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Single-issue funding and sustainable development CSOs in Ethiopia

INCLUDE Platform - 9. April 2019 - 15:36

Researchers from Tilburg University and Mekelle University are currently collaborating on a project that aims to investigate the role of civil society organizations (CSOs) in securing sustainable development in Ethiopia. In our first blog post, we looked at restricted civic space and the impact thereof on local CSOs. In this blog post, we discuss some initial findings on the impact of single issue funding. This project is part of the ‘New Roles of CSOs for Inclusive Development’ Programme, which investigates the assumptions underlying the civil society policy framework ‘Dialogue & Dissent’ of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This research is funded by NWO-WOTRO.

During the empirical phase of our research, we conducted a series of interviews with CSO employees working in Ethiopia to better understand how these organizations adapt under a regulatory regime that has, up until now, radically constrained their funding and activities. While the regulatory regime governing civil society in Ethiopia is about to change with the recently-adopted new civil society law[1], various non-regulatory constraints on CSOs remain.

One of those constraints is the considerable impact of ‘single-issue funding’. Single-issue funding includes grants and funding programmes that address problems and concerns in an atomistic and isolated manner. Single-issue funding is particularly problematic for organizations working on complex environmental problems like sustainable development, climate change and food security. Both foreign and local CSOs reported that they have been forced to either shut down or shift their programme focus due to new funder priorities. The organizations we interviewed told us that funding opportunities over the past year or two have been concentrated in the area of migration and displacement. Work on food security and other resilience programmes does not meet the funding requirements for many of these grants.

One organization described receiving funding from a Dutch funder to address crisis relief in Ethiopia. With this funding, the organization established a number of local initiatives focused on food security at the community level. In 2017, the Dutch funder changed the focus of its funding to migration, and the organization no longer qualified for funding. This resulted in a loss of years of built up expertise and good community relations. This is particularly problematic in Ethiopia where CSOs have historically been portrayed as self-serving and unreliable. It also affects the stability and resilience of the communities that had previously benefited from the work of the CSO. Productive and beneficial programmes are forced to either stop or shift their focus, as funding priorities follow the shifting political winds.

This example is particularly worrying from an environmental point of view, as addressing concerns such as food security, sustainable development and climate change – which also may not fall under migration funding – generally require long-term engagement. In addition, an atomistic approach is in direct conflict with funders’ own aims and goals, as addressing environmental threats and ensuring food security are crucial components of addressing unsustainable levels of migration.

A shift in donor focus can also have a significant, and often overlooked, impact on the institutional set-up and human resource situation of a CSO. One organization told us that, despite their extensive expertise in environmental issues, they no longer qualified for many grants. Donor priorities have shifted to migration and the organization has not been able to transfer the expertise it had to a new and different focus area. Another organization described how changes in donor focus have had a serious impact on their financial stability, making it harder for the organization to retain capable and qualified staff.

While repressive regulatory laws have, until recently, constrained the political freedom and space of CSOs in Ethiopia, the capricious priorities of funders can radically limit the operational space of CSOs. Although organizations have found inventive ways to survive and keep doing important work despite political repression, shifting funding priorities jeopardize their sustainability and undermine their efforts.


[1] For an overview of some of the key features of the new Ethiopian civil society law, see blog post by Dina Townsend at https://includeplatform.net/ethiopias-new-civil-society-law/.

The post Single-issue funding and sustainable development CSOs in Ethiopia appeared first on INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

Civil Society Summit in Belgrade unites CSO leaders in fight for civic freedoms and democratic participation

#Action4SD - 9. April 2019 - 15:03

At the Civil Society Summit held in Belgrade, Serbia, around 150 leaders and representatives of civil society organisation (CSOs) gathered to unite in the fight for democratic participation and civic freedoms.

The day-long event opened with the welcome remarks of Serbia’s Office of Civil Society Cooperation Director Zarko Stepanovic, who explained that the sustainable development goals (SDGs) process must include partnership of public administration, citizens, and CSOs to promote real development.

This was followed by a backgrounder on the summit, presented by CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE) Co-Chair Justin Kilcullen, CIVICUS Chair Anabel Cruz, and Civic Initiatives Programme Director Bojana Selakovic.

“We are gathered here to call on development actors to address issue of closing civic space, attack on civil society workers and human rights defenders (HRDs), and attack on the democratisation of development” said Kilcullen. “We are here to put a stop on the attacks against HRDs, and measures of States of constrain civic spaces. 111 countries are suffering serious civic space restrictions,” Cruz added.

