Development Issues

Critical Thinking about the World’s Development

A história do Haiti é a história do racismo (Eduardo Galeano)

Fonte: www.viomundo.com.br/voce-escreve/eduardo-galeano-a-historia-do-haiti-e-a-historia-do-racismo/ 

Eduardo Galeano: A história do Haiti é a história do racismo

 

A história do assédio contra o Haiti, que nos nossos dias tem dimensões de tragédia, é também uma história do racismo na civilização ocidental.

 

por Eduardo Galeano, em Resumen Latinoamericano, via Resistir.info

 A democracia haitiana nasceu há um instante. No seu breve tempo de vida, esta criatura faminta e doentia não recebeu senão bofetadas. Era uma recém-nascida, nos dias de festa de 1991, quando foi assassinada pela quartelada do general Raoul Cedras. Três anos mais tarde, ressuscitou. Depois de haver posto e retirado tantos ditadores militares, os Estados Unidos retiraram e puseram o presidente Jean-Bertrand Aristide, que havia sido o primeiro governante eleito por voto popular em toda a história do Haiti e que tivera a louca ideia de querer um país menos injusto.

O voto e o veto

Para apagar as pegadas da participação estadunidense na ditadura sangrenta do general Cedras, os fuzileiros navais levaram 160 mil páginas dos arquivos secretos. Aristide regressou acorrentado. Deram-lhe permissão para recuperar o governo, mas proibiram-lhe o poder. O seu sucessor, René Préval, obteve quase 90 por cento dos votos, mas mais poder do que Préval tem qualquer chefete de quarta categoria do Fundo Monetário ou do Banco Mundial, ainda que o povo haitiano não o tenha eleito nem sequer com um voto.

Mais do que o voto, pode o veto. Veto às reformas: cada vez que Préval, ou algum dos seus ministros, pede créditos internacionais para dar pão aos famintos, letras aos analfabetos ou terra aos camponeses, não recebe resposta, ou respondem ordenando-lhe:

– Recite a lição. E como o governo haitiano não acaba de aprender que é preciso desmantelar os poucos serviços públicos que restam, últimos pobres amparos para um dos povos mais desamparados do mundo, os professores dão o exame por perdido.

 O álibi demográfico

Em fins do ano passado, quatro deputados alemães visitaram o Haiti. Mal chegaram, a miséria do povo feriu-lhes os olhos. Então o embaixador da Alemanha explicou-lhe, em Porto Príncipe, qual é o problema:

– Este é um país superpovoado, disse ele. A mulher haitiana sempre quer e o homem haitiano sempre pode.

E riu. Os deputados calaram-se. Nessa noite, um deles, Winfried Wolf, consultou os números. E comprovou que o Haiti é, com El Salvador, o país mais superpovoado das Américas, mas está tão superpovoado quanto a Alemanha: tem quase a mesma quantidade de habitantes por quilômetro quadrado.

Durante os seus dias no Haiti, o deputado Wolf não só foi golpeado pela miséria como também foi deslumbrado pela capacidade de beleza dos pintores populares. E chegou à conclusão de que o Haiti está superpovoado… de artistas.

Na realidade, o álibi demográfico é mais ou menos recente. Até há alguns anos, as potências ocidentais falavam mais claro.

A tradição racista

Os Estados Unidos invadiram o Haiti em 1915 e governaram o país até 1934. Retiraram-se quando conseguiram os seus dois objetivos: cobrar as dívidas do Citybank e abolir o artigo constitucional que proibia vender as plantations aos estrangeiros. Então Robert Lansing, secretário de Estado, justificou a longa e feroz ocupação militar explicando que a raça negra é incapaz de governar-se a si própria, que tem “uma tendência inerente à vida selvagem e uma incapacidade física de civilização”. Um dos responsáveis pela invasão, William Philips, havia incubado tempos antes a ideia sagaz: “Este é um povo inferior, incapaz de conservar a civilização que haviam deixado os franceses”.

 O Haiti fora a pérola da coroa, a colônia mais rica da França: uma grande plantação de açúcar, com mão-de-obra escrava. No Espírito das leis, Montesquieu havia explicado sem papas na língua: “O açúcar seria demasiado caro se os escravos não trabalhassem na sua produção. Os referidos escravos são negros desde os pés até à cabeça e têm o nariz tão achatado que é quase impossível deles ter pena. Torna-se impensável que Deus, que é um ser muito sábio, tenha posto uma alma, e sobretudo uma alma boa, num corpo inteiramente negro”.

Em contrapartida, Deus havia posto um açoite na mão do capataz. Os escravos não se distinguiam pela sua vontade de trabalhar. Os negros eram escravos por natureza e vagos também por natureza, e a natureza, cúmplice da ordem social, era obra de Deus: o escravo devia servir o amo e o amo devia castigar o escravo, que não mostrava o menor entusiasmo na hora de cumprir com o desígnio divino. Karl von Linneo, contemporâneo de Montesquieu, havia retratado o negro com precisão científica: “Vagabundo, preguiçoso, negligente, indolente e de costumes dissolutos”. Mais generosamente, outro contemporâneo, David Hume, havia comprovado que o negro “pode desenvolver certas habilidades humanas, tal como o papagaio que fala algumas palavras”.

A humilhação imperdoável

Em 1803 os negros do Haiti deram uma tremenda sova nas tropas de Napoleão Bonaparte e a Europa jamais perdoou esta humilhação infligida à raça branca. O Haiti foi o primeiro país livre das Américas. Os Estados Unidos haviam conquistado antes a sua independência, mas tinha meio milhão de escravos a trabalhar nas plantações de algodão e de tabaco. Jefferson, que era dono de escravos, dizia que todos os homens são iguais, mas também dizia que os negros foram, são e serão inferiores.

 A bandeira dos homens livres levantou-se sobre as ruínas. A terra haitiana fora devastada pela monocultura do açúcar e arrasada pelas calamidades da guerra contra a França, e um terço da população havia caído no combate. Então começou o bloqueio. A nação recém nascida foi condenada à solidão. Ninguém lhe comprava, ninguém lhe vendia, ninguém a reconhecia.

O delito da dignidade

Nem sequer Simón Bolívar, que tão valente soube ser, teve a coragem de firmar o reconhecimento diplomático do país negro. Bolívar havia podido reiniciar a sua luta pela independência americana, quando a Espanha já o havia derrotado, graças ao apoio do Haiti. O governo haitiano havia-lhe entregue sete naves e muitas armas e soldados, com a única condição de que Bolívar libertasse os escravos, uma ideia que não havia ocorrido ao Libertador. Bolívar cumpriu com este compromisso, mas depois da sua vitória, quando já governava a Grande Colômbia, deu as costas ao país que o havia salvo. E quando convocou as nações americanas à reunião do Panamá, não convidou o Haiti mas convidou a Inglaterra.

Os Estados Unidos reconheceram o Haiti apenas sessenta anos depois do fim da guerra de independência, enquanto Etienne Serres, um gênio francês da anatomia, descobria em Paris que os negros são primitivos porque têm pouca distância entre o umbigo e o pênis. Por essa altura, o Haiti já estava em mãos de ditaduras militares carniceiras, que destinavam os famélicos recursos do país ao pagamento da dívida francesa. A Europa havia imposto ao Haiti a obrigação de pagar à França uma indenização gigantesca, a modo de perdão por haver cometido o delito da dignidade.

A história do assédio contra o Haiti, que nos nossos dias tem dimensões de tragédia, é também uma história do racismo na civilização ocidental.

Bandeira Haiti Flag

Mapa Haiti Map

Bandeira Haiti Flag

Bandeira Haiti Flag

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19 January, 2010 Posted by | Development, Historical Racism, Social Justice | Leave a comment

The Development Set, by Ross Coggins

The Development Set
by Ross Coggins

Excuse me, friends, I must catch my jet
I’m off to join the Development Set;
My bags are packed, and I’ve had all my shots
I have traveller’s checks and pills for the trots!

The Development Set is bright and noble
Our thoughts are deep and our vision global;
Although we move with the better classes
Our thoughts are always with the masses.

In Sheraton Hotels in scattered nations
We damn multi-national corporations;
injustice seems easy to protest
In such seething hotbeds of social rest.

We discuss malnutrition over steaks
And plan hunger talks during coffee breaks.
Whether Asian floods or African drought,
We face each issue with open mouth.

We bring in consultants whose circumlocution
Raises difficulties for every solution –
Thus guaranteeing continued good eating
By showing the need for another meeting.

The language of the Development Set
Stretches the English alphabet;
We use swell words like “epigenetic”
“Micro”, “macro”, and “logarithmetic”

It pleasures us to be esoteric –
It’s so intellectually atmospheric!
And although establishments may be unmoved,
Our vocabularies are much improved.

When the talk gets deep and you’re feeling numb,
You can keep your shame to a minimum:
To show that you, too, are intelligent
Smugly ask, “Is it really development?”

Or say, “That’s fine in practice, but don’t you see:
It doesn’t work out in theory!”
A few may find this incomprehensible,
But most will admire you as deep and sensible.

Development set homes are extremely chic,
Full of carvings, curios, and draped with batik.
Eye-level photographs subtly assure
That your host is at home with the great and the poor.

Enough of these verses – on with the mission!
Our task is as broad as the human condition!
Just pray god the biblical promise is true:
The poor ye shall always have with you.

Adult Education and Development” September 1976

12 January, 2010 Posted by | Development | Leave a comment

Commanding Heights

Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World Economy
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/commandingheights/lo/story/index.html

From the book by Daniel Yergin and Joseph Stabislaw, first published as The Commanding Heights: The Battle Between Government and the Marketplace That Is Remaking the Modern World in 1998. In 2002, it was turned into a documentary of the same title, and later released on DVD.

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commanding_Heights

Watch the videos:

The Commanding Heights Part One: The Battle of Ideas
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1466397368167658753

The Commanding Heights Part Two: The Agony of Reform
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3122039563423208507

The Commanding Heights Part Three: The New Rules of the Game
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=112129377629231653

_________________________________
** Official PBS Video Page **

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** IMDB **

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** Torrent Download Available here **

17 December, 2008 Posted by | Economics, Governance | Leave a comment

Community Foudation and Community Social Investiment: a Movement to Contribute to Social Justice in Brazil

Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society
The Graduate Ccenter, CUNY – City University of New York

2008 International Senior Fellowship Program
By Jaqueline de Camargo, jaquelinedecamargo@gmail.com

 

“Community Foudation and Community Social Investiment: a Movement to Contribute to Social Justice in Brazil”[1]


Abstract

The main assumption of the author, Jaqueline de Camargo, is that there is a place for a strong Community Foundation movement in Brazil; that the already existing community foundations and community foundation-like organizations in Brazil are carrying the seed of this movement [adapting the Community Foundation concept for local, regional and national realities]; and that it should be fruitful to broadly engage community leaders and youth leaders, in a systematic and systemic way, to promote this in the country. Such a movement, improving the conditions for sustainability and autonomy for social initiatives, would strengthen the perspective of “social justice” that nowadays, according to the author, is one of the most relevant aspects of the concept of community foundations. For this, some recommendations are made proposing the “action-learning” methodology, broadly including perspectives and knowledge of community social investments stakeholders.

Executive Summary

The community foundation is a concept explored worldwide as a good vehicle for donors to invest resources within a sustainable perspective as well as a vehicle that looks to address community needs. The community foundation concept has raised a genuine global “intellectual curiosity” amongst practitioners and social leaders.

The main purpose and assumption of the paper is to demonstrate that there is a place for a strong community foundation movement in Brazil; that the already existing community foundation and community foundation-like organizations in Brazil are carrying the seeds of this movement [adapting the Community Foundation concept for local, regional and national realities]; and that it should be fruitful to broadly engage community leaders and youth leaders in a systematic and systemic way, to promote this in the country. These assumptions are based on the fact that there is real interest in it in addition to the engagement of important third sector leaders in Brazil with this concept of the Community Foundation. Brazil’s third sector movement would benefit from such a conceptual frame, building alternatives to improve “social justice” issues like social inclusion, which is one of the most important gaps in Brazilian culture and to which the third sector has aimed its contributions.

The paper suggests that “community philanthropy” should be translated to “community social investment” as, in countries like Brazil, “philanthropy” has attributes related to creating dependence-donations, without any objective to transform reality.

The paper proposes that for such a community foundation movement in Brazil, some important challenges should be met such as the strengthening of autonomy through the creation of endowments in a country with no relevant and well-structured tax incentives and the need to influence legal frame for community foundations.

