Sisters Advocating Globally: UISG Project on Global Advocacy
The International Union of Superiors General (UISG), in partnership with the Global Solidarity Fund (GSF), has established a new project: Religious Sisters Advocating Globally for Human Dignity and the Earth. Launched in July 2020, this project is set to run until December 2022.
Sisters Advocating Globally is inspired by the encyclicals of Pope Francis: Evangelii Gaudium (2013), Laudato Si’ (2015), Gaudete et Exsultate (2018) and Fratelli Tutti (2020). This is our response to Pope Francis’ invitation, when he said: “Let us return to promoting the good, for ourselves and for the whole human family, and thus advance together towards an authentic and integral growth” (Fratelli Tutti n. 113).
The global context
Around the world, over half a million Catholic Sisters are responding to the needs of marginalised and vulnerable people. Sisters are present wherever there are humanitarian crises, and through their ministries play a key role in helping to realise the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Despite their experience and expertise, however, the voices of Catholic Sisters are not often heard. Sisters have had limited access to key advocacy platforms, meaning limited opportunities to share the lessons they have learned from their distinctive perspectives. Few have benefitted from training or support to tell their stories, and to empower those they serve to speak up for themselves.
Training in advocacy, communications and data collection could greatly enhance the work of Catholic Sisters and of the communities they serve. This is a particularly critical moment: as the development community rebuilds in the wake of COVID-19, its response will be diminished if the wisdom and experience of Sisters are not included. This project aims to identify, connect, train and empower Sisters whose voices can make a difference at different levels of international development – local, regional and global.
Advocacy at UISG
UISG is an organisation that brings together the leaders of over 1,900 religious congregations and their members. The UISG networks are already well organised, with strong leadership and communication structures. One example is its ongoing work to address the challenge of human trafficking through Talitha Kum, a global alliance of 54 local and regional networks of Women Religious and collaborators. Another is its ecological campaign Sowing Hope for the Planet, which has created a global community sharing initiatives and ideas.
Sisters Advocating Globally aims to:
- build capacity for advocacy around existing UISG initiatives in the areas of human trafficking, integral ecology and healthcare;
- build and train a global network of Sisters who can become organisers and communicators for change;
- amplify the voice of Sisters within the development community by creating a strong network of partners.
Sister Patricia Murray, Executive Secretary of UISG, says: “Sisters are involved in so many aspects of life today, particularly with those who live on the margins of society. We’re involved in education and healthcare, in community development, and equally in emerging issues such as trafficking, migration and care for the Earth.As Sisters, we want to see how we can walk with people, be their companions, help them to raise up their voices, and raise up our own voices on their behalf. We’re particularly concerned with care for the environment, which we see daily being ravaged and destroyed, and with the effects of climate change, which are impacting our life together on Earth. This is our common home, and we want to work together with all people of good will to make a difference.”
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