Category Archives: Development

‘MY World’ Survey half a million citizens tell the United Nations their priorities

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Over 560,000 citizens from 194 countries have already voted for the issues that would make the most difference to their lives, providing, for the first time ever, real-time and real-world intelligence on what people think about the biggest challenges facing them and their families.

MY World, the United Nations global survey for a better world is a groundbreaking initiative inviting citizens to virtually take their seat at the UN and participate in the global conversation on the next development agenda by voting in an option-based survey.

Initial results from this survey have been released this week as the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel for the post-2015 dialogue meets in New York to submit their recommendations on the future international development agenda. To date, 57% of the votes have been collected offline, 35% though the website and around the 8% have come through mobile phone.

“We are using mobile phone and web technology as well as conducting surveys face to face to directly connect with people. This is allowing us for the first time to see in real time who is voting, from where, and what their priorities are”- highlighted Corinne Woods, Global Director of the UN Millennium Campaign – “MY World is a powerful tool for national as well as global decision making. These half a million votes are just a start – we have until 2015 and beyond to continue gathering people´s views and maintain this conversation flow between policy makers and citizens around the world.”

‘Crowdsourcing’ the future development agenda.

MY World demonstrates the UN’s commitment to an open and inclusive dialogue on the post-2015 agenda and harnessing the full power of technology and social media. MY World is supported by over 400 civil society organizations, youth groups, faith organizations, corporations and global personalities.

“We are getting a rich mix of data that is generating important information not only on global priorities, but also how these differ by characteristics: gender, age, location and education level. So far there seems to be a strong overlap of priorities among regions. Education, health, water, food, “an honest and responsive government” and “protection against crime and violence” feature amongst the top ten for every region of the world”– said Claire Melamed, from the Overseas Development Institute.

What are global citizens saying?

Participants in MY World are asked to select which six out of sixteen issues are most important for them and their families. Results to date reveal that voters’ top three priorities are “a good education”, “better healthcare” and “an honest and responsive government”. “Access to water and sanitation” and “nutritious and affordable food” are also perceived by people as being of key importance to improving their lives.

Citizens voting predominantly for health and education reveal the continuing relevance of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which recently observed the 1000 day milestone to their 2015 target date. MY World represents an entry point for people to build on MDG achievements and help define an ambitious development agenda after 2015 that has poverty eradication and sustainable development at its core.

However, results also indicate that people are pointing to new issues to be addressed, such as “an honest and responsive government”, “better job opportunities” and “protection against crime and violence”, which also rank within the top seven priorities.

MY World has generated extremely positive  and  powerful responses across the world, as demonstrated  by Oyebola Folajimi Kehinde, one of the thousands who participated in the offline representative survey in Nigeria: “The final statements most of the grassroots people kept hammering on was that “let’s all hope they do something tangible with the newly collated data.”

Until 2015, the UN and partners continue to invite men and women everywhere to vote in MY World and contribute to shaping a better world together.

You can view the results to date as well as the raw open data. For more information, please contact Amalia Navarro,  amalia.navarro@undp.org +34 91 788 53 77, Anna Ortubia, anna.ortubia@undp.org  +34 609108176 or Stanislav Saling  stanislav.saling@undp.org  +1 646 781 4077.

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Archana Kapoor at CCMC for event tonight!

The CCMC team is privileged to have a community media activist in our midst today – Archana Kapoor, who will be speaking at a public talk on community radio in India tonight at CCMC, 6pm. (For directions to CCMC click here.) Here’s a link to the invitation and see below for a sneak peak of the interview we are recording with Archana – look out for more soon and see you all tonight!

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Development in Theory, Development in Practice

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We told you they were busy!

Development seems to be all the buzz at the moment! The NGO Support Centre, in organising an open discussion on «Development in theory, Development in practice» to be held on Monday, 21 January, 18:00, at the European University of Cyprus, Room 203.

During the event two books will be presented, written within the framework of the «Knowledge Makes Change!» project.

The first book, «Development theory and Development in Practice: A Dialogue», was written by Dr. Alexander Apostolides and Mr. Stefano Moncada, and looks at the synergies emerging between, on the one hand, theoretical analysis, and the practical aspects of development on the other.