United Nations Assistant Secretary General for Strategic Coordination Fabrizio Hochschild delivered his keynote address, which acknowledged the difficulties faced by civil society, as well as their role: “There is retreat in multilateral commitments and rise of geopolitical conflict. Inclusive, whole-of-society approach is disregarded, civic space is curtailed, stigmatisation and public harassment are on the rise. CSOs are feeling the effect of these first hand… the work and energy of civil society is more important than ever. And despite all the challenges it faces, civil society remains strong and vital.”

A panel featuring prominent civic leaders then discussed the harms of closing civic spaces and attacks on human rights defenders in different contexts. Speakers included Just Associates Advisor Marusia Lopez Cruz, IBON International Director Emeritus Antonio Tujan Jr., ActionAid CEO Adriano Campolina, and Climate Action Network Deputy Executive Director Sarah Strack. CIVICUS Secretary-General Lysa John facilitated the session.

CPDE Co-Chair Richard Ssewakiryanga and InterAction Director Carolyn Aeby introduced the Belgrade Call to Action, a declaration that asks United Nations Member States to act to reverse the closing and shrinking space for civil society, to stop the attacks on human rights defenders and the undermining of democratic participation, and to renew the prospects for an inclusive Agenda 2030, and the full realisation of the SDGs.

Case studies on shrinking civic spaces – and how the civil society fought back – were shared by Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND)’s Anas El Hasnaoui, and Nigeria Network of NGOs Director Oluseyi Babatunde Oyebisi.

For his part, El Hasnaoui talked about his organisation’s work on civic space and the state of CSO enabling environment in the Middle East and North Africa region, while Oyebisi discussed how Nigerian NGOs resisted an NGO regulation law in 2017 which would regulate CSO operations and curtail people’s freedom for association, expression and political participation.

Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation Coordinator and CPDE Co-chair Beverly Longid facilitated the case studies session. In her synthesis, Longid said that there are different manifestations of shrinking space, which include legal and regulatory restrictions, diminishing and closing spaces for participation, criminalisation of defenders and activists, continuing harassments, intimidations, and extrajudicial killings of human rights defenders and CSO workers. There has also been a wave of legal vilification of NGOs through NGO regulation and human security laws, like the one in Nigeria. Longid ended her synthesis by challenging CSOs to continue the fight of those who came before us by maximising the little space that CSOs have, pushing for collective rights, and doing good in policy and advocacy work from a perspective of strength.

Attendees also paused for a solemn remembrance of CSO leaders, rights defenders, environmentalists, and journalists who were killed because of their fight for people’s rights and social justice, and participated in workshops on promoting and engaging the Belgrade Call to Action.

The event ended with closing remarks by CIVICUS Board Member Julia Sanchez, Global Call to Action against Poverty Program Chair Beckie Malay, and Pacific Islands Association of NGOs Executive Director and CPDE Pacific regional representative Emele Duituturaga. Duituturaga reminded fellow CSO leaders and workers on the need to come together to defend the values of human rights, social justice, and solidarity that are now under attack globally. CSOs need to build resistance from bottom up and rise together to deliver the promise of development.

Civil society leaders endorsed the Call and committed to move the work forward.

The Civil Society Summit 2019 was organised by the CPDE, CIVICUS World Alliance for Citizen Participation, Balkan Civil Society Development Network, Action for Sustainable Development (A4SD), and Civic Initiatives (Gradjanske Inicijative). The Summit was part of the CIVICUS’ International Civil Society Week 2019 on April 8 to 11.

Check out #CivilSocietySummit2019 #CSOPartnership #StandTogether on Twitter and Facebook.

Sign the Belgrade Call to Action.

Political and economic profile of Malawi

D+C - 9. April 2019 - 12:19
Weak institutions are the main cause of Malawi’s persisting poverty, and the next elections are unlikely to change much

None of the parties have a clear political profile. Chameleon politics – switching parties for career advancement – is common practice at all levels. There are no ideological barriers between parties. Parliament’s control function is limited by the constitution and capacity. The prevailing political and organisational conditions significantly reduce the efficiency and effectiveness of the work of both government and parliament.

