Thursday, May 31, 2007

Success Stories from the Regional Commission

The Five regional commissions (ECA, ECE, ESCAP, ESCWA, and ECLAC) established by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) are mandated promote the economic and social development of their member States, foster intra-regional integration, and promote international cooperation. They serve a dual role as a regional arm of the UN, and a part of the regional institutional landscape in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, and West Asia. Each commission is uniquely positioned to make contributions to member States' efforts to address their development challenges. The Regional Commissions are also mandated to operate at the regional and sub regional levels.
Asia cannot achieve the MDG targets on health and education unless efforts are made to reach out to the poorest people. The predicament in most countries in Africa is dire. Latin America, which is the most unequal region, requires renewed efforts to achieve the MDGs. To tackle these development challenges, the regional commissions coordinate and set in motion economic and social policies with a view to empowering poor people, investing in health and education and partnering with civil society and the private sector.


African Civil Society Forum raises Awareness on achieving the MDGs

The 2007 African Civil Society Forum was held in Addis Ababa from 22-24 March on the theme, ‘democratizing governance at regional and international levels to achieve the MDGs. Approximately 200 Civil Society representatives from across Africa attended the Forum. The Forum was organized by the Conference of NGOs in Consultative relationship with the United Nations (CONGO) and the African Women's Development and Communication Network (FEMNET) in collaboration with ECA's Governance and Public Administration Division (GPAD) and the African Union Commission (AUC). The meeting provided added impetus to ECA's Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development which was held in Addis Ababa on 2-3 April 2007.
Civil Society Organizations ( CSOs) have an increasingly important role in service delivery, especially in the social sector where government resources and capacities are stretched to the utmost. ECA is committed to deepening its engagement with CSOs through the work of its Governance and Public Administration Division (GPAD). ECA has a dual role as the regional arm of the United Nations and a close partnership and collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC) and the NEPAD and APRM secretariats. CSOs are also called upon to engage in the APRM process and urged them to lend support to countries that have acceded to the process and also encourage those who have not yet subscribed to join the mechanism.

Experiences in Social Innovation
ECLAC with support from the W.K Kellogg Foundation organized a competition entitled,”Experiences in Social Innovation.” They received over 1000 application and the first place was won by the the Legal Defense Institute of Peru, (known as IDL).
From Cusco, Peru, a community response to domestic violence uses a simple but powerful strategy to foster a culture of peace in homes and the community. These are Community Defenders who accompany and support victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse and mistreatment, and assist them in filing and following up complaints.
On April 18, 2007, ECLAC in collaboration with the Network of Latin American and Caribbean Social Institutions invited the general public to participate in a virtual forum In Spanish on "Effective Community Responses to Domestic Violence.” The key to the project's success is that the defensores, as they are called in Spanish, are made up of grassroots women who lead the way in showing how attitudes to violence can change, and how victims of violence can defend themselves in the legal arena. These community monitors teach by example that freedom from violence is a right, that victims are not the guilty parties, that protection and justice for victims is not an aggression against the aggressor, and that aggressors can and must be taken to task. Since the project's inception, the number of local groups has grown from eight to 38 (mostly in rural areas), and the number of defensores from 79 to 380. The project has reached 35,000 residents of the Peruvian highlands, including monitors, victims, local authorities and the wider community, with whom it works in close coordination. Another success of the project is that it can be successfully replicated elsewhere.

ESCAP Provides Training for TV Journalists to Raise Awareness of MDGs
ESCAP provided specialized training programme to Television Broadcast journalist from 13 Asia Pacific Countries to enhance their skills in reporting on the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The three-day session was organized by the UNESCAP and the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU), with AsiaWorks Television providing the training. Participants were trained to produce feature length news items and public service announcements on the MDGs. The finished pieces will be distributed by ABU across its network of national broadcasters, potentially reaching billions of people.
The initiative is part of UNESCAP’s ongoing efforts to advocate the key messages of its second regional MDG report, A future within reach. The report is part of a UNESCAP/UNDP/ADB project on supporting the achievement of the MDGs in Asia and the Pacific. More information on the project and the report may be found at:
ESCAP is also calling for entries for the MDG Media Awards
For radio and TV producers, their entries could include a special report, public affairs programme, or a documentary with a length of between 15 and 60 minutes. For print journalists, their entries could include a special report, investigative piece and explanatory reporting with a minimum length of one thousand (1,000) words. The Awards carry a prize of US$7,000 for first prize winners in each category, and a US$2,000 prize for runners up.
Entries by participating broadcast producers and journalists should cover the contest year from 1 January 2006 through 30 June 2007.
For radio and TV producers, their entries could include a special report, public affairs programme, or a documentary with a length of between 15 and 60 minutes. For print journalists, their entries could include a special report, investigative piece and explanatory reporting with a minimum length of one thousand (1,000) words.
Entries in the three categories should focus on one or all of the following aspects in their reports:Tracking progress on the MDGs: How are countries in the region performing? Which countries are ‘on track" to achieve and which aren't? Why are some countries performing well and not others?Human Face of MDGs: What does MDGs mean in people's daily lives? What is the role of civil society? What are the success stories heading towards 2015? Who are the key players driving forward change and that are they doing?Changes needed in achieving the MDGs: - What changes are needed to meet the 2015 target for improving public service delivery (including education, health, water and sanitation); engaging communities; empowering women; fostering public-private partnership; etc.
In order to address the major issues that disabled persons face and enhance the quality of their lives, the governments of the Asian and Pacific region declared the period 1993 - 2002 and subsequently 2002- 20012 as the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons.
This regional initiative entails the inclusion of people with disabilities in society and in all mainstream development programmes to reach the Decade goal of full participation and equality of people with disabilities. UNESCAP supports member and associate member governments in the region on developing approaches that promote the participation of people with disabilities in the development process. This support is provided through operational activities, encouragement of networking and collaborative action, identification of examples of good practice, as well as advisory services on the implementation of the Agenda for Action for the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons. ESCAP has organized a series of activities on the elaboration of a comprehensive and integral international convention on the protection and promotion of the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities as well as workshops and meetings on policy measures, information networking and promoting awareness.

Consultative Meeting to Enhance Peaceful Coexistence in Iraq

Within the framework of addressing the looming threat of ethnic and sectarian tensions in the region, UN-ESCWA held a consultative meeting to discuss a project entitled “Enhancing the Peaceful Coexistence in Iraq through Informal and Non-Formal Education” in Beirut on 19-20 April 2007. The meeting brought together representatives of the Iraqi Ministries of Education, Human Rights, Youth and Sports, as well as representatives of a number of Iraqi NGOs and UN entities.

Participants stressed the importance of the project and the critical need for such an initiative in Iraq. They affirmed that this is a pioneering project that could lay the foundations for wider movement within Iraq that would in turn contribute to strengthening peaceful coexistence. The deliberations of the meeting also resulted in upholding the projects purpose, objectives, activities, and target beneficiaries, namely youth between 12 and 18 years old. Participants suggested a number of amendments, ideas and additional activities that would contribute to developing the project in concordance with Iraqi society and its needs, as well as reinforcing it so that it becomes more systematic in dealing with ethnic and sectarian tensions in Iraq.

ESCWA’s work in the occupied Palestinian territory
In order to address the deteriorating socio-economic conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT), ESCWA convenes meetings and undertakes activities to for rehabilitation and development in the OPT, despite continuous instability. Recently, a forum was held to enhance Arab-Palestinian partnerships and to maximize the benefits of existing Arab financial and other mechanisms of support to the Palestinian people. The Forum included wide range of participation, with over 450 representatives from Palestine, Arab and other countries at the governmental, private sector and non-governmental organizations.

