Grail Link to the UN
The Grail Link to the United Nations is one of the Grail Global Networks. As a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), The Grail has consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Its goal is to link Grail members worldwide with important global concerns and United Nations events.
The Grail participates in the Commission on the Status of Women(CSW), the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Commission on Sustainable Development, Commission on Social Development, United Nations Environmental Programs (UNEP), UNICEF (especially with the NGO Committee on UNICEF Working Group on Girls) and has participated in many other events and commissions connected with the United Nations including the Youth Task Force, Interfaith Partnership for the Environment, annual DPI Conference, Convention on Biological Diversity and Religions for Peace. The New York representatives meet monthly at the UN to strategize regarding The Grail’s participation in the various commissions and events of the UN and to find ways to involve Grail members from other countries, etc. The group encourages all Grail groupings to review their work in relationship to the Millennium Development Goals.
As part of The Grail’s mission of promoting women’s rights, health, education and international solidarity, The Grail emphasizes participation each March in the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). The Grail sponsors the participation of Grail members from various countries to attend the CSW in order to strengthen their interest in international cooperation and their experience with international policy making. In 2007 as the theme of CSW-51 was the ‘Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination and Violence Against the Girl Child’, The Grail sponsored 20 girls, age 14 to 18.
Three of the international Grail youth received travel grants through the Mary Purcell Task Force of the Working Group on Girls (WGG). Denise Milice from Moçambique was one of recipients. Her story is an example of the Grail’s work at the UN. Denise was 15 when she attended CSW-51. The WGG gave Denise $100 to start ‘a Back Home Project’. With the help of Abida Jamal (Grail member who was Denise’s chaperone), upon returning to her country Denise took three actions: 1) met with the Grail in Moçambique to share the experience, 2) met with local NGOs and government officials, and 3) started her Back Home Project: The Empowerment of the Girl Child in My Community. Inviting adolescents between 14 and 17 years of age, she brought together a group of 30 (21 girls and 9 boys) and started an adolescent club with the slogan “Choose Life through Education, Information and Development of One’s Gifts and Talents.”
Denise returned to New York for CSW-52 in 2008 to report on her accomplishments. The Grail in Moçambique is assisting Denise to continue the program in 2008-09. Some of the themes they chose are: vices (drugs and others); sexuality; STDs and HIV/AIDS; relationships between parents and adolescents, higher education. The youth themselves prepare the materials for the themes and adults are invited to participate only when the group needs better clarification, etc. This also reflects The Grail’s commitment to leadership development. The youth also visit and interact with children in the Madre Teresa of Calcutta Orphanage, do drama which will be taken to various schools, sing and dance, and are planning a handicraft fair. To hear an interview of Denise by UNICEF, go to www.unicef.org. (click on Radio Programs, and then search Denise’s Story). To read more about the work of the WGG, go to www.girlsrights.org. The May 2008 newsletter ACTION FOR GIRLS has two articles on the Grail youth.
News about this network is published in the newsletter Grail link to the UN.
For more information about WGG contact Mary Kay Louchart: Grail-IPT at juno dot com