#With a per capita gross national income (GNI) of $  320, Malawi is one of the world’s poorest countries. Seventy percent of the people live below the poverty line on a purchasing power of less than $  1.90 a day. Hunger and dependence on food aid are widespread. In 2015/16, 6.5 million people relied on food aid. That was nearly 40 % of the population. In 2018/19 the figure is forecast to be at least 3.3 million.

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) ranks Malawi among the lowest of the “low human development countries”. According to its Human Development Index (HDI), the country is the 171st of 189. Despite a moderate downturn in the fertility rate to 4.4, population growth is still at 2.9 %. According to recently published census results, Malawi currently has a population of just under 18 million. By 2050, that figure will more than double to 43 million, with serious unpredictable implications for the economy and environment.

Malawi’s economy is extremely susceptible to exogenous shocks. Sixty-five percent of the people work in agriculture, predominantly engaging in rain-dependent subsistence farming with very low productivity on shrinking areas of farmland. Malawi’s economy (measured in GDP per capita) grew by just 1.5 % per year between 1995 and 2015, compared with an average of 2.7 % for other resource-poor countries in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2017, the figure stood at four percent. The forecast for 2018 is 3.3 % (IMF). That is well below the economic growth of at least six percent needed to reduce poverty significantly. However, the structural requirements are not in place for a sustained long-term economic upswing of that order. (rd)

 

Kategorien: english

Malawi heads for elections

D+C - 9. April 2019 - 12:00
For Malawi, no signs of economic upswing in sight

After independence from Britain in 1964, Kamuzu Banda became president of the new Malawi. For the next 30 years, he ruled a one-party state with dictatorial powers. With a lack of civil rights and liberties, Malawi was described as a country “where silence rules”. In June 1993, a referendum was held, and the nation voted in favour of a multi-party democracy. In the ensuing parliamentary and presidential elections in May 1994, Banda was voted out of office. Bakili Muluzi was elected president.

Ever since, elections have by and large been conducted in a peaceful and lawful manner, with an orderly transfer of power on a president’s departure from office. The peaceful transition from Banda’s dictatorial regime to a democratic constitution was a historic achievement. However, more recently, in the run-up to the elections, there has been evidence of authoritarian tendencies, for example in legislation regulating non-governmental organisations, and politically motivated violence has been increasing.

The president and vice-president are elected directly on the same ticket. They are elected for a five-year term and may stand for reelection once. A simple majority suffices, there is no second ballot. The National Assembly has 193 seats, occupied by members directly elected by constituencies (see box).

The deadline for nominations for the upcoming presidential elections expired in mid-February 2019. Nine candidates are now running for the presidency. But only three are considered serious contenders:

  • current President Arthur Peter Mutharika (DPP), who is standing for re-election,
  • current Vice-President Saulos Chilima, who quit the ruling party in mid-2018 to launch his own party (UTM), and
  • the leader of the biggest opposition party (MCP) Lazarus Chakwera.

The other candidates do not seem to stand a chance of winning the elections. After electoral defeat in 2014 and a period of self-imposed exile, former President Joyce Banda had initially announced to make a renewed bid for the highest office but, without any real prospects of winning, withdrew her application later.

The electoral system seems to be appropriate, but that impression does not withstand closer scrutiny. The president is elected by a simple majority. In the 2014 elections, President Mutharika won 36.4 % of the votes cast. With an estimated voter turnout of just over 60 %, that means that he won with the support from little more than 20 % of the electorate (citizens of at least 18 years of age). That is a weak basis for legitimising a presidency. Mutharika had promised a new 50 %+1 electoral in his manifesto, with a run-off between the two candidates with the most votes, but that reform was dropped and not put to a vote in parliament.

In April last year, representatives of civil society raised a 10-point ultimatum. A fundamental electoral reform with the introduction of a 50 %+1 electoral system was a core demand. They did not succeed. Because the government prioritised the retention of power, the same rules will apply this year as in the past. Judging by the sharp drop in voter registration and verification, turnout in 2019 will likely be even lower than five years ago.

Widespread dissatisfaction

There is no single reason for the fall in electoral participation. The main factor is probably widespread dissatisfaction with the political, economic and social situation. People’s expectations have been dashed. “50 years of standing still”, was the headline the magazine African Business used for its report on the 2014 independence celebrations. Even President Mutharika admitted in his address on the 50th anniversary of independence in 2014 that “on average Malawians are poorer than they were under colonial rule”.