The second book is entitled «Working Together to Reach Our Goals», and was written by Mr. Marios Antoniou. The book aims at providing a basic understanding on the concept of international development, introducing the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and presenting the progress that has been made in achieving them.

Keep an eye out for more exciting development events and much, much more coming up next week!

Open Discussion: Feminism and Development

feminism_invitationAs part of a series of events dedicated to development, CCMC member the NGO Support Centre (Twitter ngo_centre) is organising an open discussion on the topic of Feminism and Development. The event will take place on Friday 18 January at 11am at the Greek Cypriot Union of Journalists in Nicosia.

All events are organised within the framework of the «Knowledge Makes Change!» project, which aims to raise public awareness in relation to international development and development aid.

The discussion is supported by another CCMC member organisation, the Mediterranean Institute for Gender Studies (MIGS) – Twitter @MigsCy.

“Awaken the African Giant” Kapuscinski Lecture, Wednesday 16 January 2013

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For the second year running, CCMC member the Cyprus Island-Wide NGO Development Platform (CYINDEP) is hosting a Kapuscinski Development Lecture on Wednesday 16th January 2013 at 18:30, at the Home for Cooperation in Nicosia.

“Awaken the African Giant” will be the topic of a lecture by Nick Moon, a winner of several awards for bringing together the entrepreneurial spirit of the poor, innovative tools and technologies, and the power of the marketplace, developing a cost effective and sustainable way to help families lift themselves out of poverty. He is a co-founder of KickStart and is based in Nairobi, Kenya.

Georgios Markopouliotis, Head of the Representation of the European Commission in Cyprus will offer a welcoming speech on behalf of the organisers, the European Commission and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The event is also supported by the NGO Support Centre.

The lectures honour the name of Ryszard Kapuscinski, a Polish journalist and writer, who died in 2007. Kapuscinski, whose books were translated into many languages, was often named the “Third World Chronicler” or the “Voice of the Poor” for his famous reportages and books describing developing countries on all continents. Among other books, he was famous for: “The Emperor” on Ethiopia, “Shah of Shahs” about Iran, “The Shadow of the Sun” about Africa, “Another Day of Life” about Angola, and “Imperium” about the Soviet Union.

You can register for the event on Facebook  and you can follow the discussion on Twitter@CYINDEP @kapulectures

Alternatively you can contact Natasha Apostolidou Efthymiou at natasha.apostolidou@cyindep.eu or by phone +357-99-551699 .

Simultaneous translation will be available in Greek and Turkish.

Momentum for Change: 14 Years of Community Broadcasting in Bangladesh

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The Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC) has launched its latest publication Momentum for Change: Community Radio in Bangladesh – Voice of the Rural People.

Momentum for Change celebrates the 14-year struggle to open up the community broadcasting in Bangladesh, giving emphasis on its vital role in giving voice to the voiceless and aiming to help to bridge the information gap for rural Bangladesh.

There are currently 14 Community Radio Stations on-air in the country aiming to ensure empowerment and right to information for rural communities. Altogether these stations are broadcasting up to 120 hours of programming per day on information, education, local entertainment and development motivation activities. Around 536 youth & youth-women are now working with those stations throughout the country as rural broadcasters.

The work of BRNNC is an inspiration to all Community Media advocates across the globe, and we here at CCMC, are looking forward to learning about success stories from Bangladesh and other countries where Community Media is taking root!

Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage announces the implementation of emergency measures on cultural heritage sites

image009Text from a press release issued by the United Nations Partnership for the Future (UNDP-PFF) project (12 December 2012):

The Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage has announced the start-up of emergency works at the Mosque of Deneia/Denya, as well as emergency measures to prevent further damage to the building which is in a precarious condition. This will include a general cleaning of the mosque and the courtyard, removal of loose parts, consolidation of the internal arch and improvement of the courtyard fence. The works are expected to be completed by early March 2013.

Steps are also being taken for similar measures on Prophitis Elias Church at Philia (Serhatköy) and other monuments included in the project’s First Cycle Programme list.

Additional cultural heritage sites will benefit from similar interventions in the months to come. All the activities are funded by the European Union and implemented by UNDP-Partnership for the Future in collaboration with the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage.

