Category Archives: International Section

#HumanTrafficking #EndHumanTrafficking

Human trafficking is a global phenomenon that is fueled by poverty and gender discrimination. Of the estimated 21 million victims of human trafficking, 71% are women and children. Because most trafficked persons are never identified as victims, they are unable to access protection or assistance. (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Global Report on Trafficking in Persons).

Victims don’t come forward for many reasons. They may fear for their lives or the safety of their loved ones, they may not realize that they are victims of human trafficking, they may have been taught to mistrust law and government authorities, they may fear detention and deportation, they may not speak the language, they may have been lied to about, or be unaware of, their rights in Canada.

In 2010, the General Assembly adopted the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, including the establishment of a UN Voluntary Trust Fund for victims of trafficking, especially women and children.

This year’s World Day against Trafficking in Persons (July 30th) focuses on “Acting to Protect and Assist Trafficked Persons”, highlighting one of the most pressing issues of our time. The intensification of the movement of refugees and migrants since 2014 is the largest seen since World War II. Within these migratory movements are vulnerable children, women and men who are easy targets for traffickers and smugglers.

The Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) continues the series highlighting significant days to facilitate the conversation about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Our purpose is to overlay a recognized Theme Day with the SDG lens in order to shine a light on and bring the conversation to the grassroots level.

We believe change begins with consciousness. For this significant day, Trafficking in Persons we are intentionally making connections to SDG #4 – Quality Education, #5 – Gender Equality, #16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, and #17 – Partnerships for the Goals (however, connections to any other SDG may be implied).

We invite you to read contributions on the subject of Human Trafficking by CFUW members and partners: World-Day-against-Trafficking-in-Persons_2017

Ottawa Resident Acclaimed Vice-President of the International Federation of University Women

susan_russell(OTTAWA – September 6, 2013) – The Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) is proud to announce that Susan Russell, an Ottawa resident, has been acclaimed one of four Vice-Presidents of the International Federation of University Women (IFUW) at their 31st Triennial Conference in Istanbul, Turkey.

IFUW is a leading girls’ and women’s global organization run by and for women, advocating for women’s rights, equality and empowerment through access to quality education and training up to the highest levels, of which CFUW is a national affiliate. The IFUW Triennial Conference in Istanbul this past August attracted nearly 500 members from over 60 national federations and associations around the world who gathered to discuss women’s role in achieving a sustainable future.

Susan Russell currently serves on the Board and Projects Committee of the Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund, on the Trust of the National Association of Women and the Law, and Chairs the CFUW Resolutions Committee. She is a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin University.

Ms. Russell is also a former Executive Director of CFUW and a national Life Member of CFUW. In 2000, she received a Millennium Award for her contributions as a volunteer and the National Capital Femmy Award for her contributions to women’s equality in 2011. Susan is a lifelong advocate for women’s equality with experiences that include: representing IFUW at the UN World Conference on Education for All at Jomtien Thailand; representing CFUW at the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, Education Committee for nine years; serving on the National Advisory Committee to the Government of Canada (Department of Foreign Affairs) prior to the International Conference on Population and Development (Cairo 1994) (ICPD); participating in the preparatory meetings for the World Summit on Social Development (Copenhagen 1995); and in the run up to the World Conference on Women, Take Action for Equality, Development and Peace (1995). She also co-authored the Girl Child section of the Canadian Plain Language follow-up document.

CFUW is a non-partisan, voluntary, self-funded organization with over 100 CFUW Clubs, located in every province across Canada. Since its founding in 1919, CFUW has been working to improve the status of women, and to promote human rights, public education, social justice, and peace. CFUW is the largest of the 61 affiliates of the International Federation of University Women (IFUW).

For further information contact:
Robin Jackson, Executive Director, Canadian Federation of University Women
613-234-8252 ext. 102 or

Launch of International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict

We are excited to share news with you about the launch of the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict with a Week of Action May 6-13. We at CFUW are thrilled to be a member of the first ever collaboration between Nobel Peace Laureates, international advocacy organizations, and groups working at the regional and community levels in conflict areas to stop rape.

As you may already know, challenges to collecting data on rape in conflict persist, but the numbers are alarming. From Congo and Kenya to Burma and Colombia, everyday rape is used as a weapon to humiliate people and tear apart communities.

The International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict unites us—organizations and individuals—into a powerful and coordinated effort for change. We will demand urgent and bold political leadership to prevent rape in conflict, to protect civilians and rape survivors, and call for justice for all—including effective prosecution of those responsible.

