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World Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December – the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This year, Human Rights Day kicks off a year-long campaign to mark the upcoming 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a milestone document that proclaimed the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being — regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. It is the most translated document in the world, available in more than 500 languages.
As Soroptimists we mark the 10th December with the launch of the International President’s Appeal. Soroptimist International President, Mariet Verhoef-Cohen, was inaugurated at the Soroptimist meeting in Rotterdam on 29th July 2017. Mariet is the first Dutch President in the organisation’s 100 years existence. The focus of Soroptimist International continues to be “Educate to Lead”.
Recognised as an expert on the topic of water and how it impacts the lives of women and girls globally, Mariet is delighted to announce that her President’s Appeal for the 2017 – 2019 biennium will focus on Women, Water and Leadership. At least five projects will be supported in five continents with a view to enabling women to become active leaders in water management.
More specifically, these projects will connect to SDG 4 – Quality Education, SDG 5 – Gender Equality and SDG 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation for all purposes.
International President Mariet presented at World Water Week in Stockholm at the end of August, when she connected SDG 5 and SDG 6.3 during the seminar ‘Understanding the Gender Dimension of Water and Waste’. In her presentation, she provided solutions to ensure women’s expertise and skills in water in general, and waste water specifically, are taken seriously to improve our water and waste management systems. As we are aware in many countries women are responsible for fetching drinking water for the family, getting water to grow vegetables, caring for family members who are ill because they have to drink dirty water, taking care of waste or waste water. A worthy project, which will make a difference, not only to women but to their families and their communities.