Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Ecumenical Advocacy Days this Weekend!

Join thousands of other Americans as they advocate in Washington, DC this weekend for the issues they care about.

Check out the website for schedule and information about the different tracks:

Below is the list of Africa Track workshops (several members of the coalition have put a lot of planning and work into some of these workshops).

For more information about the Coalition's role in the Ecumenical Advocacy Days, contact Rocco Puopolo at


Universally parents hope that their hard work will give their children better lives; but today in sub-Saharan Africa more than 11 million children under the age of 15 have lost at least one parent to HIV/AIDS; millions more face their future as orphans confronting disease, poverty, hunger, and war. We must challenge the crisis of survival caused by the rising death rate of children under the age of five, from preventable causes. The world has enough knowledge, wealth, food and medicine for all people to achieve a wholesome existence. Along with African experts and activists, in interactive workshops, Africa Track participants will explore ways to transform U.S. policy towards Africa and challenge international systems designed so that trade, loans and investment impoverish many for the benefit of a few. Come join the call we will take to Congress for cancellation of Africa's $200 billion plus debt burden, and take home new clarity from workshops on the impact of the "war on terror", trade, aid and overcoming regional conflicts.

Saturday March 10 2007

Track Time 1 9:00am - 10:30am

Plenary 1 Washington Room

Debt and Trade: Alternatives to Unjust Systems

(Co-sponsored with Jubilee/ Economic Justice Track)

Emily Joy Sikazwe - Executive Director, Women for Change, Zambia
Francis Ng’ambi - Economic Justice Network of the Fellowship of the Christian Councils in Southern Africa

People of faith have been leading the way for policies that enforce fair trade instead of free trade and debt cancellation without conditionality. Become more familiar with the global systems that involve debt and trade. Learn why the current model isn’t working and what we can do to implement alternatives. Hear from partners in the global south about grassroots campaigns and learn how these tie in with US grassroots campaigns.

Track Time 11 Workshops 10:45am - 12:15pm

Child Solders and Conflict: The Roots of Conflict and Ways to Peace

Jackson Room

(Co-sponsored with theGlobal Security Track)

Father Rocco Puopolo, s.x. - Executive Director, Africa Faith and Justice Network
Rev. Mark Koenig - Presbyterian Peacemaking Program

Fr. Rocco Puopolo, s.x. - "Use and Abuse of Children as Soldiers and the Role of the Extractive Industry."
Mr. Jacques Bahati - Rutchuru, DRC, Intern at Africa Faith and Justice Network, "Experiences in the Democratic Republic of Congo.”
Ms. Nita Evele - Kinshasa, DRC, Vice Chair of Congo Global Action, "Working for Security in the Democratic Republic of Congo."
Jo Becker - Human Rights Watch (Invited) , "Legislative Initiatives to Address the Use of Child Soldiers.”
Joel Hanisek - Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) United Nations Representative,"The Role of the United Nations in Addressing the Use of Child Soldiers.”
Andrew Briggs - Artist

Moderator: Mark Koenig

Participants will probe the continuing use and abuse of child soldiers. Panelists with experience in Sierra Leone, DRCongo and Uganda will connect the dots, situating the reality of this child abuse in areas where exploitative extractive industries continue to flourish. Workshop participants will discuss creative ways people are moving forward, in Africa and the U.S, to offer hope and healing to these children. DRC youth driven efforts will be shared, along with initiatives of the newly establishedCongo Global Action Coalition, work at the UN and ways to advocate for important pending Congressional legislation. An exhibit of art done by child soldiers of Uganda will form part of this workshop, and recent viewers of the popular movie “Blood Diamonds” will be able to deepen their understanding of reality on the ground

Trade and Investment Policy Impacts on AIDS in Africa

Harrison Room

Kathy McNeely – Policy Analyst/Advocate for Church World Service

Asia Russell - Director of International Policy for Health GAP
George Ngolwe - Oblates of Mary Immaculate
Mhizha Edmund Chifamba - Washington Office on Africa

This workshop dissect a variety of US Trade & Investment policies which negatively impact access to affordable medicines responding to the AIDS pandemic in Africa . Participants will gain an understanding of patent issues currently at play in trade negotiations and legislation, as well as corporate responsibility issues around the availability of affordable pediatric drugs and formulations. The workshop will also explore investments in Africa and how they benefit or hinder the struggle against HIV/AIDS - especially looking at food security and nutrition investments. Participants will share examples of actions that can be taken in their congregations to raise awareness, educate and advocate.

Track Time 111 Plenary 2 2:45pm - 4:15pm

Bridging the Divide: U.S. Africa Policy and African Priorities/ Do U.S Priorities Answer Africa's Needs?”

Washington Room

Marie Clarke Brill - Director of the Department of Public Education and Mobilization, Africa Action.

Emira Woods - Co-Director, Foreign Policy in Focus, Institute for Policy Studies.

