I walk with...
One influential female figure from a partner organisation is chosen annually as a symbol of support for the Mission 21 women's network throughout the year. This is an effective way of drawing public attention to her efforts in the cause of gender equity. It also enables the network to demonstrate its solidarity with her and all those who advocate human rights for women on a daily basis, sometimes under extremely difficult conditions.
The focus of " I walk with…" changes to a different continent each year: from summer 2017 to 2018, the spotlight was on the commitment shown by Suzan Mark of Nigeria. She provides support for survivors of the attacks by Boko Haram, the Islamist terrorist militia, and she carries out important trauma work. In 2018/2019, we are following Obertina Johanis of Indonesia. This pastor is the finance manager and advisor at Pasundan-Durebang, a centre for victims of human trafficking and domestic violence in Bandung. Obertina fights fiercely for the rights of the large numbers of young female guest workers who go to Hong Kong or Malaysia, where they are frequently abused and exploited. Many of them are severely traumatised when they return to Indonesia – if they survive at all.
This year, "I walk with…" is moving on from Asia to Africa. After the 2019 International Women's Conference, the focus will be on Ebed Grijalva. Her struggle against gender-based murder (femicide) and the upsurge in fundamentalist thinking is worthy of our attention.