The Aarhus Convention is the world’s most far-reaching treaty on environmental rights. It seeks to promote greater transparency and accountability among government bodies by guaranteeing public rights of access to environmental information, providing for public involvement in environmental decision-making and requiring the establishment of procedures enabling the public to challenge environmental decisions.

The Convention was adopted in Aarhus, Denmark, in June 1998 and signed by 40 European and Central Asian countries and the European Community. It entered into force in October 2001. Its Parties now include most of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia and nearly all EU member States.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Recycled Computers in Africa

Recycled Computers in Africa: VIDEO

The Korean Foundation for World Aid, A Success Story

Introduction to the KFWA
The Korean Foundation for World Aid (KFWA) is an international non-governmental organization founded in 1997 in the Republic of Korea to help Koreans who live around the globe improve each other’s lives through peaceful cooperation. KFWA is in special consultative statue with the UN ECOSOC and work to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger around the world corresponding to MDGs, especially in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Introduction to the article
When it comes to the theme for the 2007 AMR, “Strengthening efforts for the eradication of poverty and hunger, through global partnerships for development”, the KFWA has a beautiful success story. The story involved the transfer of modern agricultural technology, specifically, ‘molding and direct-sowing technology’ from the ROK to the DPRK. In this project, organizations and individuals from the ROK, the DPRK and the Philippines were involved. In the article, we will explain how the initiative took place, why it is innovative, how the partnership was formed, what impacts the project has created, and what the future plans are.
Background to the initiative
Although it has already been 10 years since the famine that lead to the DPRK’s chronic deficiency of food surfaced as an international issue, the problem still remains and is unlikely to be solved soon. It did not seem to be a correct solution to support indefinite massive food aid to the DPRK. Instead, one plausible solution to this problem should include the transfer of modern agricultural technology. In this way, the agricultural productivity as well as the motivation of the recipients of food aid for work was thought to increase.
How the Initiative took place
The KFWA has expanded its area of aid to agriculture since 2002 when it started its cooperation with the Council of Reconciliation and Cooperation, which is a governmental organization in the DPRK. Before 2002, it was exclusively a provision of power tillers and sprinklers of agricultural chemicals.
In the beginning of 2005, the DPRK announced that agriculture was the main industry of the nation. Following the announcement, the KFWA was asked to with thin vinyl for rice seedling plot. What the KFWA suggested to the DPRK was the transfer of moldings and direct-sowing technology. In December 2005, the KFWA and the CRC agreed on the initiative to transfer the technology. Since the project required the application of essential agricultural technical expertise such as soil, weather, and watering systems, and the knowledge of agricultural materials and methods, the KFWA and the CRC decided to demonstrate them on a collective farm in the DPRK. The farm measured 800ha. In March of 2006, barley was sown in 103ha of land followed by sowing rice in 800ha of land. A successful harvest was realized in September of 2006.
Why it was innovative
Firstly, the initiative was innovative because the molding and direct-sowing technology saved total costs and labor costs since it does not grow and transplant rice seedlings. However, it produces as much as when growing and transplanting rice seedlings. When it comes to cost savings, there is a 30% reduction in total costs. It costs US$260 for 10a on average, but it costs US$180 when molding and direct-sowing seeder is used. When it comes to labor savings, there was a 96% reduction in total labor costs. 800 people were needed for one month to transplant rice seedlings in 800ha of land. But, using the technologies it only requires a maximum of 50 people with 7 seeders.
Second, the initiative is innovative since directly sowed rice is stronger that it stands firmly in natural disaster.
Third, the initiative is innovative because newly developed seeder named Bokto Seeder can do several things at one time. The picture below shows how Bokto Seeder works.

Global Partnership
In this project, 3 organizations, 3 individuals from the ROK, 2 organizations, 3 individuals from the DPRK, and 1 organization from the Philippines were involved.

Impacts the initiative has created
The amount of the harvest was 5,600 tons of rice in 800 ha. Out of 5,600 tons, the Yak Jeon collective farm gave 5 tons back to the KFWA to express their gratitude. Based on the fact that the DPRK rarely shows their thanks, the initiative has improved the level of relationship between the ROK and the DPRK. The Initiative was expanded in 2007 and the KFWA is applying the new technology onto 1200ha of land and is cooperating with the CRC.
The initiative was broadcast in a documentary named ‘In Depth 60 Minutes’ by KBS (Korean Broadcasting System), which is a public service broadcaster in Korea. Part of the program is translated and posted up on BBC is interested in broadcasting the initiative as well.
The success of the initiative made the KFWA plan two goals. Firstly, it should not only grow rice in the DPRK to feed people, but should also grow cash crops to earn money. Secondly, it should apply the molding and direct sowing technology to Africa, especially in Sudan, in which the KFWA has an agricultural training center.

Korean Foundation for World Aid
Website :
E-mail :
Telephone : 82-2-3471-9814
Fax : 82-2-3471-9822
3F, Eden B/D, 1579-1, Seocho-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul, 137-875, Republic of Korea

Transferring moldings and direct-sowing agricultural technology

Process of using Bokto seeder

Rice Sowed and grown a bit


Wrapped rice which was given from the DPRK to express their thanks

Monday, May 28, 2007

People's Decade for Human Rights Education, Success Story

…Develop a new political culture based on human rights.—Nelson Mandela

People’s Decade for Human Rights Education

Demonstrating A success story as a strategy for economic, social and human development

Human Right Cities – a practical way to learn and chart the future of humanity

PDHRE was founded in 1989 as a non-profit, international service organization with a deep belief in the power of human rights learning for economic and social transformation. PDHRE has worked directly and indirectly with its network of affiliates and partners in over 60 countries around the world to develop and advance the learning about human rights as way of life. It enables women and men to re-imagine their lives and discover their own power to define the destiny of their community. Participating in the planning of their future, the human rights framework provides them with the guideline to pursue their hopes. In pursuing its work in the field, PDHRE is constantly revitalized by actions being taken in the community to create a space for a meaningful change as a result of internalizing the praxis of human rights. Assuming social responsibility, people move away from humiliation to belong in their community in dignity with others.

In order to create an infrastructure for the learning/acting process in the communities, PDHRE is engaged in training trainers and facilitating seminars, workshops and dialogue at the grassroots level in the context of people’s evident desire for social justice and democracy. PDHRE is guided by the core belief that through human rights learning, everyone can be a mentor and a monitor and take control over their lives.

To achieve its vision and mission in a practical way, PDHRE has been facilitating the development of Human Rights Cities around the world.

What are human rights cities? Imagine living in a society where all citizens have made a pledge to build a community based on equality and nondiscrimination; --where all women and men are actively participating in the decisions that affect their daily lives guided by the human rights framework; where people have consciously internalized the holistic vision of human rights to overcome fear and impoverishment, a society that provides human security, access to food, clean water, housing, education, healthcare and work at livable wages, sharing these resources with all citizens-- not as a gift, but as a realization of human rights. A Human Rights city is a practical viable model that demonstrates that living in such a society is possible!

Voices from the Human Rights Cities

· “When I learned that education is a human rights I learned that I must claim my human rights, so that in dignity I can support myself and my parents when they are older.” (Child from HR City-Nagpur,India)
· “If you know human rights, you know that health, water and food are included, and it makes me feel good for my family and all the people...” (Women from HR City Thies, Senegal)
· "What we learned about human rights allowed us to reduce misunderstandings among ourselves. Before, we married women, and looked at them as slaves. Now we understand, we each have roles in the family. Women now understand they are equal, ands men agree with it.” (Man, HR City Kati, Mali)
· ‘We want human rights to be discussed in the newspapers, radio and television to motivate people to take actions for human rights for all the people in the city (Women from HR city Rosario, Argentina)

-Two billion people live in cities today. Cities are a microcosm of a state.
-Four billion women and men, youth and children will live in cities within 15 to 20 years.
-With the multitudes of people and issues interacting and interrelating there is no inherent knowledge, support systems, or guidance of how to live with one another and how to practically abide by moral values in today’s fast changing world.

