Advocacy, Lobbying and Networking

October 16, 2012




The Executive Team of VIVAT International, Sr. Zelia Cordeiro, SSpS and Fr. Felix Jones, SVD, came all the way from VIVAT’s Head Office in New York City to discuss about “Advocacy, Lobbying and Networking” particularly in the international and United Nations level.

Sr. Zelia Cordeiro, SSpS and Fr. Felix Jones, SVD

Fr. Felix, being the first speaker, introduced Vivat by presenting its milestones. Noteworthy that the establishment of VIVAT as an NGO in the UN is the initiative of the SSpS.  A joint proposal was submitted to the SSpS and SVD General Councils on May 18, 1999.  After being endorsed by the SSpS Assembly of Provincials and Regionals in Pune (September 1999) and the SVD General Chapter (July 2000), VIVAT was formally established on November 18, 2000, making SSpS and SVD the founding members.

After 12 years, VIVAT’s network has grown significantly.  To date, it has a total membership of 25,386 Sisters, Priests and Brothers from 12 religious congregations, working in 122 countries in Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa and America.

VIVAT addresses JPIC issues at the grassroots and systemic levels.  To show the process of how issues from the grassroots are elevated to VIVAT International level, Fr. Felix related some cases from Indonesia, Peru, Sudan and Sri Lanka.

Advocacy, being the primary task of VIVAT (and JPIC promoters), was discussed by Sr. Zelia.  She presented to the group its meaning and framework.  To ensure success in advocacy efforts, specific components have to considered and particular steps have to be followed.  Keeping a data bank is important to support advocacy work.  There is a process to handle confidential and sensitive information in order to protect the interests of our clients.  Advocacy is a high-risk work.  We may never see its end-results during our lifetime, but the effects are far more longterm than charity work.  

VIVAT International believes that as an essential human right, the fundamental dignity and equality of all women must be ensured.  Though VIVAT International’s work also covers poverty, sustainable development, and HIV/AIDS, women however get a big part of its attention.  Efforts are exerted on the international level to eliminate violence against women, being one of the most pervasive and brutal forms of discrimination that women experience.  For this, in the afternoon, Fr. Felix gave an input on CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women).

The final presentation by Sr. Zelia was about the “Universal Periodic Review (UPR): United Nations Human Rights Council” and the “Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights”.  She described in details how human rights issues from different countries are presented, discussed and acted upon in the periodic complaint sessions of the UN’s Human Rights Council.

Powerpoint presentations:

VIVAT International (click here)

Advocacy (click here)

CEDAW (click here)

Universal Periodic Review (click here)


Evening session —

Mr. Ralf Kern, bank officer (Wealth Management), shared about:

The Bank of the SVD Missionaries

In 1964, the Divine Word Missionaries founded at St. Augustin near Bonn, Germany the only Mission Bank in Europe. Its mission is to help people in need.  All profits from the Steyler Bank go to the mission work of the SVD and the SSpS all over the world.

Steyler Bank promotes safe investment through ethical guarantees.  16,000 satisfied customers prove that financial investment in solidarity is possible.  Year after year several million Euros go to significant aid projects.  It is remarkable that the Bank remains unaffected by the European economic crisis.

Steyler Bank is the only bank belonging to a Catholic Order.  It works according to the guidelines of the Steyl Missionaries founded by St. Arnold Janssen (SVD and SSpS).

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1 Comment

  1. Leonette Kaluzny

     /  October 22, 2012

    Good Job! TEAM!


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