To take into account that some of the less well known organizations [and Grass-roots leaders] have a strong potential to operate in a community foundation adapted frame, as they already operate in community-philanthropy or, in a “community social investment” model, are also a challenge which the paper proposes to explore.

Looking for the inclusion of a wider range of social actors, like youth representatives, who have enormous potential and wish to be part of the solution of social problems, but who have been much more “receivers” of private social investments to/for them than partners of social change, is an opportunity identified by this paper.

As a method of research, besides a deep immersion in the International Senior Fellowship Program, the CFC – Community Foundation of Canada 2008 Montreal Conference provided several meetings and readings that served as a source of knowledge. It permitted the fellow to constantly re-order and re-structure some assumptions as well as the previously planned research. During the CFC conference, a special meeting was organized by the author, with some CF individuals and organization leaders in Brazil. This meeting definitely proved to be an effective method and strategy for the research.

Finally, some recommendations are made for a systematic and systemic approach, proposing an “action-learning” methodology, based on a vast bibliography and experience to favor learning and interchange of knowledge processes. Such approach is proposed as a method to favor the inclusion of the perspectives and knowledge of community social investments stakeholders, for the strengthening of a CF movement in Brazil.

 

Acknowledgments

It is important to acknowledge The Kellogg Foundation who supported me with a grant to attend the 2008 Senior International Fellowship of the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society. It is imperative to acknowledge the complete team of the CPCS and I would like to refer to the excellent debates led by the director Kathleen McCarthy and the coordinator of International Fellows Programs, Barbara Leopold; to Eugene Miller who cooperated with the research, and to Amal Muhammad and Peter Waldvogel who were so helpful to the fellows team. My Senior Fellows colleagues, Ekaterina Maksimova; George Varughese, LuAnn Lovlin, and Sonia Schellino shared with me the challenges and the goodness of an immersion program: I thank them. I want to show my deepest acknowledgment and respect for the work developed by the consultants who were part of our program and for the previous fellows, community foundations, and community philanthropy and youth programs practioners; mainly the ones who gave the fellows a tour and lots of valuable information. Among them, Andrés Thompson, the Kellogg Foundation Director for the Latin American and Caribbean Region has contributed to my development and reflections. I want to acknowledge as well the Brazilian participants of the 2008 CFC- Community Foundations of Canada Conference, in Montreal, who have accepted my invitation for a special meeting on community foundation in Brazil. They are: Lucia Dellagnelo, the leader of ICom/ Florianópolis; Tatiana Akabane van Eyll, the  IDIS – Instituto para o Desenvolvimento do Investimento Social representative; Cinthia Sento Sé, the coordinator of Affinity Groups of GIFE – Group of Institutes, Foundations and Enterprises representative.  Last, but not least, I want to thank Willem Rabbeljee, my husband, who supported me in the research and has become a new community foundation and community social investment partner.

 

“It is only when social justice is achieved for all citizens,

 that foundations can legitimately focus all their efforts on charity”

Emmet Carson

 

INTRODUCTION

Cleveland, U.S., 1914. A banker, going beyond the limits of his sector, developed a strategy which would have deep social impact in the future, crossing barriers and frontiers all around the world. It contained the characteristics of being both strongly locally aimed at specific communities based in specific territories, as well as being fluid as a concept, serving a range of diverse historical and social circumstances.

By a mechanism of structuring a community organization with a diverse and reflective board, by building an endowment and addressing community needs, a whole movement on community foundations was generated. Legislation in The U.S. was modified to improve the mechanism and successful cases started to appear.

Community Foundations have been growing ever since in The U.S., Canada and in many regions of the world, sparking the interest of practitioners and researchers. Examples of its vitality are showing and present in regions such as Europe, Russia, South Africa and Latin America[1]

What has been so successful and has attracted so much attention for “social cooperation” in the world? Being a good vehicle for donors to invest resources within a sustainable perspective and also a vehicle that looks to address community needs: what exactly is community foundation?

For Dorothy Reynolds, a Mott Foundation consultant: “[community foundation] is a vehicle for the philanthropy of individuals, corporations and organizations that have concern for a specific geographic area. It provides leadership in the community it serves as an effective, independent arena for addressing difficult issues and/or advocating for needed programs, services or policies.”[2] 

As Eleanor Sacks, one of the community foundation global leaders, states: “The community foundation concept is flexible and adaptable, able to meet current needs and the changing needs of communities over time. It has shown the ability to adjust not only to local conditions, but to local impact of change from external sources, such as the ups and downs of economic cycles, the effects of globalization, the decline of centralized, social welfare programs, and evolving political, cultural and nonprofit environments. […] The adaptability of the concept makes it possible for communities to mold it to fit their own circumstances.”[3] 

For these characteristics and, I believe, because of the strong and true leadership of its promoters around the world, community foundations have stimulated a genuine “intellectual curiosity” in practioners and social leaders.[4]

Another community foundation global leader, Emmet Carson, referred to this “intellectual curiosity” in his speech at the Symposium on a Global Movement for Community Foundations in Berlin in 2004. Referring about the relevance of the decision taken by CF of Canada, to address community foundations by “social justice framework” Carson cites: “In short, a social justice framework necessarily involves attention to issues of what, how, and who. The principle of fair and full distribution of benefits and opportunities requires grantmakers to take into account the nature of what they are achieving through their actions.”[5] 

The approach from Community Foundation of Canada can illustrate how “social justice” has been addressed in that country and can inspire other realities around the world:  “Powerful economic, social and political forces will be working against social justice in coming years – increasing competition, new patterns of human settlement and changing roles for government. Yet Canadians have the potential to address the root causes of injustice through cross-community dialogue and collaborative action. Together, they can adopt strategies for systemic change for places, for people and for public policy. Governments will have to be part of the process and part of the solution to social injustice. But they are not well placed to lead the charge. The initiative will have to come from civil society […]. Charities and foundations are likely to be the lynch-pins of these civil society efforts to mobilize citizens to address the big issues […]”.[6]

Through the convening approach of Community Foundations of Canada, the strength of a “social justice framework” to address social and local development relevant issues is clear. Among these issues, it is possible to identify some of the main themes of private- and corporate social investment, such as equity for race, ethnicity and gender, social and intergenerational inclusion.

The main assumption of this paper is that there is a place for a strong community foundation movement in Brazil; that the already existing community foundation and community foundation-like organizations in Brazil are carrying the seeds of this strong movement [adapting the Community Foundation concept for local, regional and national realities]; and that it should be possible to broadly engage community leaders and youth leaders in a systematic and systemic way to promote this in the country. These assumptions are based on the fact that there is real interest in and engagement of important third sector leaders in Brazil with the concept of community foundation and that Brazil’s third sector movement would benefit from such a concept, building alternatives to improve social justice issues, like social inclusion, which is one of the most fundamental gaps in Brazilian culture, and to which the third sector has aimed its contributions.

 

ADHERING STRICTLY TO VALUES; ADAPTING TO DIVERSE REALITIES: creating new circumstances

Andrés Thompson, the Kellogg Foundation Program Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, asks if “the true community foundation would be a viable option in the different circumstances of Latin America and the Caribbean?” By the term: “the true community foundation” A. Thompson refers to a kind of organization that has both “a grantmaking capacity and community responsiveness.”[7]  

We can assume that the community foundation concept has convened leaders and organizations around the world because of the “democratic appeal” referring to its two main approaches, as expressed by Thompson: 1] being based on endowment, evoking sustainability approaches and being donor-oriented 2] The other being community-needs focused, evoking values of autonomy and accountability.[8]

Having analyzed initiatives, originated through partnerships and alliances in Brazil, to promote local development in specific regions that strengthen community social investments, Thompson questioned  their sustainability and effectiveness after the end of the project cycle , but affirmed their potential if the diversity of conditions is considered. As he stated: “The clear conclusion is that community foundations are not a model to be copied and replicated everywhere. Their feasibility depends on the specific environment in which they are intended to grow and develop and, to large extent, on the leadership capacity of the pioneer group[9]

However, if there is not “a model” to be replicated, there is a widely stated concept: “Whether in Barcelona or Bombay, community foundations share common features” which is the title of an interview with a Senior Advisor to the Synergos Institute and to Advisory Committee of the World Bank Community Foundation Initiative, Shannon St. John.

St. John was asked by The Mott Foundation about what it is in the community foundation concept that resonates so well with people whether they are in Rustenburg, South Africa, Togliatti, Russia or London, England. St. John answered: “I trace it back to an innate human characteristic, which is the philanthropic impulse. […] What is fascinating about the Community Foundation form is that there are a number of institutions in places as diverse as Barcelona and Bombay that have grown up with the characteristics of community foundations – such as people within a community giving to either a common pool or to individually-named funds. Also, it’s people giving to an organization that is governed by a group of people reflective of that geographic area that gives for the benefit of that community. But these organizations I am talking about have never heard the words ‘community foundation’. They never heard about this thing started in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1914 until someone comes along and says, ‘Oh, you are a community foundation’. But that wasn’t how hey started. It happens whether or not people call it a community foundation.”[10] 

The democratic approach of community foundations directs the debate to a widely considered, relevant factor: the reflectiveness of the board and the values approach.

“Using what we have, to get what we need” are the convening words of Linetta Gilbert, the Senior Program Officer of Ford Foundation for the area Community and Resource Development. She was referring to the Alabama Black Belt Community Foundation serving the poor rural area of the state.

As Gilbert states:  “[…] Two years later, and with much struggle to respect and embrace the potential and actual contributions of the whole community, an excited and engaged foundation exists. Its board has African American and White leaders, young and retired workers, a university administrator, a local blues singer, civil right activists, elected officials, civic and corporate leaders. Their goals are to improve educational and economic opportunities in the 11-county area to ensure an equitable community on the long term. Everyone is encouraged to give […]. The question we, as leaders of philanthropic institutions, have the courage to ask is: ‘Do we have the courage and vision to be the glue that brings diverse people together to work towards their shared aspirations for equity, rather than a glue that keeps far too many people stuck in conditions that deny their dignity and deprive them opportunity and hope’?”[11] 

 

 

COMMUNITY FOUNDATIONS AND COMMUNITY SOCIAL INVESTMENTS IN BRAZIL: opportunities

WINGS’ 2008 Global Report for Community Foundations[12] lists at least three separate organizations in Brazil that are promoting community philanthropy through community foundations and/or community foundation-like organizations. They are:

Instituto Rio, established in 1995, being the first formal investment in the theme in Brazil, started with the technical support of Synergos and a grant from Ford Foundation and Avina Foundation[13]. In 2002, with the support of the Inter-American Foundation and with the participation of a family and their company [Vera Pacheco Jordão e Geraldo Jordão, and their company, Editora Sextante], Instituto Rio raised around 1 million dollars and developed an endowment worth around US$175,000. Instituto Rio has widely integrated with its in Rio de Janeiro, “by supporting projects, intermediating actions and capacity-building for organizations in the west zone, with a view to becoming an effective bridge to social investment.[14]”  Operating close to the “pure” concept, has the challenge to raise more than $19 million to be sustainable as a community foundation using only a percentage of its endowment. The Inter-American Foundation, WINGS, Global Fund for Community Foundations and Fundazione Zegna [Italy] are mainly supporting the growth of Instituto Rio as a community foundation.

ICom – Instituto Comunitário Grande Florianópolis, in Santa Catarina, has proved to be a successful adaptation of the community foundation-concept. Established in 2005, it started operating its public activities in 2006[15] and has attracted resources from global partners [Avina Foundation, Kellogg Foundation], but also local, from companies, families and individuals. ICom integrates diverse social actors in its programs, having created a “Board of Investors.” They developed two major activities: a Community Social Investment Fund, which raises funds from local funders to support social entrepreneurship among youth [with the technical support of Ashoka]; and Projeto Fortalecer, to provide technical support to local NGO leaders. ICom also developed a methodology launched in 2001 by Community Foundations of Canada [Toronto Community Foundation] called “Vital Signs”[16]. According to the WINGS 2008 Community Foundation Global Status Report, “Endowment funds are a new concept in Brazil and many donors still resist the idea of ‘immobilizing’ resources in face of pressing social needs. ICom is working to introduce the concept of sustainability, and demonstrate the need for long term social investment through different strategies”[17]. A “Permanent Fund” has reached, by now, the amount of US$ 13,823 or 4.05% of the total income in 2007.