This will be an interactive plenary session that will explore the primary U.S. policy priorities regarding Africa and compare these with the priorities of African civil society and their governments. Experts in U.S. Africa policy and African guests will serve as resource people to help deepen the full group discussion. Together we will conclude by identifying ways that people of faith can engage in solidarity with Africans to bridge the divide between current U.S. policy and our common desire to build right relationships between the U.S. and Africa

Track Time 1V Workshops 4:30pm - 6:00pm

"And How are Africa's Children"

Wilson Room

Kathy McNeely - Policy Analyst/Advocate for Church World Service

Brother Paul O'Keefe - worked with East and West African street children in crisis, is now at Maryknoll Office of Global Concern.

Emira Woods - Co-Director, Foreign Policy in Focus, Institute for Policy Studies.
Neema Niani Laizer – Kenyan High-School Maasai Student, member of the Maryknoll Delegation to the 2007 Commission on the Status of Women.
Kolleen Bouchane – Campaign Manager, Global Education for All, RESULTS.

This workshop will explore the state of children living in Africa through the lens of child labor and access to education. Specifically, the workshop will delve into issues of exploitative labor practices and the fate of the girl child in Africa . The presenters will give a picture of conditions created by bad policy, business practices and other pressures that make being a child in Africa difficult. They will describe development and education programs targeted to reach these children, hopeful stories of how the children cope. Participants will be introduced to corporate and other campaigns and actions in which they can participate to respond to children's needs.

“Never Again? Darfur, Genocide and the International Response”

Washington Room

Marie Clarke Brill - Director of the Department of Public Education and Mobilization, Africa Action.

Elnour Adam – Project Director, Darfur Rehabilitation Project, Founder and Executive Director African Peace Advocates Network (APAN)
Zeinab Eyega - Executive Director and founder of Sauti Yetu, an advocacy organization
Fr Michael Perry – Coordinator of the Africa Program at Franciscans International

Four years into the conflict in Darfur , western Sudan , almost half a million people have lost their lives and almost 3 million people have been displaced from their homes. Just over a decade ago, the international community refused to acknowledge that genocide was occurring in Rwanda . Today, though the U.S. has claimed “genocide” occurs in Darfur , the international community has failed to protect the people of Darfur . Join us for a workshop that will address the current situation in Darfur within the broader context of Sudan . We will explore the role of the U.S., the international community and concerned people of faith in achieving immediate protection for the people of Darfur and lasting peace and sustainable economic development in Sudan .

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Track Time V Workshops 2:00pm – 3:30pm

Mobilizing the Resources to End HIV/AIDS in Africa

Monroe Room

(Co-sponsor Jubilee/Economic Justice)

Evelyn Sallah – Program Associate for Public Education and Mobilization, Africa Action.

Matthew Kavanagh – Executive Director, Global Justice
Rick Rowden - Senior Policy Analyst, Action Aid International, USA
Healy Thompson – Senior Associate for Advocacy and Outreach,Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE)

“It was surreal: Here you had a country with huge human capacity problems that wanted desperately to retain its professionals in health and education, and increase their numbers, but the IMF wouldn’t allow them to do so. We are talking about a sovereign government, fighting the worst plague in history with but a handful of professionals.” (Steven Lewis, speaking about Malawi in 2002) Join us for an interactive session that explores the intersection of international debt and HIV/AIDS. We will address policy prescriptions that fuel the pandemic, hear a personal account of the reality of working in Africa in the context of HIV/AIDS and spotlight a few critical campaigns that will make a difference in the work to end HIV/AIDS in Africa.

“Debt 101: Africa Case Study”

Washington Room

(Co-Sponsor: Jubilee/Economic Justice)

Jessica Walker Beaumont - Trade and Debt Specialist, AFSC

Debra Calhoun - Akron, OH field office organizer, AFSC
Jessica Walker Beaumont - Trade and Debt Specialist, AFSC
Debayani Kar - Communications and Advocacy Coordinator, Jubilee
USA Network
Lori Reed - Program Director for International Affairs, AFSC St. Louis MO

This interactive workshop will use case studies and concrete examples to demonstrate why Africa ’s debt should be cancelled and what could be done with the resources.

“Shall we let Africa's children die of curable or preventable disease; prevent them from going to school; destroy their opportunities for meaningful work - to pay off odious loans made to their forefathers?”
-Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Track Time V1 Workshops 3:45pm – 5:15pm

“Preparing to Visit The Hill and Taking the Message Home”

Washington Room

Father Rocco Puopolo, s.x.

Water for All

Jackson Room

(Sponsored by theJubilee/Economic Justice Track, co-sponsored by Africa Track)

Marty Shupack, Church World Service

Paul Maina – Senior Consultant, Center for Development Studies, Kenya
Carlos Correa - Minister for Environmental Justice, United Church of Christ

This workshop will explore the issues of commodification and privatization of water in the context of Africa and Latin America, with a view to how best to ensure safe, accessible, affordable and sustainable water and sanitation services in poor communities.

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