Kimberly Berem

SISWP CSW 63 delegate Kimberly Berem, gives a quick report on her first day in New York. #swpcsw63, #swpinspiringwomen

 I am so honored and humbled by this experience already even before the main event starts on Sunday 10th March 2019-NGO Commission on Status of Women 63rd Session on Social Protection Systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls!

The scholarship from Soroptimist International South West Pacific, the support from Soroptimist International PNG National Rep, fellow Soroptimist Sisters and my own Club, family and friends to get here is a story in itself. My God has made all this possible!

Today setting foot at United Nations Headquarters for the very first time to get our UN passes and a brief tour was surreal, a feeling I can't find the right words to describe. I am truly humbled and honored to have set foot in a building and place where global issues are discussed and Presidents, Diplomats, Prime Ministers, Ministers, Delegates from countries all over the world have trod, from this rooms discussions are held, decisions are made for all across this globe. Next week will be hectic and buzzing with it's own program but I leave it for now.



Todays session report 2

CSW63 - Report from Kimberly Berem on Yesterday's sessions 14th March 2019

1. NGOCSW Morning briefing organized by UN Department of Peace
- Human Rights Defenders around the world must be protected. Women Human Rights Defenders are particularly vulnerable to fight against Human Rights matters.

2. How to Better Plan & Design Inclusive Sustainable Infrustructure-organised by New Zealand with Panellists from Sweden and PNG Ambassador to United Nations-Amb. Max Rai

- New Zealand shared that it had challenges in ensuring its transport system was safe for its population especially the women and girls and vulnerable population and they also faced problems collecting accurate data and it has gone ahead to do surveys with women and children who are using all men as of transport in a bid to improve its transport infrustructure.

-Sweden commented that infrastructure is an essential function of every society which is again affected by gender. Women must be included in decision making for policy changes as well as the design phase as men most times do not know of issues affecting women. Sweden is also trying to have infrustructure in place that are sustainable and will guarantee safety and security for women.

-PNG has 800 languages which can be a barrier in itself and it's a society dominated by men as in many parts of the world. One of its main obstacles is data. It has no proper system in place to collect, store and disseminate data to enable policy makers and designers to plan appropriate infrustructure for its entire population including women who make up half of its population. PNG stated that the UN and other international organizations or countries can look at assisting it have proper systems to gather data. PNG briefly highlighted that one of its initiatives to have a Public transport bus for women and girls only has started in Port Moresby the nations capital city. It is also working on building a Market for Women Only so they can sell their produce without fear of their safety or of being harassed or robbed. PNG already has a bank for women only.

In a nutshell, the discussion concluded with panelists agreeing that women inclusion in decision making and designing phase will be the way forward to have infrustructure that is inclusive.Each policy, design and infrastructure must be locally based and owned to ensure true reflection of the needs of each country is met.

3. Women Leaders Advancement of Public Services for Gender Equality- organized by Taipei Economic & Cultural Office in New York.

- Taiwan is emerging as the top country in Asia in terms of giving its women equal rights and with a current President being a first in Taiwan and China and they have few women Ministers.Again the discussion centered on the need for women inclusion in both economical and political arena. Taiwan was proud to present their successes and initiatives and are focused on achieving all the SDGs which is good to see. Taiwan has done so much in so little time. Women leadership is key to democracy, human rights, etc..

Suggestions were made to involve women at all levels and have proper data to rely on for submissions, etc for policy making and designing of infrustructure as one cannot address what one cannot measure. Furthermore, suggestion to introduce Gender Education in schools as a taught subject.
All SDGs are universal and interlinked and in order to get to the last one, let the last one be base one because together we are stronger!


The NGOCSW63 Consultation Day. SISWP Scholarship Winner Kimberly Berem writes an exciting and moving account of her experiences at this event.

Consultation Day 3Catherine Evans SWP Programe Director and I attended the NGOCSW63 Consultation Day session today and I was truly inspired to do more from the discussions by the panelists.

It started with a presentation of Women of Distinction 2019 Award to Gharsanay IbnulAmeen, who at just 22 is the founder of Afghan Girls Sustainable Education Project and who has already made a big impact in her country to ensure girls get a education.

