Panel Session Presentations
Abstracts



Panel Session A: Environmental Issues, NGO Networks, and Relief Services
 

A Global Call to Healing: Ethical Imperatives for Sustainable Development

PRESENTER: Rev. Dr. David W. Randle, President and CEO, WHALE Center.

The Call to Global Healing came out of the collaboration of the UN United Religions Initiative (URI) and the Utah URI in preparation for the URI Global Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Call to Global Healing is a grassroots effort to bring Faith Communities and NGOs of the world together to create stronger spiritual, ethical, and value considerations in public policy decisions and individual lifestyle choices, to support building a sustainable society. This presentation will share the dimensions of the Call to Global Healing, the story and process of its presence in both the URI Global Summit in Brazil and the WSSD in South Africa, as well as further plans for its implementation. The plans include collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on several strategies including the promotion of cultural diversity and biodiversity, community awareness of sustainable development issues as outlined in the UNEP GEO3 report, and the Earth and Faith Leadership Development (EFLD). The EFLD, a collaborative program of the WHALE Center and UNEP, received an award from the Salt Lake Olympic Committee, and was funded in part by a generous grant from WANGO and IFFWP. Participants gain insight into the relationship of personal and global healing, the key ethical imperatives for building a sustainable society, the contribution that NGOs can make to the process of Global Healing, and specific opportunities for NGOs to participate in this initiative.
 

NGO Relief Services: The Guyanan Experience

PRESENTER: H.E. Yvonne Hinds, Chairperson, Guyana Relief Council; First Lady, Guyana.

In Guyana, the Civil Defence Commission is the government agency mandated to develop, implement and maintain a National Disaster Preparedness Programme, incorporating Sectoral Services of the Central and Regional Governments. Guyana is a developing country with a small population; hence it is necessary for the citizenry to contribute through membership and volunteering in NGOs such as the Guyana Relief Council (GRC), to complement the efforts of the government.
The GRC collaborates with other organizations locally and overseas to provide relief services that make a positive difference in the lives of families who are unfortunate or become so because of a disaster. Until relatively recent times, most buildings in Guyana were constructed of wood, and fires are an ever-present threat. The GRC provided relief assistance to 460 people from January to August 2002, and fires caused 70% of the disasters. To maintain the integrity of family units in the wake of fires, the GRC has recently built a shelter to provide temporary accommodation to family units and is currently raising funds to sustain this facility.

Searching for a New Vision: A Global Common Society 

PRESENTER:  Prof. Woon Ho Kim, Associate Dean and Professor, Graduate School of
  NGO Studies, Kyung Hee University, Korea

The first of its kind in Korea, the Graduate School of NGO Studies started in 2000. The school specializes in social movements and future governance, and seeks to develop an interdisciplinary program drawing widely from theories of humanity, social action, and global communities. There are three concentrations in the master's program: Civil Society, Global Governance, and NGO Policy/Management. Kyung Hee University (KHU) administers the graduate program in NGO Studies. KHU, which has a long-standing association with the UN, successfully co-hosted “The 1999 Seoul International Conference of NGOs” alongside the Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the UN (CONGO), and the Executive Committee of NGOs associated with the UN Department of Public Information (NGO/DPI).
The number of NGOs is growing rapidly, in line with the development of democracy and diversity. Their role and influence is increasing dramatically, and we witness NGOs in partnerships with governments and corporations. Even if it is generally said that the raison d’être of NGOs is to contribute to the realization of a better world pursuing the public interest, we cannot be sure that NGOs share the same concept of a better world. In NGO graduate programs, students are expected to analyse NGO phenomena as expressions of humanity, and visualize concrete programs for governance as products of collective social praxis. The school aims to contribute to the formation of an epistemic community, and to the construction of a human-centred global common society with global peace and co-prosperity. There is a key role for higher education to explore with NGOs the prerequisites for a global common society, such as common vision, common norms, and common goals.

The Changing World: NGO and Interfaith Partnerships in Asia.

