Upholding and advocating for human rights
In 2022, Misean Cara supported 45 Human Rights projects by 25 members in 26 countries, targeting 267,341 people.
Promoting and protecting the rights of excluded and oppressed people lies at the heart of missionaries’ rights focus. To ensure equality and non-discrimination for all, our members work tirelessly to empower vulnerable people to know their rights and learn the skills to advocate on their own behalf to secure them.
In 2022, we accompanied our members with funding for projects that promoted rights awareness, mobilised communities to fight for changes to laws and policies that deny their rights, and that sought to uphold children’s rights; gender equality; equal treatment for migrants and refugees; and the rights of typically voiceless populations including prisoners and those living with disabilities.
Last year, our members also addressed issues of environmental justice linked to the climate crisis and related human rights issues in numerous countries and contexts. Misean Cara members are also involved in tackling the increasing prevalence of human trafficking in the world, through means of prevention, protection, access to justice, and advocating for policy and practice changes to counter the practice.
Still other Misean Cara members worked to address the human rights of children and adolescents, with a particular focus on girls’ rights, the rights of children with disabilities, and the rights of internally displaced children.
Salesian Sisters, Tamil Nadu, India
9,000 women and girls trained for heightened awareness of gender equality, GBV prevention, and provided with vocational education training to enhance life choices.
The Franciscans International
International advocacy at the UN General Assembly to elevate the human-rights approach to climate justice and the Right to a Clean, Healthy and Sustainable Environment
people educated about their rights (40% under age 18)
victims of human rights violations accessed legal support and justice
contributions to strengthening of laws and/or policy implementation
*These figures represent a subset of results reported by our members in 2022 using funding allocated in 2021.
Community-based approaches to tackle gender-based violence in poor areas of South Africa
Misean Cara member
Missionary Sisters of the Assumption
In South Africa, nearly half of the adult population lives below the poverty line* with one in five families living in sprawling, informal settlements where unemployment is high and access to services is challenging.** Domestic and Gender Based Violence (GBV) are all too common, with women and children being most vulnerable to physical and emotional violence.
With almost 175 years of service in South Africa, the Missionary Sisters of the Assumption have vast experience in the empowerment of poor and vulnerable communities, including first-hand knowledge of the causes and effects of violence against women and girls.
The Sisters have joined forces with the Catholic Health Care Association of Southern Africa (CATHCA) to scale up innovative, community-based approaches to tackle this issue.
In five informal settlements on the outskirts of Johannesburg, Pretoria and Bloemfontein, the project team works closely with a group of 25 trained Community Advocates, to conduct peer-education, community dialogues and door-to-door visits targeting almost 11,000 people to address toxic social norms embedded in the male-dominated culture of the areas. These sessions work with men to achieve a positive change in male behaviours towards women and in men’s readiness to act against GBV. Women’s peer groups work to improve participants’ awareness and knowledge about gender equality, women’s rights, and how to assert and advocate for justice.
After just one year, the project is seeing encouraging signs that its community-based approach to tackling GBV is having a real impact. More than 4,000 community members have already taken part in community dialogues and training to improve their knowledge about issues around GBV, their rights, and their responsibilities.
Throughout 2022, more than 450 abused women and disadvantaged people have been linked to essential services needed to address their life circumstances and reduce their vulnerability to further violence. Roughly three in five are members of vulnerable groups such as migrants and refugees, minors, people living with HIV, and the disabled.
*Department of Statistics Republic of South Africa, Statistical Release 2019
**Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI), Report on “Informal Settlements and Human Rights in South Africa” 2018.
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