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ROSHNI. 1996 Jan-Jun; 1-3.This article summarizes the recommendations of the All India Women's Conference and the UN Information Center's Regional Seminar on Human Settlement which was held in 1996. The conference was attended by about 100 persons and 20 speakers. The main topics were megacities and infrastructure deficits; governance, poverty, and employment; and the role of women and nongovernmental organizations in human settlements. The article identifies 24 recommendations on community participation by women: the availability of drinking water and sanitation, access to schools and health care, provision of sanitary facilities, training programs for women in basic health care and hygiene, toilet facilities in slums and rural areas, housing provision for the poor, income generation programs for women, shelter to the homeless, available housing, equity in political representation and elections, sustainable development, rural development, resettlement of slum dwellers, improvements in quality of life, female ownership of housing, networking, and integrated approaches to the concept of habitat, among others. This regional conference followed up the Global Habitat II Conference. Provision of housing and shelters to millions worldwide will require creative programs, adequate financial support, and dedication to the ideals of Habitat II.
EARTH TIMES / HURRIYET. 1996 Jun 7; 5.The head of the UN Development Fund for Women's delegation at Habitat II, Achola Pala Okeyo, held a press conference to voice her concern that the women's nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) attending the conference were not receiving enough visibility. Issues raised at the press conference included the important role played by the NGOs in taking the Habitat agenda to the grassroots level, the promotion of cooperative ownership of houses and equal inheritance rights, and the lack of input sought from "everyday" women in planning and development efforts in their communities. Okeyo noted that the Habitat conference was the first organized attempt to bring women's NGOs together since the women's conference in Beijing and that women were disappointed at their lack of progress in attaining equal rights.
EARTH TIMES. 1996 Jun 10; 1, 7.Women's nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have worked hard to successfully advance women's concerns in Habitat II's Global Plan of Action because women must have safe, secure settlements in order to achieve social and economic advances. The NGOs considered it vital that the Plan of Action call for greater reinvestment of businesses in communities, reduction of the negative impact of structural adjustment programs, opportunities for women to receive small loans with flexible collateral, and prevention of the sexual and economic exploitation of women. The most important consideration for some advocates is how implementation of the Plan of Action will be funded. Women still have not achieved the right to equal inheritance, and the Plan of Action calls for an equal right to inheritance for women but not the right to inherit equal amounts as men. The women attending Habitat are also seeking recognition of the facts that women and men use cities differently and that the needs of women are often overlooked. Advocates believe it is vitally important to help women articulate what changes they desire.
COUNTDOWN TO ISTANBUL: HABITAT II. 1996 May; 1(7):18.In 1994, the Super Coalition on Women, Homes, and Community was formed from four worldwide networks so that women working on community development could be involved in Habitat II planning and could incorporate human settlement issues into the Fourth World Conference on Women (WCW) and it attendant NGO (nongovernmental organization) Forum. The Super Coalition paved the way for grassroots women to contribute ideas to the Preparatory Committee for Habitat II. When the women discovered that many of the gains achieved at the WCW were not reflected in the Habitat agenda, they drafted amendments that were later discussed by official bodies. The women also lobbied delegations and governmental groups on gender issues and found that many of their concerns were included in bracketed paragraphs for further consideration during Habitat II. Another success occurred when the Secretary-General of Habitat II appointed many women to the newly-created Huairou Commission, which will offer advice on gender issues and highlight women's concerns during Habitat II.
Super Coalition highlights women's perspective on housing: our practices take center stage in Istanbul.
GROOTS NETWORK NEWS. 1996 May; 5(1):1, 9.The Women, Homes, and Community Super Coalition, a network of NGOs (nongovernmental organizations) accepted responsibility for organizing the NGO Coalition program for Habitat II. The goals of the Super Coalition are to 1) highlight the role of women's leadership in the building of sustainable communities, 2) establish a consensus on common problems and priorities of grassroots women and other activists, and 3) discuss action strategies to address these problems and assert these priorities. The Super Coalition maintains that a socially responsible design of housing and communities will emerge when 1) women's household-based income is valued as an important form of economic activity, 2) grassroots people are empowered to participate in all negotiations affecting their lives and communities, 3) it is recognized that communities must be sustainable and culturally viable, and 4) mere shelters become homes offering safety and sustenance for children, the aged, and the ill.