PRESENTER: Mohammad Abdus Sabur, Secretary General, Asian Resource Foundation

Asia is rich in natural resources, with religious and cultural diversity. Yet 30% to 40% of the people live under the poverty line. The majority of the young are deprived of higher education. Poverty, unemployment and frustration lead to drug abuse, risky sexual behaviour, and crime. Faith-based organizations have traditionally been involved in welfare activities for the poor and disadvantaged. Many of them have yet to adjust, and build their capacity to deal with the changes taking place on the community, national, and world levels over last two decades. Secular NGOs are now a very significant force responding to humanitarian needs, poverty eradication, health care, environmental degradation, human rights, and the rights of women and children.
The Asian Resource Foundation (ASF) supports the networks of NGO and interfaith organizations committed to sustainable development, democracy, human rights and peace. These networks can arrange parallel meetings during UN conferences and international events. They contribute to greater understanding and cooperation between NGOs, UN bodies and international institutions, despite the limitations and tensions.
Postcolonial nation states in Asia face the need for greater participation and democratisation. There are desires for regional autonomy and power sharing, and global communication drives the aspirations of an E-generation. Terrorist attacks and counter-terrorist efforts make the global picture more complex. Still, there is an opportunity to bridge the gap of understanding between East and West, and between faiths. A role exists for NGO and interfaith organizations to shape human security and world peace. ASF supports capacity building for youth leadership, educational change, cultural exchange, and intercultural dialogue.

Eliminating Rivalries to Promote Healthy Networking between NGOs

PRESENTER:  Mohammed Bougei Attah, Executive Director, NGO Guide 2000, Nigeria

There is a growing perception in both established and emerging areas of civil society in the African Sub-Saharan region that the dream of  “a global village” is far from reality. Unhealthy rivalries among NGOs contribute largely to the slow growth of meaningful development in the region. Rather than having service to humanity as a core theme, the majority of African NGOs, and particularly those in Nigeria, are selfishly enriching themselves, and denying others the vital opportunity to grow and contribute to national development. It is important to inform the international donor agencies, policy makers and other stakeholders of issues that may undermine the global attempt for peace and stability. Some areas of concern include the role of poverty in the self-perpetuation of NGOs, the role of international donor organizations in selective patronage and preferential treatment, the competition for funds between NGOs and governments with the potential for corruption that can ensue, and international scams.
Such problems are widespread within Africa, but there is little recourse to help reform the system. A network NGO can use its leverage and establish a process that can go a long way in answering some hidden questions.

NGOs and Environmental Protection

PRESENTER: Bhaskar E. Avhad, President, Maharashtra Academy of Engineering and Educational Research, India

Pollution is the oldest environmental problem, perhaps as old as human history.  In whatever form and at whatever stage, life results in pollution of the nature. It may be said that history of human development is history of environmental pollution, and there may be hardly any scientific invention that has not resulted in pollution. The problem becomes serious when environmental exploitation exceeds natural replenishment.  In today’s advanced world, the problem has become so serious that it is directly threatening to cause total failure of the ecosystem.
 Among the environmental challenges that need to be addressed are the excessive discharge of chlorofluorocarbons, which impact the ozone layer, the use of pesticides in high doses, the various industrial chemical discharges, acid rains, the alarming increase in the percentage of carbon dioxide in the air we breathe, soil erosion, loss of forest land, desertification in Africa, reduction of the water table, and so forth. Pollution of air, water, land and even noise pollution is threatening the quality of life on the earth.
It is vital that pollution not be allowed to go to the extent of irreversibly damaging the eco-cycle and thereby threatening the existence of life. The beauty of this blue planet is the existence of life, which is an unique and rare cosmic phenomenon.  We are hoping that the legislatures and governments of the world take the environmental issues most seriously and preserve and protect the environment, ensuring the right to life and quality of life for generations to come. But at the same time, change only at the level of governments likely will not produce the necessary results and we need NGOs to play a vital role.  The non-governmental sector can, in particular, play very effective roles in educating minds to be more eco-friendly.  The NGOs can also effectively work as pressure groups on legislatures and executives. The experience in India shows that NGOs can also play effective roles by moving judiciaries by means of Public Interest Litigation.  And above all we need to train and educate minds in favor of protection of the environment and this can be best done by NGOs.
 

 

Panel Session B: Educational Issues and Health Care


Trained Volunteers and Development

PRESENTER:  Alok N. Sinha O.B.C. (Belgium), Executive President, OISCA Foundation, India.

The Organization for Industrial, Spiritual and Cultural Advancement (OISCA) was founded in 1961 in Tokyo. It is the first major international NGO to emerge in Japan, and has 31 branches around the Globe. OISCA is based on the idea that sound development is rooted primarily in agricultural and rural-based industries. It stresses a spiritual component along with material development. There is a strong emphasis on youth training. In the Japan facilities, 6000 volunteers have been trained in practical skills appropriate to rural development. A further 10,000 trainees have learned skills in agriculture, fishing, and forestry in other Asian countries. 
At the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, OISCA adopted the Children’s Forest Program a tree planting initiative. OISCA attended the Earth Summit in Johannesburg and emphasized a better environment, healthy and good education for children, and population control.
OISCA India founded a Girls Vocational Training Centre in Delhi to provide training to orphaned and poor girls. It now plans to develop a model village to demonstrate the latest techniques in agriculture and related industry. OISCA cooperates with partner agencies and local organizations. 