The Visionary Human Rights Cities Program

PDHRE, the executing agency, works to develop and implement the Human Rights Cities Programme by, for, and with the inhabitants of the city and the local authorities to:
Instill a sense of ownership of human rights as a way of life, leading to action for the realization of all human rights in the city, to benefit all its inhabitants: women, men, youth and children
Enhance actions that promote democracy as a delivery system of human rights in order to achieve sustainable development, peace, economic, human security, and social justice.
Capacity building to strengthen activities that ensure community development and accountability guided by the comprehensive human rights framework. Individuals and groups taking part in the action.
Become a beacon of light for communities all around the world to witness practical ways the human rights framework can make every citizen a creative partner of sustainable change

The city, its institutions, and its residents, as a complex social economic and political entity, become a model for citizen’s participation in their development. This process leads to the mapping and analysis of causes and symptoms of violations such poverty and the designing of ways to achieve well being in their city. Appropriate conflict resolution is an inevitable consequence of the learning process as women and men work to secure the sustainability of their community as a viable, creative, caring society.

Human Rights Cities as developed by partnerships from around the world are based on the premise that all people wish and hope for social and economic justice. It stands on the conviction that for the moral, political and legal tenets of human rights to be effective, citizens of all countries must know and adopt this inclusive framework, giving momentum to attain a better life for future generations.

Human rights learning and socialization highlights the normative and empirical power of human rights as a tool in individual and collective efforts to address inequalities, injustices and abuses at home, in the work place, in the streets, prisons, courts, and more. Even in “democratic” societies, citizens and policy-makers must learn to understand human rights and the obligations and the responsibilities that they entail in a holistic and comprehensive way. They must learn to enforce human rights effectively and efficiently. This is the promise and responsibility their governments have undertaken when ratifying various human rights Covenants and Conventions.

In the cities, strategies and methodologies are designed to have governing bodies, law enforcement agencies, public sector employees, religious groups, NGOs and community groups, those working on the issues of women, children, workers, indigenous peoples, poverty, education, food, water, housing, healthcare, environment and conflict resolution, and all other non affiliated inhabitants, join in the learning and reflecting about human rights as significant to the decision-making process and towards societal development.

Steering committee representing all sectors of society develops specific programs for various audiences. The plan includes the examination, with a gender perspective, of laws, policies, resource allocation and relationships that prevail in the city. For that purpose, they create a vertical and horizontal progressive learning process. Step by step, neighborhoods, schools, political, economic and social institutions, and NGOs, examine the human rights framework relating it to their traditional beliefs, collective memory and aspirations with regard to environmental, economic and social justice issues and concerns. As agents of change they learn to identify, mentor, monitor and document their needs and engage in on of the most important action in the city: developing an alternative participatory budget, moving power to human rights…from Charity to Dingity.

Activities in the Human Right Cities are being publicized throughout their country, expecting to radiate knowledge and serve as a model for stabilizing democracy and building good governance, and most important people experiencing the power that each individual has to make a difference.

The program includes the development of 30 human rights cities and the training of 500 young community leaders at four Regional Learning Institutions for Human Rights Education.

As of Jnauary 2007, 16 cities are already in development and 100 community leaders have been trained in PDHRE Regional centers. The current Human Rights Cities are progressively fulfilling the original objectives and goals that PDHRE had set forth..

With the visionary and dynamic personal leadership of its founder Shulamith Koenig – the 2003 recipient of the UN Human Rights Award, PDHRE’s prominent Board of Directors, and its activists in the various regions, the organization is facilitating and supervising the human right cities program based on the holistic and practical vision of human rights. (More cities other then the listed below are now in the first development stages: in Chile, Bolivia, and Columbia, and two moe in Mali )

Human Rights Cities (as of December 2006)

Rosario, Argentina
Thies, Senegal
Nagpur, India
Kati, Kayes and Timbuktu, Mali
Korogocho, Kenya
Nimamobi, Walewale, Bongo, Ghana
Musha, Rwanda
Graz, Austria
Edmonton, Canada
Mogale, South Africa
Porto Alegre, Brazil
Bihac - Bosnia

One case study amongst many, Human Rights Learning In Action, Rosario, Argentina: Rosario, the first Human Rights City initiated in 1997, a learning program was devised to overcome a major issue of police discrimination in the community. Once the particularities of these discriminatory actions were identified by the steering committee, police training was developed and facilitated by PDHRE and the leaders of the community. After several human rights training sessions led by local educators and human rights activists, the director of the regional police academy said in an interview, with much conviction: “there is no other option but human rights!”. He was speaking of a world void of humiliation and pain so grossly experienced in his country. As a result of the on going trainings, the police are engaged in a dialogue with vulnerable groups and individuals in the city and are collaborating in human rights education and learning activities in the neighborhoods. It is a rewarding experience, which is reflected in the continuous human rights training in the city. It has also become a mainstay-training program for the police in the region of Santa Fe where Rosario is its capital. –more is told in our website:

To effectively continue with the development of human rights cities we are looking forward to discuss possibilities of funding this very unique, proactive initiative, working at the community level.

Developing Human Rights Cities is building infrastructures for conflict prevention, human security, participatory democracy, sustainable development and creating a space
for active civic engagement at local, national and global level.

For more information:

PDHRE, 526 West 111th Street , Suite 4E , NY, NY, 10025 * Tel: 1- 212-749-3156 * Fax 1-212-666-6325
Email: * Web Site:


We are the human rights generation.
We will accept nothing less than human rights. We will know them and claim them, For all women, men, youth and children, From those who speak human rights, But deny them to their own people. We will move power to human rights”

Shulamith Koenig – PDHRE, Founding President

Learning about the holistic yet practical vision of human rights as a moral and political way of life, protected by international law.—moving power to human rights. .

A presentation by Shulamith Koenig at a seminar held at the UN
Most of the women , men , youth and children in the world – six billion of us- for whom the holistic human rights framework was created --with great efforts and moral authority by all nations-- do not know about the relevance of human rights to their lives. They are not aware of the extent that their government made commitments and undertaken obligation to implement human rights, but are slow in doing so. This presents a serious obstacle to the realization of human rights as away of life and to the promotion of human rights as a proactive strategy for economic social and human development with a gender perspective, conflict prevention and human security. These goals and concerns can not be realized without people consciously claiming them as their birth rights. With humility and conviction it must be said that to achieve economic and social transformation and weave –per Nelson Mandela- a new political culture based o human rights- the learning about the non compartmentalized but, indivisible and interconnected human rights through all sectors of society, is the path that must be chosen. it is a cross cutting issue of global challenge and an imperative for the future of humanity.. There is no other option. The human rights framework is a guideline for our moral political and legal concerns and choices.

I will never forget the story about a ceremony proclaiming an end of FGC, held in Malikunda, a Senegalese village. Journalist and photographers came to document the event. . A little girl ran unto the stage, her mother calling after her: “Seng Seng!” – “What is Seng Seng?” a curious journalist asked: “Human Rights” answered the mother. “Why are you calling her human rights?” “Because she is the first girl in the village that was not cut”.—answered the proud mother. This pride was the result of meaningful human rights learning. Hundreds such ceremonies have been held since this first one in Malikunda, all as a result of women and men alike learning about human rights as away of life and towards the realization of HR-belonging in dignity with others.