The startup of these activities marks an important moment in the Committee’s efforts to protect and preserve the island’s rich cultural heritage.

Five Years in the Making: NGO Law Reform in Cyprus

This article was first published on page 16-17 of The Cyprus Weekly (3 August).

Yiouli Taki cuts a frustrated figure. As the coordinator for the NGO Initiative, an informal group of civil society representatives working towards reform of the legal framework for non-governmental organisations (NGOs), she has spent countless working hours organising meetings and drafting letters with the aim of achieving greater legal recognition of the sector. “This is as much about the process of reform as it is about the legislation”, says Taki, who doubles up as lead researcher at INDEX Research and Dialogue, a non-profit organisation working on issues of social policy. “Five years since this process started we do not know where we stand, and we are frustrated”, she adds.

Back in November 2007 things were on the up. Civil society, a novel concept for a country which just three years previous had joined the European Union (EU) had been limited to – and dominated by – institutions such as trade unions, the Church and political parties. The concepts of volunteerism and philanthropy covered the range of activities promoted by these institutions as a way of giving back to society. Cyprus’ accession to the EU created new opportunities and incentives for participation of a new form of civil society which had been developing in Cyprus since the late 1990s that was neither politically motivated nor philanthropic in its outlook on issues of societal concern. Increasingly active at the European level through networking and partnerships, Cypriot NGOs have started becoming more assertive in their demands for participation in decision-making processes.

In parallel, institutions of the state, the Planning Bureau in particular, started to see NGOs as potential implementing partners for policy both at home in abroad. European practice in the field of development cooperation – the delivery of financial support for countries in the developing ‘Global South’ – suggested that national agencies implement their policies in collaboration with local NGOs. CyprusAid, Cyprus’ development agency, has been implementing policy through ‘delegating’ funds through other EU member states such as Denmark and Ireland as well as through United Nations (UN) organisations like the World Food Programme. For collaboration to take place with local NGOs it was necessary for them to, amongst others, fulfil certain principles of financial transparency and accountability. Reform of the legal framework thus became a ‘wish’ for the Planning Bureau. “Not so much a wish, but also a need”, Taki responds.

On the initiative of the Planning Bureau funding was secured from the United Nations Development Programme in Cyprus (UNDP-ACT) and a reform process was launched. In April 2008 a report assessing Cyprus’ legal and regulatory framework was published by the European Centre for Not-for-Profit Law. The report, available online, included a series of recommendations for the relevant Ministries of the Interior and Finance calling especially for the adoption of legislation which would set out a “Public Benefit Status” category for NGOs. The NGO Working Group – formed in June 2008 and later renamed the NGO Initiative – was an effort on behalf of civil society to participate effectively in the public consultation process expected to be launched by the respective Ministries. “We had requested in our correspondence from the very beginning that our positions are taken into consideration in a future bill, and that we would like for there to be a consultation in line with standards set by the Council of Europe”, said Taki.

And there are serious shortcomings in the existing legislation. “The obstacles to registering an NGO under the Law on Associations and Foundations must be removed for the civil society sector to grow and become more professional”, says Nadia Karayianni, who represents the NGO Support Centre in the NGO Initiative. “Just recently we had the case of ACCEPT [an organisation working on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights], for which official registration effectively depended on permission from the Church because the law asks for the opinion of so-called relevant stakeholders. I think this case illustrates clearly the problems associated with this approach.”

Exogenous factors have also made it harder for NGOs to operate effectively. At present there are disparate provisions for state funding for NGOs, with limited operational support available. There are also severe limitations on the activities that are deemed as ‘profit-making’ for NGOs, which makes financial sustainability a key concern. So when the government imposed a 350 Euro tax levy on registered companies, including not-for-profits in response to the financial crisis, those managing and working for not-for-profits have had to dig into their pockets to keep their organisations afloat. The likelihood is that this fee would have been avoided had new legislation been in place sooner. Taki insists that the problem is one of definition. “When you start structuring a bill you have to put some basic concepts down on paper, and this is where the state creates definitions that are conflicting with those given by the sector itself”, says Taki. “Instead of entering into a real dialogue they are trying to update the legislative framework based on outdated concepts of what constitutes public benefit activity.”