Take the personal pledge today to support the Campaign at or

Please help us spread the word : Make sure to connect with the Campaign online during the Week of Action May 6-13.

Visit the website:

Find the Campaign on Twitter:!/stoprapecmpgn. Always use the hashtag #IPLEDGE to show your support for the Campaign and share the action you will undertake for the Campaign.

Find the Campaign on Facebook:

Thank you for your support !

Together & united,

Canadian Federation of University Women

Seven Billion Actions

On 14 September 2011, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched the 7 Billion Actions in New York to recognize that the global population will have reached 7 billion people, by the end of 2011,with women and girls comprising half of the world’s population.

He said that “a world of 7 billion has implications on sustainability, urbanization, access to health services and youth empowerment”. Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), also said, “Population is about people. It is about embracing the dignity and human rights of every individual. In a world of 7 billion people, we need to count on each other”.

The 7 Billion Actions are challenges, opportunities and calls to action to recognize and celebrate our common humanity and diversity. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged all to get involved with the campaign saying, “Small actions taken by each one of us, multiplied across communities, can create a better world”.  For example, one person can read to a child, visit with a senior, stand up for others and make someone smile. Organizations can meet the Campaign Objectives by “Building global awareness and Inspiring others to take actions that will have a socially positive impact”.

Visit to learn more and stay connected with; and Twitter hashtag: #7billion.

International Opportunities

1. APPEAL – Online volunteer assistance for educators in Afghanistan;
2. VACANCY – USAID/Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI)

1. Educators in at-risk areas invited to receive help from skilled online volunteers

The Canadian International Learning Foundation is looking for educators in regions affected by war, illness or poverty to join our new Educator Volunteer Network (EVN).
The EVN is a social website ( where educators can receive mentoring and one-on-one assistance from online volunteers in a range of fields, including teacher training, information technology, communications and strategy. The EVN also provides educators and volunteers with training, a library of resources and a place to share information and ideas together online.

For example, the EVN volunteers and resources could help you to improve a mathematics course you are teaching, write a grant request letter or plan for the future years of your school.

Both educators and volunteers must apply to be members of the EVN. There is no charge for membership. If you think the EVN could help you to help your students, please read the information below and apply to join.

Areas of Assistance

Education Development: Developing curriculum plans and specific lessons and creating partnerships with recognized educational institutions.
Examples: Editing English or mathematics lessons, or obtaining online classes from accredited institutions in the United States or Canada.

Infrastructure and Information Technology: Improving schools’ facilities and implementing new technologies, such as low-power computing and renewable energy.
Examples: Helping decide which laptops and programs might help your school, editing a request for donations of second-hand computers, or planning for water pumps at your school.

Communications: Building public awareness and support for your school and encouraging students to share their stories with the world.

Examples: Developing a website for the school, editing stories about the school and helping the school use websites such as Facebook or Twitter if appropriate.
Business and Strategy: Planning for the future of your school, identifying new sources of funds and finding ways to reduce costs.
Examples: Editing a grant application, helping prepare a school budget or writing a business plan.

Requirements for Joining the EVN

Access to the Internet: Educators should have Internet access at least once a week for several hours. It is best if the Internet is available at your school but the EVN also accepts educators with regular access to Internet cafes.

Proof of registration: Educators must show proof that your school is a legally registered business, non-profit organization, charitable organization or government entity. If you are unable to legally register because of oppression or discrimination from the government, you will need to obtain signed references from at least 2 prominent members of the community, such as lawyers, doctors, elected officials, business owners, religious officials or journalists.

Regard for human rights: To be a member of EVN, you must sign a legally binding agreement that says you and your school will not deny entrance or discriminate against a student because of their race, gender, ethnicity, religion, tribal affiliation or sexual orientation. However, we do allow schools to focus on a specific gender or ethnic group if the group has fewer educational opportunities.

Respect for the EVN’s purpose: EVN is designed to help share knowledge and expertise. It is not designed to provide direct financial assistance, and educators should not ask volunteers to donate their own money or to hold fundraisers. Educators can ask volunteers for help approaching businesses or foundations for grants, but should also ask for help with other things such as education development.
A willingness to share, explore and try something new: We want the EVN to be full of innovative educators who are excited to be part of something new, and willing to share stories of their school and students with the volunteers who are working to help improve the quality of education at their institution.
How to Apply to Join the EVN

To apply, e-mail to request an application form. For more information, please visit us online at

About the Canadian International Learning Foundation

The Canadian International Learning Foundation (CanILF) is an Ottawa-based, volunteer-run registered charity that provides and promotes professional education in areas of the world affected by war, illness and poverty.
CanILF sponsors scholarships, purchases equipment and provides development assistance for a school in Kandahar, the Afghan-Canadian Community Center. Our partnership has helped hundreds of students receive high-paying jobs, support themselves and their families and participate in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. Through the Uganda Literacy and Education Program, CanILF sponsors scholarships and provides educational equipment for St. Paul’s Kabira Adult Attention and School of Orphans (KAASO). CanILF sponsors dozens of student scholarships through KAASO’s Community Empowerment Program, which provides training in business, literacy and small-scale industry and agriculture.