Countries all over the world have their own problems even the countries as old as time itself. No country is immune from all forms of violence, no country although independent is truly free from issues affecting its women and girls, the widows, the elderly, the children who need care, and more. Clean Water &Sanitation, Zero Hunger, Safe Transportation for Women, Ending of Violence for Women and all Women, Ending Child Marriages, Education for all children especially girl child, etc are some of the things we would like to see happening in our communities and around the world. Until then, WE (Humanity) have to keep beating the drums and keep away the voices and forces that will try to dim or drown our voices.

Listening to discussions from the panelists on the theme-Social Protection, Public Service and Infrustructure and Empowering Women got me thinking of what we all can do to contribute one way or another on the issues affecting humanity, not just women and girls. Each panelist had a time frame and spoke of the work they had done in line with the theme to start the discussions for the next 2 weeks.

The Civil Society is a global community of it's own with women from all over the globe fighting for the same cause for humanity and gender issues and women issues are not women matters it's for all humanity to work together as what women do has a ripple effect on the man, children, youth, elderly, the community and globally as well. WOMEN HAVE A VOICE! RAISE IT UP and KEEP it RAISED!

What moved me were the stories from Afganistan, Eqypt, Nepal, Peru, Iceland, Bangladesh, Namibia,Kenya, India are no different to Papua New Guinea and a few other countries in the SWP Federation. We want equal pay, we want social protection, we want our widows to continue successfully with life from what is rightfully theirs, we want Safe homes, streets, transport, schools, workplace for our women and girls, we want to end poverty and have better health care and better education.
I was sitting there with tears in my eyes and voices in my head going at each other screaming that a platform as this and a microphone like that would enable me to tell my story as well, not just for PNG but for my sister countries around me because although our stories are similar in nature, our circumstances and experiences are different.

You can have ideas and dreams but you need the right network, connection, platform and avenues to give your ideas and dreams the voice it needs..Go places, see people, build networks, share ideas and just put yourself out there for you to be noticed and heard. What good is a voice when it is not heard?


I left with this thought and want to challenge myself and All- This is the 63rd CSW Session, if European Nations, African Nations, Middle East, Asians, Ispanics can air their voices in such forums, the South West Pacific can do ours too..Stories are similar but, a story once told can never be forgotten and can impact someone and make a difference, small or big.



CSW63 Consultancy 2

Theresa Devasahayam CSW63

Social Protection for Gender Equality, is the theme of a blog written by SISWP member Theresa W. Devasahayam, Theresa is the SI UN Representative for Bangkok. "The theme of the sixty-third session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63) focuses on social protection systems, access to public services, and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality, and the empowerment of women and girls. Women’s right to social protection systems and access to public services are embedded in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and other related international agreements.

You can read Theresa's full article here:

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International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.

This year the international theme is Think equal, build smart, innovate for change.

The theme will focus on innovative ways in which we can advance gender equality and the empowerment of women, particularly in the areas of social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure.

UN Women states; “The achievement of the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires transformative shifts, integrated approaches and new solutions, particularly when it comes to advancing gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. Based on current trajectories, existing interventions will not suffice to achieve a Planet 50-50 by 2030. Innovative approaches that disrupt “business as usual” are central to removing structural barriers and ensuring that no woman and no girl is left behind.”

Around our Federation women and girls will be involved in celebration events and will be listening to inspirational speakers; realising all that they can become. They will become aware that, united, women are a powerful force that can bring about change.

Publicise what you are doing, post on Facebook and tag on your posts @soroptimistsouthwestpacific or Twitter using our hashtag, #MorePowerfulTogether to celebrate and publicise our work.

Here are just some of our Federation Clubs Events Celebrating International Women’s Day 2019.

SI Albany

SI Albany

Albany Soroptimists build a bridge for peace on International Women’s Day

Soroptimist International Albany and members of the Albany community will join thousands of women around the globe by again taking part in the annual Join Me On The Bridge campaign as part of International Women’s Day on Friday, 8 March 2019 at 12 noon. This will also be the launch of the Albany Women’s Centre Kare Kits Project.

