Women’s Issues Ambassador Praises Counterpart’s Garima Project in India


In a congressional hearing on child marriage on July 15, 2010, Melanne Verveer, the U.S. Department of State's Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues, praised Counterpart International's Garima project, calling its premise "impressive" and "powerful." Garima (which means "dignity" in Hindi) is an initiative in the Delhi, Karnataka and Rajasthan states of India that empowers women to take charge of their safety and health, and works closely with civil society and community groups to advocate for improved legal protection for women and girls.

Verveer joined with the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission to spread awareness about the issue, saying "child marriage undermines nearly every Millennium Development Goal." She praised Counterpart's USAID-funded Garima project for its emphasis on improved implementation implementation of the Prevention of Child Marriage Act and other legislation to improve legal protection for women and girls and enhance the capacity of key justice and health service institutions.

"Last year, I traveled to New Delhi and participated in the opening ceremony of this project. I was impressed with how it worked. Male members of the Rajasthan community performed a powerful street play that highlighted the negative impact of child sex selection, domestic violence and child marriage," she said.

While the Government of India has created many laws to protect women's rights, the application of these laws has been weak. Patriarchal attitudes towards women are deeply ingrained across Indian society.

Counterpart's Garima project works to provide institutional support to Indian government agencies and community-based organizations to further strengthen Indian women's ability to proactively fight against gender-based violence; support women's ability to address reproductive health issues more effectively; and to increase women's access to and information about the justice system.

The Garima project is Counterpart's first project under the Global Civil Society Strengthening Leader with Associates (LWA).

Learn more about the Garima project on our Web site. Read Melanne Verveer's full article on the Department of State's Web site.

August 9th, 2010 | Tags: Garima, India, LWA, policy reform, USAID, women, women's empowerment, women's rights | Category: | Leave a comment

Catalog of Community Tourism Destinations Produced in Guatemala

In collaboration with three community organizations, Counterpart International developed a catalog of community tourism destinations, including products and services offered by Ak Tenamit Association, Corazón del Bosque and Nueva Alianza.

Delegates from each organization, under guidance from Counterpart, worked on the initial compilation of the information and then in the improvement and community validation process.

Lasting partnerships

The project was a joint initiative between Counterpart, the Rural Integral Center of Cataluña (CEDRICAT), the Central American Association of Peasant Community Agroforestry (ACICAFOC) and the communities and community associations.

In addition to promoting the community tourism destinations through copies of the catalog, the production process acted as a starting point for the design of a community-based tour operator managed by the three community organizations.

Learn more about our work in Guatemala on our Web site.

August 6th, 2010 | Tags: biodiversity conservation, catalog, Guatemala, sites, tourism | Category: Impact Stories | Leave a comment

Counterpart Hosts Civil Society Conference in Kabul

On August 4, 2010, more than 150 civil society representatives, international donors and members of the media met for a two-day Civil Society Conference in Kabul. 

The event was organized by Counterpart International under the Initiative to Promote Afghan Civil Society (I-PACS). The conference allowed civil society stakeholders from across Afghanistan to discuss progress, identify challenges and make recommendations for the future of Afghan civil society organizations.

Ms. Suzana Paklar, Chief of Party for Counterpart’s project noted, For the last five years, Counterpart and its partners have been working hard on building and promoting civil society in Afghanistan. This conference will be a benchmark, providing us with opportunity to evaluate the road that led us to this point and to examine the one in front of us.”

She added, “It comes at the point in time when the whole country – and world – are looking into the post-Kabul Conference process. We are certain that civil society, as a bridge between people and the state institution, can play a significant role in support of that process.”

Read USAID’s press release for more information. Visit Counterpart’s Web site to learn more about I-PACS.

August 6th, 2010 | Tags: Afghanistan, Civil Society, civil society organizations, conference, CSOs, Kabul | Category: | Leave a comment

Kyrgyzstan in Crisis: Counterpart Distributes LDS-Donated Bedding Sets

Mother and children sit with donated bedding sets.

Counterpart International continues its relief efforts in southern Kyrgyzstan in the aftermath of the violence that broke out in the cities of Osh and Jalal-Abad in early June. With a $20,000 contribution from Latter-Day Saints Charities (LDSC), Counterpart was able to procure and distribute 543 bedding sets to people who lost their homes during the civil unrest.

LDSC, a long time partner of Counterpart, contributed $20,000 in June to address the immediate needs of the victims. In response Counterpart conducted a critical needs assessment and determined that bedding was among the victims most urgently needed items.

This delivery of bedding is just the latest in Counterpart’s ongoing relief efforts in southern Kyrgyzstan:

  • Days after violence broke out, Counterpart delivered U.S. Department of State’s pre-staged disaster packages, totaling $200,000 to the Osh Oblast and Jalal-Abad Region Hospitals.
  • Within the following week Counterpart was able to distribute two 40-foot containers of humanitarian aid commodities, valued at $201,000, filled with clothing, footwear, bedding and hygiene kits.
  • Counterpart also offloaded and distributed a Department of State Humanitarian Medical Air Shipment, valued at $2.75 million, filled with medicines and medical supplies to local hospitals in Osh.
  • Funds raised through an online appeal and from individuals seeking to help were used to locally purchase more than 110 food packages and 136 baby formula packages which were distributed last week to those affected by the crisis.
  • Thanks to a $700,000 donation from United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), Counterpart has shipped two containers of hygiene kits, one to Osh and the other to Jalal-Abad.

To date, Counterpart has distributed more than $3.5 million to victims of the crisis.

Counterpart has been active in the Kyrgyz Republic since 1996. Today, after nearly 14 years of working in partnership with the people of the Kyrgyz Republic to rebuild, develop and transform communities, more than 593 containers of humanitarian assistance—valued at approximately $85 million and containing food, shelter, medical supplies, clothing and other basic necessities—have been delivered. These distributions were made with the help of more than 863 governmental and non-governmental institutions in all seven Oblasts of the Kyrgyz Republic.

July 23rd, 2010 | Tags: civil conflict, conflict, disaster, Kyrgyzstan, KyrgyzstanInCrisis | Category: | Leave a comment

Counterpart Leads Birding Course and Workshop for Tour Guides in Guatemala

As part of the professional updating process for certified tour guides, Counterpart and El Instituto Técnico de Capacitación y Productividad (INTECAP) organized a course and workshop on “Birding for the Tour Guides of Petén.” The 40 hour course included lectures, practical sessions and a full day of field practice at Yahxhá Nakum Naranjo National Park. 31 tour guides, working mainly in destinations of the Maya Biosphere (recognized as a man and biosphere reserve by UNESCO), completed the course. The guides can now use the credits to become re-certified as a Tour Guide. The course received coverage from Guatemala’s main printed newspaper and several electronic newspapers:

http://www.prensalibre.com/noticias/comunitario/Capacitan-guias-turismo_0_296370386.html

To learn more about Counterpart’s work in Guatemala, visit our website.

July 23rd, 2010 | Tags: biodiversity conservation, birding, Guatemala, livelihood, tour guide, tourism | Category: | Leave a comment

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