This message was emphatically confirmed in a pastoral letter published by the Catholic bishops in 2018. It called for fundamental policy change. Two months later, one of the country’s two major newspapers published poll results showing that 81 % of Malawians were unhappy with democracy. Twenty-five years after the referendum introducing the multi-party system, they believed it had contributed nothing to the country’s social and economic development.

According to an Afrobarometer survey, 40 % of the people now support the idea of choosing political leaders by methods other than elections. This tallies with the fact that 14 June, the anniversary of the referendum, is no longer a national holiday (“Freedom Day”). Instead,  Kamuzu Banda’s birthday on 14 May was revived as a holiday (“Kamuzu Day”). 

Observers have accurately assessed the Banda dictatorship’s transition to a multi-party democracy as a “transition without structural transformation”. Oxfam (2018) and the World Bank (2018) both conclude that the country’s small political and economic elite dominate the political processes, including government and other public institutions, and exploit their position of power in a form of “competitive clientelism” (World Bank, 2018). They have transformed the country’s economy into a rent economy solely aimed at maximising short-term profits. No structural transformation focused on long-term development goals has taken place, and there is no sign of it happening.

Weak governance and weak institutions are one – if not the – major cause of Malawi’s low level of development. Improving governance is thus a crucial requirement for a transformative development strategy to achieve sustainable long-term growth. Misappropriation of public funds and systemic corruption related to the rent economy are the most pressing public administration problems (World Bank, 2018). Therefore, it is of particular importance to:

  • strengthen public finance management and
  • develop efficient checks and balances in order to foster a culture of public accountability.

In 2013, the so-called “Cashgate” scandal made headlines. Between April and September 2013, the equivalent of $ 32 million was misappropriated in various ministries. An investigation was launched by then President Joyce Banda. Auditors scrutinised the accounts for 2009 to 2014 and identified unaccounted-for expenditures totalling $ 1.25 billion. That figure was later reduced to $ 507 million.

Five years on, the political and legal proceedings triggered by the Cashgate scandal have still not been concluded. In September 2018, Reyneck Matemba, the director of the Anti-Corruption Bureau, publicly insisted that the problem of corruption must not be dismissed: “All government ministries, departments and agencies are rotten. There is no single one which we are not having problems with on issues of corruption.” 

Malawi gets nuanced marks in the Ibrahim Index of African Governance 2018 (IIAG 2018), which is published by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation. Overall, the country ranks 19th among 54. Its rank is buoyed by good scores for its judicial system and other indicators. However, a sharply deteriorating trend was noted for corruption in the public sector in comparison with the period 2008 to 2017 (with the score sliding to a mere 22 points out of 100).

This assessment is consistent with the Afrobarometer surveys, which show that a majority of the people see a sharp rise in corruption and give the government poor marks for fighting it. In the latest Transparency International Corruption Perception Index, Malawi ranks 120th in the world, scoring just 32 points of a possible 100.

Nonetheless, Malawi is changing, albeit slowly. According to Asbjorn Eidhammer (2017), a former ambassador of Norway, “the most important change is that there is a young generation who wants change.” The young voters have the power for change in their hands, they are in the majority. Under 35s account for 55 % of Malawians registered on the electoral roll. Hopefully they will exercise their right to vote at all levels – in the presidential, parliamentary and local government elections – and will continue to be politically active thereafter.

Rolf Drescher works with the GIZ in Lilongwe as team leader of the technical assistance project “Strengthening Public Financial and Economic Management in Malawi”. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the GIZ.
rolf.drescher@giz.de
rolf.drescher@t-online.de

Links and literature

World Bank, 2018: Malawi – Systematic country diagnostic: breaking the cycle of low growth and slow poverty reduction.
http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/723781545072859945/pdf/malawi-scd-final-board-12-7-2018-12122018-636804216425880639.pdf

Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, 2017: Malawi: a political economy analysis.
https://brage.bibsys.no/xmlui/bitstream/handle/11250/2461122/NUPI_rapport_Malawi_Tostensen.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

Oxfam, 2018: Closing the divide in Malawi, how to reduce inequality and increase prosperity for all.
https://d1tn3vj7xz9fdh.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/file_attachments/bp-closing-divide-malawi-inequality-250418-en.pdf

Eidhammer, Asbjorn 2017: Malawi, a place apart. Lilongwe, Malawi: Logos-Open Culture.