IDIS – Institute for the Development of Social Investment[18] which, since 1999, started to develop a Community Philanthropy Organization [CPO] with the support of Kellogg Foundation and the Inter-American Foundation. A CPO does not make grants itself but establishes social nets to “identify community priorities and acts as a broker and catalyst for bringing together community and individual resources in conjunction with government money to tackle priority needs in their communities”. Although, according to the community foundation Global Report, IDIS, through its main leader, Marcos Kisil, has identified in a research paper that “the potential for the development of community foundations has increased greatly in Brazil”, IDIS believes that a “more supportive environment for philanthropy could be brought about by studies and research which demonstrate the primary importance of individual giving for community needs. Also, lobbying in the Congress for community foundation-type organizations is a must”[19].

The 2008 WINGS Global Report recognizes that interest in community foundations has been growing for some time in Brazil. Besides the structured cases mentioned in the report and, certainly, at least two more initial experiences among others, are already starting and/or are contributing to the community foundation debate in Brazil:

Fundação Tide Setubal, a family-foundation led by Maria Alice Setubal, which develops projects in the region of São Miguel in the East Zone of São Paulo, engaging the surrounding community directly and actively. The objective is to “contribute to local development in a sustainable way, through the strengthening of institutions and the empowerment of community”[20].

Fundação Comunitária Baixada Maranhense[21], an organization generated by an integrated pool of projects coordinated by the social organization CIP Jovem Cidadão – Formação, Centro de Apoio à Educação Básica, in Northeast Brazil. Led by Regina Cabral, it is developing a plan, with  strategic support from Kellogg Foundation, to, among other objectives, support productive small projects and to strengthen their capacity to generate social development, through two kinds of funds: a permanent community fund and a fund to support projects.  The group is presently organizing a seminar to generate a debate about community foundation and the possibilities as well as juridical constraints for the legal bases for Instituto Comunitário Baixada Maranhense.

Other experiences could be mentioned, in this case agreeing with Shannon St. John, as previously mentioned, that they would not be formally recognized as a typical “community foundation” being more “community philanthropy” [“community social investment”] cases, but with a strong potential to organize and distribute strategic funds for their community. Just because they do not know the name “community foundation” does not mean that they don’t carry the seeds of good from and for their communities.

I am not suggesting, obviously, that all community based- or grassroots organizations will work as a community philanthropy organization or in accordance with the community foundation concept. Just imagine what Brazil potentially has in terms of community philanthropy or community social investments, considering their needs and capabilities to operate funds and be responsive to the community needs and opportunities, since a “social justice framework”. This potential is more or less hidden from our eyes which are often looking for structured models or which are seeing only part of the potential of community social investments. As this paper is proposing, there is a place for a strong community foundation movement in Brazil; the already existing community foundation and community foundation-like organizations in Brazil are carrying the seeds of this strong movement and it should be possible to broadly engage community leaders and youth leaders, in a systematic and systemic way, to promote this in the country.

One case is UNAS in the neighborhood of Heliópolis. UNAS is the Union of Groups, Associations and Societies of the Residents of Heliópolis and São João Clímaco, in São Paulo. Since its foundation in the 1970’s, it works to organize the residents of Heliópolis and to improve the quality of life for the population in the region. Their actions are focused on matters like the right to housing and currently they also work on education, sports, leisure, technology and professional education[22]. UNAS  are located in the second biggest slum of Latin America, lead by a group of persons from the community who raise money as well as human and political resources to broadly address community needs. They are developing their potential to work independently, as they were pretty much connected to political parties’ interests in the past. They did become more and more independent after the social partnerships with Action Aid, which improved their quality and community leadership capacity.

Also in São Mateus, East Periphery Zone, a group of 4 organizations and their 7 nucleons aimed at youth, have directed efforts to establish partnerships with each other, and alliances with local corporate and public sectors to improve their participation in the community, with an inter-generational perspective. They created the São Mateus Social Responsibility Network – Youngsters in First Place. This network was supported by Associação Caminhando Juntos – ACJ [the previous name of United Way in Brazil]. One of the strategies of the Superintendent of Projects was to invite and engage volunteers [from ACJ-UWB-associated companies] with some of the skills needed for the specific project. They constituted a specific Board for the project and were consulted to give suggestions and to participate in the decisions of the local group. Together with the Superintendent of Projects, the Board of the project and the São Mateus representatives, including youth, had the possibility to educate the Board of the Organization about a more “community driven” investment in projects.

The main action by the São Mateus Social Responsibility Network, in 2007, was the planning and production of FOCO – Annual Fair of Opportunities and Connections for Youth. Among its local partners, there are: business organizations: Rotary and CDL – Clube dos Lojistas [Shop owners’ Club]; companies: SOS, IBRAM, Gê Assessoria; government: Municipal District Office; State Secretariat of Social Assistance and Development; State Secretariat of Work; State Coordination of Youth; SENAI (National Service of Industrial Education); SEBRAE (Brazilian Micro and Small Business Support Service); coordinators and youngsters from the social organizations: Ação Comunitária, Ação Social, Associação Pe. Moreira, Centro Social, Obra Social, Sociedade Instruções e Socorros, Bloco Amizade, Cemais; and ACJ-United Way Brasil.

One of the manifestations of the community leadership of the group can be recognized by the words of one of the São Mateus group, Flariston Francisco da Silva:  “Every social, educational, corporate investment or public action should be concerned in generating human, social or economic development, with environmental protection, generating autonomy and eliminating dependence. We have to appreciate and learn how to work with the concept of integrated and sustainable local development, where every citizen and every community is called, encouraged, motivated and qualified to identify their main problems and potentials, and plan, initiating change processes optimizing what is at hand and consolidating partnerships.[23]

The São Mateus group will have to work, however, to establish a structured base if they wish to start a community foundation or want to become a community social investment fund aimed at local development. Some of their structure can be represented by the “critical factors” for the success of a community foundation that were identified by Kathleen McCarthy[24]:  1] entrepreneurial director(s); 2] donors to tide the institution over its early years; 3] a local giving base; 4] projects that resonate with the community; 5] an existing culture of philanthropy [or community social investment]; 6] backstopping resources [umbrella organizations]; 7] buy-in from constituents; 8] participation of associations like Rotary clubs and Chambers of Commerce to broaden its base of supporters.

Some of these “critical factors” the São Mateus Group already has, or are potentially present there, but they should indeed be considered in its complexity by the group.

I believe that UNAS and São Mateus group carry the seed of a community foundation. In previous discussions among their leaders, they also would like to learn more about how to improve their knowledge about community investments and building autonomy and sustainability for their community and youth projects.

The references to these “grassroots” experiences have the objective to exemplify both WINGS’ and Shannon St. John’s statement about the vitality of the concept around the world and, in this case, in Brazil, as maybe several practitioners and social entrepreneurs can recognize.

 

LEARNING TOGETHER

In June 2008, there was a meeting at ICom, Florianópolis, with a global representation of community foundations. Besides ICom’s staff and board members, there were present: the GIFE General Secretary and Chair of WINGS, Fernando Rossetti and the Coordinator of Affinity Groups of GIFE, Cinthia Sento Sé; the group connected to Fundação Comunitária Baixada Maranhense; the main leader of IDIS, Marcos Kisil; the Executive Director of Mexican Community Foundation Frontera Norte, Karen Yarza.

The central presence of Monica Patten, Director of Community Foundations of Canada was quite helpful to the community foundation debate in Brazil: besides being a convener for the agenda of community foundations and social community investments, she strongly agreed with the proposition that there was a need to work collaboratively, thus improving contexts where there is still no established culture of philanthropy aimed at community strategic investments.

Another meeting was meaningful for the purpose of this paper. In the context of my learning process at the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society of the CUNY Graduate Center Senior Fellowship and as a Kellogg grantee, during the CFC 2008 Conference in Montreal in November 2008, I invited the attending group of the Brazilian representatives to meet on this topic. In this meeting, 4 persons were present: representing ICom [Lucia Dellagnelo]; IDIS [Tatiana Akabane van Eyll]; GIFE [Cinthia Sento Sé, the coordinator of the Affinity Groups]; and myself. There was a good understanding among the group about how to strengthen the concept of community foundations and community philanthropy in Brazil. Lucia Dellagnelo spoke about her efforts to leverage community foundation concepts in our country, with the support of Global Fund. She shared with the group the importance of an approach on how to better explore and create a culture of giving in Brazil, considering mainly the legal constraints and lack of support via tax incentives in this area . All persons gathered recognized the present moment as important for Brazil with reference to community social investments and how strategic it would be for an organization in the country to be the base for a systematic approach to a dialogue in the country.

In this case I would like to present a successful and possibly inspirational case given by Barbara Leopold[25] during her orientation for the CPCS Program to identify successful cases of the implementation of a systematic dialogue for the strengthening of the concept of community foundation and focusing on the following question:

How to contribute to a more systematic and systemic dialogue about community foundation in Brazil, as circumscribed in the equation: social investment and social justice? How to improve a collective and shared learning about community foundations and community social investment in Brazil?

The model case is illustrated by TUSEV [Third Sector Foundation of Turkey]. A seminar was organized by them in 2006 with the following objectives: [1] Discuss the viability of the community foundation practice and its adaptation in the Turkish context [2] Introduce the community foundation practice and its various applications across the world.

It was a one-day Seminar, with one-to-one approaches taking place before the Seminar. They invited 70 national and international participants from every sector. The following are the aspects considered at the debate: governance for transparency and accountability; standards and criteria for allocating funds to NGOs; gaining the trust from donors; tax incentives and legal structures; locality: national or local?; how community foundations can make funds more accessible to NGOs?; competition for donors?; in what ways are community foundations different from or similar to existing practices?

TUSEV Seminar Recommendations can be summarized as follows: “learning by doing” [Ellis Center]; pilot program [World Bank] in a place with good balance of wealth and a good degree of “right” partners; clarifying legitimacy and taxation [Synergos];not preventing innovations, clarification on “principles and values”, and having a similar meeting in prospect locations for community foundations [Mott]; community foundation for “community development” [UNDP Turkey]; community foundation as a mechanism one gives through and not gives to [T. Philanthropic Fund and PwC Turkey]; look at existing community level organizations [CAF Russia]; local commitment as a crucial factor [WINGS].

It is relevant to highlight the fact that one year after the seminar promoted by TUSEV, a community foundation was established and registered in Turkey[26].

 

BEING BROADLY INCLUSIVE AND REFLECTIVE: challenges and opportunities

As it has been explored by community foundation literature, and by this paper, one of the pillars of the community foundation concept is the autonomy of communities [since an endowment is built using a community’s own resources/management]. The obvious advantage to supporting the autonomy of the social groups which are leading and engaged in the promotion of the betterment of community, is that other sources of financial resources do not always stimulate autonomy, these, being, many times more connected to the donors point of view than to the community perspective.

However, the issue “building autonomy” by “building an endowment” will have to be adapted to cultural and legal frameworks, since in countries like Brazil there are no relevant and well-structured tax incentives, making it difficult to raise money for social purposes and for social strategic goals. It is imperative that umbrella organizations seeking to strengthen community foundations start a coordinated effort to influence the legal framework.

In addition to the challenges of building sustainability and autonomy through the constitution of endowments, the issue of “being inclusive” is a challenge as well. I would like, also, to refer to important actors who should be considered and included in the consultations and convening processes about community foundations in Brazil.

Grass-roots leaders, as previously mentioned, and youth representatives have been much more the “receivers” of investments, than partners in social change. In the case of youth, there is a tendency for private social investments in Brazil to support projects for them to start an early productive life, providing them with skills to enter the work market. However, it is even more important that policies on youth, such as those supported by the World Bank, “be directed to expanding opportunities for developing the human capital of youngsters and their capacities as decision-making agents, and also offer second chances to manage consequences of bad outcomes that occur early in life”[27].

Youth should be more seriously considered by social private investments and social community investments as a source of social change.

It is important to mention that in Brazil a few organizations already have incorporated this approach. Some Initiatives aimed at youth and social entrepreneurship, like Ashoka [GMM] and IYF – International Youth Foundation [IAM], for example, have been supporting projects to empower and include youth as social change makers. These also include initiatives of GIFE members, which have invested in youth, and their participation in the GIFE Affinity Group on youth [GAJ]. Part of this group is represented by Institutes and other GIFE associated members who have been developing relevant work in Brazil with youth as a field of social investment and social development.

GIFE/GAJ has a seat on the Second National Youth Council (CONJUVE). Its representative, Rui Mesquita Cordeiro, comes from the activist and intellectual youth movement and he is Program Associate for Latin America and the Caribbean Region at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Two examples will illustrate for Brazil, and for community foundations globally, the opportunity for youth to be seriously engaged as actors who are “part of the solution of social problems” and are included in decision-making processes.