Change and Personal Transformation

PRESENTER: Prof. Roberto Anderson, President, IUPE, Brazil

The Universal Institute for Research and Education (IUPE) recognizes that change begins when people are motivated to find the human values that we each have deep inside.
Words alone do not persuade people. Merely pointing to human virtues and natural goodness is no longer convincing. Living examples of right behaviour are needed. If the words spoken are not heartfelt, then they lack conviction. There needs to be a perfect integration of our words, our attitudes and our thoughts. This takes a personal transformation. 
IUPE starts with dedicated self-preparation. IUPE guides each of our employees, teachers and researchers. People from other NGOs, schools, institutions and community leaders are given the same preparation. IUPE has developed very simple techniques, and enjoyable ways to learn the techniques. There have been fantastic results. Sometimes incredible changes happen with people who are not even directly involved with the project but have contact with those we have trained. We see transformations all time. This is the positive energy irradiation that comes directly from the heart of each one of us. The results we achieve, and the simple techniques we use, can be found on the web-site (www.iupe.org.br). 

The Estonian Anti-AIDS Association - twelve years of activity

PRESENTER: Dr. Ljudmilla Priimagi, Director, Estonian Anti-AIDS Association

The Estonian Anti-AIDS Association (EAAA) is involved with the prevention of HIV infection, sexually transmitted diseases (STD), and actively promotes healthy lifestyles. Volunteers created the NGO in September 1990, and at that time there was no national organisation for HIV-prevention. The EAAA participated in the development of a public health strategy for Estonia. New methods of prevention, evaluation and quality control were implemented. It was the first organisation in Estonia to introduce international information about HIV/AIDS to key members of society, and to advocate a prevention policy. The content of the EAAA program targets youth, and has developed from a narrow prevention of HIV/AIDS or STD transmission, to the active promotion of healthy sexual behaviour. More recent training sessions have added drug prevention.
During the last 5 years, EAAA has carried out 8 projects on HIV/STD prevention and the promotion of safe sexual behaviour with adolescent students, schoolteachers and army recruits. The projects were financed by PHARE programs of the European Commission, the Soros Foundation, Family Health International (USA), the Tallinn City Government and others. Training was received by more than 3200 teens, 600 army recruits and 250 teachers and students from Tallinn Pedagogical University. The workshops used interactive learning techniques, small and whole group discussion, role-plays, brainstorming, individual work, and video. Teens used drawing and composing for self-expression. This innovative training material was distributed to teachers who participated, available in both Estonian and Russian languages. Questionnaires demonstrate the enthusiastic participation of young people, and showed an improvement in their self-esteem. Teachers were interested in taking part in the workshop and expressed their confidence in giving the same training themselves. Since April 2002, we have begun a new project with school children, financed by Family Health International (USA). In September of this year we shall receive financing for a new project from the American Embassy in Estonia for work with 1500 military personnel in the Estonian Defence Forces.

KHANA’s Response to HIV/AIDS in Cambodia

PRESENTER: Pok Panhavichetr, Executive Director, KHANA, Cambodia

KHANA plays a lead role in the NGO sector response to HIV/AIDS in Cambodia. To maximize the effort against the epidemic, KHANA has built very strong links with government, NGOs, major stakeholders including donors, people living with HIV/AIDS, and other actors working on HIV/AIDS in Cambodia. This strategy helps reduce the rate of HIV transmission, and brings support to the Cambodian people living with HIV/AIDS.
In 2002, KHANA is working with 35 local NGOs on a total of 43 HIV/AIDS related projects. Of these, 12 are primarily prevention projects, 15 focus on care and support for people living with HIV/AIDS, and 16 projects integrate prevention with care and support. KHANA's main goals through 2005 are:
-to play a major role in mobilizing community response to HIV/AIDS
- to reduce stigma and discrimination within communities. 
-to respond to emerging needs in service provision such as Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT), Access to Treatment including ARVs and other relevant medicines, and to the growing need for care and support for people living with HIV/AIDS. 
-to ensure the mainstreaming of HIV/AIDS work into all other processes of development in Cambodia, including the integration of care and prevention into gender and development activities
-to enhance KHANA’s profile at the national, regional and international level, and  become the leading agency for advocacy, documentation, and sharing lessons on community action in HIV/AIDS.

