New Internationalist

Action And Worth Reading

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issue 139

Click here to subscribe to the print edition. [image, unknown] new internationalist 139[image, unknown] [image, unknown] [image, unknown] September 1984[image, unknown] Click here to search the mega index.

AFRICA [image, unknown] Action and worth reading...

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IDEAS FOR ACTION

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Farallones International
15290 Coleman Valley Road
Occidental CA 95465, USA.
Tel: (0707) 874 3060

AIMS

To stimulate local self-reliance through the use of appropriate technology techniques in agriculture, energy, health and nutrition. To enhance people’s problem-solving capabilities by building upon democratic group processes, local skills, resources and innovation.

METHODS

We work in four major areas: educational programs, consulting, project development, and networking/information dissemination. Our educational programs stress the integration of appropriate technology skills and nonformal experiential education and are performed both at our Rural Centre site and at the request of host institutions and governments in the Third World. Consulting and project development aim to strengthen the capabilities of institutions. We participate in a variety of informal networks and a newly started microcomputer network, ECONET.

SUCCESSES

We have succeeded in developing a comprehensive educational methodology which has been tried in over 30 countries. Successful projects have ranged from short-term training programs to long-term collaborations such as our current activities in NEPAL where we are assisting in the implementation of an Appropriate Technology information clearing house and local AT centers.

FAILURES

We have yet to develop a diverse and sustainable economic base. We have not been able to link as closely as we desire with other movements towards social and political change.

FUTURE PLANS

We plan to begin a number of small enterprises to provide a stabler economic base for our activities. We are also particularly excited at present about the possibility of increasing communication between grass roots organizations.

HELP NEEDED

We are a membership organization and all are welcome to become members. Volunteers are also needed for a wide variety of tasks both at our Rural Centre site and at the Integral Urban House in Berkeley.

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Peace Tax Campaign (Australia)
1 Boa Vista Road,
New Town, Hobart,
Tasmania 7008
Tel: (002) 346356

AIMS

To bring about an awareness that all who pay taxes have an individual responsibility for supporting the war machine, and all that this implies in terms of peace and justice for all people. To make it possible for those with a conscientious objection to war to ensure that their taxes are used solely for peaceful purposes and are not used for military purposes.

METHODS

The campaign is in its early stages in Australia. Information sharing is seen as being important and so a newsletter is being published quarterly ($5.00 per annum) and local groups are being established to work together at the State level. Information about the situation in this country as well as the active campaigns in such countries as the USA, UK, Canada and New Zealand will be circulated. The work will be directed towards bringing about changes in the law and giving support to those who withold or divert their taxes.

FUTURE PLANS

Consciousness raising, an Australia wide petition, lobbying Federal politicians, developing actions to take in regard to tax returns, investigating Government spending to ensure a firm foundation for our stand in facts that are verifiable, setting up a Trust Fund for tax withholders.

SUCCESSES AND FAILURES

Too early to say yet, hopefully can be updated at a later stage.

HELP NEEDED

Very definitely, particularly from people who can give time and effort, but also from anyone who is interested in the aims an indication of support would be helpful.

WARNING

This is a non-violent action campaign aimed at bringing about amendments to the law but for those who choose to go as far as tax refusal this then becomes civil disobedience, albeit of a form that has a long and historic past.

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Teaching Aids at Low Cost (TALC)
P0 Box 49
St Albans
Hertfordshire, UK.
ALl 4AX
Tel: (0727) 53869

AIMS

To improve the standard of health, worldwide by supplying health teaching aids at low cost, particularly to the developing countries. To supply materials to help doctors and nurses and health workers at all levels to combat disease and to teach even illiterate people to improve their own health. To supply materials to help in recording growth progress and to recognise disease. To assist with family planning and to help control world population.

METHODS

TALC distributes over 50 sets of colour slides accompanied by scripts and cassettes. There are also over 50 books and various accessories. There is a two-tier price system, developing countries paying less than the rest of the world. TALC is non-profit making, seeking only to make enough money to finance new materials and update old ones.

SUCCESSES

TALC distributed its three millionth slide in the autumn 1982 and sends materials out to at least seventy different countries.

FAILURES

Information about TALC is slow to reach health workers worldwide in village situations. The people most needing our materials have difficulties in foreign exchange and finding the money to pay even our modest prices.

FUTURE PLANS

To produce new slide sets - ‘Leprosy in Asia’, ‘Periodontal disease’, and other dental topics, ‘Child in a hospital environment’. To support new books particularly on primary health care.

HELP NEEDED

Help is needed with publicity. If anyone is holding a meeting or workshop, contact TALC Publicity Officer for simple publicity materials, including cards for obtaining TALC lists and prices.

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[image, unknown] This page of New Internationalist is written by the groups featured on it. The space is available free and a guide for writing entries can be obtained from New Internationalist, 42 Hythe Bridge Street, Oxford, OX1 2EP.

Worth reading on... AFRICA

[image, unknown] One of the best recent books on Africa is Rene Dumont’s Stranglehold on Africa, Andre Deutsch 1983. This volume, written in a pithy and combative style, is the last of a series of investigations Dumont has made into development in Africa. As an agronomist Dumont is very well placed to ask embarrassing questions about the ‘benign neglect’ of Africa’s peasants. Dumont could barely believe his ears when he was told bluntly by a Zambian government that "If we… go for a more modest model of development how’ will we ever be able to build the Champs Elysees in Lusaka".

Any of the books by Basil Davidson on Africa are worth a good read. For an academic his style is elegant and approachable. His 1975 Can Africa Survive? (Pen go in) is a good summary of some of the hard choices facing Africans and with his other books on African history and politics provides an excellent introduction.

Another good way into Africa is through its fiction. Three African novelists whose work is well worth exploring are Sembene Ousname (God’s Bits of Wood), Ngugi wa Thiang’o (Petals of Blood) and Chinua Achebe (Things Fall Apart). All are published in the Heinemann African Writers Series. Also important is the work of Amilcar Cabral - perhaps Africa’s most creative revolutionary theorist.

Good summaries of African history are How Europe Underdeveloped Africa by the late Walter Rodney (Monthly Review Press) and in a more academic vein Bill Freund’s The Making of Contemporary Africa (MacMillan 1984). For more serious students of Africa a good source is the Review of African Political Economy (341 Glossop Road, Sheffield, SIO IHP, UK). Excellent analysis if somewhat arcane prose.

For a good sense of how the ‘Foreign Exchange Machine’ operates continent-wide read Africa Undermined by G Lanning with 14 Mueller (Pelican 1979) and Agribusiness in Africa by Barbara Dinham and Colin Hines (Earth Resources Publication, 1983). The last provides a clear understanding of the crisis in rural development.


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