First of all, it is important to mention the place and space youth occupied at the 2008 Community Foundations of Canada Conference[28].  Their presence was amazing, not only as artists, singers and dancers, but also as being part of the invited reflectors during this 3-day conference. But what particularly demonstrates the effectiveness of their presence at the Community Foundations of Canada Conference, were some sessions driven by youth and the presentation of a project with strong presence of youngsters in its development in Vancouver [29].

There are several references about the engagement of youth in community foundation literature. The Mott Foundation publication, The Balancing Act, highlights the issue:

A worldwide movement is developing that may help ensure the future of effective grantmaking- involvement of young people as decionmakers and, in some cases, fundraisers. The Youth in Philanthropy movement in the U.S. in the YouthBank Programs that are emerging in Northern Ireland, Russia and Bosnia, give raise to the hope that future generations will be sophisticated and effective grantmakers.

“The Mozaik Community Foundation in Sarajevo, Bosnia, has teamed with the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland [CFNI] to scale up development of YouthBanks in that country. Mozaik has secured local support from five municipal governments for the local YouthBanks, and more than 50 young people are being trained as grantmakers. Prior to this project, CFNI worked with the Community Foundation Tuzla [also in Bosnia] to establish a successful YouthBank in that city.

“Not only are young people becoming involved in philanthropy, but also they are ahead of most of their elders in terms of their global interests.

“Exchanges between YouthBank in Russia and Northern Ireland have taken place, as have exchanges between the Youth Advisory Committee in Berks County, Pennsylvania, and Togliatti, Russia.

“This is but the beginning of the international movement of Youth in Philanthropy and bodes well for its future”[30].

Through his work together with members of the youth movement, Rui Mesquita Cordeiro demonstrates that “youth actually wants to take more part in the discussion spaces and political debate in Brazil, and moreover, wants to discuss public policy not only for the youth, but also policy aimed at the Brazilian society as a whole[31].

Referring to his “responsibility of having been recently (April 23, 2008) chosen to represent the group de Afinidade de Juventude (Youth Affinity Group) (GAJ) of the group de Institutos, Fundações e Empresas (Group of Institutes, Foundations and Company) (GIFE), at Conselho Nacional de Juventude (Counselor in the Second National Youth Counsel) (CONJUVE)” Rui Cordeiro lists the voted priorities which clearly show the potential connection between youth and social justice movements.

Since CONJUVE does not reflect a specific geographic area, but the whole nation, it is made up of meaningful communities that reflect, if not geography, communities of identities. The purpose of referring to this movement here is to indicate the vitality of a segment of population which represents almost 50 million persons (between the ages of 15 and 30) who should be increasingly included in decision-making processes.

“…With 634 votes, racial equality was number 1 among all the priorities at the 2008 Youth National Conference. The most important discussion-points in such meeting[s] were related to strengthening of racial justice policies for new black youth generations. [..] The message is clear: let us all open our eyes to the theme of Racial Justice!

[…] “Similarly, but not less importantly than such 22 top priorities, another cross theme that is more connected to the Legislative Power than to the Executive Power echoed unanimously in all the National Conference, and among all the different youth groups: that the National Congress should discuss and approve the Proposal for Constitutional Amendment 138/03, also known as the Youth PEC. [My comment: This project has been recently approved in its first phase].

“[…] After all, young people do not only want to voice their opinions on public policies relating just to young people, but also on those relating to society as a whole.   And the reason for this lies precisely in the fact that the current generations of young people are not merely inheriting from the previous generation the problems and a responsibility of policies for young people, or for society as a whole, since the new generation always completely takes on the role of the previous one, and not just sections of it[32].

Approaches which will build bridges among the sectors, generations and diverse social groups could really bring some answers the country [and Social Responsibility Movement] are looking for, to overcome some of its greatest challenges of being one of the most unequal countries in the world: rich in natural resources, a growing economy, but with race and gender deficits clearly reflected in the most important indices such as education, health and distribution of wealth.


ACTION-LEARNING PROCESSES: ways to make it happen; some recommendations

Finally, considering the previous analysis of the TUSEV case, following the recommendations and main tendencies already in process to implement the concept of community foundations in Brazil and integrating some of my previous experiences, I can identify four potential steps that refer to a methodology that has been successfully used to favor learning processes among persons and organizations in development contexts[33].

 

 

The methodological steps reflect, in the context of this paper, a technical approach to the three main assumptions the paper underscores: [1] there is a place for a community foundation movement in Brazil; [2] the already existing community foundations and community foundation-like organizations [or community social investments] in Brazil are carrying the seeds of this strong movement,  adapting the community foundation concept for local, regional and national realities;  and    [3] it is important, as we move forward, to broadly engage, in a systematic and systemic way, community leaders and youth leaders to promote the concept in the country.

It is evident for any social manager that there is not only one way to reach a good or expected result. The recommendation of the “action learning” methodology to structure a systematic process to implement the concept of community foundation in Brazil comes from some previous successful experiences with learning processes that I have had the opportunity to organize[34].

This methodology has permitted me to contribute to learning processes that include the perspectives and knowledge of persons, who are not only part of the leadership, but also the persons who are simply beneficiaries of or general stakeholders in the projects. Because stakeholders at all levels are heard and engaged in the decision making processes, contributions to the final solutions are equally systemic and effective.

In practical and concrete terms, the recommendations of this paper, following the 4-step action-learning methodology, are: 

 

[1] Action [Demand for Social Justice and community social investment]: Which significant things are already in place /concretized – such as, important community foundation initiatives that have started and have connected global, offering space to new experiences to emerge as part of solution for the demand for social justice?

The community foundation and community foundation-like experiences in Brazil already operating and the ones which are starting up should be better known by Third Sector community. Both GIFE and ICom meetings which reunited national and global organizations and leaders in 2008, and the consultation developed by Lucia Dellagnelo, ICom leader and Global Fund grantee, were important milestones and reflect a multiregional and diverse scope of experiences in Brazil. The dissemination of their proposals, involving youth groups and perspectives, by means of articles, documents and communications will be highly fruitful, making clear to the third sector community, the connection among these experiences and of all of them to the two most relevant bases in the concept of community foundation: social justice and social local development.

[2] Reflection [Social entrepreneur immersion; youth social-entrepreneurs engagement; peer learning and knowledge exchange; affinity groups]. Umbrella-organizations like GIFE which connect private social investors and is affiliated to WINGS; foundations and agencies which fund and support community foundations and community social investment initiatives like Kellogg Foundation; Synergos; Avina; Ford Foundation; Mott Foundation and World Bank through Global Fund/WINGS; organizations that catalyze others, such as IDIS; community foundation and community foundation-like organizations and, starting community foundation- and community social investments initiatives, such as the previously mentioned [Instituto Comunitário Baixada Maranhense, supported by Kellogg Foundation; and Fundação Tide Setubal]. Community foundation centers aimed at practioners knowledge, such as the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, an Affinity Group, for example, could improve mechanisms for working collaboratively to complement competencies and to improve opportunities in the field.

Some guide questions for this step: Do we know of any other experiences that are useful here? How are they building trust for potential donors? How and who should be broadly, but significantly, engaged? What do we share/ have in common, that can be implemented and complemented if we were put together? What are the means to allocate resources? Who, which organizations and/or groups are potentially connected to our experience? Which of them could better represent and reflect the movement in Brazil? In what ways are Brazil’s community foundations different/similar to existing practices in the sector? What/which contributions do other significant actors in the field bring to the enterprise of strengthening community foundation in Brazil? What legal structures could be better focused to  benefit community foundation and community social investments in Brazil in the future?

3. Learning: [Seminar]: Organizations and connected youth previously engaged in the process to strengthen community foundation and community foundation-like movement in Brazil and other organizations, practioners and social entrepreneurs from countries where community foundations and social justice and local social development have been a coherent experience, should be part of a seminar. They should, then, engage other identified relevant actors which eventually would not been involved yet, as decision makers [like youth and community- based leaders], in questions such as: what other theories/experiences can help us to deepen these learning? What kind of community foundation concept should be adapted for Brazilian social, cultural, economic and legal contexts?

Such a Seminar would much probably look for some consensus about community foundations in Brazil.

4. Planning: [Strategic Plan: “so, what does it mean in practice? ” ] Completing the action-learning cycle, a new group and sub-groups formed after the experience of social-entrepreneurs immersion; peer learning and interchange of knowledge; affinity groups and seminar, being reflective on the diversity of third sector organizations and movements aimed at social justice and social local development, would develop a strategic action plan.

CONCLUSION

A strategic action plan, developed by a reflective group of representatives of community foundation and community foundation-like initiatives in Brazil, with the contribution of global, regional and community social investments leaders, including youth representatives, will be the guide for a systemic and autonomous process to improve community foundation concept in Brazil. It will reflect the belief of an “innate human characteristic, which is the philanthropic [or community social investment] impulse”[35] , aimed at building community capacity to face the challenges and the opportunities for social inclusion, with inter-generational, inter-sector, multi-racial and social development perspectives. This is the main objective of social leaders, but it also is what companies and corporate social responsibility might look for and, what governments are about.

 


 

[1] See List of community foundations around the world, by Dorothy Reynolds, in the recent series: The Balancing Act, The Roles of a Community Foundation, Edited by Charles Stewart MOTT Foundation, Set. 2008.

[2] REYNOLDS, D., The Balancing Act, The Roles of a Community Foundation, Edited by Charles Stewart MOTT Foundation, Set. 2008 [Preface].

See: http://www.mott.org/recentnews/news/2008/monographseries.aspx

[3] FLEURT, S. and SACKS, E. W. In: “An International Perspective on the History, Development and Characteristics of Community Foundations” in WALKENHORST, P. [Ed.] Building Philanthropic and Social Capital: The Work of Community Foundations. Bertelsmann Foundation Publishers, Gütersloh, 2001. [pp15-17].

[4] An example of the interest of practitioners and academic researchers is the International Senior Fellows Program at CUNY, The Graduate Center, Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society – CPCS, has attracted fellows from several countries, interested in improving their work as leaders through the community foundation approach.

[5] CARSON, E. D. “The Road Not Yet Traveled: A Community Foundation Movement for Social Justice”. Community Foundations: Symposium on a Global Movement. Berlin, Germany. December, 2004 [p.6] [Referring to a paper written by the Centre for Voluntary Sector Research and Development for Community Foundations of Canada’s Project: Social Justice Grantmaking-Moving Beyond Traditional Charitable Roles].

[6] CFC – Community Foundations of Canada. Strategies for Social Justice: Place, People and Policy. Prepared for Community Foundations of Canada by Judith Maxwell. September, 2006

[7] THOMPSON, A.. “Community Foundations in Latin America. Can the Concept be Adapted?”. In “Focus on Sustaining Community Philanthropy: Looking for New Models“, ALLIANCE, vol.11, number 1, March 2006 [pp 41-43] [www.aliancemagazine.org]

[8] THOMPSON, A. Idem, pp- 41-43.

[9] THOMPSON, A. Idem p. 43 A CPCS Fellow, Fabiana Hernández-Abreu [researcher of the Local Development Program, Latin American Center of Human Economy, Uruguay], agrees with Thompson’s proposition. As she declares in her paper for the 2007 CPCS Emerging Leaders International Fellows, “Community Foundations: a vehicle to endorse and sustain development processes taking place in Colonia Uruguay?”:  “[…] it is possible to think that the community foundations’ concept can be utilized to endorse local development processes, and to conclude that the feasibility of a community foundation in Colonia [Uruguay] has to be discussed and imagined among Colonia’s community and local development stakeholders, by taking into account the novelties this model would bring with it.” [p. 3].

[10] See St. John interview with Mott Communications Officer Maggie Jaruze at the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.  http://www.mott.org/recentnews/news/2008/sstjohn.aspx.  August  2008

[11]GILBERT. L. “Are we the right sort of glue?”  in “Focus on Sustaining Community Philanthropy: Looking for New Models”, ALLIANCE, vol.11, number 1, March 2006 [pp 31-32] [www.aliancemagazine.org]. Linetta Gilbert, in a debate with the 2008 CPCS Senior Fellows, stated: “It is important support institutions that are value based. Strategies can change, but not the values”.