Alternative Approaches to HIV/AIDS Prevention: A Critical Issue in Cameroon

PRESENTER: David Kemzeu, President/Founder, NIRMA Foundation, Cameroon

Condom-marketing associations the world over are seldom dedicated to discouraging people from sex. Their indicators of performance are evaluated in terms of quantity of condoms sold. With a strong financial base and powerful marketing they push the condom message. In the Cameroon, as a consultant in the theatre arts, I advised an organization in a program called "Peer Educators and Promoters" and this work revealed many illustrations of the dominant social message to use condoms. A criticism heard repeatedly from non-condom-oriented NGOs and faith -based organizations is that the message to use condoms advocates a mechanical solution to a behavioural problem.
Many NGOs exist who agree that condoms are not the ultimate solution to HIV/AIDS, especially when it concerns adolescents. These NGOs strive to provide a comprehensive message. They have alternative and innovative approaches that propose changes in behavior. They use interactive education, character education, and life skills education. These equip youth with the ability to interpret and challenge the demands and pressures of daily life. This education shows a commitment to young people to help them develop a clear long-term perspective for their personality and character. The NIRMA foundation is committed to support these NGOs and to develop funding for these programs. 

 

Panel Session C: Social, Political, and Economic Development


Structural Change in Azerbaijan

PRESENTER:   Fuad Mammedov, President, Association of Culture of Azerbaijan 

Simurg was founded in 1990 to support progressive structural change in the development of Azerbaijan society. It plans programs and projects to strengthen the values of democratic culture and civil society, to contribute to education, to help foster a culture of peace, and create cooperation between nations. It networks with 40 organizations and over 500 members. Many are experienced specialists, who work in management, education and politics and bring top-level decision-making skills. Simurg has held numerous seminars and conferences on management and culture, and provided training in communication, consulting and fund-raising. This is coupled with an active publications strategy with books and articles on culture and society. A recent release is a book on the culture of management in democratic society. 
 “The School of Civil Society Culture” is a current program to establish a school in Azerbaijan for training in civil society and management culture, to start cultural resource centres in the capital and regions, and to open a centre for democratic elections. The program’s strategic goal is the creation of a Civil Society Culture Forum to align the work of NGOs, government and business organizations to support stable development, peace, and security in the Southern Caucasus. 

The Individual Person is Integral to Development

PRESENTER: Efrain Chacón, Director, CEDIG, Guatemala

The Centre for Integral Development of Guatemala (CEDIG) started in 1989. The founders were social activists working directly with the people in rural society. The driving force of the organization is a belief that development belongs to all people and is everyone's responsibility. Development cannot be imposed; it must be based on attraction.
There have been many attempts to counter the extreme poverty and underdevelopment of Guatemala. CEDIG conceived an alternative method to initiate social development, altogether attractive, practical and accessible. The process helps the individual to recognize their reality, and analyse their position in the context of their society. Social traumas are factors that break integral development, and are inherited from generation to generation. This is the first place to start. People are guided to analyse THE I of their personal lives through behavioural exercises. The capacity of people develops, and they are motivated to improve their standard of living. This procedure breaks from traditional models, initiating a participative process with responsibility and rights.
Socio-economic change is achieved through concrete and productive action, practicing cooperation with self-determination. People work in groups, and collective projects are initiated with their own resources and efforts, and this cohesion guaranties the transparency and self-management of the group activities. The stimulus of integrated groups is an example for the rest of the community to take action in their own growth.
Let us remember that each generation has qualitative and quantitative seed. The past is the link to the present, and the present will link to the future. Today we have to visualize a more promising horizon for the future.

Advocacy and Social Development in Cambodia

PRESENTER:  Nhek Sarin, Executive Director, STAR Kampuchea

STAR Kampuchea, a Cambodian NGO, began in 1997. Its goal is to strengthen democracy in Cambodia by strengthening civil society. STAR Kampuchea gives cooperation and support, to civil society, and offers a channel for a common voice so that civil society can advocate for a stronger democracy. In Cambodia today, we, the people, must empower ourselves. In this struggle, advocacy is an important tool. STAR Kampuchea has built up credibility with government, civil society groups, the people, and donor agencies. It is now working with 37 officially affiliated Cooperating Organizations (COs), 4 Provincial Advocacy Networks (PAN), 6 union federations and 1 trade union. 
STAR Kampuchea has three main programs: 
The Advocacy and Information Program (AIP) organizes major events for people to speak with Members of Parliament and local authorities, in order to solve grassroots issues. AIP publishes a regular monthly newsletter, and copies of the Constitution and other laws are distributed to people in Phnom Penh and the provinces. Because of its advocacy position on new laws, STAR Kampuchea is known as a centre for legal documents. 
The Capacity Building Program (CBP) provides training in Decentralization, Advocacy and Networking, Advocacy Analysis Issues, Persuasive Writing, Networking, Media and Communication, Land Law, and the Impacts of the Globalization on the grassroots. In addition, this program organizes field trips throughout Cambodia and the region. The CBP aims to strengthen the capacity of the COs and the PANs to address local issues. 
The Legislative Development Program (LDP) advocates for better and more appropriate laws. By sharing draft laws, translated legal documents and analysis, LDP facilitates the work of others who are active in the legal field. The material is made available on a web-site. LDP also works to bring law drafts to the people in the provinces to get their input. The comments from the grassroots are presented to the lawmakers.

