An outline of the Catholic Institute for International Relations (CIIR) ongoing projects as well as work completed over the past year can be found in the organisation's annual review, which is now available online. In the past year more than 80 professionals - placed through the CIIR development worker programme, International Cooperation for Development (ICD) - worked with local partners on various issues in Africa and Yemen, Latin America and the Caribbean, and South-East Asia. CIIR executive director Christine Allen writes in the foreword: ''This report gives examples of our work under six themes: building just societies, justice on gender and ethnicity, peace and conflict, HIV/AIDS, sustainable environment and just economies. It clearly shows how we can fulfill our mandate to work practically and through policy and reflection to bring about a world without poverty.'' A large proportion of those living in extreme poverty are women, and CIIR aims to improve their economic situations and rights. In 2002/3, CIIR organised training workshops to strengthen and improve women's organisations in five districts of East Timor. CIIR has also been assisting in ensuring that gender issues are integrated into East Timor's government policies. Environmental degradation and natural disasters are a major cause of poverty in developing countries. That's why CIIR stresses the need to improve environmental sustainability through its skill-share programme. In Peru, CIIR/ICD helped its long-standing partner Formabiap develop an environmental education programme based on the local management and sustainable use of natural resources among indigenous Amazonians. The teacher training and primary school curriculum led to notable improvements in understanding environmental sustainability. But tackling global poverty is not just a question of increasing skills. National and international policies must also challenge injustice. Based on its values and experience, CIIR seeks to ensure that the voices of its partners are heard and to urge members and supporters to take action for justice. In Zimbabwe, CIIR/ICD worked with local partners - including the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, a group of 350 non-governmental organisations to raise awareness on human rights issues and promote dialogue on the country's deepening crisis. To read CIIR's annual review you can download the whole document in PDF format (large document) at: www.ciir.org
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