Still according to the Boards and their roles in keeping alive the values of an organization, a community foundation in Mexico – FES, Fondo de Estrategia Social, led by Marcela de Rovsar, developed a 4 step model based on “a mix between a community foundation and a social venture programme” where the board members have a strong participation in the development processes of projects and are ‘educated’ for their board responsibilities. In: ROVSAR, M. O.   in “Focus on Sustaining Community Philanthropy: Looking for New Models”, ALLIANCE, vol.11, number 1, March 2006 [pp 31-32] [www.aliancemagazine.org] and in her presentation for the 2008 CPCS Senior Fellows.

 

[12] WINGS – Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support. 2008 Community Foundation Global Status Report., September 2008. Researched and written by: Eleanor W. Sacks.

[13] www.institutorio.org.br

[14] WINGS – Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support, Idem, p.82.

[15] www.icomfloripa.org.br

[16] Vital Signs methodology has a high potential to raise significant data referred to community local development, to share the information with community integrating all sectors, including local government and generating a positive relation with community. ICom launched its first Vital Signs report: Sinais Vitais, Florianópolis. Check-up Anual da Cidade, Relatório 2007 and it is the first time a report like this is developed for a Brazilian city. For more information about Vital Signs see: www.vitalsignscanada.ca; www.icomfloripa.org.br.

[17] WINGS – Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support. 2008 Community Foundation Global Status Report., September 2008. p.90.

[18] http://www.idis.org.br

[19] WINGS – Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support. 2008 Community Foundation Global Status Report., September 2008 p.95.  To find out more about individual donors and philanthropic attitudes of individuals in Brazil, see: SCHLITHLER, C.; KISIL, M.; OTANI CORREIA, T. Descobrindo o Investidor Social Local. IDIS – Instituto para o Desenvolvimento do Investimento Social, SP, 2008.

[20] Fundação Tide Setúbal. Relatório de Atividades 2007 – Participação Comunitária e Qualidade de Vida. Atuação da Fundação Tide Setúbal. www.fundacaotidesetubal.org.br.

[21] http://www.formacao.org.br

[22] www.unas.org.br. This presentation of UNAS is part of ACJ-United Way Brazil 2007 Annual Report and was translated by its Board Chair, Mark Vogt and his working team at PricewaterhouseCoopers. 

[23] ACJ-United Way Brazil 2007 Annual Report, coordinated by Jaqueline de Camargo, Superintendent of Projects.

[24] Kathleen McCarthy is the Director of CPCS – Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society at The Graduate Center, CUNY. The mentioned “critical factors” were listed by her during a learning session with the 2008 Senior Fellows.

[25] Barbara Leopold is the coordinator of the CPCS – Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society International Fellows Programs.

[26] TUSEV. Community Foundations and Turkey: Summary of Conference and Working Group. 6-7 October 2006, Istanbul, Turkey.

[27] World Development Report 2007: Development and the Next Generation, World Bank. 2006.

[28] CFC – Community Foundations of Canada 2008 Conference. November 7-9, Montreal, CA.

[29] For more information, see: Youth Vital Signs [www.youthvitalsigns.ca]. “Youth Vital Signs is a youth-driven project, that gives fresh voice to the experience and knowledge of Vancouver youth aged 15-24. In: Vancouver’s Youth Report Card, presented during a specific CFC Conference Youth Session, coordinated by Barbara McMillan, the Director of Regional Strategies for Community Foundations of Canada. According to this project it looked like clear that there is a potential to address “social justice” issues and to favor inter-sector and inter-generational partnership for “local development”.

[30] REYNOLDS, D., The Balancing Act, The Roles of a Community Foundation, Edited by Charles Stewart MOTT Foundation, Set. 2008 [Highlights].

See: http://www.mott.org/recentnews/news/2008/monographseries.aspx

[31] MESQUITA, R.C. Political Impressions about the 1st Participatory Youth Conference for Public Policies in Brazil” In: http://ruimesquita.wordpress.com/2008/06/06/political-impressions-about-the-1st-participatory-youth-conference-for-public-policies-in-brazil/

[32] MESQUITA, R.C. Idem.

[33] This methodology was applied by Instituto Fonte and Nucleo Maturi in the context of workshops to promote “Interchange of Knowledge” among social organizations in the Program organized by ACJ-United Way in Brazil. It reflects the Action-Learning process, according to the CDRA – Centre for Developmental Practice [www.cdra.org.za]. The diagram indicated was selected from: Action Learning, a Developmental Approach to Change. Adapted from Action Learning for Development: use your experience to improve your effectiveness, by James Taylor, Dirk Marais and Allan Kaplan.

[34] I refer to the learning programs I have had the opportunity to develop at MacArthur Foundation and at ACJ – United Way in Brazil

[35] See p. 8, the referred statement of Shannon Saint-John.

27 November, 2008 Posted by | Development, Social Justice | Leave a comment

Youth Politics and Intergenerational Relations

Youth Politics and Intergenerational Relations

A Youth Network Seeking for Development and Empowerment in Recife

 

 

Full PDF Download:

http://www.intra1.iss.nl/content/download/6519/60186/file/Cordeiro%202006.pdf

 

A Research Paper presented by:

Rui Mesquita Cordeiro

Brazil – rui@cidadania.org.br

  

In Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for Obtaining the Degree of:

Master of Arts in Development Studies

 

Specialization:

Politics of Alternative Development (PAD)

 

 Members of the Examining Committee:

Dr. Kees Biekart (Supervisor)

Dr. Linda Herrera (Second Reader)

 

The Hague, The Netherlands

17 November 2006

Full PDF Download:
http://www.intra1.iss.nl/content/download/6519/60186/file/Cordeiro%202006.pdf 

______________________________________________________________________

Abstract

 

Since the 1950s, development researchers and practitioners have been focusing on understanding ways to overcome poverty. During this process, many actors and issues have been identified as crucial for development, such as the women and the environment. Youth comes along such process, mostly as a perceived issue (youth development), but also as social actors (the role of youth to achieve development). This paper adds a contribution to literature and policies analysing intergenerational power relations between youth-led actors and non-youth-led actors in society. The case in point is the Network of Solidary Resistance (herein mentioned simply as RRS), a youth-led network based in one of the most unequal cities of Brazil, Recife. Its political agenda towards society is contrasted with the society’s agenda towards the youth, exposing some traces of discrimination from society towards the youth, as well as some tiredness and resistance from the youth towards its external society. The central question behind this research has to do with the level of influence of organised segments of youth in society. Such influence is revealed to be higher within the communities the youth in case work with and for, rather than within macro structures of power in society, where the root-causes of the communities’ problems are reported to come from. In addition, this research brings attention to the differences between youth policy and youth politics and the need for more agency based approaches toward the youth, beyond the typical needs and rights based approaches. The empirical data is constantly contrasted with clusters of knowledge within the literature, specifically in Political Science and Sociology. The main theories used here fit within youth and society, and power and development literatures. The main arguments to study the quality of intergenerational relationships as a mean for achieving development is due to [a] the fact that youth is the only character that crosscut the whole society and change of “category” (the youngsters of today will soon become the adults of tomorrow), and [b] the phenomenon of poverty and inequality in Latin America is persisting during many generations already, from parents to offspring, creating an intergenerational poverty circles that must be broken in order to stop poverty and recover development. In the last chapter, the paper also stresses the need of further research referring to the paradoxical locus of intergenerational and agency based approaches for long-term sustainable development.

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17 November, 2006 Posted by | Development, Youth | Leave a comment

Tensions and Challenges between Youth and Civil Society

Tensions and Challenges between Youth and Civil Society

The Hague, 21/July/2006 | By Rui Mesquita Cordeiro | rui@cidadania.org.br
NGOs and Civil Society Building | ISS

Introduction
 
This essay deals with the relationship between the youth and civil society, trying to find tensions
and challenges of this interaction, especially with some types of non governmental organisations
(NGO), latter on specified. To start with, we initially clear the picture, defining society as a whole,
and youth as a power structure within society, with all its dichotomies and comprehensions.
Right after, we live society and focus on civil  society specifically, stressing the main forms of
interaction between the youth and some types of NGOs. As a result, two main challenges are
exposed in this relationship, in terms of empowerment and participation. Such challenges are
discussed in the last part of this essay, where we elaborate more on these challenges and point
out some conclusions and considerations.
 
The Society and the Youth: Clearing the Picture
 
Alain Touraine says that the youth is just a reflex of society itself (Touraine 1996), being at the
same time its coming (a source of change and evolution) and its menace (a source of trouble
and threat). This is an interesting view that elucidates how diverse and contradictory society is in
itself, and so is the youth just the same. Both society and youth represent a collective of diverse
and heterogeneous actors, being the youth part of society’s realm.
 
As a result, defining society is an exercise of looking and understanding its diversity. Many try to
open up the box and to reveal the internal differentiations and variations in social structures,
like: 1. primary social relationships of identity and solidarity among kinship groups, ethnic
groups, primary groups and territorial groupings (Parsons 1961a); 2. economical relationships of
production and maintenance, like capitalists, labourers and the division of labour (Smith 1961;
Weber 1961), the ownership of private properties (Pollack and Maitland 1961), the household
micro-economic system (Play 1961), and the macro-economic development (Schumpeter 1961);
3. relationships of stratification and social mobility, like class stratification and struggle (Marx
1961); 4. relationships of social organisation, authority and power (Parsons 1961b); and lastly, 5.
relationships of religious beliefs, systems and society (Durkheim 1961). Overall, I usually define Rui Mesquita Cordeiro (9553)  ②
society myself as the sum of the relationships and processes between all individuals and
organisations in a given space, time, and culture.
 
Within society, the main actors vary in many categories. I see five  broader categories,
including the state machinery, the marketplace realm, the civil society space, the families (and
households), and the individuals (citizens and non-citizens). Besides, there are numerous other
crosscutting categories, like the youth, the men, the women, the elderly, the children, the
adults, classes, casts and so on, depending  the cultural aspects of the society. These
crosscutting categories are all around those broader categories, populating part of them
[graphic 1]
.
Each one of them forms a variety of different relationships with the youth, and all other
crosscutting categories; therefore, any deep study on youth and society should analyse each of
these interactions. As an individual, a young person is subject of rights and duties towards all
broader categories of society, sometimes also subject of lack of rights also; within the family or
the household, a young person is usually exposed to power relations that make her/him
dependent of the relatives’ will; in the marketplace, young people are usually seen as consumers
and as labour force, many times cheap ones; in civil society, the youth is mostly seen as target
group, but some already see it as actors; and within the state, the youth can also be a target
group, subject of rights and duties, but as citizens it can also exercise an import political role in
societal and public affairs. 
  
Defining youth implies the same level complexity. All above differentiations also apply to it, as it
is part of society itself. Additionally, the word ‘youth’ may suggest very different meanings, and
the simple exercise of looking at a dictionary  revels to us the general public comprehensions
about it, like for instance: “1. the time of life when a person is young”; “2. the quality or state
of being young”; “3. (often disapproving) a young man:
[illustration]
 the fight was started by a
gang of youths”; and “4. (also the youth) young people considered as a group” (Oxford
University 2001). These four  definitions expose some of the important dichotomies
surrounding the relationship between youth and society. These main dichotomies, from my
own standpoint, are:
 
1.  Youth as unity, youth as diversity: Youth, even in the singular form of the word, should be
understood as pure diversity and plurality, just like the word society is, otherwise, we
would always have to refer to societies (in  its plural form). The most common perceived
differentiations within youth are: rural or urban youth (Carneiro 1998) (Ballinger 2006); poor,
middle class or rich youth (Tommasi 2005, 1-Nov); included or excluded youth (WEF 2000);
student and non-student youth (Dayson 2006); gendered youth and sexuality (male, female,
heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, transsexual and so on) (Edwards 2004; Russell 2006);
and different religious youth (Webster 2006); among others.
 