Development Projects in Southern Peru

PRESENTER:   Felipe Guardamino, President, Renacer Centre

Renacer is engaged in three areas of service: the health sector and nutrition, the social sector to improve the values and ethics of the community and, thirdly, economic development using micro-credits to finance local business expansion.
Increased fish consumption in Southern Peru improves nutrition and promotes businesses related to the fishing industry. The business model has a marketing plan to reach 850,000 people. The overall goal is to match fish consumption in Southern Peru to the national average. This will increase fish consumption in the target market by approximately 250%.
The social education project is designed to counter forces that undermine family values and lead to family breakdown. It targets youth, families and organizations and offers training in moral and ethical values. There are workshops on parent/child communication and relationship-building techniques and skills. The target group is approx. 2000 families but there will be an indirect benefit to a larger community. The project expects to gain support from the local business community, which should benefit from an improvement in social cohesion and higher ethical standards.
The micro-credit initiative benefits 5000 informal businesses, people who cannot find financing in the conventional market. The project increases the income of poor people, providing working capital for them to expand. A key element is to extend trust, and build on the word and honour of the poor in society.

The Creation of Comores-Espoir

PRESENTER: Dr. Ahamada Msa Mliva, President, Comores-Espoir

An understanding of the history, the society, the traditions, and the political dimensions of Comoros is essential to clarify the role of Comores-Espoir's work. Comores-Espoir (CE) supports medical and humanitarian initiatives in Comoros and the surrounding region of the Indian Ocean. It is engaged in ongoing health care and preventative measures for disadvantaged people and those excluded from regular medical attention. The primary focus of the health program is the care of mothers and their children. CE also provides support, training, protection, schooling, and literacy skills to deprived children, according to their age. CE introduces, implements and advocates for DIJE a development strategy for young children. There is ongoing participation in social development projects such as school construction, hospitals, environmental protection, orphanages, sports facilities and cultural centers, projects which have both a moral and substantive base. These efforts are consistent with CE's goals to reinforce family and cultural values, as well as support national reconciliation.

 

Panel Session D: Peace and Conflict Resolution


Conflict Prevention in Europe and the Economic Dimension

PRESENTER:  Professor  Mihaela Dimitrescu, Vice-President, Romanian Association for
  European  Integration Democracy (RAEID), Romania

RAEID starts by asking why conflicts occur in transition countries and in poor countries. Why does globalization affect social psychology, and increase resentment towards neighbours or “those who are not like us”? What can international organizations do in conflict prevention efforts to develop an effective “working together” plan?
As representatives of civil society we are all interested to be partner organizations, to prevent, manage, or respond to such crises. 
The approach followed is to investigate the economic roots of conflict. This covers financial crises, unsuccessful reforms in transition countries, economic incentives, and trade and overseas investment. Also, to understand the world context, that cooperation may not work because of ideological confrontation, or religious conflicts in multi-ethnic countries, or land disputes. There are also threats to security, and the detrimental effects that may have on economies going through transition. 

Countering Tribal and Political Tensions in Ghana

PRESENTER: Ebenezer Okroh Akutteh, Executive Director, Plan Peace International,
                       Ghana

Plan Peace International (PPI) was established to counter tribal and political tensions among the people of Ghana. These tensions increase social problems, hinder development, and influence the youth. The program targets migrant youth who have resettled because of war and violence. PPI gives material, moral and spiritual support, offers both formal and non-formal education, and organizes self-development projects. There is also a marriage counselling service, and conflict resolution training. All programmes and activities are done in partnership with other NGOs.
The youth PPI targets are primarily school dropouts. The education program provides a remedy with basic skills in English, math, and vocational work i.e. dressmaking, batik tie-dye, and catering. PPI selects promising youth, who are trained and they in turn go back to their community to teach others. In a similar way, the training of staff in marriage counselling is passed on to local churches where Counselling Teams are trained to help people. 
PPI is planning to add more trades and skills training when appropriate funding comes through. The strategy of duplication where trainees become trainers has proved successful, and our intention is to expand to new settlements. 

