ERI Advocacy Workshop in Western Zambia

From 5 – 8 June a group of over fifty people gathered at the Limulunga Pastoral Centre near Mongu in Western Province Zambia for an Advocacy Workshop, facilitated by Br. Kevin Mullan (ERI Geneva), Jessica Dewhurst, Sarah Child and Kayla Brittan (ER Justice Desk South Africa).

Participants included Christian Brothers and their colleagues from four local communities, team members of the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection as well as representatives of other religious congregations and of social services based in the Mongu area.

The aim of the workshop was to empower the participants with knowledge and skills needed to become involved in advocacy in the areas of human rights and the Sustainable Development Goals in the local context of Western Province, Zambia.  The purpose of the workshop was clearly outlined and a booklet was given to each participant that enhanced their knowledge and understanding of key processes involved in advocacy and on topics being addressed during the workshop.

Over the first two days the participants were introduced to advocacy and human rights, to the current work of Edmund Rice International and Edmund Rice Justice Desk, to the UN mechanisms and the Sustainable Development Goals. The daily sessions combined inputs, interaction and group activities. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and The Convention on the Rights of the Child were highlighted and on the final day time was given for the different groups present to prepare advocacy plans which were then shared with the entire group. These groups will continue to meet and work on the implementation of these plans over the coming year and keep ERI and ERJD updated on progress.  Participants also completed pre- and post-evaluation forms on the workshop.  Morning and evening reflections were facilitated by the Limulunga, Luampa and Mongu communities.

Attention was given to the upcoming Universal Periodic Review of Zambia and to the issues included in the submission made to this Review by ERI based on data gathered at local level in Mongu.  This workshop will help strengthen further the links between work on advocacy and human rights at the local, national and international levels within the wider Edmund Rice network.

The social gatherings organized by the Senanga community gave the participants a chance to share experiences, to build relationships and discuss issues that were affecting them and see possibilities for working more closely together on their advocacy plans.

Bro. Samuel Munyua and the co-ordinating committee made all the necessary arrangements for this advocacy workshop, attended to practical matters that ensured it ran smoothly and was a worthwhile and enjoyable learning experience for all involved.

Kevin Mullan cfc
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