2.  Youth as a biological age group, youth as a social constructed identity: The two first
meanings on the dictionary are part of a classical dichotomy within youth and development
studies, between youth as a biological age group and youth as a social constructed identity. Rui Mesquita Cordeiro (9553)  ③
Youth is a concept usually related to a certain age group; therefore, to a biological concept.
The UN system, for instance, defines youth as the group of people between the ages of 15
and 24 (UN 2005); however many other definitions are available, like those by Nicola Ansell
and Ben White
[table 1]
, but there’s no common agreement on these definition; moreover,
there are many inconsistencies between the academic world, the policy making world and
the real world when applying a  biological approach to define youth. Many countries have
different official definition of youth for their youth policies: for El Salvador it is between 7-18
years of age, for Colombia between 12-26 years, for Costa Rica between 12-35, for Mexico
12-29, for Argentina 14-30, for Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, and the Dominican Republic 15-24,
for Guatemala and Portugal 15-25, for Chile, Cuba, Spain, Panama and Paraguay 15-29, for
Nicaragua 18-30 and for Honduras it is between 0-25 (Reyes 2004). This biological
understanding is counter argued by the idea that youth is also understood as the state of
being young; being therefore a state of mind, or a state of spirit, that varies from culture to
culture (Côté and Allahar 1996). This is a social constructed approach, and as such, anyone,
being of any age, could be considered of youthful or non-youthful behaviour. As a matter of
fact, it is usual to find older people that still keep a strong youthful attitude towards life and
the world; while, on the other hand, it is  not difficult either to find youngsters which
behaviour and attitude are far from being considered youthful. Another idea upon social
constructed approaches towards youth is the cultural concept of generations and
generational conflict (Baskir 2006). 
  
3.  Youth as a problem, youth as a solution: The third Oxford Dictionary’s meaning for youth
reveals the taboo already stressed by Alain Touraine (1996) of youth as a problem and
youth as a solution; but unfortunately, the  dictionary only brings about the more
conservative side of this dichotomy, looking  at youth is as a problem. Indeed, there are
many defenders of such an idea, and many existing organisations dealing with it. Three main
approaches are seen within this logic: youth  as thugs, as user and as victims (Jeffs and
Smith 1999); furthermore, others analyse predictive and preventive factors to avoid the
“problem” (IYD 2003). The main critique to this view is about the negative label of marginal
or rebel given to the youth, and therefore the conservative response that automatically
comes in forms of control and punishment (Foucault 1975). From another perspective, more
progressist views point to youth as source  of solutions, and sources of renew. Many
conferencesi
 have been held and many websitesii
 created to debate and to spread solutions
coming from segments of the youth, both toward the youth itself and society in general.
Recent ideas on partnering with the youth (Rocha et al. 2005; Tancredi 2005; WKKF 2005)
show that the youth has an important role to bringing society more alternative solutions.
 
4.  Youth as future, youth as present time: From the previous dichotomies, it is easy to
develop the question whether the youth is owner of the future or of the present time. There
is still an important concern stating that youth points to the future of society; nevertheless, it
is very importantly to realise that many young people stress that it is not only the future that
belongs to them, but as they are “natives of the present” (Margulis and Urresti), they need to
be heard and to be taken into account right now, with no delay, both in terms of youth rights
and in terms of youth empowerment.
 Rui Mesquita Cordeiro (9553)  ④
5.  Youth as target group, youth as actor: The last Oxford Dictionary’s meaning for youth
exposes yet another dichotomy, on youth as  target group or youth as group of action.
Depending how one finds herself/himself over the previous dichotomies, she/he will relate in
a very different way to the youth. On the one hand, more conservative understandings on
unity, age, problem and future may open space for treating the youth as mere target groups.
On the other hand, more progressist understandings on diversity, identity, solution and
present open space for treating the youth as an actual actor in society; therefore, realising
that the youth should be considered and should participate in all levels of decision making in
our current society, in a true intergenerational dialog. Targeting the youth is still necessary in
some circumstances, some will argue, especially in cases of poverty, delinquency, lack of
rights, and so forth; but, my main point here is to argue that the youth today faces a similar
problem that the women faced  (and unfortunately still face) of being sub judged by other
actors in society, the adults. This youth-adult relationship can be a source of conflict (Baskir
2006), but also a source of partnership (Tancredi 2005) and more equalitarian relationship
(Rocha et al. 2005). The more visible circumstance where this target/actor dichotomy occurs
is probably in formal and informal educational processes, when the relationship between
young people (usually as the educated ones) and educators become a power relation (and it
usually does) (Rocha et al. 2005).
 
To partially conclude, I stress that it does not stop here, simply understanding youth as social
actors; in addition, we will need to differentiate the different levels of power that youth actors
can achieve, in order to exercise more influence within society. As said before, we will focus on
the relationship between the youth and civil society, not forgetting about all other ones.
 
Civil Society and Youth: Forms of Interaction
 
To be considered as a real social actor, the youth must be understood as a power structure
within society, with social, economical and political roles to play. For such, we need to overcome
the notion of youth from an individualistic outlook (young person or young people power) and to
deal with the notion of youth collectives (youth groups, youth organisation and youth led
movement). This is due to a simple assumption, that collective youth action is the most
effective and important basis for political youth action and empowerment.
 
By youth collective I mean any kind of youth group or organisation, being it formal or informal,
legal or not, professional or volunteer, revolutionary or reformist, composed by two or more
young people (of any age), that shares any common identity or objective. From this definition,
of course, I exclude those youth agglomerations that do not necessarily share any identity or
objective. Youth collectives are the baseline for what I call youth led movement; however,
there are few, definitions for youth led movement. If we apply social movement theories, it is
easy to get to misleading conclusions that there is no such thing as a youth led movement.
Both my understanding and my experience tell me to define it through the empirical
observation of the phenomenon, rather than through social movement theories. Through the
realisation of such impressive social phenomenon, its presence becomes undeniable and
oblivious, even though still not very much recognised, especially in the field of development.
There is a key question to help understand the phenomenon: what does the youth movement
seek to achieve? And the answer may be very tricky. Two similar, but different, things should
be distinguished: a pro youth movement and a youth led movement. The first one is composed
by any (young or not) person or any (youth  or not) organisation that share the common
objective of fighting for pro youth policies and for youth rights, while the second one is
composed by young people (as individuals) and youth collectives (groups and organisations).
The youth led movement is diverse in its own essence; its nature and political agenda is
equally diverse, but also complementary; and  it is somehow engaged in a bigger claim for
change from local to global societies (Cordeiro 2005). The constituency of the youth led
movement has its basis on both young activists and, mainly, youth collectives. The main
aspect to differ a bunch of youth collectives and the youth led movement is the political aspect
of it; the more politicised the agenda of youth collectives is and the more open to society they
also are, the more part of the youth led movement they are perceived to be.
 Rui Mesquita Cordeiro (9553)  ⑤
How does this youth led movement fit into civil society? Civil society represents the vast scope
of thinking in relation to the relationship between state and society. My definition of civil
society is an adaptation  of White’s (1994) definition iii
: civil society is an intermediate
associational realm between private and public interest, populated by organisations which are
separate from the state, the market, the family and individuals, with autonomy and are formed
voluntarily by members of society to protect or extend their interests or values. In between
the private and the public interest, there is a whole spectrum of half private/public interest,
composed by many groups of  interest and organisations. On the one hand, the only pure
private interest is the interest of the individual himself/herself; while on the hand, the closest
to a real public sphere in the contemporary society is the state. However, a deeper
comprehension about the topic is vital, because civil society is a multi-dimensional concept.
Kees Biekart (1999) shows the material, the organisational and the ideological dimensions of
civil society; in addition, he differs economical society (inhabited by private for profit ventures)
from civil society and draws the boundaries of the relationship between the sate and civil
society through the called political society (Biekart 1999). The two main actors within civil
society are social movements and non-governmental organisations (NGO).
 
Within civil society, social movements are “collective challenges, based on common purposes
and social solidarities, in sustained interaction with elites, opponents and authorities” (Tarrow
1998). From a social movement literature perspective, the youth led movement does not
perform as a social movement in a constant  flow; nevertheless, which movement actually
does? The life circle of social movements is very fluid and dynamic, which helps it to be
constantly renewed and reinvented. In this paper, the reader should not mix up the ideas of
social movement and youth led movement. To simplify, the youth led movement can behave
as a social movement, accordingly to context specific situations, but it is not compulsorily
characterised as such in its fundamental nature.
 
Yet still, NGO is at least a vague term that needs to the always better explained. Academically,
its broadness is also accepted and taken into  consideration; therefore, there is a need to
narrow the concept in sub-divisions of NGOs. In the 1990s, the  academic fever lied on the
strongly economical “third sector” explanation of the phenomenon (Salomon 1994), a very
broad and contested concept. Usually, the term brings about ideas of being private
organisations, therefore non-governmental; in  addition, they do not seek for profit, being
therefore non-profit organisations, what differ them from private corporations. Still another
refinement, the term Civil Society Organisations (or CSO) is also largely applied. By CSOs,
some aid agencies mean those NGOs concerned with influencing public policies, excluding
those other ones concerned with service delivery (Biekart 1999 p.39). Another key aspect
while looking at NGOs is in terms of ownership; more popular organisation, like membership,
community and grassroots organisations, are significantly  more accountable to their
constituency than others NGOs (ibid.). NGOs also differ in their agenda and context, thus it is
always useful to add adjectives to quality what kind of NGO you are referring to; for instance,
northern NGOs are different from southern NGOs, donor NGOs differ from recipient NGOs, just
like advocacy NGOs are dissimilar to their service delivery counterparts.
 
To illustrate the relationship between civil society and the youth, let us look at some different
kinds of NGOs (southern NGOs, donor NGOs and youth led NGOs) and their approach towards
the youth. The indicators I will use are in  relation to their intervention, organisation,
accountability, power relation and level of influence; all of this based upon my personal
experience as a development practitioner and young activist from within the youth led
movement in the north-eastern region of Brazil between 1995 and 2005
[table 2]

 
  Local NGO  Donors NGO  Youth Led NGO
Definition
Here we refer to local based
NGOs, usually dependent on
external resources, dealing
with youth issues in their
political agenda.
Here we refer to NGOs which
fund projects of local NGOs in
relation to youth issues. They
are usually based in the
northern developed
hemisphere; although, the
number of local donor NGOs is
slowly growing in Brazil.
Here we refer to youth
collectives which opt for a
legal and official status to
operate and to be able to
receive funds for their projects
and agenda.
Intervention
(Korten 1987)
Oriented either for service
delivery or for lobbying. In the
first case, they are usually
targeting young people to
deliver education, health of
capabilities for employment.
In the second one, they are
usually seeking and lobbying
for the creation or the
implementation of youth
rights and citizenship. Most of
these NGOs in northeast Brazil
do both things in their youth
projects.
Funding is usually given to
local NGO for them to achieve
and delivery projects for the
youth, establishing an vertical
aid chain (Biekart 1999).
Rarely they establish direct
partnership with the youth,
but there are initiatives
(Tancredi 2005).
Most of them address a
diverse spectrum of issues,
and only few of them address
youth issues alone. Even
though, they easily establish
real horizontal partnerships
with other youth collectives.
Organisation
(Fowler 2002)
Usually dependent of strong
leadership and vertical
relationships with donors.
Undoubtedly, they try to
overcome traditional forms of
market-like organisation, but
frequently they fall in the trap
of inefficiency and internal
crises.
Many of them are very
traditional and vertical, but
with room for innovation,
especially among donors less
dependent of the market.
Those constituted with market
money tend to be more
business-like.
Usually they are very
horizontal and practitioners of
collective leadership, being
very similar to membership
organisations. However,
sometimes this generates a
lack of practical needed
leadership. There is a
tendency of internal tension
when the initial leaders
become older in relation to the
other members.
Accountability
(Edwards and
Hulme 1995)
Typically, they are more
accountable upwards, to their
grant makers than inwards or
downwards, to their
constituency.
Like the local NGOs, they are
also mostly accountable
upwards, to their funders,
especially northern
governments.
There is a tendency of being
more inwards accountable,
rather them up or downwards,
especially because when they
do, they manage very small
budgets.
Power Relation
(Lukes 1974;
Foucault 1975)
They exercise some power
relations towards the youth,
especially to young people as
individuals in the case of
service delivery local NGOs.
Either conflicts or dependence
are easily created in such
cases. In the case of lobbying
local NGOs, the power relation
is different, less incisive, but
still few open space of the
youth to voice their need.
Commonly adults, experts on
youth issues, set the agenda
for the youth.
Indirect via local NGOs, but
they are typically some open
for youth consultation to
better organise their program;
rarely does it go beyond
consultation towards real
participation.
When youth led NGOs deal
with youth issues, they are
generally establishing more
horizontal power relation, by
the natural identification
process that happens between
them and the targeted young
people.
Influence in
Society
Their level of influence is very
variable, depending on the
networks on which these local
NGOs operate. Those working
with lobbying are in some
advantage.
Very high, not only because
they concentrate economical
power, but especially because
they are able to assemble
public opinion leaders as staff
members or as consultants.
Still very low, due to the lack
of recognition in society. The
natural way to achieve some
influence is via mobilisations
and manifestations.
 
