Thursday, 28 June 2007
With this first issue of the TRIALOG Information Service (TIS) being available as a blog, TRIALOG enters into the world of the web 2.0. tools which are freely available on the internet and offer a lot of new possibilities for sharing and exchanging information and open up new communication spaces. In future, you will not only receive the TIS every 1-2 months electronically as pdf file, but you can access our newsletter regularly on http://www.trialog.or.at/tis. Refer to the content on the left hand side to read all entries related to a certain topic. You can also display the latest TIS headings on your own webpage or subscribe to receive an email alert whenever there is a new entry on the site (use the links at the bottom of the left hand side). After a trial phase, we will explore further possibilities for our readers to contribute to the TIS newsletter and make the TIS more interactive. If you would like to post an article on development cooperation in the context of EU Enlargement in the TIS, please write to Anita Bister, TRIALOG Information Officer: firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to also email any comments on the new TIS format.
During the last months, CONCORD together with EUFORIC (Europe’s Forum on International Cooperation) have been offering training and promoting the use of new webtools. The new TIS format is a result of these efforts. CONCORD recently became member of EUFORIC and collaboration has been established based on operational needs and synergies related to communication and information management. In June (5-6), CONCORD and EUFORIC joined forces by holding the first CONCORD Communication network meeting together with the EUFORIC Annual General Meeting. As CONCORD Director Olivier Consolo mentioned in his opening words, the aim was not only to reinforce communication within the CONCORD network but to build alliances with other actors and to increase the visibility and impact of CONCORD's work as a whole. The central theme of the event was on how to use better new techniques to increase one's impact when campaigning, advocating, raising funds or dealing with the media. In a number of parallel workshops the participants were offered trainings and had the possibility for peer-to-peer exchanges of experience and knowledge. Most of the workshops and discussions were immediately documented on the established conference blog which is available at: http://euforicagm2007.blogspot.com/
TRIALOG has circulated a questionnaire to explore the usage of new webtools in the new EU member states. If you are a development NGO from a new member state and interested in training on these topics, please reply to the questionnaire at http://www.trialog.or.at/docs/webtools_questionnaire.doc and email it to email@example.com.
For more information on the CONCORD Communication Network please contact Agnes Philippart, CONCORD Communication Officer: Agnes.PHILIPPART@concordeurope.org
Wednesday, 27 June 2007
During the recent CONCORD General Assembly which took place in Brussels on June 7-8, the European NGO Confederation for Relief and Development elected four new board members. All active CONCORD members had the possibility to nominate candidates for these positions. After a period without a board member from the new EU member states, now again the CONCORD board is "enlarged" and enriched by a person coming from a new member state: We congratulate Annamaria Kekesi, President of the Hungarian Platform HAND and Director of the Hungarian NGO Foundation for Development of Democratic Rights (DEMNET), who was elected into the CONCORD board. CONCORD has become an important name in Europe in the world of development. With an increasing political reputation and impact on European development policies, these are exciting times for CONCORD. An effective and active Board to govern CONCORD's activities and to represent CONCORD at the most senior levels contributes to the continued strengthening of the quality and impact of the confederation’s actions.
For more information see: http://www.concordeurope.org/
WIDE – Network Women In Development Europe PRESS RELEASE:
Brussels, 22.06.2007: The WIDE 2007 Annual Conference (14-17 June 2007) took stock of the changes in international trade policies, regulation of financial flows and investment together with international development policies and their impact on women’s realities, rights and gender equality. The discussions also focused on strategies on how to tackle the new aid and trade architecture from feminist perspectives. Entitled "New aid, expanding trade - what do women have to say?" the conference, hosted by the Spanish WIDE national platform CONGDE (Gender and Development Working Group of the Spanish Platform of Development NGOs) in Madrid, brought together more than 150 women activists from over 40 countries.
"The WIDE AC is a great opportunity for activists to exchange views and a good space for feminist exchange on trade and development issues.
Globalisation and development issues are themes that need to be analysed within a feminist framework. The Capacity -Building day helps to build more public-awareness raising and sharper policy analysis. Presentations from trade experts such as Mariama Williams and Zo Randriamaro provide us with tools that can inspire future debates." commented Mabel Au from Hong Kong.
In lively debates and interactive panels participants confirmed even so new international development architecture has developed on the basis of shared commitments of the international donor community in the areas of trade, debt, investment and financing for development, the structural causes of gender inequality persist all over the world. Various speakers highlighted that the current mainstream development agenda is embedded in an ideological framework that promotes trade liberalisation and economic growth at the expenses of women and men’s rights and livelihoods. Indeed, the feminisation of poverty is a global problem. Participants engaged in analyses of the causes of these structural problems and discussed the implications these developments for women in the South, the East and also in the West.
"The conference was a success in bringing together so many women from such different places and it was a great opportunity to meet activists who agreed on the same ideal of social justice, even if their own conditions varied from one locality to another." remarked Venna Dholah from Mauritius.
In various workshops and presentations, participants further developed feminist proposals and alternative visions to the policy mainstream in the area of trade and development and discussed concrete strategies for change at different levels. Women activists not only identified opportunities for ensuring the implementation of political commitments and legal obligations regarding gender equality, democracy and human rights, the quality of aid, and policy coherence. They also highlighted the importance of building up a common alternative strategy to "attack patriarchal structures on a global scale, as women’s emancipation can not be achieved in isolation" as Rosa Cobo Bedia from Spain explained.