Kategorien: english

Everywhere in the world women live longer than men. Why? A New UN Report Has Some Answers

UN Dispatch - 9. April 2019 - 8:47

Everywhere in the world – but especially in wealthy countries – women live longer than men. Why? According to the latest World Health Statistics Overview published last week by the World Health Organization (WHO), uneven access to health services is a major reason.

The WHO has been publishing the World Health Statistics Overview every year since 2005. But this is the first year it has broken down the statistics by sex.

“Breaking down data by age, sex and income group is vital for understanding who is being left behind and why,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO’s director-general, in a press release.

According to the report, the 73 million baby boys who will be born this year will have an average life expectancy of 69.8 years, Meanwhile, the 68 million girls will have an average life expectancy of 74.2 years.

The report says that the difference between male and female life expectancy cannot be pinned to a single or even small number of causes. Some are biological, others are environmental or social, while the availability and use of health services also plays a big role.

For example, of the 40 leading causes of death, 33 contribute more to a shorter male life expectancy than female. These include heart disease, road injuries, lung cancers, lung disease, stroke, cirrhosis of the liver, tuberculosis (TB), prostate cancer and interpersonal violence.

Globally in 2016, deaths from road injuries were twice as high in men as women from age 15, and suicide death rates were 75 percent higher in men as well. Homicide death rates are also four times higher in men than in women, but 20 percent of those homicides are committed by an intimate partner or family member, most of the time against women.

Men’s attitude toward health care also makes a significant difference in their life expectancy.

The report reveals that in cases where men and women face the same disease, men forgo available health services more often than women. For example, in countries where HIV is firmly established in the general population, men are less likely than women take an HIV test or access antiretroviral therapy. They are also more likely to die of AIDS-related illnesses. Male TB patients are also less likely to seek care than female ones.

But where the gap between men and women narrows is in low-income countries, where women often lack access to health services. According to the report, there are fewer than four nursing and midwifery personnel per 1,000 people in more than 90 percent of low-income countries.

The result is that one in 41 women dies from a maternal cause in these countries, compared to one in 3,300 women in high-income countries. Dr. Tedros notes that the maternal deaths of women in poor communities also has a serious impact on the health of their family members and their community and perpetuates a cycle of poverty.

Globally between 2000 and 2016, life expectancy at birth increased by 5.5 years for both men and women combined, but for babies born in low-income countries, their life expectancy (62.7 years) is still more than 18 years lower than those born in high-income countries (80.8 years). While most people in wealthy countries die in old age, nearly one in three deaths in poor countries are of children under 5 years old. And whereas noncommunicable diseases contribute the most to life expectancy differences between men and women in high-income countries, communicable diseases, injuries and maternal conditions are the main contributors to the difference. Often, the disease and conditions that compromise health in poor countries are also preventable and treatable.

Although there have been improvements in more than half of the 43 health-related Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators, the report notes that global progress has stalled or even reversed for five indicators: road traffic mortality, children overweight, malaria incidence, alcohol consumption, official development assistance for water sector and catastrophic health spending – all of which play a significant role in life expectancy.

Additionally, the world is only on track to meet two of the eight health-related SDG indicators that have explicit targets by 2030: lower mortality under age five to at least as low as 25 per 1,000 live births and neonatal mortality to at least as low as 12 per 1,000 live births. And although global progress is on track for these two indicators, the WHO estimates that 51 countries will still miss the under-five mortality target if their current trends continue, and 60 countries will miss the neonatal mortality target.

In order to accelerate progress, the WHO says that just focusing on efforts under the traditional purview of ministries of health is not enough. Instead, it requires a “multisectoral approach that addresses the underlying causes of gender and socioeconomic inequalities.”

“My hope is that governments, health providers, academics, civil society organizations, the media and others use these numbers to … move us closer to a healthier, safer, fairer world for everyone,” said Dr. Tedros.

The post Everywhere in the world women live longer than men. Why? A New UN Report Has Some Answers appeared first on UN Dispatch.

Kategorien: english

Blended finance in the poorest countries: the need for a better approach

ODI - 9. April 2019 - 0:00
This report provides hard evidence to inform the discussion on the role of blended finance in plugging the SDG financing gap in developing countries.
Kategorien: english

Creating opportunities for young women in Ghana’s construction sector: what works?

