Advancing Women’s Empowerment, Leadership and Building Resilient Communities (ReFocuz Symposium)

ReFocuz Initiative: Activating solution-driven, problem-solving, and people-focused Conversations to enable Collaborative Action on things that Matter!

About The ReFocuz Initiative
ReFocuz is a solution-driven, problem-solving, and people-focused initiative which aims to collaborate with individuals and communities of people to embrace their narratives to create endless empowering opportunities, support the emergence of innovative ideas that are required to effectively address social, economic, gender and civic engagement issues. Work towards restoring human dignity and prevent violent expressions of conflict which undermines sustainable individual, family, community, organizational, and environmental change.
This initiative will work towards changing unhealthy perceptions about communities of people, and encourage collaboration using one of the most powerful assets of humanity the voice. Through conversations for change (annual and mid-year symposiums), storytelling, facilitation and training (using participatory and emancipatory approaches), and merchandising of branded products.
This initiative will encourage critical self-reflection, peaceful intra and inter dialogues coming face to face with the issues that affect us and facilitating of safe, collaborative, empowering, participatory and inclusive spaces where individuals can engage in purposeful and critically reflective practices in order to raise their consciousness around their own contexts and the assumptions which guide their attitudes and behaviors. Using technology for good and fostering innovation, new ways of thinking, knowing and doing including the next resourceful idea which may emerge during our work of being actively engaged in creating a better world and the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Objectives:
1. Creation and development of partnerships between Grassroots Domestic Violence, Social, Gender and Environmental Justice Groups to:
 Develop innovative solutions to address social and economic issues affecting women and men;
 Engage in evidence-based social impact research to drive the creation of public polices, laws, programs, services and products;
 Incorporate an Asset Based Citizen-led Development approach to working with marginalized, low income and At-Risk Communities;
 Create Technology-driven products including Apps to provide ease of access and speed of access to meet our goals; and any other items agreed upon for the advancing of the cause.
2. Sharing through cross cultural collaboration inquiry, best practices and expertise around climate change, environmental justice and its impact in marginalized communities living with gender violence.
3. Empowering and training women and young females to create Women Leaders in issues that impact their communities and building resilient and sustainable violence free communities.
4. Working with Men and Boys as partners in creating justice systems and cultures of nonviolence to ending violence against women and girls using Conflict Transformation, Peacebuilding and Transformational Leadership to prevent, reduce and ultimately end family, community, school and organizational violence.

Founding Beliefs
Collaboration, Inclusion, Innovation, Technology-driven, Diverse Knowledge Sharing, Integrity, Respect, Enjoy the work and get it done.
Emancipatory informal and formal education unleashes untapped human potential.
Facilitating environments to empower individuals and communities of people to embrace not re-write their narratives and create endless empowering opportunities, tell their own stories, live above stereotypical labels, create cultures of peace and nonviolence and create healthy counter norms.
Restoring Human Dignity is critical for the development of society our present and future, creating justice systems, and working towards equity and equality.
Incorporation of Cross border, Intergenerational elements in our work for social impact, social change and development.
Inclusion always win,
Empowering individuals to build their capacity to build their own nations and the geographical locations where they reside.

First Annual ReFocuz Symposium
Please note the undermentioned is not the finalized draft and is meant for additional information.
Commemoration of 16-Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence (November 25th to December 10th). “The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign that kicks off on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights Day” – UN Women.
The United Nations 2019 theme for the 16 Days of Activism is “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands against Rape!”

ReFocuz Symposium
Theme: Advancing Women’s Empowerment, Leadership and Building Resilient Communities.
Topics:
 Are we not there yet? The Economy of Women’s Advancement and Leadership.
 The Impact of Violence on Mental Health and the Environment.
 Empowering Women and Men in Building Resilient Communities.
 The Role of Innovation and Technology in Building Strong Collaborations; and
 The Impact of Violence against Women and Girls on their Advancement and Education.
Date: Saturday 30th November 2019
Time: 9:45 am – 2:30 pm
Start time: 10 am
Country: United States of America
State: New Jersey
Objectives:
 To initiate a diverse gathering of people to collaborate to create goals and objectives to successfully meet the wider objectives stated above.

The Framework for the Symposium:
 Opening remarks.
 Acknowledgement of all Sponsors/donors and planning team.
 Greetings from a New Jersey Influencer or Official.
 Individual presentations followed by panel discussion, question and answer segment, break out session four groups each group discussing one of the topics listed. Return to plenary, sharing of main points from group discussions, ways and consensus on moving forward including creation of planning team for 2020.
 Symposium will be recorded.
 Post symposium video will show case high points of symposium.
 Separate video clips will be created for each presentation, panel discussion, question and answers and consensus will be.
 Video testimonials of participant’s experiences.
 Thank you video highlighting all sponsors.
 A report on Symposium, findings and recommendations.
 Television, radio and press interviews will be requested leading up to the symposium and Blog articles written.

Hosted by New Jersey and New York Awareness Project for Climate Justice with Trinidad and Tobago O.a.b.i.

Sherna Alexander Benjamin
Founder and Executive Director of O.a.b.i
Organization for Abused and Battered Individuals
Trinidad and Tobago
https://www.oabivoices.org/about-us

Maria Santiago-Valentin- Collaborating Partner
Climate Reality Project Leader
Founder- NY and NJ Awareness Project for Climate Justice (501c3)
New Jersey, U.S.
https://msant860.wixsite.com/njccj
msant860@aol.com
732-912-6376

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