As we approach the end of 2020, we reflect on a year of shared struggle and solidarity. It has undoubtedly been a challenging year - yet struggles for social justice continued. Here is a collection of our most memorable moments from 2020.
In these tumultuous times, we hope you find comfort in knowing that people everywhere are working towards a better future. Our counterparts show us this, as do you. Your Inter Pares community is here, as always, to carry on the struggle together.
We kicked off the year by welcoming 39 new Sustaining Donors to our community. We were humbled by the outpouring of generosity from all of you during our Stories of Solidarity campaign. 1,016 donors made a gift at the end of 2019, which contributed $209,552 to Inter Pares’ work. A very special thanks also to Jason Roth and Cheryl Steadman-Roth who made an amazing gift of $50,000 in honour of our new Sustaining Donors. We know it is the strength of our donor community that fuels our programs for peace, justice, and equality. Thank you!
In January, Inter Pares counterpart ENDA Pronat along with other organizations in Senegal launched a series of policy recommendations to support the government’s transition to agroecology. Over 400 people gathered at the Journées de l’agroécologie in Dakar to discuss and validate the recommendations, which were developed in collaboration with grassroots organizations, rural women’s groups, farmers unions, researchers and the private sector.
As Canada marked the 30th anniversary of International Development Week in February, we were pleased to announce a strengthened collaboration with four long-term counterparts, supported by Global Affairs Canada – Building Momentum for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights! In our February Bulletin, we introduced you to each of these counterparts, and explained how we will leverage Global Affairs Canada support to expand their programming in Bangladesh, El Salvador, the Philippines, and Sudan.
In celebration of International Women's Day in March, we shared with you a collection of testimonies of resistance from the 2019 uprising in Sudan, Women of Sudan: Sparking Revolution, Creating Change. Many of these testimonies are from young women, recounting their involvement in the uprisings and their ambitions for the future.
In April, the COVID-19 pandemic reached every corner of the globe. We witnessed governments react to the pandemic as our counterparts coped with an array of circumstances. Some played – and continue to play – a crucial role on the ground: organizing to build handwashing stations, providing information materials to the most marginalized community members, and distributing food kits. Others are engaged in advocacy: calling on governments to address health, food and other systemic gaps exacerbated by the pandemic. This grassroots mobilization continues to give us hope.
In May, Inter Pares, together with our allies from Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, Amnesty International Canada, the Equality Fund, Nobel Women’s Initiative, and Oxfam Canada, prepared a policy brief on why Canada needs a feminist response to COVID-19 and how it can be achieved. Read the brief here.
We took Mother’s Day back to its feminist roots by celebrating mothers in El Salvador, India, and Sudan whose extraordinary activism inspires us. In May, we celebrated María Elena Larios de Gonzalez and other extraordinary mothers supported by long-term Inter Pares counterpart, the Committee of Families of Deceased and Disappeared Migrants of El Salvador (COFAMIDE); Misson, who joined her daughter on the frontlines of Sudan’s historic uprising; and the members of the mothers-in law and daughters-in-law sanghams, supported by Inter Pares counterpart the Deccan Development Society (DDS).
In May, Inter Pares was pleased to join the Dignity Network, a group of organizations from across Canada involved in supporting the human rights of LGBTI people globally. It provides a platform to network, share and learn, and to advocate for issues of shared concern in the international struggle to advance human rights related to sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression and sex characteristics. Inter Pares is committed to gender justice including LGBTI rights.
In June, the United Nations Development Programme awarded the prestigious Equator Prize to the Salween Peace Park (SPP). The SPP is an Indigenous community-led initiative spanning 5,485 km² in Karen State, Burma, that aims to promote environmental sustainability, lasting peace, and cultural survival. It is sustainably and democratically managed by Indigenous Karen communities, including our long-term counterpart the Karen Environmental and Social Action Network. We extend a warm congratulations to the communities of the SPP, and thanks to Global Affairs Canada for supporting this important conservation and peacebuilding work through Inter Pares.
In September, the B.C. Supreme Court dismissed the claims of the Cambie Surgery Corporation and instead issued a landmark ruling to protect the province’s universal public healthcare system. This decision represented a historic victory for keeping healthcare public in Canada. For years, the Canadian Health Coalition and allies have advocated for the case to be dismissed. Inter Pares celebrated this victory alongside the movement to protect public healthcare in Canada, and will continue our work to ensure equal access to public healthcare for all.
In October, we introduced our newest counterpart, Tamil Nadu Women’s Collective (TNWC). Founded in 1994, TNWC brings together over 100,000 marginalized women in the state of Tamil Nadu, India to promote agroecology, address violence against women, and support the political participation of women. With Inter Pares support, TNWC trained young women and men to form local committees in 20 villages to monitor and take action on women’s rights and especially the critical situation of violence against women. In response to the pandemic the Women’s Collective shifted some of their resources to providing emergency relief. TNWC assisted 980 widows and elderly women in 231 villages who are unable to work with food and other supplies.
Change was in the air at Inter Pares in November! We were pleased to announce the appointment of Charlotte Kiddell and Samantha McGavin as Co-Executive Directors of the organization. They replace outgoing Co-Executive Directors Rita Morbia and Kathryn Dingle. Charlotte and Samantha will each retain their current program management responsibilities, while expanding their representation of Inter Pares. Rita remains with Inter Pares as a co-manager, focusing on her collaboration with counterparts in Sudan, the Philippines, and Canada. Kathryn has moved on from Inter Pares, and we wish her all the best in this new chapter. We are deeply grateful to Rita and Kathryn for their contributions in this role, and we look forward to the contributions that Charlotte and Samantha will bring.