The facilitators of this human rights learning process in Senegal, from TOSTAN -a local organization, inherently knew that the learning about the universality, indivisibility and interconnectedness of human rights as informing and promoting human dignity of all people, regardless of “cultural obstacles”, was the way to have women and men join in stopping FGC . The very same women in Malikunda came to their husbands to ask for land to grow vegetables; “Land is a human right” they argued and got it! The ability of the facilitators to bring forth human rights as a holistic vision enables the learners to understand all the aspects of their lives within a human rights framework and chose it as their guideline for changing their lives.

As human rights educators there is a very important choice we have to make and stick with it: Are we going to teach human rights, or are we going to facilitate the learning so that our students, energized by their aspirations, discover the meaning of human rights to their lives?..—Are we going to rehearse human rights articles, norms and standards relating them to countless violations, which compartmentalize human rights? -- Or are we going to enable our students imagine and re imagine human rights as the road they must take towards the realization and enjoyment of social change and meaningful transformation in their lives and the lives of their families and communities. And last but not least: are we going to have our students learn, from the outset, that human rights are about all the aspects of their lives: civil, cultural, economic, political, and social, asking them to give examples about these interconnected aspects which promotes systemic analysis and critical thinking . And some suggestion: never speak of “rights”, but only of “human rights” even if your students are lawyers. They too need to know that human rights ARE a magical horizontal, egalitarian concept from which specific rights are derived. “Rights” are vertical can be given and taken which human rights cannot we all being its owners.

Needless to say that be it in a school situations, where I find myself from time to time or mostly in my work in communities, I choose to discuss dignity, “us” and the “others”, the realization of human rights in the context of “being born equal dignity” ( which I find most people . young and old intrinsically understand and it gives them much joy). I speak of unconditional love, about equality – never equity- and lack of discriminating and about the holistic vision of human rights that affirms us as full and viable human being capable to participate in the decision that determine our lives, women and men alike.

There are few soul searching questions we must answer when we embark on being human rights educators. What IS human rights? and: what ARE human rights?...—why human rights. Based on 17 years of experience in the learning about human rights at the community level I know: IT IS a powerful tool that allows people see how the patterns of oppression shape our ideology, attitudes and behaviors and more important restructure the relationships with governments. Moreover, human rights learning facilitate systemic analysis…--focusing on our commonality as human beings as well as our differences, to view them as joy and not as a liability.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

International Ontopsychology Association, A Success Story

The History of Creation and Development of Ecobiological Projects

The International Ontopsychology Association (A.I.O. – NGO in Special Consultative Status with the ECOSOC of UN), in order to implement educational projects, chose unattended areas in developing countries or difficult regions and build educational centres. During this activity, its President, Prof. Antonio Meneghetti created a new model of environmental education, able to conjugate urbanization interventions with human development. This proposal founded and made true by A.I.O. is called: ECOBIOLOGY. This educational and environmental project has been applied to and developed in various countries, with different economic, social and ecological realities.
We would like to describe the success of two of them: Lizari (Latvia) and Recanto Maestro (Brazil).
According to the 7th UN Millennium Development Goal, Ensure environmental sustainability, integrating the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes; reverse loss of environmental resources, AIO had in mind to create a model of intervention able to bring the possibility of mutual help between the human being and nature. It is a new environmental education in the ecobiological meaning. and became a successful contribution to the sustainable development, appreciated and recognized by local governments as a new humanism of the environment.
Ecobiology means: eco: home, environment; bio (life), logy (study): knowledge of the organic life. It means to know how to live our life with quality in osmosis with the naturistic ecosystem. This kind of environmental education allows the human being a better relation of health and a qualified humanism of reciprocal respect among people and cultures. It studies strategies for a sustainable future, as the participation of the citizens, the behaviour and the involvement of the local communities, the empowerment of equality, of the many and different visions among rich countries and developing countries, the role of youth and companies, all together in the construction of better conditions of life for the human being.

Situation before the initiatives began
The places chosen are abandoned areas, neglected sites often risking to become a deposit of trash, or with strong depopulation of the rural areas occurred – for example – after the independence or after a war. They are countries from the third world, in areas with serious problems of communication, poverty and other social issues that usually discourage an intervention.

Establishment of priorities
1) Contact with local people (it is not an external intervention, but basically the development of the resources of the locals themselves, so that they "learn their place" through a self-sustainable perspective).
2) Beginning of the construction with public funds and then involving private investors (Lizari, Latvia) or beginning with self-financing and then involving public funds (Recanto Maestro, Brazil). This help to Develop a global partnership for development, in which public and private sector cooperate together, as stated in 8th UN Millennium Development Goal.
3) Environmental education. Ecobiology. It is possible always and everywhere. The main difficult is mental behaviour. It means that ecobiology could be more than a possible solution for the usual problems of nature devastation when there are urbanization works, more than just the maintenance of nature just as it is, but rather a concrete and functional symbiosis among the human being and the environment. Ecobiology teaches the human being how to connect the alive macrocosm with our daily microcosm in order to reach the following objectives: to save biological and natural resources not easily renewable and to live a bio-organic style causing minimum environmental impact, facilitating also with clean creativity and productivity the osmosis of the naturistic habitat.

Formulation of objectives and strategies
The objective is to get together the formula: urbanization intervention, environmental knowledge and human development, in order to put in practice a new model of environmental education, able to be placed also in the architectural and building fields, with social benefits and achievements.

Mobilization of human resources
Ecobiology is born as a good environmental practice whose goals are the development of an equal, democratic and participative society, respectful of this planet and to promote peace among people, human beings and other life species. And these projects embodied this vision, because they are build by a unique example of a variety of people coming from all over the word, from rich and poor countries with different cultures, different social and economic status, that together moved and sustained everything. There is a synchronicity of all the different aims (investment, knowledge and curiosity of different cultures, study, friendship, etc) of the people interested in the project, and each one of them brought his/her own contribution. These projects became a kind of "international piece of land".

The whole process is also a phase of discovery and survey of every single form, structure and element. As many people takes part in the practical work, the local people has the chance to know all the materials used, the chemical and physical vitality with new one. For local people the building phase is a sort of education that then they will carry on autonomously and they will transmit to other local people. They also learn simple functional solutions to make possible that an urbanization project follows some precise directives, being able not only to preserve nature, but absolutely to save it sometimes (how to mangle waste stuff, preserve water etc). The ecobiology education proposes to construct without destroying the environment, to use building, organic energy and bio-architecture to achieve the important effect of social growth and well-being in the surrounding communities.

Promotion of social and humanistic development
Besides the building activity, the main aim of the ecobiological intervention is to develop a place to become an educational or cultural centre, a school or a university or a faculty. These places are used as workshop, services for the whole community, indoor and outdoor spaces for cultural events that range from conferences with universities to political and social meetings, to economic activities, art exhibitions etc. All the local people are encouraged to start or to complete their primary study, according to the 2nd UN Millennium Development Goal, Achieve universal primary education. Plenty of them, not only girls and boys but also adults, start attending high school or get a university degree. All local people learn different languages due to the international community that sustain the project.

The History of Creation and Development of Ecobiological Project
A Centre of Education, Art, Unique Architecture,
Rural Tourisms and Valuable Recreation

Presented by:
Nina Linde (Adviser of the Minister of Education and Science of Latvia and designate AIO representative to UN)
Supported by:
Pamela Bernabei General Secretary of A.I.O. and designate AIO representative to UN)

2002 (Historical background, Choice of the area)
Latvia at the beginning of accession to the European Union. Complicated stage of renewal of state independence has had a negative impact on the economic situation of Latvia, namely the shutdown of manufacturing enterprises, undeveloped infrastructure, the elimination of working places and a bad condition of rural economy.
Lizari 2002Rural area on the periphery of Latvian districts finds itself in the very pitiable condition and only farseeing and penetrating look to the unique possibilities and hidden resources of Latvian plains could perceive perspectives of forgotten countryside.
The International Ontopsychology Association (A.I.O. – NGO in Special Consultative Status with the ECOSOC of UN), in order to implement an ecobiological project, chose an unattended area in the region near by Jelgava, in the Vircava district, 60 km from the capital of Latvia – Riga. This area has been named LIZARI.