Things could be set to move before the end of the year. According to information obtained by the Cyprus Community Media Centre (CCMC) the Ministry of Finance’s work on all aspects of the legislation reform, including feedback received on relevant aspects handled by the Inland Revenue Department, was concluded in May this year. The new legislation package will be sent to the Law Office of the Republic of Cyprus for legal check once the summer period is over.

However for the process to be successful the Ministry of the Interior must expedite its own procedures as well. The submission of the two draft bills for Parliament approval at the same time will make it easier for lawmakers to see the correlation between them. “We are not aware of what is happening at the Ministry”, Taki insists. “We have had unanswered correspondence since November 2010! However, we acknowledge that a number of position changes took place in the last few months, and, having sent a new package to the Minister on 22 June of all this correspondence, we are hopeful that a constructive dialogue will start with Ms Eleni Mavrou very soon.”

From outside looking in, there is no reason why the appropriate legislative reforms cannot take place before the end of 2012. Inter-ministerial communication will be key for the bills to reach Parliament, and this is where the Planning Bureau could play its final role in the process. As the holder of the Presidency of the Council of the EU, a positive conclusion by December 2012 would be further indication of Cyprus’ European transition.

Links of the Week: Communications for Development

The internet is an incredible source of information, and we are reading and learning every day about issues we care about. So we thought that we would share with you the 5 most interesting links from the world of media, and this week our focus is on media, or communications more generally, for development.

1) ‘Media and governance: what the academics say’

Direct from the blog of Panos London comes a post from Mary Myers, a communications for development consultant specialising in radio in Africa, who has been pondering the question of whether “a pluralistic media can make the government more accountable”. In her post, Myers grapples with the academic angle of answering “yes” to a question that in reality is quite difficult to measure, based on a report she published for the Center for International Media Assistance. Read on to find out which theorists made it onto ‘who’s who’ list of media for development gurus.

 

 

2) ‘Media, Communication and Development: Three Approaches’

Staying with the academic side of things, and a new book by Linje Manyozo from the Department for Media and Communications at the London School of Economics (LSE). According to Ørecomm: Centre for Communication and Glocal Change, the book “critically investigates the three approaches that have characterised most debates in the field of Media, Communications and Development since its emergence in the 1950s, namely, media development, media for development and stakeholder and community engagement”. Ørecomm is a bi-national research group that originated at Malmö University (MAH) and Roskilde University (RUC) for research in the field of Communication for Development, and focuses on the relations between media, communication and social change processes at both global and local levels.

 

3) Media in Fragile Environments: The IONA Methodology

Today CCMC had the pleasure in meeting Eran Fraenkel, a media consultant and trainer who was involved in the development of the United States Institute of Peace‘s Intended-Outcomes Needs Assessment, or IONA for short, methodology, which will help address the lack of clear definition of expected outcomes for media interventions in conflict situations. We will certainly be taking a close look at IONA to see how we can best integrate it within our current working framework, as well as for any future projects we will be implementing in the field of development communications.

 

 

4) Tailor-made planning for NGOs

The Panos London blog has certainly made for interesting reading this week! Bec Shaw Crompton, Panos’ head of programme operations has been blogging about an under-estimated skills-set: project management. Most of us would agree that not enough emphasis is placed on this element of the institutional development of NGOs. He recommends Project Management for Development Professionals (PMD-Pro), the first internationally accredited project management course for NGOs, created by John Cropper who was Oxfam’s head of management accountability and is now a director at LINGOS (Learning In NGOs). Next step is to find out how we can get ourselves accredited on PMD-Pro!

5) Communicating Across borders in the South Caucasus

Last but not least, an entry from Accord, an international review of peace initiatives, published by the London-based organisation Conciliation Resources. In their piece on the role of media in peacebuilding in the South Caucasus, Rachel Clogg and Jenny Norton take a look at Conciliation Resources’ work in the region from 2002 to the present, showing how their work, in conjunction with others organisations focusing on the role of the media, have helped overcome borders, both real and imagined, that have kept people apart. Needless to say we understand how valuable this kind of work is given that we are immersed in this field day in day out. Let’s hope we can have the same degree of success, and perhaps at some point in the future we can work with Conciliation Resources in pursuit of what are obviously common goals.

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