Fantastic opportunity to visit South Africa with ACTSA

Are you an active member in a youth or student movement? Are you interested in Southern Africa Issues?

Action For Southern Africa want you to be part of their 2010 Youth and Student Delegation to South Africa.

You will gain an in-depth knowledge on Education issues, HIV/AIDS, Civil Society, South Africa Government, South Africa’s relations with the UK and more.

You will also have the opportunity to meet student leaders, trade unionists, NGOs and Government Ministers; as well as to visit HIV/AIDS projects, Urban Townships, rural areas in Swaziland, Robben Island, Manzini and more

The trip is from 27 August to 9 September with pre and post briefings in Lond on the 22 July and 7 October. Flights, accommodations, meals, insurance, and visas are paid for by ACTSA. Applications are due 21 June 9am. Telephone Interviews will be held 1 and 2 July. If you would like to apply click on the link http://www.actsa.org/page-1444-delegation.html

Cuts to development education may increase public scepticism

First posted on Left Foot Forward.

Monday saw the first cuts at DfID were announced by the new Conservative administration, as new international development secretary Andrew Mitchell announced that projects designed to raise awareness of development issues amongst the UK public are to be scrapped.

He said:

“I’m surprised that Labour ministers thought these projects were the best use of British aid.”

Yet he has simply listed the projects to be cut without listing any explanation for their original rationale. DFIDIn fact, development education in the UK has been an important part of DfID’s programme from it’s creation. As we have reported previously, DfID’s first White Paper in 1997 established the Building Support for Development programme (BSD) which addressed the need for an:

“Increased public understanding of our global mutual dependence and the need for international development.”

Stalls at music festivals may sound frivolous, but they are a tool many development NGOs use regularly in order to engage with the UK public to raise support for their work and their campaigns. Is training nursery school teachers so that they can make children aware of the world they live in from an early age such a bad idea?

This follows articles in The Times and by the right-wing think tank IPN criticising the spending of aid in the UK, reported here previously. In DfID’s first White Paper the then Secretary of State Clare Short stated in the foreword the need for:

“An informed public opinion [to] help ensure that the UK plays its full role in generating the international political will necessary to meet the international poverty eradication targets.”

In the current climate the public naturally wants to see value for money from all public spending – but that cannot be used an excuse to cut development education, a key tool in generating that political will amongst the public.

We’ll be voting for the Labour Party tomorrow and this is why

The 2010 election has been memorable for many reasons. Not least for the first leader debates and frantic campaigning in the most wide open election for years; but also for the criticisms that the policies of the three main parties are all too similar and that votes won’t result in change.

We at LCID disagree. There are vital differences between the party’s policies on international development, and they can mean real and lasting, and in some cases very damaging, change for the world’s poorest.

It’s our responsibility to share with you why we feel the Labour Party is best placed to lead the fight against global poverty as it has done over the last 13 years, and the threat we fear from a new government who will not champion the voices of those who need us most.

  1. Labour trebled development aid, and will increase it to 0.7% of GNI by 2013 – in line with the commitments made by all G8 countries in Gleneagles following the Make Poverty History campaign.
  2. Labour has shown the UK to be champion against poverty by creating the highly respected Department for International Development – widely seen in development circles as a world leader.
  3. We’ve shown international leadership in forging a commitment from G8 countries to increase aid by $50bn per year, and the cancelling of the debts of the world’s poorest countries.
  4. The Tories cut international aid in half last time they were in power, and attitudes have not changed: 96% of Conservative candidates seeking to become MPs at the next election want to see aid cut.
  5. The Labour government launched a Governance and Transparency Fund which provides resources to local civil society groups to improve governance and increase accountability in poor countries – for example, by helping citizens, media and parliaments hold governments to account – which results in sustainable change for communities and less reliance on aid.
  6. The UK increased expenditure on maternal health globally three-fold from £16.2 million in 2004-5 to £54 million in 2008-9 – making lasting change for women and their communities globally.
  7. Labour ensured the UK became the first country to ban ‘Third World Debt’ profiteering with the Debt Relief (Developing Countries) or Vultures Bill – legislation praised universally, and notably by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, and President Bharrat Jagdeo of Guyana.
  8. Labour has taken strategic approaches to development. For example, by being the first champion of the Sanitation and Water For All initiative – which will work to stop 4,000 children under the age of five dying every day from preventable water-borne diseases.
  9. LCID is highly concerned with the Conservative plan to introduce My Aid – an X Factor style competition where website visitors pick aid projects for DFID to fund. The shadow Secretary of State for Development Andrew Mitchell attempted to defend ‘My Aid’ by claiming it was “a tiny amount of the budget”. In fact, his green paper specifies that this fund would be £40m, almost as much as our entire annual aid to Zambia.
  10. These policies and efforts have seen direct results for the world’s poorest. They have
  • helped lift 3 million people out of poverty each year.
  • helped to get some 40 million more children into school.
  • ensured polio is on the verge of being eradicated and 3 million people are now able to access life-preserving drugs for HIV and AIDS.
  • improved water or sanitation services for over 1.5 million people.

We cannot jeopardise the sterling progress made on development over the last 13 years. And we will use our votes tomorrow, and ask you to think about doing the same, to support a government which has undertaken groundbreaking and heroic work to ensure a fairer global society for all.

Labour’s Manifesto on International Development

Extract from Labour’s manifesto

The global poverty emergency: our moral duty, our common interest

Labour’s international leadership on development has helped transform the lives of millions across the world. Yet too many people still live in extreme poverty, die from treatable diseases, or are denied the chance to go to school.

We will lead an international campaign to get the Millennium Development Goals back on track. We remain committed to spending 0.7 per cent of national income on aid from 2013, and we will enshrine this commitment in law early in the next Parliament. Our aid will target the poorest and most excluded – spent transparently and evaluated independently. We will fight corruption, investing more to track, freeze, and recover assets stolen from developing countries. Further action will be taken to strengthen developing countries’ tax systems, reduce tax evasion, improve reporting, and crack down on tax havens. To increase accountability, we will allocate at least five per cent of all funding developing country budgets for the purpose of strengthening the role of Parliaments and civil society.

Our leadership on debt cancellation has freed 28 countries from the shackles of debt. We will continue to drive this agenda, building on legislation to clampdown on vulture funds.

Access to health, education, food, water and sanitation are basic human rights. We will spend £8.5 billion over eight years to help more children go to school; maintain our pledge to spend £6 billion on health between 2008 and 2015 and £1 billion through the Global Fund to support the fight against HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria; fight for universal access to prevention, treatment and care for HIV/AIDS by 2010; and deliver at least 30 million additional anti-malarial bed-nets over the next three years.

We will provide £1 billion for water and sanitation by 2013, driving this issue up the international agenda, and over £1 billion on food security and agriculture. We will push for the establishment of a Global Council on Child Hunger. We will help save the lives of six million mothers and babies by 2015 and, because international focus on the needs of women and girls is vital, we will double core funding to the new UN Women’s agency. While the Tories would favour private schemes, we will work closely with NGOs and developing countries to eliminate user fees and promote healthcare and education free at the point of access. We will encourage other countries to ratify the ILO conventions on labour standards, as we have done.

Trade can lift millions out of poverty. We will work with the private sector, trade unions and co-operatives to promote sustainable development, quadruple our funding for fair and ethical trade, and press for a fair World Trade Organisation deal, with no enforced liberalisation for poor countries, and increased duty-free and quota-free access.