The three-day conference also provided an important space for joint learning, sharing experiences and building alliances among women’s organisations from all over the world to find feminist alternatives. As Pam Rajput from India commented "I like the policy from WIDE to invite women from the south and provide a platform for sharing and learning and working out global strategies for issues of common concerns."
All contributions and presentations of the conference will soon be available on WIDE’s web-site: http://www.wide-network.org/. For more information, please contact Barbara Specht, WIDE Information and Advocacy Officer: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, 26 June 2007
On May 15-16, the CONCORD working group on Enlargement, Pre-Accession and Neighbourhood (EPAN), formerly known as WG Enlargement, gathered in Brussels for the first time after its restructuring. The meeting attracted about 20 participants, mostly from new member states’ NGDO platforms but also from several networks.
The first day started with a short session on Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) in which participants heard of relevant cooperation opportunities within the framework of the EU Coherence Programme and Vince Caruana (Maltese platform) presented his recent paper on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and PCD within the EU. The rest of the day focused on the EU Neighbourhood Policy: Florent Sebban (Eurostep) and Colombe de Mercey (Aprodev) highlighted problematic matters related to the framework covering the EU neighbourhood countries, participants exchanged information on what NGOs in their respective countries (or through their networks) are doing regarding the EU Neighbourhood and finally, Vince Caruana and Mateja Krasevec (Humanitas, Slovenia) draw attention to the Southern Mediterranean by sharing issues arising from the ongoing Maltese-Slovenian-Cypriot project supported by the Presidency Fund (http://www.presidencyfund.org/).
The second day was kicked off by a session on the Western-Balkans where Marjan Huc (Slovenian platform) gave a thorough presentation on the current challenges and needs of the Western Balkans based on the conference held in February in Ljubljana (see also TRIALOG Information Service 02/04/2007, article 4.2.). Subsequently, Mara Simane (Latvian platform) and Valentin Burada (Romanian platform) provided food for thought for reflecting on the working group’s future activities in the area of transitions, enlargement and lessons learned. Additionally, the WG members gave feedback on the Czech EU Presidency project plans and were introduced to EuroNGOs.
Most importantly, the meeting spared time for shaping the working group’s next steps. Thus, the “ENPI sub-group” decided to direct its energy on ensuring the EC aid is being distributed in a participatory manner and the “Pre-accession sub-group” will in the forthcoming months centre on building contacts with relevant actors in Western Balkans and sharing with them new member states’ NGOs’ experience regarding relations with the governments, particularly with the MFAs. During the next meeting, the group will devote more time on deciding upon activities regarding EPAN’s “enlargement and lessons learned” objectives.
Last but not least, the group elected a new chair: the "old-new" chair is Vince Caruana.
The presentations held at the EPAN meeting are available at: http://www.trialog.or.at/start.asp?m=4,32,232 The Minutes of the meeting will become available at the same link.
The Fourth Call for Proposals of the Presidency Fund is now open! The Presidency Fund came into operation to stimulate the capacity of civil society in the ten (2004) New Member States (NMS) to engage effectively in dialogue over the EU Development Policy. Eligible are NGOs from the 10 New Member States that joined the EU in 2004. The application process is in two phases. The deadline of the Preliminary Phase is July 31, 2007. Main Applications will then be expected by 30 September 2007.
Download the Preliminary Application Form and details of the Call from:
Find more information on the Presidency Fund and the results of the previous calls at: http://www.presidencyfund.org/
Invited are NGOs from Slovenia and Slovakia together with Austrian NGOs. The lead agency has to come from the new member state. It is open for initiatives in the field of development awareness/education and development cooperation. Projects can start at the earliest mid of September and the maximal duration is until the end of August 2008.
For Slovenia, the Call will be open until July 31, 2007; for Slovakia until July 21, 2007.
For more information please turn to the "news"-section of the RPP website http://www.regionalpartnership.at/
With a wide range of NGO events on the main topics of the EU Presidency Project “Prospects for Africa – Europe’s Policies”, VENRO, the Association of German Development NGOs, accompanied the official German EU Council Presidency in the last months. The main events were:
- Conference "Prospects for Africa – Europe’s Policies”, ahead of the Informal Development Ministers Meeting in March in Bonn
- Panel debate: Women – Agents of Change: Gender, Development and Millennium Goals in April in Hamburg
- International Forum: Civilian Conflict Transformation and Peace-Building – a Challenge for Africa-Europe’s Policies in late April in Berlin
- Conference on Civil Society and the Joint EU-Africa Strategy, organised by the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) in cooperation with VENRO in April
- International Conference in May on Responsibilities of Governments & Civil Society in the Fight Against HIV and AIDS in Africa – The Way Forward to 2015
- International Civil Society Workshop on Building a strategic partnership between Southern and Northern NGOs, organised by VENRO and Coordination Sud in early June in Bonn.
Given the rapidly changing economic, political and social processes in Africa and Europe, close co-operation between Southern and Northern NGOs is more urgent and necessary than ever. Also with a view to the common EU-Africa Strategy that is to be adopted at the planned EU-Africa Summit in Lisbon towards the end of this year, intensifying co-operation appears to be imperative to influence the political processes and follow the implementation of the strategy in the coming years. Leading up to the Summit, AU and EU institutions are organising a broad-based public debate (See: http://www.europafrica.org/ / http://www.europafrique.org/).