Lessons for Peace: People to People Contact

PRESENTER: Dr. V. Mohini Giri, Chairperson, Women's Initiative for Peace in South Asia 

The Women's Initiative for Peace in South Asia (WIPSA) identifies the major obstacles to peace as poverty, illiteracy and fundamentalism. WIPSA has developed some strategies to counter these obstructions. People to people contact is a sure way to build public pressure for peace, and it becomes hard for governments to ignore. The role of women in peace-building is also emerging. Women are seldom heard in foreign policy decisions or war, but their voice is critical to a decision for peace. Common history and cultural and social roots can be explored as links to a shared understanding. Distrust must be set aside in favour of more pragmatic choices, especially to solve troubles in Kashmir. An approach can be what different actors can contribute to a common South Asian identity. India has a vibrant democracy with industrial, educational and commercial infrastructure. Above all there is a need to dispel accusations of hegemonic and territorial designs. Peace is the only choice for survival.

The Apeadu Children’s Peace Centre

PRESENTER:  Dr. Nina Meyerhof, President, Children of the Earth.

The Apeadu Children's Peace Centre is the first peace centre in Ghana, and perhaps in Africa. This Centre provides young people with a refuge from the demands of daily life in Africa and is a place of beauty and hope. The Centre brings young people together to learn peace-building, peace-making, peace-keeping, and most of all peace-being skills. In August of 2002 the first international leadership conference of 50 young people from around the world, 25 international and 25 local youth from Ghana, seeded the beginnings of this Centre.
The Centre is now only a beautiful piece of open land gifted by Chief Osei BoakyeYiadom II as a tribute to her late husband who died in a UN peace mission. Chief Nana Apeadu (her other name) is also known as the Peacemaker. The spiritual leader of her community she has the full support of the local people as well as the Ministry of Education of Ghana for this endeavour.
The Centre will house 75 youth who come to be trained in peace-building and conflict resolution skills, learn basic trade skills, be informed about problems of war, poverty and gender issues, and self-esteem development. Training programmes will be offered to youth from other African countries, to children from the local area, and to international youth who want to learn and offer their support to Africa. The Centre’s mission is to abide by the pledges of the Manifesto 2000 for the Culture of Peace and Non-Violence.
Creating this Centre, there is the hope that it will not stand alone, but be a blueprint and a pilot for other Centres of peace education. The Apeadu Peace Centre will serve as an example of youth learning together, and building a culture of peace and non-violence. 
Africa calls us to fulfil a moral obligation if we are to recognize that we are a global society and that all of life is interdependent.

Volunteers for Peace: Fostering a Culture of Responsibility

PRESENTER: Peter Coldwell, Exec. Director, Volunteers for Peace, Vermont, USA.

International Voluntary Service programs emerged at the end of World War 1. The movement now involves more than 100,000 volunteers every year. Volunteers for Peace (VFP) serves on the Executive Committee of the Coordinating Committee for International Voluntary Services, an international NGO created in 1948. There are currently over 140 member organizations.
The short-term service programs of 2-3 weeks are called international work-camps, and
volunteers from several countries live together and work on local service projects of the host community. They share and cooperate together, learning about their different cultures. Work camps are a microcosm of the human family, and decision-making is shared Volunteers learn to take responsibility for the well being of others. All share the vision that international cooperation through voluntary service is a means to ensure a lasting peace between peoples. It promotes the ethic of working for the sake of others.
The USA needs to invest in a pro-active program for peace. It only gives 0.1% of GNP to foreign aid, a fraction of the 0.7% of GNP that the UN recommends for developed nations. Though the US did recently rejoin UNESCO, it is revealing that the UNESCO promotion of a culture of peace operates on a budget of approximately 250 million dollars. Compare that with the $200 billion development of next generation US fighter aircraft, which is over 400x the budget of UNESCO. The US has not been investing in peace. It should be no surprise that the horror of terrorism accompanies the widening gap of rich and poor.

