2022 Assembly


Report from RENATE Training in Hungary


Thirty four RENATE members and three staff from a total of 17 countries across Europe, gathered together at the Mater Salvatoris Retreat and Conference Centre, Máriabesnyö, Hungary, to train on Advocacy and Campaigning, with a view to giving a voice to the voiceless.

Welcome Gate to the Mater Salvatoris House in Máriabesnyő, Hungary
Welcome Gate to the Mater Salvatoris House in Máriabesnyő

It was a week of prayer, activities and capacity building, comprising presentations, discussions and active engagement. The week provided participants with an opportunity to share best practise, familiarise ourselves with the local context and get to know one another as a community.
Following the annual meeting of the Working Board, which took place on Monday, the 7th of March, Core Group member of RENATE, Ivonne van de Kar delivered the two-day training programme on Advocacy and Campaigning.
Through discussions and analysis, participants gained an understanding of the definitions of both “Advocacy” and “Campaigning”, the distinctions between both terms and their direct application for specific uses.  Throughout the training, there was an emphasis on the importance of observing detailed structures when advocating and campaigning.
Following an opening analysis of the term “advocacy”, participants shared their understanding of the term and the specific advocacy work undertaken by the various organisations represented at the training.
The following are a synopsis of some of the key considerations shared:

  • Advocacy is really awareness-raising.
  • Lobbying is an ongoing activity…..never-ending!
  • Successful campaigns and advocacy activities, are always tailor-made and the tools and methods used will depend on the context and cultural setting.
  • It is imperative to define terms of engagement and analyse the ways in which one can generate the highest impact.
  • Set realistic goals.
  • Communicate goals and limits clearly to donors/benefactors.
  • Accept that you may not realise all your goals at once.
  • Compromise- seek a win: win. Good lobbying requires a degree of consensus.
  • YOU are the expert and engender confidence in yourself by being self-confident. Decision makers are then more likely to be happy to use your knowledge and information.
  • Decision-makers also decide your influencing space.
  • It is very important to have a plan B, an alternative to choose from. Do not simply dump a problem on their desk.
  • Strategizing is very important. To be more efficient, one needs a clear strategy, which in turn prevents one from being distracted by the issues of the day.
  • Always ask yourself “why are we targeting this particular decision maker? Why are we carrying out this activity in the first place? Does it contribute to achieving our objective?”
  • “You have to know who is the Charlie!!”  Who has the power to effect change. Get to know them personally, as ultimately they will help in the implementation and delivery of actions.
  • Timing of Lobbying and Advocacy activities is a very important consideration.
  • Continuously evaluate how you are progressing as you lobby and advocate.
  • Be careful to follow through post-achieving your objective, in monitoring, keeping vigilant etc. just in case your objective is diminished at a later stage. People go their own way and forget to keep an eye on the objective once the law has been changed!
  • Build capacity amongst your people/network/organisation.
  • Celebrate the victories, however small!
  • Take care of your people! People get tired, as lobbying can take a very long time in some subject areas.
  • Never underestimate the “neutral” people…they remain to be convinced and once convinced, can be powerful allies.
  • Always keep an eye on the horizon….be aware that there may be others lobbying for the same purpose as your group, but they
  • may have differing data to yours and such conflict of information, may ultimately undermine the overall work.

Remember TS Elliot’s poem, The Four Quartets! Once you arrive at the end of a campaign or lobbying or advocacy initiative, you start all over again and see the initiative from a fresh perspective!
Click here to read more: Report from RENATE Training in Hungary, 7-12 March 2016
Report written by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person

Report from RENATE Training in Ireland


RENATE Members attend Training for Transformation and Board Meeting in Dublin

All Hallows College in Dublin
All Hallows College in Dublin

Members travelled from across 16 European countries to All Hallows College, Dublin, for this training programme and board meeting, from the 26th to the 30th of October, 2015.
Most enjoyed and gained much benefit from the three-day training. It was followed by input from various organisations located in Ireland and working to stop human trafficking:

  1. APT – Act to Prevent Trafficking
  2. RUHAMA – ngo supporting women affected by prostitution and trafficking
  3. ICI – The Immigrant Council of Ireland
  4. MECPATH – an initiative of the Mercy Congregation to Counter Child Prostitution and Trafficking in the Hospitality Sector
  5. CORI – Conference of Religious in Ireland
  6. AHTU – Anti Human Trafficking Unit in the Department of Justice, Irish Parliament.

Imelda Poole, IBVM, President of RENATE thanked both Aneta Grabowska, RENATE Website Manager and Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person for their work.
Board matters such as RENATE Structures, Constitution and Articles of Association were given due consideration, including discussion on the need to ensure East-West balance in terms of representation on the Core Group. Members of the Core Group all agreed to sit for a second term of office (3 years), with the exception of Patricia Mulhall, who steps down at this time from the Board and Core Group.

Sisters Dagmar Plum and Adina Balan updated the Board regarding arrangements for the next RENATE Training which will take place in Budapest, from the 6th-12th March 2016. Sr. Gabriella Legradi is leading the arrangements locally. The Theme for the training is: Advocacy and Campaigning.
Sr. Bohdana Bezakova shared her experiences from recent meetings with sisters in the Ukraine and her attempts to establish solid and supportive links with local communities there. [Full report on the RENATE website here:]. Bohdana spoke of how the local Greek Catholic communities and the Catholic Church in the UKRAINE are emphasising awareness-raising about human trafficking in order to empower and equip young people who are the most vulnerable. In light of the ongoing war in the region, of particular concern to Bohdana was her observation of the great need for trauma therapy.
Patricia Mulhall presented the final draft of the Mapping Exercise across 13 European countries. Everyone congratulated Patricia and all those who contributed to the exercise, which is a unique catalogue of the work that is being done by religious and ngos, including members of RENATE, to prevent human trafficking and exploitation. Practical details regarding the number of copies and dissemination are under way.
On one of the evenings after the training, Iva Kúšiková, SSpS, screened the ‘rough cut’ of the film on the work of RENATE. It is hoped that the film will be released early in 2016.

At St. Brigid's Well
At St. Brigid’s Well

A highlight of the week was the visit to Solas Bhríde Centre and Hermitages in the monastic home of St Brigid, Kildare The Brigidine sisters extended their hospitality to RENATE, and afforded the members the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of St. Brigid by leading a mini-pilgrimage to Brigid’s well where prayers were offered for the victims of human trafficking and exploitation. It was a sacred time together.
Members arrived at Saturday morning with the feeling that the week had passed by all too quickly and included a tremendous amount of work achieved in a short time.
Gratitude was expressed to Mary Mangan, SHJM, for making the arrangements for the week, with the assistance of Eilis Coe, RSC and Patricia Mulhall, CSB and to the members of APT who were at Dublin airport to meet and greet RENATE members.
Compiled by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person