Read a 2-page summary on the main VENRO activities at: http://www.trialog.or.at/docs/venro_presidency.pdf
Check out the website http://www.prospects-for-africa.de/ (Events/Archive) for the full documentation of the VENRO presidency events and for up-to-date information. Register online for the project newsletter.
Read the key demands that African and German NGOs have addressed to the German government in their Development Policy Manifesto: http://www.prospects-for-africa.de/publikationen.html?&L=1
For further information contact Anke Kurat, Coordinator of the VENRO EU Presidency Project: email@example.com
On March 23 the process of legal registration of the Romanian NGDO platform FOND, initiated in October last year, was completed. The first General Assembly of FOND took place on March 29 in Bucharest. Three working groups got official recognition by the General Assembly: WG Development Education, WG Moldova-Georgia, WG MFA Roundtable. On this occasion the new Director of the Development Assistance Unit within the Romanian MFA, Mr. Cosmin Dobran, reaffirmed the Government’s openness towards cooperation with FOND.
FOND’s WG Moldova-Georgia and several member organizations will organize two seminars dedicated to building knowledge and making contacts with civil society organizations in Georgia (22 May, Bucharest) and Moldova (27-28 June, Iasi). The seminars aim to allow for sharing experiences in working on the field with other organizations from EU member states and local donors.
FOND’s WG MFA Roundtable aims to follow closely the latest developments leading to the establishment of a national mechanism of financing for development cooperation projects as well as to the budgetary revision for the enactment of the budget line for development cooperation in July 2007.
FOND’s WG Development Education decided to organize a training session on Awareness Raising and Advocacy Skills for Development EducationProgrammes on 27 - 28 September, in Cluj-Napoca, with support from DEEEP.
Starting with April 16, the Romanian platform FOND has a new coordinator (with financial support from TRIALOG). Her name is Claudia Iatan, she holds a Master’s Degree in Intercultural Studies from Padua University, Italy, worked as a journalist for a few years and was involved in projects of Development Education in Italy.
In June the platform established its own website – the new platform blog is online on http://www.fondromania.wordpress.com/. It is mostly in Romanian, but basic information on the platform and its activities is available also in English. For more details please email Claudia Iatan at firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, 25 June 2007
A year after the initial visit to Bulgaria, Christine Bedoya and Asya Bocheva from TRIALOG came back to Sofia in April 2007 in order to support local NGOs in their efforts to establish a national platform. After preliminary consultations, a general meeting was convened that gathered together the NGOs active in the work of the platform. In the discussion regarding the state of play in the platform, it was agreed to officially register and next steps were planned and undertaken soon after. A task force was designated to be in charge of the preparation of the Statute and the Memorandum of Understanding. It was agreed that the new co-ordinator will preferably not come from an existing NGO. Different options will be explored for an office space for the new platform. The participants set a date in May 2007 for the platform constituency meeting.
It took place on May 16 and the following decisions have been taken:- The statute was discussed and accepted in a vote.
- The structure was set: General Assembly, Executive Board, coordinator. It is foreseen to have regular and associated members.
- The Executive Board (EB) can create working groups on concrete issues and areas of activities. It will also suggest detailed criteria for platform membership. The question who will be eligible to be a platform member was discussed deeply in the meeting. The number of the members of the EB will be 7, with a rotation rule for EB members.
The next meeting was held on May 28 to finalize all documents which are needed for the legal registration which is about to happen in June.
The Open Society Institute, in association with the European Commission, offers internships for young Roma university graduates. Objective: To give Roma interns a general idea of the objectives and challenges of European integration; To provide practical knowledge of the working of Commission departments; To enable interns to acquire personal experience by means of the contacts made in the course of everyday work; To enable them to further and put into practice the knowledge they have acquired during their studies or professional careers. Financed actions: Five-month internship starting the 1st October 2007 (Travel, Accommodation, subsistence, and health and accident insurance). Eligibile are nationals from all new EU member states (excluding Cyprus and Malta), Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia, including Kosovo, and Montenegro, who are of Roma origin may apply. Applications from women are encouraged. The deadline for submission is July 15, 2007.
Find documents and more information on the following website: http://www.soros.org/initiatives/roma/news/romaintern_20070605
Contact: Open Society Institute Budapest, Brussels Internship Program. Roma Participation Program. Email: email@example.com
For more Calls of the Soros Foundation check out http://www.soros.org/
Post your Partner Search for Joint Projects on the TRIALOG website! Find more information on: http://www.trialog.or.at/main.asp?m=4,142,156
For the second year in a row, an unprecedented number of European development NGOs have come together from all the major networks, national NGOs and NGO platforms from 27 EU countries to produce this report under the umbrella of CONCORD, the European NGO confederation for relief and development.
Following the release of OECD aid figures for 2006, NGOs from across Europe are calculating how much European governments and Commission have effectively given. First figures show that they are over inflating their aid figures and failing to live up to their promises. The European Union has only spent 0.30% of its Gross National Income (GNI) on genuine aid in 2006 missing their collective target for 2006 of 0.39% of GNI. Close to one third of EU development assistance in 2006 did not deliver any fresh resources for poor countries. Of this:
- Nearly EUR 11 billion reported as ODA was in fact debt cancellation - primarily for Iraq and Nigeria.
- EUR 1.6 billion went on educating foreign students in Europe and
- EUR 1 billion was spent on housing refugees in Europe.
For the new member states, the report shows that ODA expenditures are still low, ranging between 0,06 and 0,15% of GNI.