2003 (First steps in the LIZARI Project)
Initially it was an abandoned place surrounded by some ruins of a cattle-shed and many years standing oaks located on the plain close by the bank of a little lake.
A former agricultural area was transformed into a construction base. The process of transfiguration of the area has started with the building of a house on the foundations of the remained ruins of the cattle-shed wherewith giving a new life to a derelict land.

2004 (European Structural Funds, Enlargement of the Complex)
Latvia starts making its first steps in acquiring financial means of the European Structural Funds. A.I.O. has worked out and successfully performed one of the first initiatives supported by the European Structural Funds in a country with economic transition aiming into transformation and development of rural tourism, differentiation of its service and quality and increase of employment of rural population; thus contributing to the 1st UN
Millennium Development Goal (Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger). The Project of European Structural Funds “Creation of a Touring Base LIZARI” was implemented from November 1, 2004 to October 31, 2005 in a total value of 860.771 LVL where 155.193 LVL formed European and state co-financing. Than A.I.O. created the connection with private investor who were interested in rural tourism, which is very appreciated in Europe. But Latvian people did not know it. It was a winner idea. The international investors contribute with 700.000 LVL in the project. They will have a share, but everything is organized and direct by the local people, who were trained and educated.
Lizari 2005 - HOTEL
Lizari 2005 - RestaurantAs a result of a concrete initiative on the plain area is standing a unique complex consisting of:
- hotel with 38 rooms with all conveniences
- restaurant – pizzeria in total area of 173 m2 where guests can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner
These two activities keep the interest of investor in continuing their investment.
Lizari 2005 - The well- a complete new Internet and telephone line has been build, reaching for the first time this region and now all the little communities around benefit from the use of this kind of communication. This also significantly works towards the 8th UN Millennium Development Goal’s last sub-aim “In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies— especially information and communications technologies”
- two wells have solved the problem of potable water, because little rivers are polluted by the agricultural chemical product (we are still working on it with local authorities)
Lizari 2007 - Multifuncional hall- modern utilities, local hitting, public service

2005 - 2006 (Multifunctional halls)
Along with implementation of the European initiative, A.I.O. has build a multifunctional hall, consisting of a hall for 60 people and a hall for 100 people where a business school established its headquarters.
The Business School FOIL has launched its work implementing education programmes for Latvian young people, business people, chief managers, business consultants etc. Successful implementation of the European initiative together with international private investors has an effect not only on the development of a region but also become a valuable model of skilful realisation... for Latvian business people.

The Business School FOIL is implementing an accredited by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Latvia education programme “FOIL Management”, which up to now takes persistent place in the market of training, education and business consulting .

The complex has been supplemented by one more exclusive artistic work, a Glass Pyramid, which serves as a lecturing hall for teaching high substances of life.
It represents the embodiment of geometry of eternal life: “The Pyramid has a metaphysic meaning. It helps human to meet a spiritual experience becoming afterwards his inner part of the mind.”
2006 (Territorial improvement, Institutional Partnerships)
The improvement of the territory of the complex LIZARI is proceeding.
Several administrative buildings for personnel, information and business office, houses and flats for local and foreign residents are under construction.

2007 (Ecobiology, Education, Art and Architecture)
The ecobiological centre LIZARI is constantly in the process of renewal and development.
Today this unique complex has become an international ecobiological centre of education, art and unique architecture that offers to Latvian and foreign customers high quality tourist and education services.

Innovative Initiative in fostering youth’s leadership skills

On the territory of LIZARI the International Ontopsychology Association, in cooperation with the Baltic Ontopsychology Association, is starting its work, launching a new initiative supported by the European Social Fund “Development of Individual Abilities of Youth with Law Key Competences and Facilitation of Their Initiative in Business Launching”. By providing young people with advice, practical means and opportunities for starting a business, this Initiative encourages youth employment, thus actively contributing to the 8th UN Millennium Development Goal's 5th sub-aim “In cooperation with the developing countries, develop decent and productive work for youth”.

Impact of the innovative practices created by the LIZARI Project

As a result of creation and development of the complex LIZARI attracting means of private investors, European and state budget co-finances are evident the following achievements:

1) Development of economic activity in the rural area. Possibilities of employment out of the traditional rural economy are enlarged, the level of unemployment is decreased and the new working places have been created 38 permanent working places and 67 temporary – during seminars and training organization.

2) Increase of incomings of local population from alternative incoming source. Incomings collecting not only people who are working in LIZARI, but also other entrepreneurs, farmers, partners supplying customers with different kind of services (transportation, communication etc.).

3) Improvement of Vircava district’s environment preserving its historical landscape. Creating a touring base for recreation and education was reconstructed a former granary and new buildings were built strictly following architectonic demands, respecting and preserving landscape and history of the area.

4) Facilitation of a general economic development of the region. As a result of the work of a new complex in the region have been created not only new working places but the amount of foreign tourists and local visitors has been also increased. Thereby the region constantly enriches with income taxes, land taxes and property taxes. Coincidently the amount of registered enterprises that are paying taxes and co-operating with LIZARI has been raised and their economical activity in the region has been doubtlessly expanded.

5) Development of tourism and relevant fields in the Zemgale’s region and Latvia in general. Rural tourism and education gained one more attractive and unique establishment for tourists. The complex equipped with the infrastructure is able to attend up to 100 people at the same time. Thus providing exclusivity of the offered service based on the personal access.

This and the previous achievements are strictly in accordance with the 7th UN Millennium Development Goal's first sub-aim “Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes; reverse loss of environmental resources”.

6) Provision of youth with practical trainings in terms of real life situation, facilitation of their responsibility, motivation and work experience.
Young unemployed in the age of 19-24 is a special target group in a country in transition like Latvia. The number of unemployed in the age of 19-24 is one of the important indicators determining development level of the European Union regions.
According to statistics of the State Employment Agency in Latvia were registered 22.400 unemployed in the age of 19-24 (namely 12.8% of the total number of unemployed). The largest density of young unemployed is in regions situated near by the capital. Active young population either moves for living and work to Riga or migrates to countries with higher welfare level (for ex. Ireland). A small rank of youngsters living in regions becomes alcohol addicted, asocialized and isolated.

Entry of entrepreneurs of the European Union level in Latvian regions gives a chance for unemployed youth. Thus the complex LIZARI attracted local young population into its construction, up-keeping and service. It decreased the unemployment level among the youth of Jelgava district, thus eliminating depression and poverty and implementing a sustainable development.

In order to approximate quality of professional preparedness and competitiveness of youngsters to the level of the European Union and the world level, LIZARI became a meeting centre for active youth from various countries – Russia, Lithuania, Estonia, Italy, Germany, England etc. Youngsters are fruitfully practicing the new experience gained through education in their countries each.

International Centre of Humanist Art and Culture

Presented by:
Soraia Schutel, Secretary of Recanto Maestro International Centre and designate A.I.O. representative to UN

Supported by:
Pamela Bernabei General Secretary of A.I.O. and designate A.I.O. representative to UN


The economical, social, political and educational development of humanity is actually the more discussed theme in the international meetings as the social Forum, Economic Forum and many of others forums that bring the world to discuss the solution to the “human being” problem and its infinite applications.
Today, there are places all over the world which are carried ahead by free entrepreneurial activity, without public resources, and which co-operate with the human development in its integral sense. In Brazil, one of those places is called Recanto Maestro, the third district of the city São João do Polêsine in the state of Rio Grande do Sul.
Recanto Maestro 2007
Recanto Maestro 1987
Recanto Maestro
from “The Hell” to a Centre of international reference

Recanto Maestro was born from the President of the International Ontopsychology Association, Prof. Antonio Meneghetti’s scientific, managerial and artistic free activity. He recognized the potential of this place and developed in 20 years a marvellous centre of art and humanistic culture, now recognized and loved by important brazilian institutions and citizens of the world. He was able to see what no one could see, this place grows up year after year, and it is now totally different from what it was before.