In 2011, CanILF created the Educator Volunteer Network (EVN) based on the success of the online partnerships it created between educators at these two schools and skilled volunteers in Canada. The goal of the EVN is to one day have a team of trained, dedicated international online volunteers for every educator whose students are struggling to overcome war, illness or poverty.
For more information on CanILF, please visit To learn more about the EVN, visit

(OTI) has opened a new position located in Afghanistan

For full information about this position, as well as instruction on how to apply, please visit

The USAID/Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) has opened a new position located in Afghanistan:

• Country Representative, Afghanistan – Field Programs Division, at the GS-14/15 equivalent level.

This is a full-time Personal Service Contractor (PSC) position and is open to U.S. citizens only due to security clearance requirements.

Applications for this position are due no later than November 14, 2011 at 5:00 PM EST.

For full information about this position, as well as instruction on how to apply, please visit

IFUW Update

Uganda BRPID Project Underway

Girls currently enrolled in the Kibuye Primary School and those out of school are participating in what is called the Bina Roy Energy Briquette Production Club. The project involves training girls to collect waste, such as charcoal dust, banana peels and other organic waste, and to recycle these into energy efficient fuel briquettes.

IFUW Receives Legacy from Alice Paquier, former IFUW
Executive Secretary

IFUW has received a legacy of 15’000 Swiss francs from Alice Paquier (1925-2011), who served as IFUW Executive Secretary from 1974 to1988. In her 14-year tenure, she was highly regarded and appreciated for her contributions, particularly in raising IFUW’s presence at the United Nations and promoting the rights of women and girls throughout her lifetime.

UN Working Group on Ageing: Gaps in Protection of Older Persons

The Second Session of the UN Open-ended Working Group on Ageing met in New York from 1-4 August 2011. Participating Member States and NGOs warned that the quality of life of many older persons is poor in both developed and developing countries, and that unless this is addressed, it will worsen as the numbers of elderly increase.

ILO Adopts New Convention on Domestic Workers

During the 100th session of the International Labour Conference in June 2011, gender was a major part of the discussion on Decent Work, this year’s theme. Most important, the passage of a new International Convention 189 on the Rights of Domestic Workers was a big step forward for women. While domestic workers everywhere face injustice, it is women who suffer the most.

IFUW Website Changes

IFUW’s website is shifting to a new content management system that will make it easier to use and more interactive.

For the full IFUW update visit: IFUW Update August 25, 2011

Women’s Worlds 2011, July 2011

Susan Russell, International Relations

The 1,900 participants came to Women’s Worlds 2011 from NGOs, academia and the private sector, young and old, “able” and disabled. First Nations women were an integral part of the opening ceremonies at the Great Hall of the Museum of Civilization on Sunday and were visible throughout the conference.

Listen when you hear the women roar as they make connections and converse! The theme was “Inclusions, Exclusions and Seclusions: Living in a Globalized World”. Dr. Roseanne Runte greeted us on the first morning and Allan Rock at the end – representing both Universities.

Each day started with a plenary discussion in the new Conference Centre and themed:

1. Breaking Cycles
2. Breaking Ceilings
3. Breaking Barriers
4. Breaking Ground

Over 100 workshops daily were each based on the day’s theme. When sessions ended at 6.30 they segued into movies, exhibitions and receptions.


– UWC Vancouver’s workshop dealt with Prostitution (the Nordic Model).
– IFUW’s Louise Croot, and Anne Ronning dealt with widowhood – as an emerging issue.
– Shirley Randall spoke about her work on gender equality in Rwanda.
– Brenda Wallace introduced the CFUW workshop on Barriers to Maternal Health and set the scene leading into my talk about barriers and framework, next came Brenda Robertson’s personal stories about Tanzania and then Teresa Chiesa from the CARE Canada spoke as a health professional just back from the Congo.