NGOs want European governments to:
- Provide genuine increases in European aid
- Agree clear and binding year-on-year timetables to reach, at a minimum, the 2010 and 2015 targets with genuine aid resources
- Stop including refugee, student costs and debt relief in official aid reporting
- Improve transparency in aid reporting
- End all tied aid
- Ensure aid is focused on helping the world’s poor
- Take further steps to make aid more effective
Apart from analysis and comparison of data, the report includes an NGO assessment of each EU country's ODA performance. Download the 2007 NGO Aid Watch Report "Hold the Applause! EU governments risk breaking aid promises" from: http://www.concordeurope.org/Files/media/internetdocumentsENG/Aid%20watch/1-Hold_the_Applause.FINAL.pdf
Find more about the background and activities around the launch of the report at:
Sunday, 24 June 2007
In the recent years, the New Member States have put strengths into the development cooperation field mainly through the design of appropriate policies and strategies. So is the case of Slovenia. Despite the initial lack of confidence between government and civil society (a feature of most post-communist societies) the platform of development NGOs SLOGA (SLOvenian Global Action) and other associate organisations have managed to exert influence on the content of the document. The inclusion of external experts, the issuance of studies, a strong interest of NGDOs to contribute, and a strong interest from the MFA and the authors' side to cooperate with the civil society, shall be alleged as reasons.
SLOGA issued three comparative studies. The first one was a study of the Slovenian, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, Polish, Estonian, Irish and Finnish legal framework for Non-governmental Development Organizations (NGDOs). In the second study paper, the systems of inclusion of NGDOs into development cooperation and awareness raising projects were examined. A third study was about the role of NGDOs in development education which was part of a bigger project.
Following the studies, SLOGA gathered and discussed the proposals which were sent to the authors of the Slovenian ODA Strategy draft paper. Unofficially, much of them were incorporated into the text, based on a funding model which draws a distinction between international organisations, educational institutions and small NGDOs (modified Irish model). Most documents incl. the latest SLOGA comments submitted to the MFA on June 11 regarding the strategy paper are available in Slovenian language on the SLOGA website http://www.sloga-platform.org/.
For an English comparative study paper see:
- Maja Bucar / Eva Plibersek / Anja Mesic: Development policies of New Member States and their participation in European Union development co-operation; In: Maja Bucar / Maria Joao Marques / Anja Mesic / Eva Plibersek: Towards a Division of Labour in European Development Co-operation: Case Studies; Bonn : Dt. Inst. für Entwicklungspolitik, 2007. – (Discussion Paper / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik; 11)
ISBN 978-3-88985-347-9, Source: http://www.die-gdi.de/die_homepage.nsf/6f3fa777ba64bd9ec12569cb00547f1b/be803da30eaa92b8c12572670041d831/$FILE/DiscPaper%2011.2007%20Internetfassung.pdf
Submissions are welcome for the Global Development Network’s (GDN) annual competition for the Most Innovative Development Project, which carries prizes in cash and travel of over USD 50,000! The finalists will present their proposals at GDN’s Annual Global Development Conference in Brisbane, Australia in January 2008. Submissions are accepted for an ongoing development project implemented in a developing or transition country. Criteria include the degree of innovation and the potential for broad application of the project in other countries. Applicants are requested to use the new application template available on the GND website. The deadline for submission is August 20, 2007. For more information on the competition visit the GND website at: http://www.gdnet.org/2007awards
Saturday, 23 June 2007
On May 10 the Project Appraisal Committee met to decide upon the financing of the 37 received proposals for projects in the field of development awareness and cooperation within the final call of the Regional Partnership Programme (RPP; http://www.regionalpartnership.at/). It has been the RPP call with the highest participation – only from Hungarian NGOs 15 proposals have been sent. On the whole 21 projects have been approved and 16 have been refused.
The development cooperation activities which will be funded reach geographically from Moldowa, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan to Ghana. The approved projects foresee measures for the protection of environment and resources, capacity building for local organisations as well as rural and community development.
The approved development education and awareness raising projects aim at promoting fair trade consumption, at sensitizing for global issues, at networking and exchanging experience as well as at establishing a pool of resources and material on development education topics. The main target groups of the selected proposals are youth, pupils, teachers as well as other multipliers in development education.
Like in the previous RPP calls, all proposals include a partnership between NGOs of the New Member States (Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovak Republic and Slovenia) and an Austrian organisations and contribute to the achievement of the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs). The project funds come from the Austrian Development Cooperation (70%), the Ministries of the participating new member states (20%) and own resources from the NGOs (10%). The approved projects can presumably get started in the beginning of July or August 2007.
Find the lists of the approved projects at the following links:
Development Awareness Projects: http://doku.cac.at/call2007_da_approvedproposals.pdf
Development Cooperation Projects: http://doku.cac.at/call2007_dc_approvedproposals.pdf
For more information on the RPP go to: http://www.regionalpartnership.at/
The Maltese NGDO Platform was set up in June 2000 on the initiative of Kopin (Koperazzjoni Internazzjonali – Malta), after a need was felt to bring together all NGOs operating in the development sector, to work together on a common front. The Maltese NGDO Platform consists of Maltese Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) involved in development and relief overseas and/or in the provision of development education.
