. The overall impact is one that should benefit us all.

World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse - 19 November

WWSF expresses gratitude to the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC for its confidence and financial support as well as to Syni Lausanne for the collaborators provided via its employment program during 2001.

WWSF also acknowledges and thanks all other donors, volunteers, staff and board members who make its work possible.

Together, let us work to guarantee the right to dignity for all children and create a culture of prevention of child abuse.

World Fund for the Dignity of Children

The Women's World Summit Foundation expresses gratitude for contributions received towards the World Fund for the Dignity of Children. All donations are used to financially support grassroots initiatives for prevention programs and/or rehabilitation projects for sexually abused children.

''Walk Your Talk'' Campaign

Campaign Launch at UN Special Session on Children 2002

by May 2002