The Right of Ukraine to Call for Nuclear Disarmament

PRESENTER:  Yuriy Bugay, Board of Directors, Ukraine Peace Council
  Former Vice Minister of Education, Ukraine        
In August 1991, Ukraine, which from the middle of the 17th century had been controlled by the Russian Empire, became an independent state. In addition to a large territory and a strategic location, Ukraine inherited the third largest nuclear arsenal in the world. This consisted of approximately 4200 tactical nuclear warheads, 176 ICBMs with 1240 warheads, and 42 heavy bombers with 300 warheads. The Chernobyl catastrophe occurred in 1986 and most Ukrainians have a deeply negative attitude to all things nuclear. In 1990 Ukraine declared its intentions to be non-nuclear. It reinforced this declaration after independence.
For the third largest world nuclear power to step away from nuclear weapons as part of its national security is an unprecedented step. Ukraine took this step fully understanding that nuclear weapons proliferation is one of the most dangerous risks for peace and stability. Ukraine has followed a consistent course to dismantle the nuclear arsenal according to a step-by-step procedure. Ukraine kept its promises, however western powers, except for the United States, did not honour their promises of financial aid.
International and national peacekeeping organizations can unite their efforts in the struggle for a world free of nuclear weapons. The collapse of the communist empire and the Warsaw Pact did not make the world more peaceful. Armed conflicts are still fought on our planet, and there is no complete guarantee that such conflicts will not provoke a nuclear one. The only guarantee to avoid such a catastrophe is to eliminate nuclear weapons. NGOs and others social organizations should unite under one international structure to campaign for nuclear disarmament. That international structure can tackle other important questions about human life. Our hope should be that all people have equal rights and the possibility for a calm and prosperous life. The Holy Bible says that everybody must live in his or her own vineyard.

 

Panel Session E: Women, Youth, the Elderly and Disadvantaged


Women & Child Trafficking – The Bane of Economic Development in the Third
World, with Nigeria as a Case Study

PRESENTER:  H.E. Chief (Dr.) Titi Atiku Abubakar, President & Founder, 
   Women Trafficking & Child Labour Eradication Foundation; Wife of the 
   Vice President of Nigeria

A major indicator of economic development is national per capita income, and it is one that relates to individuals, families, and the total aggregate of the human community or nation. Women and children are one of the most important active sectors of any society. Trafficking in them in whatever form or means, besides the abhorrent nature of the activity, likewise will lead to reduction in capacity building in the real sense of development. Trafficking can be dated back to the pre-colonial era in the life of third world countries, through the forceful purchase of people for economic activities in other advanced nations of the world, particularly during the European industrial era. Likewise, the old habit of slave trading, at the domestic and international level among different communities and nations, continues to be a problem in the activities of the present-day democratic and equitable society in which we find ourselves. African nations lose a minimum of 128 million dollars per annum through trafficking in women and children from their own nation to other countries without any correspondence of development in their nation.
 Nigeria, as a country, loses an average 38.3 million dollars yearly through such negative activities of agents of destruction across the globe. These trafficking activities are usually for forceful activities against the wish or desire of the party in question, such as women being used for the undignified purpose of the sex-trade, without any economic gain corresponding to the hazard of being exposed to this by these so-called lords and feudal-masters, who are kingpins who engage in the most illegal activities.
In Nigeria, our Foundation continues to advocate for a new tone of dignity for the women’s world and for freedom against child slavery and forced labour. We continue to support initiatives such as counselling programs, provision of micro-credits, and rehabilitation of women trapped by illegal slavery.  These and other programs continue to be the cardinal activities of our operation, with the result of a significant reduction in such menace in our nation today.
We have been able to achieve over a 67-85% reduction of such activities to what we experienced in 1999 in Nigeria. We will continue to spread this principal gospel to other African nations through the African Submit against Trafficking in Women and Children, to be held in the Federal capital city of Nigeria. We continue to solicit support of the international community to take more serious concern in reducing or eradicating this great malady in our society, as well as the need for the United Nations to pass stronger laws and treaties against these activities.  

Women and Change 

PRESENTER:  Wajeeha Al-Baharna, President, Bahrain Women Society 

Inhabiting a globe where there is only dynamic transformation would allow no room for nations opting to lag behind. Unfortunately Bahraini women lagged behind for decades, for diverse reasons, some of them self-inflicted, some external. During the recent era of democratic political reforms, the Bahraini women had sufficient latitude to reassess their appalling status and make an earnest endeavour to catch up socially, legally, economically and environmentally. The Bahrain Women Society (BWS) was established with the vision of Bahraini Women assuming their full rights, their full confidence, and a productive and steering position alongside contemporary women worldwide. 
The vision is ambitious, the challenges are exigent, while the resources are modest, and the support in a male-dominated culture is next to nil. Nevertheless, BWS managed within one year to launch 4 high profile projects designed to address several demanding issues, amongst them, Child Welfare, Women’s Affairs, and the Environment. BWS investment in social concerns and the frequent use of mass media to spread social awareness and environmental attention earned BWS popular respect and identified it as the most active social organization in the kingdom. In the project “Be Free- Anti-child Abuse and Neglect,” the BWS launched a campaign to find an 11-year old victim of child abuse who ran away. With the BWS distribution of 17,000 reward flyers in all of the kingdom’s newspapers, the media including all the magazines published in Arabic and English picked up the story. This applied significant pressure on the Interior Ministry to intensify the search for the missing girl.
Another project, “Gender Mainstreaming,” is a means to uplift the Bahraini women's awareness and self-confidence. It improves their participation in economic development, and their productivity. This, in turn can contribute to overall economic growth, efficiency and poverty reduction. 
The “Environmental Citizenship” project and the “Marine Environment Preservation” project, together with the “The Earth Charter” campaigns are also in the BWS program. 

