UNIC Commemorates International Day of Families 2013

 Families 2 2013

On Wednesday 22 May, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) and the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) commemorated the International Day of Families. The commemoration took the form of a public discussion, whereby Mr Darwiweni Manyame, a Counsellor in the UN Clinic made a presentation on the topic: “The Impact of Family Crisis in our Community in addressing intergenerational Solidarity in the family.”

The presentation focused on how divorce, separation, single parenthood and other forms of family breakdown affect children and families in the community.

Mr Manyame explained that a family crisis is a period of heightened family tension and imbalance that goes beyond existing coping strategies and requires quick response to protect  and rehabilitate the family members. Sometimes day-to-day hassles can pile up and cause a stress overload. Mr Manyame explained that our failure to recognize and manage stressful life events instantly or over time gives birth to family crisis.

Domestic violence was cited as one of the causes of family stress. Other family stressors include separation, divorce, single parenting, miscarriage- spontaneous abortion, illness in family, marital Infidelity and family violence.

Intergenerational solidarity was defined by Manyame as “social cohesion between generations”.“It is a desirable value in itself: when generations have a positive view of one another or there is consensus between generations on the way forward. It is also a means to an end: a mechanism for supporting mutually beneficial exchanges between generations, he said.

Solidarity at micro level (family) is characterized by behavioral and emotional dimensions of interaction, cohesion, sentiment and support between parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren, over the course of long term relationships.

However, where there is a disconnect within the family, family members exhibit symptoms that include the following: Difficulty thinking clearly; dwelling on meaningless activities; expressing hostility or numbness; dependence and feeling incompetent.

A lively discussion followed the presentation which was made in the UNIC library. Over 70 people drawn from UN agencies, NGOs, UNIC library patrons, students,    government and the media attended this event.            

 The International Day of Families is observed on the 15th of May every year. The Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 with resolution A/RES/47/237 and reflects the importance the international community attaches to families. The International Day provides an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families and to increase knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting families.