The CARE movie, “No Women, No Cry” dealt with challenges to health care in Africa prepared us for our own workshop on the next day.

Abigail Disney’s documentary: Pray the Devil Back to Hell – about the Liberian women who came together at the end of a bloody civil war to make sure that their men made peace shows how determined women can make a difference. It is part of a series on war by this producer.

It is important to include women at every level – women have the power to make lasting change. One woman at a time we can all make a difference.

Amnesty International: End Sexual Violence Against Women and Girls in Nicaragua

Rape and sexual abuse are widespread in Nicaragua. More than two thirds of reports to police from 1998 to 2008 involved girls under the age of 17. Many girls do not speak out, fearing that they will be blamed. Many also do not receive the support they need to recover and seek justice. Instead, most girls suffer in silence.

Amnesty International has met with many survivors of sexual violence in Nicaragua and we wanted to provide an avenue for them to share their stories and speak out. We have launched a new website: which includes the stories of survivors and women’s rights advocates, as well as more information on access to justice, shelters, and support in Nicaragua.

We are also inviting our members and supporters to take a second essential action of sending a much needed message of solidarity to women and girls in Nicaragua, by creating a virtual butterfly. We chose the butterfly image because of our work with women’s rights defenders in Nicaragua. Martha Munguía, the Executive Coordinator of the Nicaraguan Alliance of Women’s Centres told Amnesty International,

“For us, the butterfly is a symbol of the desires to realise our dreams, to spread our wings and multiply into so many women and girls that can fly like butterflies from one place to another, from one country to another, fighting with strength for our rights.”

Individuals can use the online tool to create a butterfly message that Amnesty International will deliver to the women and girls of Nicaragua for them to use in demonstrations in September.

This year is Amnesty International’s 50th Anniversary, and we are focusing on ending sexual violence against girls in Nicaragua as a global action for our members around the world. More details on our global campaigns is available on our new website:

CFUW Calls On Government to Put Human Health Before the Asbestos Industry


OTTAWA, June 16, 2011 – “It’s time to put human health ahead of the asbestos industry” was the message sent to Prime Minister Harper today. Brenda Wallace, National President of the Canadian Federation of University Women, called on PM Harper to stop preventing the UN Rotterdam Convention from adding chrysotile asbestos to its list of hazardous substances.

It is well recognized that many countries who import chrysotile asbestos have lax standards for safe handling of the product. For fear that it will not be handled safely, most countries have either severely restricted or banned the use of all forms of asbestos, including chrysotile. Canada’s failure to take action on this issue is contributing to the premature deaths of many thousands of people in countries with poor standards.

The Convention promotes responsible trade by requiring that “prior informed consent” be obtained before a country exports a hazardous substance on its list. The Convention’s Chemical Review Committee has repeatedly called for chrysotile asbestos to be put on the list, but Canada has refused. Harper and Minister Christian Paradis have said that Canada will continue to block the listing.

“It is indefensible for Canada to continue to block the listing, and their actions are bringing shame on Canada’s international reputation,” said Wallace, “We call on PM Harper to do the right thing: Support the Rotterdam Convention and human rights, not the asbestos industry.”

CFUW is a non-partisan, voluntary, self-funded organization of close to 10,000 women university graduates, students and Associate Members in 113 Clubs across Canada that works to improve the status of women and human rights, education, social, justice, and peace. CFUW holds special consultative status with the United Nations (ECOSOC) Commission on the Status of Women and belongs to the Education Sector of the Canadian Commission to UNESCO. CFUW is the largest of the 67 affiliates of the International Federation of University Women (IFUW).

For more information contact:
Robin Jackson,, 613-234-8252 ext. 102

IFUW Update

Strength of IFUW Women

This ‘IFUW’ year has seen many tragic events such as the floods in Pakistan and Australia and the earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan. We have lost two strong supporters of the Federation and women’s empowerment and rights, first our Past President Dr Elizabeth May, who was a great mentor to me when I used to represent IFUW at the United Nations in the late 1970s, and more recently Conchita Porcini, after her brave struggle against cancer.

One of the common threads that runs through NFA actions during these natural disasters and the lives of both Elizabeth and Conchita is the strength of IFUW women. It is exemplified in their efforts to help those who have been most seriously affected by these disasters or through their tireless efforts to improve the lives of others not able to speak out for themselves. Conchita, both in her career at the International Labour Organization (ILO) and subsequently in her NGO activities, always showed this type of leadership, particularly at the Human Rights Council, where she would often be the only NGO representative who spoke on issues related to women’s rights.

To read more, click here.