Disability: A Human Rights Issue

PRESENTER:  Srey Vanthon, Country Representative, Action on Disability and 
 Development (ADD), Cambodia

ADD is a UK-based development agency supporting development work with the disabled in Africa and Asia. The vision is that all disabled can participate as fully as possible in every level of society. ADD sees disability as a human rights issue, and a social issue related to attitude, and resists definitions which relate to the impairment of an individual, i.e. ADD embraces the social model of disability as opposed to the medical model.
ADD Cambodia started in 1995 and facilitated the formation of self-help groups for the disabled. The process of group formation include field visits, study of the situation of people with disabilities, counselling activities to build up confidence, and facilitating informal group meetings until the idea of group becomes clear from all sides. Self Help Groups (SHG) at the village level raise the awareness on disability, build up the confidence to speak about problems, conduct advocacy and influence activities at both family and community levels. To date, ADD has facilitated 140 SHGs. Approximately 50 SHGs have been facilitated by other organizations following the ADD model.
The SHGs can also work together in a federation to link the village level with the regional and national disability movement. ADD has facilitated 3 federations.
The needs of disabled women, which often cannot be raised or solved in the group or national levels, are met through a local forum specific to women. 
At the national level, ADD is working closely with the national movement - Cambodian Disabled People's Organization (CDPO). CDPO plays an important role in training, raising awareness, and advocacy. The disability movement has initiated and drafted disability legislation that is waiting initial approval before it is submitted to the National Assembly.

The Skills of Senior Citizens

PRESENTER:  Viola Davis, Ph.D., Chair of the Skills Bank Committee, Barbados                 
                        Association of Retired Persons

The Barbados Association of Retired Persons (BARP) is now 10 years old with a membership of 7,000 and growing. BARP objectives include:
-Enhancing the quality of life of its members
-Representing, expressing and giving effect to the views of its members
-Identifying financial resources to assist its members
-Promoting and monitoring legislation and other measures affecting members
-Co-operating with other national and international bodies pursuing similar objectives
The Skills Banks Committee is in the process of creating a database of members’ skills. This can facilitate the exchange of volunteer services, or services at a reasonable cost. Consultant services to Government and other agencies can also be provided. Helpful would be dialogue with fellow participants on the challenges and opportunities of a Skills Bank.

The Democracy School

PRESENTER: Ruta Pels, President, People to People, Estonia 

The Estonian chapter of People to People (PTP) was started in 1993. There were 11 members, Estonians and Russians, men and women, and aged between 17 and 57. After one year of study, it was decided that the key areas of interest for PTP in Estonia were mutual understanding and youth programs. PTP’s first project was a combination of our interests: an International Youth Conference “Living in a Multicultural Democratic Society: From Tolerance to Mutual Understanding. The major outcome was the idea for a Democracy School. In March 1995 PTP Estonia organized 10-day courses in 3 Estonian cities and a 7-day course in Denmark. In August 1995 the next 7-day study trip went to Sweden. Students visited a daily newspaper, the Swedish Parliament, Stockholm and Uppsala Universities, and a school for immigrants. The trip included a cultural program and a visit to the Stockholm Water Festival. Based on the success of the program, PTP planned to continue the Democracy School Project on an annual basis.
The Democracy School has organized seminars in conflict resolution and mediation techniques. The seminars included training in leadership development. The projects slowly involved quite a number of young members. We concluded that young people are interested in educational projects, communication and having fun. Currently PTP is engaged in civic education, anti-AIDS programs, human rights, and development. PTP held an Estonian Youth Summer Camp with an ESL program in 2002, and plans a Civics and ESL summer camp next year. Student exchanges with Germany, Russia and the USA are popular, and PTP runs exchanges with chapters in France and the USA. There is also a developing home stay program, and cultural exchange is popular.