Left away by local people, who used to name it “The Hell” because of its unproductivity and disasters – mountains moving from its places because of the rains – and since it was far away from everything and everybody, slowly, this place became the promoter of excellent chardonnay, forestry in every single part to stop the constant erosion. From this simple ecobiological idea, the former improductivity area has now become a centre of international reference.

Partnerships and local employment

Developed from national entrepreneurial activities together with free professionals’ one, without public resources and always respecting local institutional rules, Recanto Maestro grows at a high velocity. Based on the tandem “hard work – intelligence”, people engaged in the project found no limits nor obstacles in participating in the construction of this international centre of art and humanist culture. This is particularly relevant for the 8th UN Millennium Development Goal (Develop a global partnership for development), and especially for its last sub-aim “In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies— especially information and communications technologies”.

Strictly in accordance with the 1st UN Millennium Development Goal (Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger), the companies and associations created in Recanto Maestro favour the employment of local people, thus co-operating with the eradication of poverty from the area and the local economic development, and offering the possibility of improving the population’s life quality and the buying power, which serves the aim of developing local commerce and creating new businesses. This noticeably works towards the 7th UN Millennium Development Goal (Ensure environmental sustainability)’s last sub-aim “Achieve significant improvement in lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers, by 2020”. There are hotels, restaurants, schools, offices, and a big Congress Center. Many companies and association have their headquorters in Recanto Maestro. Hundreds of local persons works in Recanto Maestro.

Recanto Maestro and Young People

For this reason, the companies here installed promote a qualified fostering of their collaborators through courses or through school, university or specialization studies, thus working towards the 2nd UN Millennium Development Goal (Achieve universal primary education).
One of the fundamental factors of this place is the solution to the exodus of teenagers from rural areas to urban towns. This is particularly relevant, since in this region, owing to lack of motivation and of possibility of growing, many teenagers are moving towards big cities.

Recanto Maestro’s Urbanization

Recanto Maestro is also involved in the urbanization of the area. Public streets are constructed and kept in good condition without using means from the district. As a consequence, Recanto Maestro’s main street is the most used by the people of the region. The District thus verified that Recanto Maestro consistently supports the improvement of public resources to the benefit of the whole community. This remarkably contributes to the 7th UN Millennium Development Goal (Ensure environmental sustainability)’s first sub-aim “Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes; reverse loss of environmental resources”.
The concept of “ecobiology” is at the basis of the Recanto Maestro Project. This means that all the interventions on construction, urbanization etc. are carried out with particular care for the relationship between human being and natural environment.

Recanto Maestro and Women
Innovative Initiatives contributing to the 3rd UN Millennium Development Goal (Promote gender equality and empower women)
Any Rothman (Brazil)
CEO of Capo Zorial
Another subject which is very discussed nowadays is the role of women in society. Congresses, manifestations, exigencies… Even if women already occupy a place in the labour market in almost all the world, they still protest for equality of rights, payment, hierarchy in the market etc.

The area surrounding Recanto Maestro, called “Vale Veneto” (which indicates the Italian origin of its inhabitants), is particularly rich in beautiful girls. However, these young women are generally doomed to fail in their life, since they only rely on their beauty without cultivating their intelligence.
In Recanto Maestro, femininity is not seen as fragility, but rather as a way of practical intelligence, sensitivity and capacity to bring ahead an opera of a great social utility. And the local women have understood the lesson of Recanto, in fact the roles of responsibility and leadership of the companies and associations of the district are occupied substantially by women (85%), which – instead of wasting time in discussing their rights and duties – simply work and do more.
International Congress Centre "Capo Zorial"
Some of the roles performed by women in Recanto Maestro:
- executive
- manager
- secretary
- clerk
- chef

Here are some events on the subject of “woman” and her femininity, which were realized in Recanto Maestro. These events gathered together hundreds of women of decisional power and action in national and international society.

1) June, 01, 1996: Residence “Psychology of Femininity”
2) October, 26 to 31, 1996: Residence “Women”
3) November, 12 to 16, 1997: Residence “From a superficial life to femininity grace of intuition and leadership”
4) April, 08, 2000: Conference on “Femininity – between eroticism and leadership”
5) April, 27, 2004: Residence for Women

Soraia Schutel (Brazil)
Secretary of Recanto MaestroMaybe the problem of women in the labour market does not reside in the market in itself, nor in man: it depends on how a woman places herself, what she wants to exalt in the market: her capacity and intelligence, or instead her femininity? Both of them are beautiful things, but very distinct and with a right place to be played in. Maybe woman’s problem is this: what does she want…?

Recanto Maestro testifies that woman intelligence, applied to great projects, can improve and develop all the surrounding environment (people, places, society).

Impact of the innovative practices created by the Recanto Maestro Project

Today, thanks to the combination of potential, master intelligence and available operative hands, Recanto Maestro is a district of 100 hectares within the community of São João do Polêsine – RS and has gained the respect of the local society and the government of the State. Moreover, it is a privileged place, which is admired by leaders from all over the world.

Headquerters of one of the international companies located in Recanto MaestroThrough a single intelligence applied, Recanto Maestro shows the solution to local human problems, giving an example to public institutions and society bystander, which only need to recognize, respect and support the importance of the activity and entrepreneurial facts of those people who bring progress to any place to which they move.

Recanto Maestro is the result of a managerial intelligence that does not wait for public resources, but walk together and cooperate with its development, becoming an example to others of how to eradicate the more discussed problems all over the world: poverty, education, social development, work etc. Local institutions have learned Recanto Maestro lesson and now they compete to find a way to cooperate with this district. In this way, the strengthened collaboration between private and public institution is the guaranty of a faster local and socialgrowth.

“Wealth does not come from the prosperity of a land or of a sea, but from the encounter of evolution and technique. Whichever the region, its wealth is determined by the work and collaboration of intelligent human beings, coherent in their rationality and volition.”

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Help Handicapped International- India, A Success Story


The loss of a foot or limb due to landmine explosions or any disease is a major tragedy for any human being and to come to terms with this loss of a part of the body is not only a very traumatic experience but also fraught with dire economic consequences.

A financially independent person suddenly realizes that he or she is totally at the mercy of relatives and friends and unable to indulge in any income generating activity. Prospects of poverty loom large over the horizon and this mental anguish coupled with the physical injury can wreck many a life.

Rehabilitation of such individuals is of prime importance and it is here that Help Handicapped International (HHI) plays a pivotal role especially in conflict areas where the number of landmine amputees is large.

HHI is a registered charity working for the welfare of the physically handicapped and an NGO in special consultative status with ECOSOC.

HHI specializes in fitting the Jaipur Foot prosthetic-an artificial limb developed in India and the most preferred in Asia and Africa because of the following factors:
(i) It is light in weight
(ii) It is fast and easy to fabricate. Since its manufacturing takes only a few hours the patient who comes to the centre in the morning can walk out on his own artificial limb by evening.
(iii) It is very cost effective.
(iv) It facilitates cycling, walking bare foot and squatting-all tasks essential to lead a near normal life in these continents.

