Archive | April, 2013

Training of Parenting Group Facilitators, in Trinidad and Tobago

22 Apr

The parenting programme first reached the Diocese of Trinidad and Tobago back in 2004, when they were fortunate enough to have someone trained as a parenting programme trainer in the UK. Slowly the programme grew, but as we have experienced in other parts of the world, it is a great burden to bear on one person’s shoulders alone. Great challenges are encountered in trying to grow the programme without additional support. It was decided that a refresher facilitator training was needed, and that brings us to this past week, where 16 facilitators have been upgraded in their training, allowing them to be better equipped to go out into their local communities and start up parenting groups.

The course lasted 4 days, and focused mainly on equipping participants with the skills needed to be a good facilitator, to be able to handle an array of situations and successfully facilitate a group for the parenting programme. The training uses a combination of session content (like classroom learning) with a strong focus on activities, group work and presentations to encourage active learning and participation.

The training was a great success, with each facilitator actively participating and showing a great commitment to the programme by giving up their time to be trained and in so doing, affirming their commitment to voluntarily run parenting groups throughout the Diocese of Trinidad and Tobago. The Diocesan President, Phyllis Raghunanan along with her Vice President Sherma Henry, hosted an excellent training in the capital Port of Spain, and we felt really blessed to have such a great group to work with. The needs in Trinidad and Tobago are great, and there are many depressed communities which can benefit greatly from the work of Mothers’ Union through programmes like the Worldwide Parenting Programme; a non-proselytising, facilitative based forum for parents and community members to come together as a group and share their parenting experiences together.

Moving forward, as we look to our upcoming Global Training of Trainers event in November 2013, Trinidad will send at least 1 representative to be trained, allowing for more courses like the one delivered this week, to take place across the Diocese of Trinidad and Tobago. Exciting things are happening for the WPP in Trinidad and Tobago!



Training of Coordinators for the Worldwide Parenting Programme, Mothers’ Union Jamaica

11 Apr

For two days this week, Sheran Harper, our Worldwide Parenting Trainer along with Claudette DePeralto our key Trainer in Jamaica facilitated a training of coordinators in Kingston, Jamaica.

What is co-ordinator training? In places where the worldwide parenting programme is strong, with a large number of facilitators working across a large area/diocese holding parenting groups, it becomes necessary to have coordinators in each region and/or parish. Their main role is to support, encourage and mobilise the facilitators in their area. They are responsible for managing these groups of facilitators and whilst providing support, also helping ensure that they plan and report properly using the required monitoring and evaluation forms. The coordinators help ensure the best possible outcomes for the programme.


This is Dwight, one of our coordinators, explaining the journey of the parenting programme in Jamaica over the last few years. It was one of the exercises that the participants undertook in the training.

The training was a huge success, with all participants very energetic and enthusiastic about carrying the programme forward. Great fun was had during training, and the personalities of everyone in the group worked really well together. It was a pleasure as ever to see Sheran train, as Worldwide Parenting Trainer for the Mothers’ Union she is well experienced in training facilitators, coordinators and trainers. Sheran has an exceptional quality that encourages even the shyest personality out of their shell, and I have yet to see anyone do anything but warm to her charisma and compassion!

During the rest of our time, we were fortunate to meet with the Bishop of the Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, who affirmed his enthusiasm and commitment to the Mothers’ Union. We met also with the executive committee for the Mothers’ Union in the Diocese, and had a really fruitful and productive time together. The trip was all to brief, but we were blessed to have such a successful time and we were privileged to see the skills and talents at work in the Diocesan President, and those around her.

Next stop, Trinidad and Tobago where we are holding a Training of Facilitators for the parenting programme. I’ll update you with news as soon as I can!

Until then…


Mothers’ Union strongly represented at the Enthronement of the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

9 Apr

ImageI feel doubly blessed – as Mothers’ Union Provincial President for the Province of York I attended the consecration of Justin Welby as Bishop of Durham. And now I have been able to represent the four million members of Mothers’ Union, by attending his Enthronement as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury.  It was a wonderful privilege.

On a beautifully sunny spring March afternoon trustees Frida Kazembe (Zambia), Helen Parry (Isle of Man), Sheran Harper (Guyana), Real Kewasis (Kenya) and myself made our way into the magnificent Canterbury Cathedral, where we were pleased to greet another Mothers’ Union central Trustee, Maria Akrofi (Ghana), who attended with her husband.

