New Internationalist

Ideas For Action

Issue 128

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MINORITY RIGHTS [image, unknown] Action

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IDEAS FOR ACTION

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USC Canada
56 Sparks. Ottawa
Canada K1P 581

AIMS

To improve the economic and social conditions of the rural poor in Bangladesh, Botswana, Indonesia, Lesotho, Nepal and Swaziland through support to locally initiated development projects which encourage self-sufficiency.

METHODS

Raising funds to support indigenous development staff in each country and fund small-scale, primarily rural projects aimed at the principal social and economic problems of the rural poor in the recipient countries. The Canadian team visits the developing areas annually to inspect current projects and to help plan future directions. It raises funds in Canada by visiting communities and explaining their projects.

SUCCESSES

In Bangladesh, for example, 35 years of USC relief and development experience has led to the unique Rural Development Program. By motivating the poorest villagers to help themselves, local USC staff, through organisational and financial support in the form of revolving loans, is addressing in a comprehensive way the social and economic problems which condemn millions in developing countries to lives of absolute poverty. The program emphasises increasing production, whether in agriculture or non-agricultural activities, by providing capital and introducing new inputs and methods. In this way extra income is earned to enable poor families to meet their basic needs.

FAILURES

For many years, too much concentration on the symptoms rather than the causes of poverty

FUTURE PLANS

Continue to expand and improve rural development programs, pursuing a path of development that will help individuals and entire communities to permanently break the pattern of poverty.

HELP NEEDED

The USC is seeking new friends and supporters to add to the 30,000 individuals and groups currently supporting its work.

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National Peace Council
29 Great James Street
London WC1N 3ES
Tel: 01-242 3228

AIMS

To provide a regular forum for consultation and co-operation between members. To provide reliable regular information about current and long term peace issues.

To provide educational material.

To represent the collective interests of members nationally and internationally.

To strengthen the links between members of the peace movement and those working for world development, human rights, the environment and related concerns.

To enhance the peace and disarmament component of political parties and other organisations

METHODS

The NPC is a servicing organisation with 120 member organisations and many individual members. Our monthly mailing provides comprehensive and independent information about the peace movement and current issues. We hold quarterly meetings to discuss and decide policy issues. We take initiatives which range from quiet background work to support for lobbying or other actions. We represent members abroad and are members of the International Peace Bureau and the Special Non-Governmental Organisations Disarmament Committee in Geneva.

SUCCESSES

We have maintained a consistent presence as an independent forum for peace initiatives for 75 years, and established a wide reputation as a source of reliable information. Recently we have helped give added cohesion to the fast-growing peace movement and support for the mushrooming local groups.

FAILURES

Like every other peace organisation we have failed to bring about a fundamental change in people’s thinking about war and peace. We have failed to achieve a secure financial base to enable us to meet the demands made on us.

FUTURE PLANS

If our 75th anniversary appeal succeeds this year, we will be able to increase our staffing, improve the scope and quality of our information and advice services, develop our international links and respond more fully to crisis situations such as Northern Ireland or the Falklands war. We will also lay the foundation for a more secure financial future.

HELP NEEDED

We need individuals and organisations to join us in membership. Help in publicising our work and services.

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Gam Pubuduwa
Raddoluwa, Seeduwa
Sri Lanka

AIMS

To awaken the rural masses and help them to educate themselves so that they can understand and critically assess their situation.

To make the people stand on their own feet and work for their own development not iust sit and ask and wait for free aid or to be led.

To help the people organise themselves as a powerful group so that they can constructively work towards changing and improving their society and way of life.

METHODS

A process of conscientization of the people not only by a program of lectures and seminars, but also through active involvement in development and liberation work.

Thus the method of work is one of Reflection - Action - Reflection. The villagers examine their position. This reflection directs action to be taken towards human development to improve their situation. This action makes further reflection more realistic. However, this is a slow, although generally effective, process.

SUCCESSES

In many of the villages where people from Gam Pubuduwa have been visiting regularly, and work has begun. the way of life of the villagers is slowly and gradually improving. A definite social change has come about because the people have got organised and therefore have more power to cause change.

FAILURES

In some villages the people stuck to their old mental attitude of waiting for things to be done for them. They were not prepared to try to improve things themselves.

FUTURE PLANS

There are many, many villages in need of guidance to show them what they can achieve themselves and who need to be awakened to their true situation. However the process of making them aware is slow. Gain Pubuduwa want very much to expand hut are limited by the small number of staff they can afford.

HELP NEEDED

Gam Pubuduwa would very much like to hear from anyone who would be interested in such people’s movements.

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