Post fitment the patient undergoes physiotherapy sessions to become accustomed to the artificial limb. He or she is also explained about some simple exercises that could be carried out at home as well as some tips on the proper use and maintenance of the prosthetic.

HHI has been organizing camps for fitting of Jaipur Foot prosthetics to landmine and other amputees in Afghanistan, Sudan, Burundi and Kenya. The last three countries now have a permanent centre for this activity and thousands of handicapped have availed of the facilities. Two camps have been organized at Kabul in Afghanistan where over 1000 amputees have been rehabilitated.
In association with other organizations HHI has also undertaken similar activities in the Dominican Republic and Honduras.
HHI is also helping its associate trust-Ratna Nidhi Charitable Trust-to organize Mobility Camps for the handicapped at several locations in India. These camps offer free fitting of Jaipur Foot to amputees, Callipers to polio affected children as well as free distribution of Tricycles, Wheelchairs and Crutches. Over 50,000 handicapped have benefitted from these camps during the last three years.

HHI’s success story is unique because at first glance its activities might seem to be not even distantly connected with the theme of the Annual Ministerial Review of 2007 which is Strengthening efforts to eradicate poverty and hunger, including through the global partnership for development.

However, it must be emphasized that hunger and poverty can be temporarily eradicated by handing out a dole. However, any sustainable and effective eradication program necessitates creation of an income generating avenue for the beneficiary and this is what HHI is trying to do by rehabilitating the handicapped and making them physically able to continue with their profession. It is an indirect route to attaining the desired goal but nevertheless permanent in nature as well more dignified and socially acceptable.

In fact HHI has gone a step further by co-ordinating the fabrication of special purpose vending machines based on the tricycle-a three wheeler cycle very popular in Asia. An amputee can use this custom built cycle as a mobile vendor of day to day necessities and thus become economically independent in spite of his handicap.
Unfortunately the number of landmine amputees in the conflict areas of the world is so huge that to rehabilitate all of them is a daunting task calling for time, efforts and above all resources.

Help Handicapped International is fully committed to the cause and realizes that its success story would not have a happy ending till a majority of our unfortunate physically challenged brethren are put on the road to economic salvation.

Let us all double and redouble our efforts in this direction.

Please contact us at:

Visit us at

Friday, May 11, 2007

International Network of Street Papers, A Success Story

UN 2007 Annual Ministerial Review Innovation Fair
“Strengthening efforts for the eradication of poverty and hunger, through global partnerships for development”

Success story from the International Network of Street Papers (INSP)

– International Network of Street Papers ‘Working with Poverty Solutions’

The International Network of Street Papers (INSP) actively encourages and supports the setting up of Street Papers worldwide to create opportunities for people who have been disenfranchised and are living in poverty. Street papers provide employment opportunities and social programmes for some of the most marginalised people in earth.

INSP was set up in 1994 and has developed from a network of 5 European street papers into a worldwide anti-poverty network on 6 continents. INSP acts as an umbrella organisation to exchange information and experience between over 80 street papers in 30 countries around the world. INSP offers advice, expertise, encouragement, research and training through its worldwide communications networks, conferences, newsletters and campaigning initiatives.

- Street papers: ‘From Poverty to Independence’

Street papers have a philosophy of a ‘hand up, not a hand out’. People living in poverty buy the street paper from the organisation usually at 40-50% of the cover price, selling it on to their readers for 100%, keeping the profit. All post-investment profits generated by the street papers are used to provide social support for homeless people.
Each street paper adapts to country specific situations to tackle poverty at a local level. Most street papers are supported by a mixture of businesses, local government and institutions, and most importantly, by local people.

INSP and the Millennium Development Goals
- General

The International Network of Street Papers works towards the Millennium Development Goal 1 to ‘Reduce by half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day’ and Goal 8 to ‘Develop a global partnership for development’.
INSP has assisted tens of thousands of vulnerable people since 1994, working at the grassroots level and complementing NGOs and other bodies, but also working uniquely within its own ‘niche’ as an umbrella organisation.
Social exclusion and poverty are not just the responsibility of the local level, but they also play a part in the macro-dynamics of a global condition. At a time when the gap between the rich and the poor is growing, INSP also aims to provide an international platform for lobbying on behalf of some of the most marginalised people in society.

- Street papers: An innovation in itself
Street papers can be successful in any urban area in the world where there is both poverty and a critical mass of socially conscious people with disposable income willing and able to purchase a street paper.
Street paper initiatives usually start out at the grassroots level with local individuals or organisations working with vulnerable people. Using INSP’s vast experience of member projects, INSP provides information, advice and training to strengthen the institutional capacity of the fledgling street paper at the micro and macro level:
- Local street paper staff are trained in all aspects of street paper development.
- Homeless and long-term unemployed adults are trained in street paper sales and communication.
- Links are made at the local, national and international level with individuals, businesses, NGOs, government offices, funding bodies and other organizations able to compliment and support the work of the street paper.
The premise is that anywhere in the world a poor person willing and able to sell a street paper can earn more than dollar a day from sales, thereby contributing to the Millennium Development Goal 1 to ‘reduce by half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day’.

Poor people who sell the street paper earn a decent income to support their families. They are free to use that income any way they want, including buying food for their dependents. With some vendors in developing countries supporting, on average, 7 dependents, INSP is also contributing to the second part of the Millennium Development Goal 1 to ‘reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger’. Tens of thousands of people, including children, are the secondary beneficiaries of INSP’s street paper work around the world.

- INSP: Innovative initiatives in global development
The International Network of Street Papers works towards the Millennium Development Goal 8 to ‘develop a global partnership for development’ in a number of ways.
1) INSP represents a powerful international social media movement, with a combined annual circulation of approximately 26 million copies. Through its innovative online social news agency, the Street News Service ( INSP collates and distributes quality homeless, social and human rights articles and photographs globally, developing itself as the world’s number one ‘fair’ media service.
2) As a global network in INSP is also a member of policy-influencing organisations such as the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN), FEANTSA (European Federation of National Organisations working with the Homeless), the US National Coalition for the Homeless, CIVICUS (World Alliance for Citizen Participation) and the UN. Membership of these organisations allows INSP to play a key role in influencing policies which may impact on street papers and their vendors.
3) Within the Millennium Development Goal 8, the aim is to ‘address the special needs of the least developed countries, landlocked and small island developing states’. INSP’s priority focus for 2006 and 2007 has been to develop new street papers and income-generating opportunities in Africa. As a result, several street papers have been established in countries such as Kenya, Ethiopia and Zambia, with more planned in Nigeria, Malawi and Zimbabwe. Hundreds of poor African people are directly earning a decent income from INSP’s efforts, and thousands more of their dependents are also benefiting. Each project works closely with other local organisations providing streamlined poverty reduction solutions wherever possible.
4) Within the Millenium Development Goal 8, the aim to ‘develop decent and productive work for youth in co-operation with the developing countries’. Street papers are innovative and enterprising in that they provide the necessary skills and platform to move people on to permanent full-time employment while ensuring survival in the interim period. In Africa, street papers such as Big Issue Kenya are using the enormous talent of the slum dwelling youth to sell the street paper and provide an income for their families, but they are also training them in communications and sales skills and, where possible, providing co-funding for them to gain practical skills certificates in areas such as mechanics and carpentry.

- INSP and global urban poverty

The Millennium Goal 7 ‘to ensure environmental sustainability’ also contains the sub-aim of ‘By 2020 to have achieved a significant improvement’ in the lives of at least 100 million slums dwellers’. Although this is classed under an ‘environmental goal’ the ability of a slum dweller to earn money and spend that on water and sanitation improvements means that INSP’s street paper work in the slums of Africa is also contributing to this MDG.