ODI - 9. April 2019 - 0:00
This brief examines experience and best practice from employment initiatives that have sought to encourage young women to work in male-dominated sectors.
Kategorien: english

Subnational investment in human capital

ODI - 9. April 2019 - 0:00
This report finds that more can be done to target investment in human capital that both builds peoples’ wellbeing and boosts their economic potential.
Kategorien: english

Investment in human capital is not reaching the poorest people

ODI - 9. April 2019 - 0:00
Governments and international donors should better target health and education spending to the poorest regions.
Kategorien: english

Urgently address ‘defining challenges of our time’, to empower youth worldwide, top UN official tells forum 

UN #SDG News - 8. April 2019 - 22:26
Young people require “skills, values, jobs and livelihoods that empower them” so they can help forge a more sustainable world, the President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) said on Monday, kicking off its eighth Annual Youth Forum. 
Kategorien: english

To meet development goals, UN agriculture agency ‘cannot only focus on tackling hunger anymore’

UN #SDG News - 8. April 2019 - 19:06
Innovating agriculture and promoting nutrition-sensitive food systems top the Food and Agriculture Agency’s (FAO) to-do list, its chief told the United Nations agriculture agency’s governing council on Monday, saying "we cannot only focus on tackling hunger anymore". 
Kategorien: english

Uganda’s open doors

D+C - 8. April 2019 - 14:29
Many South Sudanese escape the violence in their country by fleeing to Uganda

Out of 68.5 million people forcibly displaced from their homes worldwide, over 1 million sought shelter in Uganda. Around 800,000 of them are South Sudanese, according to UN figures. Their number has been drastically increasing since the current crisis in South Sudan began in 2013. Some small villages in northern Uganda like Bidibidi and Palorinya grew within a few months into some of the biggest refugee camps in the world, jointly hosting around half a million people.

Geriga Charles is one of the South Sudanese refugees. The 44-year-old and his 15-member-family live in the Suwinga-Bidibidi refugee settlement. They survive mostly on meagre refugees’ food rations and sleep in huts made of sticks, mud and grass – a common sight across refugee settlements in Uganda. They came in the second half of 2016, at the height of South Sudan’s recent violent conflict that affected almost the entire Equatoria region in the south of the country. Charles could have chosen to flee to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is closer to his home, but he led his family to Uganda instead. “Uganda is friendly to refugees. There is peace; there is freedom of movement for all refugees. There is good education for our children too,” he explains.

Charles thinks of Uganda as his second home. He first sought protection there in 1993, during the civil war in Sudan, when South Sudan was not yet independent. At that time, he fled with his father and carried nothing with him except the clothes on his back. When the conflict in his home country flared up in 2016, Charles and his family were forced to move from one village to another, as they tried to keep away from various armed groups. But hiding in the bush could hardly provide enough safety, Charles says – and continuing with his work as a farmer was impossible. “When the conflict grows intense resulting in lack of food, no access to our farms and no medical services, all we can do is flee,” he explains. 

Getting out of the embattled country was difficult. Charles can only walk with the aid of crutches because of a polio infection as a boy. This impairment makes him easy prey for marauding militia that assault civilians. But the family managed to cross the border to Uganda. Charles is thankful that they are now safe and plans to stay as long as South Sudan’s security situation remains shaky.

Few choices

Maliko Hellen of the International Rescue Committee in Northern Uganda helps refugees like Charles to survive and recover from the shock. She is glad that many of her clients did not stay too long in South Sudan’s bushes, playing a hide-and-seek game with the armed groups. “Many refugees tell me that they actually fled before the war reached their villages. Knowing the volatile security situation, they anticipated the worst-case scenario and left before it came to this.” Hellen adds that those who stayed behind did not have many choices to make – either join the forces that overran their villages or be attacked and even risk being killed.

According to the findings of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, nearly 400,000 deaths in South Sudan between December 2013 and September 2018 were related to the crisis. Therefore, fleeing the country is a logical choice.

It was the choice of 56-year-old Vicky Nyoka too: she had survived crossfire between government and opposition forces and did “not want to take chances anymore”. Nyoka, a widow, fled South Sudan on foot in December 2016, taking along six of her own children plus three others whom she picked up along the way. They had been separated from their parents while fleeing and had lost hope of seeing their relatives again. In 2017, one of the three committed suicide.

Nyoka remembers that once she saw the blue and white UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency) tents across the border in Uganda, she knew her horrendous journey was over and a better life was on the horizon. “There is freedom in Uganda. Other countries keep refugees in enclosures like animals,” she says.

