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    What NGO Collaboration Looks Like at CSW62

    I often tell people that one of the UN Reps Team’s priorities is increasing and improving collaboration with our sister women’s organizations in the UN NGO community. Developing relationships with other NGOs increases FAWCO’s visibility in the NGO community, and opens up opportunities for joint advocacy and action. This sounds very good, but what does it really mean?  

    In the last two days at CSW62, I’ve been able to collaborate in very practical, down-to-earth ways. 

    Monday morning, the first day of CSW62, at 8:15 AM, I found a seat in a crowded conference room for a very popular session on gender stereotyping. There was an empty seat next to me. I recognized Mariet coming in and searching for a seat. I met Mariet, the President of Soroptimist International, a few months ago in Vienna. I indicated the empty seat next to me, saying "Hello, I saved you a seat!" Happy coincidence, good timing, and a nice way to make a gesture of friendship. Later, I found the venue for a side event which FAWCO co-sponsored with several other organizations including the League of Women Voters.  I recognized Rosalee from the League of Women Voters, as she had been a moderator at Consultation Day on Sunday. I introduced myself: FAWCO is co-sponsoring this event with your organization; my colleague Erica Higbie works with you. We greeted each other warmly and launched immediately into conversation about CSW. A few minutes later, Rosalee asked if anyone had an iPhone charger with them. I did, and offered to let her use it. We all know how important that can be in a time of need! Rosalee was grateful, I was happy to help, and our bond was sealed. 

    Of course our cooperation with NGO partners involves much more than helping with a seat or a phone charger. We develop side events and draft advocacy statements, organize event sponsorships including UN Member States and other NGO colleagues, put together agendas and invitations, network, apply for meeting space and submit statements, and the list goes on. We share responsibilities in pursuit of our common goals.  We are women activists for gender justice.

    We make things happen. 

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