The International Network of Street Papers and the future
In 2007, for the first time in history, the majority of people on the planet will live in urban areas. Many will be poor, unemployed, and disenfranchised. INSP’s innovative street paper initiatives will be in demand for a while yet, and it is our aim to support as many poor and disenfranchised people through employment while this is still the case.
INSP’s work will continue with establishing new and supporting existing street papers in the Southern hemisphere, especially Africa and Latin America.

Contact details:
International Network of Street Papers (INSP)
c/o SVCO
Floor 3, Centrum Building
38 Queen Street
G1 3DX
Tel: +44 (0)141 225 8036
Fax: +44 (0)141 248 8066

The Legion of Good Will, A Success Story

1st Solidary Society Network Innovation Fair
Brazil - March 2007

Contributing to the intergovernmental process of the United Nations, the Legion of Good Will - LGW, a Brazilian NGO in General Consultative Status with ECOSOC, promoted, during four years consecutively, multistakeholder meetings with the participation of the Latin-American civil society, stimulating the integration of the various social actors. From this practice emerged the 1st Solidary Society Network Innovation Fair, an action of relationship and partnerships that mobilized hundreds of participants from all over the country. This iniciative, with the support of the United Nations, has been helping to propitiate a permanent dialogue, besides sharing social technologies, in the search of solutions for the main challenges of the world, specially the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs).

The 1st Solidary Society Network Innovation Fair, promoted by the Legion of Good Will, received the support of the NGO Section of UN/DESA and the United Nations Information Center in Brazil (UNIC-Rio), gathering hundreds of representatives of various sectors, integrating member states, private sector, non-governmental organizations, media, academia, class entities, youth movements, foundations, public and international organisms, with the objective of sharing good practices that can be replicated as new social technologies and stimulate strategic intersectorial bonds that optimize the impacts of transformation in society. “Global partnerships for development – Strengthning efforts for the eradication of poverty and hunger” was the theme of the Fair, following the next ECOSOC High Level Segment theme.
The Legion of Good Will fostered a wide mobilization with multistakeholders divided in the three following actions:

· Phase 1: National research of innovative social technologiesOn the first stage, an ample research in all the Brazilian States have raised, through a targeted questionnaire, the main stories of success among 930 NGOs.
Place: all the Brazilian StatesPeriod: February/March 2007

· Phase 2: Local Workshops for sharing of good practicesIn different capital cities, it was held workshops and debates about the AMR Innovation Fair. A Video taped in the UN Headquarters in NY presented the intention of evaluating the advances of governments and society and, above all, encourage the exchange of well-succeeded experiences and that guarantee the accomplishment of the Eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), proposed by the UN in 2000 and firmed in an agreement by its 191 member countries to be fulfilled until 2015. After watching the video, that had a special interview with Ms. Hanifa Mezoui – Chief of NGO Section, and discussing about the Innovation Fair in NewYork, the participants accepted the challenge of implementing this proposal of the United Nations in their regions. Those activities took place in the following cities:
Porto Alegre/RS, Brazil
Date: 13 March, from 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.Place: Educational and Community Center of the LGW (Av. São Paulo, 722, São Geraldo, telephone: (+55 51) 3325-7000)
Belo Horizonte/MG, Brazil
Date: 14 March, from 08:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.Place: Auditorium Eudoro Vilella, at the Federação Mineira de Direito Privado ­– Fundamig (Rua Goitacases, 71, room 813, Centro, telephone: (+55 31) 3494-3232)
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Date: 14 March, from 09:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.Place: Fundación Navarro Viola (Av. Pres. Quintana, 174, Recoleta, telephone: (5411) 4925-5000)
Aracaju/SE, Brazil
Date: 15 March, from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.Place: Auditorium Deputado Francisco Passos, of the Escola do Legislativo (Praça Fausto Cardoso, s/n, Centro, telephones: (+55 79) 3236-4080 / 3236-3111)
Santos/SP, Brazil
Date: 17 March, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.Place: Fundação Lusíada (Centro Universitário Lusíada Campus III) (Rua Batista Pereira, 265, Macuco, telephones: (+55 13) 3221-3614 / 3221-5181)

· Phase 3: 1st Solidary Society Network Innovation Fair
In these main meetings, representative of multistakeholder leaderships from government, private sector, academia and civil society were able to promote a dialogue of the several social actors present and to share their experiences on fighting poverty and hunger. The Fair opened space for lectures, presentation of stories of success, cultural manifestations and exhibition of social technologies. The organizations exhibited in a very creative and dynamic manner and freely formed strategic alliances with the multistakeholders aiming partnerships and network.
The LGW also provided for the Brazilian civil society a unique experience of interaction with the United Nations, fostering in the Fairs a workshop encouraging a greater participation of the civil society organizations in the UN. The representative of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Dr. Michele Bilant-Fedoroff, visited all the facilities of the LGW and had several talks directly with hundreds of organizations and one specifically with students from the course of International Relations of PUC (Pontifícia Universidade Católica)

Brasilia/DF, Brazil
Date: 20 March, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.Place: World Parliament of Ecumenical Fraternity (ParlaMundi of the LGW)(SGAS 915, Lotes 75 and 76, telephone: (+55 61) 3245-1070)Theme: "Intersectoriality”, with the special participation of the organisms of the federal government and of international organizationsActivities: thematic panels, exhibition of social technologies and a vernissage of the Art exhibition “Make the difference”

São Paulo/SP, Brazil
Date: 22 March, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.Place: Educational Institute of the LGW (Av. Rudge, 700, Bom Retiro, telephone: (+55 11) 3225-4594)Theme: "Education”, with special participation of educational entities, universities and community leadershipsActivities: thematic panels and educative and cultural exhibitions

Rio de Janeiro/RJ, Brazil
Date: 24 March, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.Place: Educational, Cultural and Community Center of the LGW (Av. Dom Hélder Câmara, 3.059, Del Castilho, telephone: (+55 21) 2516-4484)Theme: "Socioeconomic”, with practical demonstration of intersectorial partnerships (forecast: two thousand assistances for nearly 400 people)Activities: thematic panels, cultural manifestations and practical demonstration of a Multistakeholder iniciative providing more than 2000 health and citizenship assistances. Several actions took place, such as explanations on how to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, legal guidance, on the Environment and nutrition, educative lectures, workshops on how to increase income, besides specific activities for children and teenagers.
This edition of the Fair was highlighted throughout the Brazilian and international media. In national reach through the A Voz do Brasil (a program of the Brazilian government distributed by its agency (Agência Brasil) for TV, internet and radio) and internationally by the UN’s Radio, in New York. Also in Folha Online, Correio Braziliense, O Globo Online, Brazilian Press Association Portal, Jornal do Brasil, JB Online and O Dia; the radio stations Tupi, Eldorado AM and Manchete and a complete coverage by the Good Will Communication Network.
All this mobilization resulted in a statement of the Legion of Good Will registering the contribution of all the participant organizations of the Solidary Society Network to be submitted as recommendations of good practices to the High Level Segment of the Economic and Social Council of the UN, which will be held in July, in Geneva.

Member States representatives in Brasilia:

Sergio Zambiasi – Senator
Mozarildo Cavalcanti – Senator
Beto Albuquerque – Federal Deputy in chief and leader of the Government in the Chamber.
Silvio Lung – President of the CNAS (National Council of Social Welfare).
Marianne Vicenthini Arruda – First Lady of the Federal District.
Arlete Sampaio – Ministry of Social Development.
Perly Cipriano, Sub-Secretary of the Special Secretariat of Human Rights (Secretariat attached to the President of Republic).
Lylia Galetti – Ministry of the Environment.
Alzira Vieira – Sebrae and Representative of the Ministry of Science and Technology.
Jose Gregori – Former Ministry of Justice and president of the Commission of Human Rights in Sao Paulo