Thijs Van Laer of  the International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI) says it makes “a lot of sense” for people like Charles and Nyoka to choose Uganda over the other neighbouring countries. “Number one is the proximity. But the fact that refugees here in Uganda have relative freedoms and receive support from the UNHCR and NGOs is of course another reason.”

The 2006 Refugee Act and the 2010 Refugee Regulations of Uganda grant protection and freedom to refugees as well as property rights, freedom of movement, the right to work and the provision of services. According to the World Bank and UNHCR, these provisions offer the opportunity to refugees to establish their own livelihoods and some level of self-reliance.

Missing safety

Eujin Byun, who works at the Juba Office of the UNHCR, claims that the conflict in South Sudan has generally subsided. However, the “spontaneous conflicts” in some parts of the country “are concerning”, she adds, and deter refugees from returning home. “One important reason why they fled is insecurity. South Sudanese refugees in various countries want assurance as far as security is concerned, otherwise they don’t feel safe enough to return.” Therefore, it might take them long to “come to terms with the narrative of repatriation,” Byun maintains.

She fears that even more South Sudanese could flee to Uganda if normalcy does not return soon. “The problem of food security is getting more and more serious. If farmers cannot cultivate on time because they have to hide in the bush, they cannot harvest. Therefore, they will have no choice but to find food in the neighbouring countries.” About 80 % of South Sudan’s population lives in rural areas in the south of the country, in the Equatorias. Most households depend entirely on low-input, low-output subsistence agriculture.

Even though major parties to the conflict signed a peace deal in 2018, there are still some conflicting armed groups in South Sudan. The violence still poses danger to civilians. Until this calms down, refugees are afraid to return, and more will probably come.

Ochan Hannington is a South Sudanese journalist, photographer and filmmaker. He currently lives in Uganda.
hannington.a.o@gmail.com

Kategorien: english

CSR Hub NRW Launches Toolbox on CSR for Startups and SMEs

SCP-Centre - 8. April 2019 - 13:37

After three years of operation, the CSR Hub NRW has bundled the most significant CSR tools and best practices in an easy to use tool box for startups and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). The CSR Hub NRW Toolbox is now available on CSR Hub to refresh knowledge or support the launch of a CSR strategy for the first time.

Since 2016, more than 160 SMEs and startups have taken part in workshops and seminars organised by the CSR Hub NRW. They have become acquainted with many practical techniques and instruments relating to CSR knowledge, communication and marketing, sustainable supply chain management as well as innovation and work culture.

In cooperation with trend-setting companies from NRW and from many hours of intensive workshops, the CSR Hub team has translated the essence of the content into an easy-to-implement format. In four chapters structured according to the main topics, companies of all types and sizes can now quickly and easily find inspiration for best practices and the implementation of concrete CSR measures in their own companies. The beta version of the Toolbox can already be used at here. The final version will be online by the end of April in our library.

The CSR Hub NRW was supported by the state government of NRW and informed more than 160 young companies from NRW about the entrepreneurial opportunities of CSR from 2016 to the end of 2018. The project partners CSCP and Business Angels Netzwerk Deutschland e.V. (BAND) jointly implemented the project until its final event on 30 October 2018.

Through the tool box, as well as BAND’s new information and experimentation space for sustainable companies in NRW , the work of the CSR Hub will continue to impact startups and SMEs in their CSR-strategy.

Please contact Patrick Bottermann for further questions.

Der Beitrag CSR Hub NRW Launches Toolbox on CSR for Startups and SMEs erschien zuerst auf CSCP gGmbH.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

How Fear Distorts U.S. Foreign Policy

UN Dispatch - 8. April 2019 - 2:02

The world has never been safer, wealthier or healthier. So why is it that our foreign policy is dominated by fear and inflated perceptions of threats that can harm us?

My guest today, Michael Cohen, and co-author Micah Zenko seek to answer that question in their new book Clear and Present Safety: The World Has Never Been Better and Why That Matters to Americans.  The book makes the convincing argument that fear mongering has distorted US foreign policy and distracted us from recognizing impressive gains in human development.

This is a very refreshing conversation. One trend that Cohen and Zenko identify an define is something they call the Threat-Industrial-Complex and we spend a good deal of time discussing how that serves to shape US foreign policy priorities.

If you have 20 minutes and want a good corrective on US foreign policy, have a listen.

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The post How Fear Distorts U.S. Foreign Policy appeared first on UN Dispatch.

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