The Links at the United Nations
One of the five programmatic thrusts of The Links, Incorporated is the International Trends and Services (ITS) facet. Through this facet, the organization implements programs and initiatives aimed at significantly improving the lives and opportunities of people of color worldwide. The organization has had significant success in achieving its ITS goals, however, the continued success of this facet is due in part to the information shared and the partnerships forged through The Links at the United Nations event. This event provides significant opportunities for Links members to communicate with world leaders to learn the critical issues impacting their countries and ways in which these issues may be tackled. Through communication, collaboration, and cooperation, we are then able to tweak existing programs and/or develop new initiatives that effectively target the crises faced.
Women today confront enormous challenges. Statistics show that two-thirds of the world’s one billion illiterate adults are women and roughly 66 percent of the 130 million children not in school are females. In addition, one in every four households today is headed by a woman. Statistics such as these seem to paint an ominous future for our women and families.
As an organization consisting of women who are leaders in their communities, established for the main purpose of strengthening and improving the lives of women and men of color worldwide, The Links, Incorporated is strategically positioned to tackle the issues confronting our women. Furthermore, the organization’s past success in dealing with like challenges prove its effectiveness as a Non-Governmental Organization, essentially a not-for-profit, voluntary citizens group at the local, national and/or international level.
The role of The Links’ NGO representative is to provide knowledge and expertise to The Links, the United Nations and other international organizations. The NGO representative assists in monitoring and implementing national and international memoranda of understanding and other agreements between The Links and similar organizations. The NGO representative also relays useful information about current world issues and aids in developing strategic programs that target these issues. The NGO representative works to further understanding of world issues and international affairs and seeks to find the most effective ways to improve the lives of women and men worldwide.
The Links Model United Nations Program – This program engages grade school and college students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities as well as other institutions of higher learning. Students are invited to special events sponsored by The Links and encouraged to become involved in international affairs through working with the UN. Students research and discuss complex global issues such as the role of women in developing countries, apartheid, child labor and human development.
Day of the African Child – The Links, Incorporated hosts annual programs aimed at increasing awareness of issues affecting young people and encouraging young people through the UN to consider leadership and international affairs. This year’s Links at the United Nations workshop entitled “Empowering Adolescent Girls: Challenges, Strategies & Opportunities” will stimulate new ideas and initiatives for effective, future programs.
International Women’s Day – The Links, Incorporated takes this opportunity to assess the progress of women worldwide in their struggle for equality, peace and development. Again, workshops such as “Women’s Economic Empowerment in Africa” will provide us with current information and incite discussion on how the organization can work to assist women in achieving their goals.
United Nations Millennium Goals – The Links, Incorporated seeks to implement programs and initiatives that target the eight Millennium Goals. These goals aim to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women, confront the treatment of women and children in developing countries, human trafficking, violence against women, the HIV/AIDS crisis and other health issues. The issues sometimes seem daunting but through events such as The Links at the United Nations, members learn the most effective ways to target these issues and can return to their Chapters and communities armed with defined plans for effective programs and initiatives.
Maama Kits – The Links, Incorporated supports the Safe Motherhood Initiative which reinvigorated the Maama Kits program. The Maama Kit contains basic supplies to facilitate clean and safe delivery of babies and reduce the risk of deadly infection to the mother and her newborn baby. Over 10,000 women were helped through these efforts, and the program now reaches women in Uganda, Ethiopia and Mozambique.
Through this event, The Links, Incorporated hopes to arm members with information that will significantly aid in bolstering and developing effective programs under the International Trends and Services facet. Members should take the information provided and present it to Chapter Presidents, Chapter Program Coordinators and community members with the goal of constructing initiatives that work. Following this event, attendees should, in essence, serve as representatives – relaying information, offering suggestions and influencing changes that eventually improve our programs, our communities and our world.