In the beginning of May the Platform had an annual general meeting and a new board was elected. The board consists of 4 people with Vince Caruana as chairman. This new board has a mandate of two years where besides sustaining the work done so far it will be working towards improving better visibility locally. Its strategic plan has amongst other aims to exert more pressure on the MFA (Foreign Affairs Ministry) to demand more transparency with regards to the management of the Overseas Development Aid; to promote effective engagement in advocacy and campaigning; to strengthen its human resources and to increase its current membership and to ensure sustainability of the platform.
For further information contact platform coordinator Roberta Micallef at firstname.lastname@example.org or have a look at http://www.ngdomalta.org/
Friday, 22 June 2007
An international seminar on the role of new donor countries in the European development policy was held in Warsaw on April 18th and 19th 2007. The seminar was organised by the Development Cooperation Department of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.
The main speakers were Mr. Koos Richelle, Director-General of the EuropeAid Cooperation Office of the European Commission, as well as other top officials representing assistance organisations from Holland, Austria and Ireland. The seminar was composed of three thematic parts covering political, institutional and partnership issues related to development cooperation.
The first part was devoted to the role of the new EU member states (NMS) in the European assistance system and on the commitments which EU governments already have signed. To build policy weight, raise the budgets and raise awareness for development cooperation will be the biggest challenges for the NMS governments in the coming years. Representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs from Poland, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania and Slovenia mentioned the role of NGOs in the development cooperation systems especially as implementers of ODA projects and important players in awareness raising.
One panel discussion was devoted to partnership issues between government and civil society, business and academic sectors. Marian Caucik and Justyna Janyszewska from the Slovak and Polish development NGO platforms highlighted the role of the platforms as umbrella and networking bodies on both national and European levels, partnership advantages and the expectations from NGO side. Challenges such as more poverty focus in NMS development policies, less determination by the economic links from the past, active participation in EU development policy and communication among the MFAs, civil society organizations and parliamentarians, involvement of civil society in the decision making processes of the legal and administrative systems (ODA Laws, Agencies etc.), financial sustainability of the platforms and capacity building for involvement in development policy, project design and execution as well as development education issues were discussed during and after the panel discussion.
For information on the seminar see also: http://www.polishaid.gov.pl/ or
Download the presentation of Marian Caucik from: http://www.trialog.or.at/docs/maroscaucik_warsaw_april2007.ppt
The Italian NGO ISCOS-CISL has launched a website on trans-national learning: http://www.transnational-learning.eu/. The website aims to provide information and a forum for discussion and exchanging ideas on decent work, labour rights in European and developing countries.
The web site is part of a wider education to development project which ISCOS-Cisl is currently running thanks to the support of the European Commission, and in partnership with other European Organisations like IFWEA and SOLIDAR. The project is entitled: Trans-national Learning for Civil Society Organisations from new Member States on development issues relating to international labour rights. Its aim consists in improving the capacity of the New Member Sates NGOs and Trade Unions to mobilise public support, as well as, political awareness on the labour conditions in developing countries and their interdependence with European Development policies and strategies.
The labour issue in developing countries is nowadays a central subject in the context of the North/South relations. In the perspective of globalisation and interdependence of the world economy, the developed countries have to face specific problems linked to the labour and workers conditions in developing countries. In this perspective it is vital to provide the civil society actors, like NGOs and Trade Unions, with adequate knowledge, as well as, means and tools for improving their communication and advocacy strategies on these themes.
The target group is composed by NGOs and Trade Unions from new Member States operating in the field of development cooperation in 6 target countries (Hungary, Malta, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovakia and Cyprus).
The structure of the project is based on the so called Translational Learning methodology, which brings together at the same time, but in different places, people from various countries. The training activities characterise the overall duration of the project, and they are grouped in subsequent International Study Circles sessions, and Peer-Training activities. Ad Hoc Educational Materials and tutorship are also accompanying the implementation of the courses.
Visit the project web site to find all the details of the project and the organisations involved, including the contact persons. You are welcome to get in touch with them, should you be interested to participate in the courses and training activities.
Thursday, 21 June 2007
The "Exchange days for NGDO Platforms" were organised by Coordination SUD, Coprogram and ACODEV (French and Belgian Platforms) and co-organised by CONCORD on the 26th and 27th April 2007 in Brussels.
The main goal of the seminar was to discover and discuss the everyday challenges of NGDO platforms, like
- how to identify the needs and expectations of platform members,
- how to identify competencies within the membership,
- how to organise strategic planning and
- how to measure or evaluate the satisfaction of the members.
Gyorgyi Blaho from the Hungarian NGDO platform HAND on her impressions from the seminar:
We learned a lot about how to manage information, the most effective ways to find the best data provider and the most relevant data-user. It was also useful to realise that the national level capacity building problems are oftentimes just parallel with other platforms’ problems in a broader context. As the contributors’ presentations were excellent and the target group (audience) was well selected, the seminar provided possibility to see deeper in the national level problems of development platform’s operation.
At the end of the first day (26th April evening), the participants had the possibility to visit "Carrefours du monde" - interactive global educational exhibitions of Oxfam Solidarité (http://www.oxfamsol.be/). These exhibitions introduced to the culture and everyday life of people living in Bolivia and South-Africa, and gave an overview about our globalized world, named with an imaginary name: Mondiapolis. The exhibitions gave a good picture of creative methods which can be used to sensitize children about global issues.
