International Sub-Committee – Evelyn Lord Award 2021

Posted September 6, 2021 by WI Staff in Event Reports

Congratulations to Ann Eccleston of Jerrettspass WI!

Each year the International Sub-Committee presents the Evelyn Lord award to a WI member who has contributed greatly to an international cause or carried out impressive work at an international level.  This year, Ann Ecclestion of Jerrettspass WI, will be the worthy recipient of this award, in recognition of the magnificent banner she designed and created – a visual representation of ‘Women and Armed Conflict’ to mark International Women’s Day and the 25th Anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the ground-breaking treaty on women’s rights signed in 1995.  Ann will be presented with the prestigious award at the Autumn Council Meeting in October 2021. 

Here we are share the story of Ann’s endeavour and she also outlines the various components of her design…

ACWW reached out to ask that a WI Institute or individual would help to mark International Women’s Day on Sunday 8th March 2020 and the 25th Anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.  The plan was to create a visual representation of the Declaration and its progress so far.  Members were asked to illustrate each area of concern and a corresponding continuing challenge.  

Former WI Vice-Chairman and Chairman of the ACWW Projects Committee Edwina Marr approached Sophia Maybin who was Homecraft Sub-Committee Chairman at the time, so that they could come up with some creative ideas.  The brief was ‘Women and Armed Conflict’ and to “produce a single 30cm x 30cm panel, embellished in your own style and medium to illustrate the critical area of concern”, from their own experiences or viewpoint.

What a challenge indeed!

And so, Sophia, along with Ann Eccleston from the Homecraft Sub-Committee, and Edwina put their heads together to think of some ideas .  Amazingly, within just a few weeks the finished panel appeared!  Thanks to Ann who put the whole masterpiece together! When the panel was sent off to ACWW Headquarters in London, accompanied by information provided by Ann as to how the panel was put together, Tish Collins CEO replied with the comment, “A truly magnificent piece of work which made us cry”. 

What a compliment!  Thanks again Ann for all the time and effort spent on behalf of our Federation.

The original plan had been for all the panels to be joined up at Central Office and unveiled on International Women’s Day outside the UN building in New York as a banner to declare the challenges still facing rural women and representing those who don’t have access to the United Nations or the platform to voice their own concerns. However, all those months ago no one could ever have imagined what the rest of 2020 would bring for the world, and we knew much less about the Covid-19 virus back then – the pandemic that went on to sweep the globe.  As the threat became more alarming, the decision was taken to cancel the 64th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW64) in New York.  This felt like a disappointing turn of events at the time but, of course, on reflection now we know that sadly this was an extremely wise decision.

It is only recently that we have begun to adjust to our ‘new normal’ but as we look to the future, it is hoped that the banner will be taken to Glasgow for the ACWW European Conference, now rescheduled for 2022, and we are also hoping to display it at a WI Federation event in the near future.  There are also plans to auction the panels at the next Triennial World Conference in Malaysia, as a fundraiser for Pennies for Friendship.

We hope you enjoy reading Ann’s article on how it was decided to put the panel together…

(Thank you so much Ann!)


‘Women and Armed Conflict’

When I had the first meeting about the making of the collage with Sophia Maybin and Edwina Marr, I was instructed that the topic was Women and Armed Conflict’.  A 30cm x 30cm collage was required in any medium.  Edwina and Sophia gave me buzz words and specific things they wanted highlighted, and incorporated in the process.

My understanding of the topic was how armed conflict effected women and how they reacted, to the fallout of armed conflict and the circumstances that arise from warfare. How women gather strength from tragedy and the courage and focus their muster to rebuild their lives.
To me this was a worldwide topic and not just an Northern Irish one.
So, I set to researching the UN websites and then war-torn countries.

I was astonished with the amount of children caught up in conflict as they clung to their mothers breasts, the mothers arms laden with small children and babies as they ran in fear, and there was a look of trauma on all their faces.
So TRAUMA was a word featured.

I used two pictures of little boys just standing one against a brick wall and another clinging onto barbed wire. The two boys looked like they were in despair.
So DESPAIR was a word featured.

There were a lot of stones, bricks and debris from bombing and women were wailing holding and burying their dead spouses, sons and daughters, in pure devastation.
So DEVASTATION was a word featured.

The photographs of injuries and blood strewn faces shows the physical hurt caused to these human beings by other human beings.
So HURT was a word featured.

The round table with the UN logo represents the Round Table Talks to Negotiate World Peace.
So NEGOTIATE WORLD PEACE were words featured.

The picture with the car bomb and the soldier reminded me of troubles in Northern Ireland, as I was a young teenager, and grew up in ‘troubled times’.

I used photocopy cotton fabric and clip art to emphasise the sound of explosion with ‘BOOM’ , the soldier was made from decoupage – I copied a picture on photograph paper of a soldier 4 times and cut it into pieces to build a 3D decoupage picture.

The boys behind the brick building, were pictures photocopied on photograph paper, and placed under brick printed cotton and holes cut out in places to look like holes blown through. The barbed wire was constructed from jewellery wire.

The fabric used for the stones on the ground, was printed cotton fabric and I added fish tank stones broken down to represent graves.  The jewellery crosses represent the lost souls in combat.

The cluster of traumatised women were collective pictures, found on the Internet and were copied and pasted onto photograph paper, and arranged in a circle to show solidarity and combined strength. Both these strengths are needed for regrowth for the future.

The logo of the UN represents the tireless help, given by extraordinary human beings in the rescue efforts given to others in need.

The lower end of the collage was dark in appearance to emphasise the negativity, despair, hurt and devastation surrounding  conflict.  The collage becomes lighter as it moves up to the top of the collage, as UN rescue forces help, bringing healing and hope as peace is restored.

The sea represents the access for the UN rescue, the pathway to new beginnings and was printed cotton fabric.

The houses on the hillside sweeping down to the sea represents prosperity and community growth.

The UN helicopters and boats bring hope and were pictures from the Internet copied and pasted and printed on photocopy paper several times and built into a 3D decoupage.

The Doves represent peace, love, and hope for mankind, and were made from Carrickmacross lace which is fragile when handling and was a good representation of love, hope and peace, as it too is fragile and needs careful handling.

The horizon brings a new day, a sense of healing and a bright future.

The collage was set down on doubled sided tape for the first draft approval.

The 3D decoupages were built and barbed wire set in place.  The different cottons were sewn in place.  The buzz words highlighted, were embroidered framing the collage.

Irish linen backing was placed on the back of the collage, representing the airplanes in the Second World War, as it was a very versatile fabric for repairing damaged planes.

I hope the completed collage represents the brief given.

I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Edwina Marr (Federation Vice-Chairman) and Sophia Maybin (Homecraft Sub-Committee Chairman) in building and researching this project and found the process a cathartic experience.

Ann Eccleston, Jerretspass WI (Homecraft Sub-Committee)

The ‘Women and Armed Conflict’ banner, designed and made by Ann Eccleston of Jerrettspass WI – winner of the Evelyn Lord Trophy 2021.


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