SI Rockingham

SI Rockingham

Working with the International theme of THINK EQUAL, BUILD SMART, INNOVATE FOR CHANGE, SI Rockingham have three groups of speakers across a range of areas, as well as an all female quartet, Eureka to start the evening for us. Speakers include:
• Deputy Principal, Sian Bakewell, whose passion is about bringing technology into the class room.
• Speakers from the Women in Prison Project, an advocacy and hands on project that is being lead by three Soroptimist Clubs, On The Terrace, Maylands- Peninsula, and South Perth.
• Guest speakers with experience working in aboriginal communities in NT and WA .
 -  Lyn Harrison has worked as a teacher in communities as far ranging as Wadeye (Port Keats) NT largest aboriginal community in Australia to Leanora in West Australia, now working with the Department of Child Protection in Rockingham but worked in communities in great sandy desert and the Tanimi and a vast experience. 
 - Laura Russ currently the Aboriginal Affairs officer for Police Dept- working on project to develop Police’s policy for dealing with Aboriginal people.

 SI Karratha final

 SI Karratha

Celebrating International Womens Day with a HighTea at the Theatre to watch Tea with the Dames on Sunday Afternoon at 2pm. Dress to Impress and BYO Teacup with prizes for both. There will be a cash bar and a raffle.

 SI Canberra

 SI Canberra

Soroptimist International of Canberra Inc invites you to join them for International Women’s Day Breakfast.
Guest speaker: Laura Aoun, Chair of Canberra Multicultural Women’s Forum.
A continental breakfast will be served. Please bring along gold coins for the raffles.
Proceeds of the breakfast will provide bursaries for migrant and refugee women who are studying at the Canberra Institute of Technology.

 SI Beenleigh

 SI Beenleigh

IWD breakfast, two amazing speakers Rachel Abuk Maker and Taylor Birtchnell - Taylor was the recipient of a full scholarship to Bond University and is a Gold coast Mayor's Student Ambassador. She is the inaugural Volunteering Queensland "Youth Volunteer Award" winner, the recipient of the SI Beenleigh Stella Rickhoff Award (2018). Taylor volunteers with many community organisations, including the Robina Community Legal Centre and the Bond Immigration Law Clinic.

 SI Griffith

 SI Griffith

International Women's Day breakfast with guest speaker Wing Commander Sharon Bown (Ret'd). A former aeromedical evacuation nurse with the Royal Australian Air Force and humanitarian, Sharon is an inspiring leader and compelling storyteller.
Working in East Timor, Sharon narrowly escaped death when the helicopter in which she was travelling crashed in a violent storm. Suffering a severe spinal injury, a shattered jaw and aviation fuel burns, it was the unseen scarring of chronic pain and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder that threatened to reveal the limits of her resilience. Yet the test was far from over.Join us to hear Sharon share her story.

 SI Bayside

 SI Bayside

IWD Bayside Breakfast.

Guest Speaker Sarah Corbett. Sarah is a young women who coordinates a large number of employees & volunteers to support the homeless. She will provide a young women's perspective on this 2019 United Nations them and on the need for young people to have a moral compass and give back to our communities.

 SI Geraldton

 SI Geraldton

As part of International Women’s Day, Soroptimist International Geraldton has partnered with “Desert Blue Connect” to host a buffet dinner with speakers in Geraldton on Friday 8th March.

SI Moreton Nth

SI Moreton North

SI Moreton North 2019 International Women's Day function “$MONEY $MONEY $MONEY” (It's not just a rich man's world). Empowering women in their finances.
Inspired by guest and panel speakers who have overcome challenges and now own their own businesses, Sallymatu Kuyateh Bangura, Thuy Hook, Siliba Deverall, Dianne Brown and Amanda McCall.

SI Brisbane Water

SI Brisbane Water

SI Brisbane Water held their fifth annual International Women's Day Expo joining with other women's groups from across the Central Coast to celebrate the work women do to support others in the community.

Celebrate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights turning 70! Let’s stand up for equality, justice and human dignity.
December 10 (Human Rights Day), marks the start of the International President's Appeal, Women, Water and Leadership, which apart from the attendance at the Commission on the Status of Women, is the only occasion on which the 4 Federations are united in action. Soroptimists are asked to make some small personal sacrifice and donate the money saved to a project chosen by the President of Soroptimist International. Clubs are also encouraged to conduct special fund raising for the Appeal.

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