GROOTS NETWORK NEWS. 1996 May; 5(1):5, 9.GROOTS International (grassroots organizations operating together in sisterhood) played a major role in the NGO (nongovernmental organization) Forum at the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women (WCW). GROOTS International coordinated the Grassroots Tent, one of the tents that promoted diversity. More than 1000 Grassroots Tent visitors signed up to be contacted by regional focal points in the grassroots network. In addition, a participant in a women's network that is a GROOTS partner gave a plenary speech on governance. By Day 3, the Grassroots Tent held a daily meeting of the Grassroots Caucus where over 40 women from eight regions outlined key women's concerns that coalesced into the Statement of the Women and Shelter Strategizing Group presented to the WCW. Meanwhile, a team of 15 official WCW delegates (including GROOTS representatives) acted as NGO liaisons and traveled back and forth between the WCW and the NGO Forum. GROOTS made a presentation to the WCW, and organized a panel on economic reform in the Grassroots Tent. The success of GROOTS partners was documented and presented in a report entitled "Restructuring Economic and Social Policy: Cross-Cultural Gender Insights from the Grassroots" given as part of a panel discussion on economic reform at the NGO Forum. Finally, a closing-day policy presentation and strategizing session with the UN Secretary-General for Habitat II led to the formation of the Huairou Commission designed to integrate grassroots organizations into preparations for Habitat II.
GROOTS NETWORK NEWS. 1996 May; 5(1):1, 3.In February 1996, the Secretary-General of Habitat II announced formation of a "Huairou Commission" named for the village where nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) met during the NGO Forum of the Fourth World Conference on Women. In Huairou, a grassroots Super Coalition on Women, Homes, and Community (that included a diverse group of women from around the world) worked night and day to develop a Statement of the Women and Shelter Strategizing Group for presentation to the Secretary-General of Habitat II. The Huairou Commission is the only UN working commission this decade that includes community-based organizations, private sector leaders, local authorities, NGOs, development agency officials, and senior UN officials. The mandate of the Commission is to 1) highlight women's concerns in the development of sustainable human settlements, 2) ensure that the Habitat Agenda reflects women's central decision-making roles and responsibilities, 3) develop a program for women's organizational capacity-building, and 4) identify and publicize the best practices that have evolved from women's perspectives.
Highlights from the Third Annual Inter-Agency Working Group on FGM Meeting, Cairo, Egypt, November, 1996.
[Unpublished] 1996. 13 p.In November 1996, more than 34 representatives from 20 organizations attended the Third Annual Inter-Agency Working Group meeting on female genital mutilation (FGM) in Cairo, Egypt. After opening remarks by the Chairperson of the Task Force on FGM in Egypt and the Egyptian Under Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Population, other discussions placed FGM in the larger context of women's human rights, reviewed the background of the Global Action Against FGM Project and the goals of the Inter-Agency Working Group, and provided an overview of the activities of RAINBO (Research, Action, and Information Network for Bodily Integrity of Women). A report was then given of a research workshop organized by RAINBO and the Egyptian Task Force on FGM immediately prior to the Working Group meeting. It was noted that data from the recent Demographic and Health Survey revealed an FGM prevalence rate of 97% in Egypt, and areas requiring more research were highlighted. Discussion following this presentation included mention of qualitative methods used in a recent study in Sierra Leone and recent research in the Sudan that led to recommended intervention strategies. During the second day of the Working Group meeting, participants provided a preview of the work of the Egyptian Task Force Against FGM; a description of RAINBO's effort to develop training of trainers reproductive health and FGM materials; and summaries of the work of nongovernmental organizations, private foundations, UN agencies, and bilateral donors. This meeting report ends with a list of participants.
A report of the NGO Advocacy Network for Women (KIDOG) on its participation in the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, HABITAT II NGO Forum, Istanbul, Turkey, May 30 - June 14, 1996.
Washington, D.C., Futures Group International, POLICY Project, 1996. , 9,  p. (USAID Contract No. CCP-3078-C-00-5023-00)This report describes the participation of the Turkish NGO (nongovernmental organization) Advocacy Network for Women (KIDOG) in the UN's Habitat II NGO Forum, which took place May 30-June 14, 1996. KIDOG originated in the participation of 11 NGOs in a two-day advocacy workshop sponsored by The Futures Group International in Turkey in July 1995. In the fall of 1995, the 11 NGOs requested technical assistance in networking, advocacy, and strategic planning. In March 1996, eight additional groups joined KIDOG during another advocacy workshop. Using participatory techniques, KIDOG members decided that their participation in the NGO Forum would involve 1) provision of information about the status of women and reproductive health in Turkey and 2) seeking support for the Network agenda and an increase in Network membership. KIDOG's contributions to the NGO Forum included distributing KIDOG booklets and posters, developing a computer-based presentation on women and reproductive health, sponsoring an exhibit booth, hosting site visits, and conducting workshops on the following topics: 1) NGO initiatives in reproductive health, 2) domestic violence, 3) informal education for women, and 4) sustainable development. When KIDOG members evaluated their participation in the NGO Forum, they agreed that KIDOG's most important contribution was serving as a model for collaborative work, which is a new phenomenon in Turkey. KIDOG members plan to continue their organized advocacy activities.