Anticipation, expectation, excitement, fellowship and joy filled this holy place. The music and the singing was amazing, there was a great sense that something wonderful was about to happen. Two rows ahead of me was the Archbishop’s seat! What an amazing organisation Mothers’ Union is, offering so many opportunities to its members.

From our seats we had a clear view of the West Door, seeing the great processions including: Head Vergers, Chancellors, Church Leaders from other faiths, Clergy, Bishops, Archbishops from around the Anglican Communion. And of course HRH Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and the leaders of political parties.

The solemnity of the service, the symbolic gestures and Mother’s Union being part of it was incredible. I really felt that God was with us in the service. The Archbishop’s sermon was inspiring, thought provoking and challenging.

Following the service, during tea, I had great opportunities to network with a great number of people, it was so good to hear positive comments from them about the vast amount of outreach work Mother’s Union is involved around the world.

I was introduced to Archbishop Justin and his wife Caroline and the trustees and myself were extra blessed to have a photo opportunity. It was helpful to have the zoned trustees with me because I was introduced to a number of Archbishops from around the Anglican Communion.

I feel deeply humbled and truly blessed by the many wonderful opportunities that have been – and continue to be opened up in my role as Mothers’ Union’s Worldwide President. God certainly blesses us in many ways. It was indeed a great privilege to represent you in Canterbury. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity.

Lynne Tembey

Mothers’ Union Worldwide President 2013

Outcome of the 57th UNCSW

8 Apr

The final agreed conclusions of the 57th Commission on the Status of Women are now available on the UNCSW website here. This document has made a journey from eight pages to 31, back down to a final 16, stating what actions governments need to take to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against women (including direct input from Mothers’ Union – read right to the end to discover what!).  Six thousand women were present to influence this process in New York, and many more beforehand back in their own countries. Intergovernmental negotiations took place behind closed doors but governments often found ways to helpfully leak the developing text of the agreed conclusions to NGOs to aid them in their lobbying.

By the end, most governments were happy with the outcome, even just to have reached final agreements – the last time the priority theme was violence against women there had been no agreed conclusions at the end, the second time only in its 57 year history (the only other occasion being last year). Negotiations are always a battle between weakening gender equality (yes, really), protecting existing standards, and progressing women’s empowerment even further.  Whilst a great deal of compromise was involved there were still a few countries who expressed dissatisfaction with the outcome. The Holy See (not technically a UN member state but has the right to ‘observer status’ and therefore input) spent ten minutes after the adoption of the agreed conclusions making a speech against the document – no one really listened and eventually the chair asked them to kindly desist.

So what’s in the agreed conclusions? Not least, a paragraph from Mothers’ Union!

The first section reaffirms existing international agreements such as the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (a key milestone in international agreements on gender) and raises general observations. The second section is operational – that is, specific guidelines for what governments should be doing – and is organised into four categories: strengthening implementation of legal and policy frameworks and accountability; addressing structural and underlying causes and risk factors so as to prevent violence against women and girls; strengthening multisectoral services, programmes and responses to violence against women and girls; and improving the evidence base. Within each category are a number of specific recommendations and it is often the minutia of the language used that NGOs lobby on.

It is not easy to establish where an individual organisation can take credit for influencing an outcome, as there are so many voices calling for the same things. However, Mothers’ Union can claim full credit for the introduction of one particular paragraph. We gave suggested text to the UK Government ahead of CSW, which made its way word for word into the second draft of the agreed conclusions as:

“Support the development of rehabilitative services for perpetrators of violence against women and girls to transform attitudes and behaviours and reduce likelihood of reoffending”.

Over the two weeks of the CSW this paragraph was extended but made its way, uncontroversially, into the final document as:

 “Create, develop and implement a set of policies, and support the establishment of rehabilitative services, to encourage and bring changes in the attitudes and behaviours of perpetrators of violence against women and girls, and to reduce the likelihood of reoffending, including in cases of domestic violence, rape and harassment, as well as monitor and assess their impact and effect”. (Section C, point ggg, page 14)

 For me, this is what attending the CSW is all about – influencing an international agreement that, if implemented, should help to improve life for women and girls.

Rachel with Sister Lynda Dearlove of Women at the Well, at the adoption of the agreed conclusions

Rachel with Sister Lynda Dearlove of Women at the Well, at the adoption of the agreed conclusions