The second exchange day (27th April) was devoted to the issues of strategic planning and member satisfaction in the platforms. Of course, not all platforms have had the resources to get to the process of strategic planning; still, long-term thinking is what all platforms strive for. Evaluating member satisfaction was similarly discussed very lively among the participants. Besides commenting possible evaluation indicators and methods, points from the previous day's discussion on implicit and explicit members’ expectations were brought up.
Accoding to Ilze Millere from the Latvian NGDO platform LAPAS, a useful comparison was that of CONCORD being a kind of platform itself. Ilze: Reflections on the experience of CONCORD membership probably made it easier for the participants to put themselves in their members’ shoes – not only regarding communication but also in the issue of active involvement.
As Hans Zomer from DOCHAS (Ireland) put it: Want members to be engaged? Be engaged with the members!
In the closing session every participant had to say one learning point he/she would bring home from the Exchange days – and the conclusions never repeated, ranging from “good to know I am not alone with the problems and challenges” and resolutions to visit all platform members personally to improve communication and strengthen the feeling of belonging to conclusions like “information (or just sending emails) is not communication” and many more, including the wish to make Exchange days a regular event in the future.
The international conference on the "Millennium development goals (MDGs): inclusion of people with disabilitieswas" was organized by eRko-Slovakia within the project “Disability Mainstreaming in Development Cooperation” in which the Austrian organization “Light for the World” has the project lead. The project is supported by DG Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities.
About 80 participants gathered in Senec (Slovakia) - a small town nearby Bratislava - on May 14-15. They represented DPOs (Disabled People Organisations), NGDOs, the World Bank, UNDP and the policy sector from at least 23 countries, mostly from Europe. Speakers from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and South Africa were invited for the conference to give a better description and practical experience of the impact of MDG and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in developing countries.
The status and situation of persons with disabilities in developing countries vis-a-vis the MDGs was evaluated during the conference. Participants in the workshops identified the existing weaknesses as well as strengths in the process of the MDGs as it concerns disability and produced action points on what needs to be done and develop ideas how inclusion should link into activities already under way.
A practical example of inclusion of children with disabilities into “normal” life was given at the end of the first conference day by the dance performance of the “Madovec”-ensemble composed by deaf children from a boarding school in Bratislava. Also the talks and discussions during the Bazaar section of the conference were very inspiring and participants definitely took a lot of news, inspiration and ideas back to their countries.
For more outcomes of the conference, presentations of speakers, photos and other documents visit the website: http://www.make-development-inclusive.org/ or contact project coordinator: Isabelle Wahedova, Email: Isabelle.Wahedova@light-for-the-world.net
The Zagranica Group - Polish NGOs Abroad organised a meeting on building the Official Development Assistance in the Visegrad Group Countries (V4: Hungary, Slovak Republic, Czech Republic, Poland). It was held on April 18-19, 2007 in Krakow, Poland. Actually, it was not for the V4 only, as – due to support from the National Endowment for Democracy – also participants from Bulgaria and Romania joint the group, while TRIALOG made possible the participation of a Slovenian representative.
This seminar to some extent was a continuation of the Bratislava conference that was organised by MVRO, the Slovak NGDO platform, within the Regional Partnership Programme in December 2006. The Polish project consists of two seminars and has been financed by the East-East Programme – the second meeting is to happen in Warsaw and is designed for both the non-governmental and governmental sectors.
The April Krakow session was focused on criteria and procedures of calls for proposals for NGOs organised by ministries and development agencies. The participants – a small group of representatives of the National Platforms and their member NGOs – described the details of ODA calls for proposals in their countries and worked out a set of recommendations. Short time at the end of the session was taken off for discussing the Warsaw seminar programme to be organised in late June.
Organised by the Zagranica Group (the Polish NGDO platform), the meeting took place in the premises of a platform member, the Salesian Missionary Voluntary Service “Youth for the World”. Participants visited a new open-air project, an African Village, as well as listened to the organisation workers about their projects on development education and awareness raising programmes.
In March/April, Nuri Silay form Cyprus carried out a 2-months internship with the Maltese Fair Trade organisation Koperattiva Kummerc Gust (KKG). During this time he was involved in different activities of KKG and showed deep interest in how KKG runs its shop in Valletta. He had the possibility to make himself familiar with basic information on current fair trade issues including European structures in this field. The host organisation provided Nuri with an insight into how Fair Trade started in Malta, pointing out both the achievements and the difficutlies KKG encounters in its work.
Coming from a business studies background, Nuri reports on his new voluntary work experience:
"It was a good opportunity to take two months off from conventional trade in Cyprus and experience Fair Trade in Malta. Nothing could be this much a multidisciplinary subject for training. It involves everything - from Business Management to Politics, from Social Sciences to Education. It was about trade with poor and disadvantaged people - but to enable them to get involved in the global circulation rather than just receive aid. In addition to my regular work in the shop and help with office management activities, I’ve been involved in two different projects to promote and raise awareness on fair trade. In the first project which I called "Letter Project" I’ve worked mainly on my own. The task was to distribute hard copy catalogues to the Fair Trade Cooperative members with the aim to establish closer links with them and to increase sales by offering them the possibility to order by post (not only through the internet). In the second project I’ve worked as part of a team. It was a development education project with 6-13 years old pupils about Fair Trade in practice through the simulation of football production in Pakistan and textile production in Cambodia. The aim was to let pupils perceive the working conditions in Fair Trade and Conventional Trade (e.g. learn about child labour) and to enable them to distinguish one from another. Finally, my internship was a good opportunity to get work experience in an international environment."