 
Drawing from this simple analysis, at least two elements seem to be weak in this interaction
between NGO actors and the youth within civil society, the level and the quality of youth
participation in NGOs and the question of the youth empowerment itself. As crucial elements,
they are going to be especially analysed below, in order to understand the challenge, so
needed for the development of our local and global societies.
 Rui Mesquita Cordeiro (9553)  ⑦
Challenges of Youth Participation and Empowerment in Society
 
Participation and empowerment are two close concepts, once participation is ultimately about
decision making and for that empowerment is needed. Even being related, there is no causality
between one and another. On the one hand participation is understood as both means and
ends for the people to directly participate in political, economical or social decisions in issues
that affect their life; on the other hand empowerment is meant as the ability of individuals,
groups and organisations of achieving some  autonomy and independence, as well as “the
structural conditions which affect the allocations of power in a society and give access to its
resources” (Breton 1994). For civil society, empowerment is also seen as complementary to
empowerment, as a way to encourage people to assume their rights and to strengthen popular
organisations, trough cognitive, psychological, political and economical dimensions (Molyneux
and Lazar 2003).
 
The challenge for the youth and its relationships within society lies on the connection between
both, as foreseen by Sherry Arnstein (1969), when she clearly defines participation as citizen
power; furthermore she differentiates the participation in a qualitative scale, the ladder of
citizen participation (ibid.)
[graphic 2]
.
 
GRAPHIC 2 – The ladder of citizen participation (Arnstein 1969)
 
 
This quality of participation/empowerment is today really important for the youth in society,
due to the low quality of participation and empowerment, as observed in table 2 before. Non-
participation and tokenism are still present  on this relationship between youth and civil
society; therefore, this initial idea of the ladder evolved into a new ladder, of youth
participation, by Roger Hart
[graphic 3]
 
 
The current level of interaction between NGOs and the youth is, with few exceptions, still
around the steps four, five and six of the latest ladder. Both ladders are important tools to
analyse the qualitative level of participation and empowerment; however, they may lead the
reader to the misleading perception that to achieve higher levels of participation it is needed to
climb the entire ladder up, step by step from the bottom to the top in a causality function,
what may not be necessarily accurate. As any other social process, participation and
empowerment are flexible and unpredicted processes, and factors like political will, power
relation and awareness are essentials to  determine the movements of the quality of
empowerment and participation.
 
Anyhow, the challenge is to achieve higher levels of citizen’s control and youth initiated
initiatives sharing decision with adults, for a more equitable relation between youth and society.
For that, we propose more awareness about the youth internal  reality and associativism, by
civil society organisations; moreover, we also suggest more awareness by the youth about the
relationships among themselves and the rest of civil society, especially about their political role
in society, as they might perceive it. From more awareness, inter-generational partnerships (or
conflicts) may result, depending on how problem  is perceived and addressed by the different
actors, with their different powers. With more empowerment, the youth will be more able to
change the society in the way they perceive it, finding its place in the difficult paths of
development.

 

 

 

21 July, 2006 Posted by | Development, Youth | Leave a comment

On Alternative Development

On Alternative Development

 

The Hague, 16/Jan/2006 | By Rui Mesquita Cordeiro | rui@cidadania.org.br

ISS – Institute of Social Studies | Master student in Development Students 2005/2006

 

 

Introduction

 

Development, as a field of study and a planed practice, is on the spotlight since the end of the World War II and the creation of the United Nations, back in the 1940s. It was not accepted by anyone that after two wars of world proportions in half a century peace would not prevail. Hope was everywhere, and with it, development ideas and ideals were born towards a planet that was in poverty and disgrace.

 

Soon after this period, still during the reconstruction of European and Asian countries, the world became divided between two main paths towards development, two main ideals and two main ways of doing politics. Capitalism and socialism were starting another dispute, an ideological dispute. Suddenly the world was facing the brink of a new war, a Cold War.

 

Developmental ideas (and ideals) were also divided in two. In the end, those who believed that the path to development lies on free-market and liberal politics won that cold battle against those who believed that its path was more likely to lie on state control of the means of production. That “victory” happened by the beginning of the 1990s, with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

 

Hereafter, I will focus on what happened in between the extremities of this cold battle, with the very hearts and minds of some people who started to believe in alternatives out of the two main paths. Moreover, I will also focus on the current debate on alternative development and contrast it with the nowadays’ conventional development approach, a direct offspring of the victorious part of the Cold War.

 

Understanding Alternative Development

 

Historically, I identify three main facts related to the raise of an alternative development thinking and practice: (a) the Non Aligned Movement; (b) the emergence of new social movements; and (c) an intellectual academic production aiming towards alternatives.

 

The Non Aligned Movement was a worldwide political movement of governments declaring not to be aligned with either the socialist or the capitalist blocks. Over 100 countries formed this movement which the origin “can be traced to a conference hosted in Bandung, Indonesia in 1955. The world’s ‘non-aligned’ nations declared their desire not to become involved in the East-West ideological confrontation of the Cold War” (Wikipedia, 2005). This was a political signal of dissatisfaction with the way politics and development were being addressed by the middle of the 20th century.

 

Another fact was the emergence of the called new social movements, during the 1960s. Friedman says that many people “know the sixties as the decade of a ‘movement politics’ that stirred the world from Beijing to Paris” (1992:1). He talks about the new social movements of ecology, peace and woman, the China’s Cultural Revolution, the America’s Black Power movement and the Paris student uprising of May 1968 (most of these movements were youth led). Moreover, I stress that there were many others movements like, for instance, the reclaiming the streets youth movement in London (Weinstein, 2004:181), and the Zurich youth riots, the squatter movements in Berlin and Amsterdam and the runway-west conflicts in Frankfurt (Eckert and Willems, 1986); as well as in Latin America all the re-democratisation social movements, along the 1970s and 1980s. Before these movements emerge, there was basically the workers movement (said to be the “old movement”) in the social movement arena, and they were very aligned with the socialist block. Now, civil society gained force, and also it achieved some emancipation to do politics. Differently of the unions, the new social movements were doing politics outside the institutionalised framework of the political parties. In their agenda, they were reclaiming rights towards the state and society, and also they were bringing about new and alternative politics.

 

Influenced by both the previous two facts, among others, a new intellectual academic production emerged from the 1970s and on, looking for alternatives to our divided world. Scholars like Andre Gunder Frank (dependency theory), Paulo Freire (pedagogy of the oppressed), Jürgen Habermas (post-modernity), Ivan Illich (development as planed poverty), Majid Rahnema (post-development), John Friedman and David C. Korten (people-centred development), Dilip P. Gaonkar (alternative modernities), and many others, led to a complete new scene in development literature. For a more deeply understanding of the framework of alternative development thinking, let us focus on three of these contributions: post-development, people-centred development, and alternative modernities.

 

Post-development

 

Development achieved its end! That is the main Rahnema’s claim (2001:378) about the failure of the development strategies to achieve development. Rahnema refers to development as it was proposed in its early days, back to the 1940s and 1950s. He argues that development “was an ideology that was born and refined in the North, mainly to meet the needs of the dominant powers”; it was “imposed on its target populations”, being “the wrong answer to their true needs and aspirations” (ibid.:379). Once development has failed, now we live in an era of post-development. In addiction, Korten (1992:54) says that 650 million people lived in absolute poverty in 1970, and twenty years afterwards this number almost doubled to something in between 1 and 1.2 billion people. Consequently, how can we attribute any success to development at all throughout the second half of the 20th century?

 

The post-development era “does not imply in the end of a search for new possibilities of change”. Otherwise, it is a time to shift the focus, giving “birth to new forms of solidarity and friendship”. Furthermore, this shift “should prompt everyone to begin the genuine work of self-knowledge and self-polishing” (Rahnema, 2001:391). Rahnema argues that “if we want to change the world”, we should start “changing ourselves”, “overcoming our fears of the unknown and looking at things as they are, and not as we want them to be” (ibid.:392). The central point in post-development is the possibility to unmake development, as it was once planed, and give it many brand new faces, where everyone can be the example for a collective processes of positive change, where people can be in the centre of the action.

 

People-centred development

 

The people-centred development approach is the basis of the alternative development thinking, and it was pushed by militants (new social movements) and leftwing academics. They all opposed the way development was being held. Soon around the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s, they discovered some obvious things. The first one was that poverty and hunger were in higher levels than in the time United Nations was created, even with high level of production in both dominants economic systems, capitalism and socialism; the first one centred on the market forces, and the second one centred on the state force. Therefore, a second obvious issue was observed: where are the people? Must development agenda be market-centred, state-centred or, alternatively, people-centred? And that was not all: capitalism and socialism are both production-centred systems. Economic growth and its social implications was an important concern for both. It was natural, due to the increasing levels of production in both systems, to realise a third obvious thing: the world is finite and the environment should have been observed and respected, and that was not the case. After the collapse of the socialist doctrine the market forces found themselves free to explore and to exploit the resources of the planet in order to generate economic growth. For how long can our planet support an unsustainable growth centred-development?

 

John Friedman (1992) describes a moral justification for people-centred development, in harmony with the environment. He sustains his argumentation affirming that to be people-centred is to focus on the basic needs of the people, basically food, water and shelter; and in order to be in harmony with the environment, the planetary sustainability should be respected, and therefore growth should be limited. This view is in direct opposition to the mainstream development agenda, based on growth maximisation. Friedman also states that to defend this alternative development approach “has more to do with morality than facts” (ibid.:10). He shows us three foundations for a morally justified alternative people-centred development: “human rights, citizen rights and ‘human flourishing’” (ibid.). Firstly, on human rights, he defends the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, stressing its civil, political, economical and social rights, including liberty and basic needs. He says that a “wilful exclusion from these rights is a kind of violence on the person excluded” (ibid.). Secondly, on citizen rights, he brings about the importance of the “citizens’ relative autonomy vis-à-vis the state”, presuming, “therefore, a modern, democratic state, where the holders of authority are ultimately accountable to the people organised as a political community” (ibid.:11). Lastly, his third moral foundation is about “human flourishing”, an “evocative and open-ended” term (ibid.) that has to do with the possibility of each human being live up to her or his capacity.

 

David Korten (1984, 1992) also defends a people-centred approach for development and describes the main principals for an alternative development agenda. For him, poverty, environment degradation and communal violence are the three main elements of a global crisis (1992:54). To begin with poverty, he stresses the crescent number of people living in absolute poverty from the 1970s to the 1990s, as well as the inequality problem: “the trend toward increasing poverty accelerated in the 1980s as the gap between rich and poor grew at an alarming pace” (ibid.). Additionally, he highlights the mistreatment with the environment and the high levels of pollution, mainly caused by a production-centred logic: “the dominant logic of the industrial era was a production logic and its dominant goals were production centred” (1984:299). Then, he says that communal violence “is a manifestation of the increasing disintegration of our social fabric” (1992:55). In other words, violence is becoming common; it is becoming part of our day-by-day life, especially in Southern countries. For him, these problems are also related to the division of classes we face today. He divides the society in three classes: over-consumers (20% of the world population), sustainers (60%) and marginals (20%) (1992:59). Are those who are over-consumers ready to reduce their living standard in order to favour the inclusion of those marginals? To summarise, he says that “the survival of our civilization depends on committing ourselves to an alternative development practice guided by the three basic principals of authentic development: justice (priority must be given to ensuring a decent human existence for all people), sustainability (Earth’s resources must be used in ways that ensure the well-being of future generations), and inclusiveness (every person must have the opportunity to be recognised and respected contributor to family, community, and society)” (1992:60-61). These three principals are the main ones to understand and to define what alternative development is.

 

Alternative modernities

 

Alternative development aims for people, and people live in the local level: in our cities, communities, neighbourhoods and families. Each local space develops its own culture that interacts with a developing global culture. This interaction provokes changes and a constant scale shift: local-global and global-local. My perception tells me that the predominant tendency observed today is the global-local flow; thus, the local is being much more influenced by the global than the other way around. For the alternative development approach, more equilibrium in this equation is needed.

