Geneva Conference Report 2010
WWSF Conference Rapport Commemorating the International Day of Rural Women – 15 October 2010
Celebrating 11 Laureates who received the WWSF Prize for women’s creativity in rural life.
The WWSF conference, organized at the Maison des Associations in Geneva, commemorated the annual International Day of Rural Women with its Open Letter to Rural Women of the world and presented the 11 Laureates of Prize for Women’s Creativity in Rural life. This year, WWSF honoured in particular Ms. Narmada Gond, a Ghandian Adivasi warrior and active with ‘Ekta Parishad’, an India-based organization living the non-violent principals of Gandhi.
Elly Pradervand, WWSF Executive Director, welcomed the participants and thanked especially the sponsors of its Prize for rural women program. She introduced the International Day of Rural Women-15 October 2010, and briefly presented the 11 Laureates receiving the Prize for Women Creativity in Rural life. Ms Pradervand explained that the WWSF has chosen to encourage the holding of local award ceremonies in the laureates’ home country in order to increase visibility in their own community. 365 prizes have so far been awarded since 1994.
Patricia Läser, President of the “United Women Farmers of Geneva” (UPG) presented the situation of women farmers in Switzerland. She began with a short story of the II world war to explain the role of women and their responsibilities on the farm. The UPG defends and promotes locally grown products, in part by soliciting the government to maintain existing agricultural zones and thus guarantee the nation’s food security. The union also offers preparatory training for women to obtain the Brevet Fédéral (Federal Diploma) in agriculture. She concluded by expressing her wish to nominate several Swiss candidates for the 2011 Prize for women creativity in rural life.
Liliane de Toledo and Jacques Martenot, members of the Geneva support group of Ekta Parishad, and nominators of the 2010 Laureate Narmada Beldeva Gond for the WWSF Prize, presented the work by Ekta Parishad of which Narmada is an active member. They also presented a video of the first non-violent march for justice in India and informed participants of the preparations for a second march in 2012 with an estimated 100’000 people walking to New Delhi and claiming their basic rights, lead by Narmada Gond.
Participants had an opportunity to ask questions about the Laureates, the WWSF prize program, rural development in general and of course about Narmada and Ekta Parishad. The conference concluded with drinks of friendship and exchange of Newsletters featuring the prize winners and their stories of creativity, courage and compassion. The 2011 Call for nominations of candidates for the prize is available www.woman.ch