Nuri Silay's internship was supported by TRIALOG, a second internship for a person from Cyprus is planned for September. It is hoped that both experiences will feed into the Cypriot NGO scene and support the emerging efforts to establish a fair trade movement in the country.
All over the world the second Saturday of May is the World Fair Trade Day (WFTD) . This is the day when the international fair trade movement pauses for a day to celebrate. This time gives a peak in campaigning to highlight the principles of fair trade.
For the third time Hungary joined the WFTD this year. The Hungarian Fair Trade Day took place on 12th of May in Holdudvar Gallery, Margit Island, Budapest. Visitors were attracted by photos from Argentina, India, Nicaragua, Kenya and Mali, games, quizzes, African dancing and coffee-tea tastings. Throughout the day volunteers were giving information about fair trade.
There was also the possibility to watch films about fair trade. Among them, the film "Against the current" by Réka Hunyadi and Mária Takács which gave an overview on the Hungarian Fair Trade movement. Supporters of this film are the Ökotárs Foundation and Protect the Future. It is available upon request with English subtitles.
The organisation Protect the Future launched the first book about fair trade in Hungarian. David Ransom’s No-Nonsense Guide To Fair Trade (New Internationalist) was issued with the support of the National Culture Foundation.
One of the youngest guest of the Hungarian WFTD looking at Child labour photos.
For more information on Fair Trade in Hungary contact Gyorgyi Ujszaszi, Protect the Future: email@example.com
The IFAT (International Federation of Alternative Trade) Biennial Conference which took place in Blankenberge/Belgium started on 12th May with regional meetings. The conference was hosted by 25 volunteers from Oxfam Wereldwinkels-Flanders, Oxfam Magasins Du Monde-Willon, FINE, IFAT.
The conference covered tens of imported issues as market access, partnership in Fair Trade, monitoring, business. The Fair Trade movement is facing a lot of challenges nowadays, be it the current regulation initiatives like ISO, the proliferation of other ethical schemes, the persisting lack of market access or the ongoing negotiation processes as it was stated in the conference newspaper issued on 15th May 2007.
Three hundred people have come together from 60 different countries from all over the world. Participants from the new EU member states were supported by TRIALOG.
In the cityhall of Oostende, where the municipality welcomed the IFAT conference. The city has the Fair Trade Town title.
A Fair Trade market ensured the chance to have direct negotiations with the producers. The Mohammed Islam Award marked the best FT stand. This year the winner was THAICRAFT. The award included looking for the overall style; marketability, design and range of products and information.
The decision making body of IFAT had its meeting where a new board was elected.
The three-year IFAT Global Journey ended in Brussels on 17th May 2007. It started from a slum in Mumbai in January 2004. As it was stated “…we fair trade organisations are united in our fight against poverty and for fairer world trading rule…” This message and the banner travelled through 47 countries of the world. There have been 20,000 people participating from over 800 organisations and the Global Journey message has been read in 17 different languages.
The IFAT banner at the endpoint of the Global Journey in Brussels.
Article and photos by Gyorgyi Ujszaszi, Protect the Future
More information: http://www.ifat.org/
Wednesday, 20 June 2007
For more context and information on the five steps towards 10m EUR for Development Education (DE) in the New EU Member States (NMS) please refer to: http://trialog-information-service.blogspot.com/2007/03/five-steps-towards-10m-for-development.html
As TRIALOG reported earlier, at least 47 concept notes with active participation of NMS NGOs have been submitted to the EC within the 1st stage of the 2006 Call for Proposals in Development Education published in 2006. In the middle of May, the EC took the decision on the 1st stage and invited the pre-selected projects to present their full application form to the EC until the 26th of June 2007.
During this 2nd stage of the Call – which is at the same time the fourth step of NMS NGOs on the way to an EC funded DE project - TRIALOG got notice from 34 pre-selected projects with NMS-participation: 17 of them have lead agencies in Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland and Slovenia. 88 NGOs from all NMS (except Latvia) as well as Romania and Bulgaria are consortium members, European partners or associates. The big majority of the submitted projects were elaborated by teams from old (OMS) and new member states. It seems that only three sole NMS-consortia proposals were pre-selected. The OMS-NMS consortia were built with NGOs from 11 different OMS, but especially together with German, Italian, British, Austrian and Dutch NGOs.
In early June, TRIALOG has offered four trainings for the project teams (in Ljubljana, Prague, Warsaw and Bratislava) which helped to clarify the last formal questions about the guidelines, the full application, the logical framework and the budget. 48 participants from old and new member states and one local partner from Georgia worked together on their joint project proposals. The process was facilitated by a trainer.
Unfortunately there is no official information from the EC on the number of pre-selected projects with new member state participation. But what has become known is that 158 proposals from OMS and 44 from NMS passed into the second stage of the Call for Proposal and out of them around 60-70 will receive funding. The final decisions on the submitted full applications are expected for September 2007.
For TRIALOG data (incl. representation/country of pre-selected projects) which is based on information provided by numerous project teams, please turn to: http://www.trialog.or.at/docs/invitation_fullapplication.xls
For earlier statistics on the submitted concept notes in the first stage of the Call for Proposals, please see: http://www.trialog.or.at/docs/statistics_conceptnotes.xls
The day before the Brussels “Exchange Days for NGDO Platforms – How Do We Support Learning and Capacity Building amongst Our Members?” (see related TIS article), on April 25th, the New Members States “new” platforms' co-ordinators had the chance to familiarize with the CONCORD structure and some of its activities (http://www.concordeurope.org/). Anu Eslas from Estonia, Jana Krczmarova from Czech Republic, Ilze Millere from Latvia, Claudia Iatan from Romania and Marta Pejda from Poland spent the whole day at the CONCORD office, attending presentations of different programmes and working groups.
The session was opened by Andreas Vogt, CONCORD Membership and Networking Officer. He presented the general structure of the network, as well as current issues and actions included in the year 2007 agenda. He also presented quite widely some historical background of the NGDO movement in Europe, which is helpful when one wants to understand an overall context of CONCORD establishing.
The next presentation was made by Adam Davies who briefly described the DEEEP initiative – Development Education Exchange in Europe Project (http://www.deeep.org/). DEEEP is a 3 -year project, established by the CONCORD Development Education Forum that aims at strengthening capacity of NGOs to raise awareness, educate, promote global education and mobilise European public for world-wide poverty eradication and social inclusion. There are many different activities run under this project in close co-operation with TRIALOG (http://www.trialog.or.at/), e.g. the forthcoming Development Education Summer School which is to take place in Slovakia between June 26 and July 2.
Another info-session was prepared by Ester Martinez and regarded the AidWatch project and CONCORD report on the Official Development Assistance in the European Union in 2006, that was presented two weeks later in all 27 Member States. Ester summarised the overall AidWatch agenda starting from the most crucial international documents and declarations on ODA quality and quantity, related to the early 2000s. She also indicated important forthcoming events in this field.
Also The CONCORD communication network was represented by Agnes Philippart. She talked mainly about the communication and advocacy tools that are available to the members through the CONCORD extranet and can be very useful in NGO campaigning at the EU level. She also invited to take part in the communication training which is to be held in June, before the General Assembly.
At the end of the day, Florent Sebban made a short introduction to the problems of the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI). Florent is involved in the GCAP (Global Call to Action against Poverty: http://www.whiteband.org/) campaign and in the EuroStep NGDO network (http://www.eurostep.org/). He talked about different tendencies and ideas that dominate in recent discussion around the ENPI; he also broached the subject of the civic society role and practical involvement in the preparation of the country strategy papers.
Marta Pejda from Grupa Zagranica sums up: This informational session was really valuable – it is crucial that the CONCORD members know in detail how the network works and how to benefit from the membership.
“Where there is a will, there is a way” was the slogan of the 3 days international civil society fair taking place in Cyprus from May 3-5, 2007 at the green line between Nicosia/Lefkosa with the active participation from civil society organizations (CSO) of both parts of Cyprus, but also from different European countries and Israel. The Cypriot Organization “MC-Med” in cooperation with Intercollege held a symposium on the topic "The State of civil society: Where do we go from here?". After welcoming words from the organisers, the US-Ambassador and the new UNDP-ACT director the participants attended panels, workshops and Network-Cafés which took place in parallel on different topics such as: Gender Gap, Advocacy and Networking, Partnerships and Fundraising, Volunteerism, Active European Citizenship or Principles, Values and Ethics.
At the same time the UNDP-ACT International Civil Society Fair “Open Voices – Active Citizens” took place near by on a hugh football area, without any shadow, but under the "umbrella" of the blue helmets... In this open exhibition, more than 50 national and international civil society organisations from both parts of Cyprus presented their activities and materials.
Regardless of the hot and sunny Mediterranean days, the very tight programm schedule with minimum two constant parallel sessions was followed every evening by high-level Round-Table discussions on the first day about “What role for Civil Society” with Alan Fowler (CIVICUS, INTRAC) and on the second day on “Experiences from around the world” with the participaton of other international experts.
It was a very good event, despite a certain overload of different topics and parallel sessions and perhaps too little active representation of Cypriot CSOs in the UNDP-Panels, which were dominated by international male experts.
Find more information on the symposium, the opening speech and presentations at:
Tuesday, 19 June 2007
From 14th to 27th March 3 Slovak and 3 Austrian journalists from print media and TV visited projects supported by Austrian and Slovak NGDOs in Kenya. The focus were projects rehabilitating street children in Nairobi and Nyeri. 2 journalists took part also in an outreach flight of the flying doctors of AMREF in Tanzania.
The journalists were accompanied by coordinators of Südwind Austria and eRko Slovakia who were logistically organizing the visit in the frame of the „Building support for MDGs in Austria and Slovakia“ project supported by the European Commission and SlovakAid.
The project targets decision makers in development cooperation, educators and also general public via media. Therefore one of the main outcomes of the journalist travel will be articles on some of the main problems for local people in Kenya which is poverty, street children and HIV/AIDS. eRko will produce a film for children to be used in development education in both formal and informal education.
One of the highlights of the journalist visit was for sure the African cup football match of Kenya against Swaziland where the young talented player Patrick Oboya, aged 20 played for the first time for the adult national team, scored and contributed to Kenyan success in the match. Patrick comes from a very poor background in the Mukuru slum of Nairobi, but he could develop his talent thanks to his hard work and the help of development project MUSA (Mukuru Sports Association) a Kenyan NGO supported by DKA Austria and eRko Slovakia. Now he is playing in the Czech Premier League team FK SIAD Most and representing his country and thus has become a great role model for Kenyan boys and girls.
For more information on the journalist travel and the Austrian-Slovak project please contact Marian Caucik, eRko, at firstname.lastname@example.org