 

To better understand this global culture, we need to understand modernity. “Modernity is a term used to describe the condition of being ‘modern’. Since the term ‘modern’ is used to describe a wide range of periods, modernity must be taken in context” (Wikipedia, 2006a). For our recent world context, modernity has to do with a set of societal and cultural transformations that has taken place mostly, but not exclusively, in the western world. “Important events in the development of Modernity in this context include the arrival of the printing press, the English civil war, the American revolution, the French revolution, the revolutions of 1848, the Russian revolution, and the first and second world wars” (ibid.). For Gaonkar, modernity “has arrived not suddenly but slowly, bit-by-bit, over the longue durée–awakened by contact; transported through commerce; administered by empires, bearing colonial inscriptions; propelled by nationalism; and now increasingly steered by global media, migration, and capital” (2001:1). Modernity is composed by two pillars: societal and cultural modernisation. In one hand, he describes societal modernisation as those cognitive transformations that imply in a scientific consciousness with a secular outlook and a bureaucratic administrative structure seeking for efficiency, among others, being a source of convergent thinking. In another hand, he defines cultural modernity as a source of divergence that aimed to break traditions and was “repelled by the middle-class ethos” (ibid.:2). There were no norms for expressions; all kinds of expressions were valid. To look at this in another way, in one side societal modernity brings about ideas on progress and efficiency, and, in another side, cultural modernity brings about ideas on freedom and liberty; thus we can see that we are talking about liberal ideas. This liberal modernity is spreading around the whole world, and step-by-step it is becoming this single global culture that exercises some influence in our local contexts.

 

Once this is modernity, where do we find alternative modernities? Gaonkar’s conclusion is that modernity itself is not one, but many; it is not new, but old and familiar; and it is incomplete and necessary. Depending on the way one interpret the world, different and alternative modernities can emerge.

 

In alternative modernities the local should exercise some influence in the global. Vandana Shiva gives us examples on how western science is destroying local knowledge. She says that “modern science is projected as a universal, value-free system of knowledge which has displaced all other belief and knowledge systems by its universality and value-neutrality” (Shiva, 1989:162). Moreover, while quoting Keller and Harding, she adds an important feminist critique to it stating that the “founding fathers of modern science are almost all white, middle-class, bourgeois males” (ibid.).

 

Altogether, the possibility of thinking in alternative modernities means that it is not all about change. Some things, like local cultures, should be kept, if this is the whish of their owners. Alternative modernities open space to balance the initial equation on the scale influence balance, making local-global flow at the same influence level of the global-local flow. It is true that the local is becoming global, but equating the equation the global can also have the opportunity to become local.

 

Contrasting Conventional and Alternative Development Today

 

As previously said, the current conventional development approach is a direct offspring of the victorious side of the Cold War. It is very much linked to the mainstream modernity (societal and cultural), as well as it is very much committed to the promotion of economic growth via free-markets (production-centred). The combination of these two characteristics forms the so called neo-liberalism, because together they mix liberal politics and market-oriented economics.

 

Accordingly to Michael Peters (1999), Friedrich von Hayek is one of the fathers of neo-liberalism. He says that Hayek defends the idea of market as a “spontaneous product of human action”, not predicted by human “intelligent design”. Furthermore, he says that “Hayek’s liberalism emphasized: methodological individualism; homo economicus, based on assumptions of individuality, rationality, self-interest; and the doctrine of spontaneous order” (ibid.).

 

In neo-liberalism, individuals are free to accumulate as much wealth as they can. Its ethical justification lies on the fact that equity is based on equal opportunities (not on equal access to resources). Theoretically, if everyone has the same opportunity to accumulate wealth, and one does not succeed, it is his or her individual fault only. For those who historically could not accumulate wealth, whatever reason, the answer is not to share the current wealth; otherwise, it is to make economic growth happen once again, so that those who are not wealthy enough can try another time, using his or her labour force, on the opportunity sea of the new surplus-value created. This becomes clearer when we look at the concept of homo economicus: “Homo economicus is a term used for an approximation or model of Homo sapiens that acts to obtain the highest possible well-being for himself given available information about opportunities and other constraints, both natural and institutional, on his ability to achieve his predetermined goals” (Wikipedia, 2006b).

 

Globalisation has an important role to play in the neo-liberal development agenda. Through it, neo-liberalism is achieving more global influence and power, in our anarchic international political system. For Thirlwall, it is a question of interdependence: “the term globalisation refers to all those forces operating in the world economy that increase interdependence and at the same time make countries more and more dependent on forces outside of their control” (2003:13). Accordingly to him, among these forces are: the “widening and freeing of trade”; the “growth of global capital markets”; “more foreign direct investment”; a “greater movement of people breaking down cultural barriers”; the “spread of information technology”; and “new international institutions as the World Trade Organisation, reducing national autonomy” (ibid.:13-15).

 

The conventional neo-liberal development is a system where women and men serve the economy. On it, people become economic commodities in the spontaneity of the market, which only helps to increase the world inequality gap. This is in direct opposition to the alternative development approach, once it is people-centred, and it leads to social justice, a sustainable future, and an inclusive political and economical society. On the alternative development approach, economy serves people, and local level realities and power are very much important, once it is there where people is born, live[1], and die.

 

 

Comparing Developments

 

To establish a straight forward comparison among the old and the new conventional development and the perspectives on alternative development, it is important to define some criteria. Firstly, by conventional development we will focus on the old socialism and the current neo-liberalism. Secondly, by alternative development we will focus on the people-centred approach and on alternative modernities. Lastly, to analyse altogether, we will briefly look at their rationale, objectives, principals, actors and practices, as follows:

 

 

Criteria

Conventional development

Alternative development

Old Socialism

Neo-liberalism

People-centred Development

Alternative Modernities

Rationale

State-centred (state controls the means of production).

Power exercised by the proletariats (single party system).

Materialistic.

Growth-centred.

Individualism (homo economicus).

Free market forces.

Power at individuals to decide in democratic systems.

Secular and scientific outlook.

People-centred.

Basic needs and environment.

Empowerment of people.

Local access and control of resources.

Modernity is not one, but many.

Modernity is not new, but old and familiar.

Modernity is incomplete.

Objectives

Redistribution of resources.

Wealth generation.

Growth maximisation.

Globalisation.

Justice, sustainability and inclusiveness.

Global network of local economies.

Participatory democracies.

Many modernities.

From local to global.

Privilege culture specific knowledge.

Principals

Collectivism.

Equality.

Freedom and liberty.

Representative democracy.

Competitiveness.

Privet property.

Human rights, citizen rights and human flourishing.

Cooperation and self-reliance.

Harmony with the environment.

Continuous process.

Multiculturalism.

Solidarity.

Respect to the local cultures.

Actors

Classes.

Communist party.

State and government.

Individuals.

Companies (market).

International institutions: IMF[2], WTO[3], WB[4], and so forth.

The community.

People.

Social movements.

NGOs[5].

Grassroots organisations.

Civil society.

Local societies.

People.

Practices

Dictatorship of the “proletariat”.

Armed repression to keep the control.

Profit maximisation.

Exploitation of the environment.

Imperialism.

Market force to keep the control.

Poverty and inequality.

Local empowerment and participation.

Economics: social economy, LETS[6] and SHG[7].

Gender outlook.

Social movement protests.

Fight against the oppressors.

Local and global civil society encounters.

Creativity.

Self-awareness.

Inclusiveness.

Acceptance of diversity.

Cultural resistance.

 

This table shows the differences and similarities between the different approaches. The importance of adding the old socialist system in this comparison is due to the historical moment when alternative development approach was first discussed. Nowadays, undoubtedly, the mainstream is the neo-liberal approach. The fact that the socialist system is not anymore on the scene does not mean that neo-liberalism is completely free to make the game the ways it likes it. Today the principal obstacles for neo-liberalism, as seen on the table, are originated by people themselves, forming a wide range of local alternatives under the umbrella of alternative development.

 

Network of Solidary Resistance, a Case Study

 

To illustrate this reflection, let us focus on the example of an alternative development practice, original from the city of Recife, north-eastern Brazil.

 

Accordingly to its constituency project (Rede de Resistência Solidária, 2005), the Network of Solidary Resistance, is an “affective and solidary space of provocative dialog for the raising of new community practices”. It is an autonomous and informal organisation, “constituted by cooperated individuals and collectives[8] who are searching for social transformation”, through the logic of a social economy system. The Network proposes “new labour and social relations, more equalitarian and with more solidarity”. It is focused on the communities of its members, and the initiatives are led by the proponents in a horizontal and human internal relation.

 

The Network is the direct result of the agglutination of force among many marginalised people and collectives from the periphery of Recife. They intended to strengthen themselves to overcome their exclusion. Recife is one of the largest Brazilian cities, and also one of its more unequal cities. It has a municipal population of 1.5 million, and a total metropolitan population of about 3.6 millions inhabitants[9]. It is located in north-eastern Brazil, that accordingly to UNDP[10] it is the most unequal region in Brazil (PNUD, 12/12/2005). Recife’s Gini index, 0.68, is the highest among all Brazilian capitals (ibid.). These data gives some clue about the social conditions in Brazilian big cities. It is not all, beside inequality violence is one of the worst problems facing Recife day-by-day life.

 

To explore more details about this case let us focus in some important aspects that can be linked to the discussion on this paper:

 

The rationale behind the Network of Solidary Resistance is based on resistance and fight against inequality. Deliberately, it opposes the neo-liberal ideals and intends to empower people in their own communities. One of the most important facts is to guarantee local control of their means of subsistence, through networks of self-help and social economy. It is very close to the rationale of the people-centred approach.

 

The three main objectives of the Network are: “to network (articulation where everyone is an independent and solidary cooperated); to resist (through democratization of their means of production and diffusion of local information, culture, education and work); and solidarity (to give and to receive in the benefit of all)” (Rede de Resistência Solidária, 2005). Another time, it is linked to the people-centred approach with some confluence to alternative modernities’ objectives.

 

The guiding principals of the Network are: “liberty, self-reliance, solidarity, collective action, honesty, equality and affectivity” (ibid.). Here there is a mixture of principals from the four models analysed.

 

With one year of activity – it was constituted in January 2005 – the main actors of the Network are approximately 250 individual and around 50 grassroots organisations affiliated. They are all responsible for managing the Network. In general, these organisations are all youth led organisations, informal and with strong community ties. Among them, there are: community radios “(Radio Viração FM)”, communication producers “(Ventilador Cultural, Revista Salve S.A., IN-Bolada Record’s, Zine De Cara com a poesia, Núcleo Gráfico Maloca de Sonhos)”, youth NGOs “(Coletivo Êxito D’Rua, Academia de Desenvolvimento Social)”, fair-trade shops “(Seres Sub-Shop)”, gender issue groups “(Rosas Urbanas, Força Mista)”, cultural groups “(Atitude Real, Mustar rap, 4E crew, A.P.S. Crew, Movimento Hip Hop Gospel Crer, Rima vs Rua, Mangue Crew, L.E. Crew, Inquilinus, 33 Gets Crew, Irmanadas, Donas, OPG Crew)”, community associations from at least 30 communities, and so forth (ibid.). Altogether, they clearly reflect the actors described as from people-centred approach and alternative modernities.

 

On its practice, the Network is gathering once a week to plan its actions. It divides its practice in three main pillars: “action (five radio programs, a monthly graffiti collective action, an artistic-solidary space, some fanzines, one alternative magazine and awareness campaigns); structure (a music recording studio, an independent musical seal, a fair-trade shop, t-shirts production, a graphical centre, a community school); and ethical internal management (empowerment of those cooperated and self-reliance, among others)” (ibid.). Once more, it fits better in the people-centred and alternative modernities approaches.

 

The Network has already achieved some short-term impacts, and it has planned its middle and long-term impacts as follows: in the short-term, it already achieved the “union of individuals and collectives, all previously actives in society, to make their actions more confident, interlinked and solidary”; “in the middle-term, it is intended to make all action self-reliance on each community”; and in the long-term, “economical liberty through new kinds of organisation for sustainability” is on its aim (ibid.).

 

Galo de Souza, founding member of the Network of Solidary Resistance, and originally from Coletivo Êxito d’Rua, says that “we need to produce solutions that bring the oppressed ones to be cooperative for their own liberation; we need to produce food, information, clothes, music, films, ideas and community ideals, reflecting ourselves. The community must consume what is produced there, what is expressed, felt and thought to its liberation” (de Souza, 2005:2).

 

He is referring to “community liberation” (ibid.) and to new forms of local economic systems jointed with local culture and self-awareness. The ground is the local social economy system, as an alternative to neo-liberalism. Social economy system is said to be a very good alternative for the emancipation and growth of local economies, based in solidary and cooperative values of production. Paraphrasing Williams, Aldridge and Tooke (2003:154-155), social economy is a way to tackle social exclusion, and it is an alternative to both formal and informal sectors of conventional economy.

 

In general, it is clear that through this kind of initiative, grassroots and community organisations, and people, are trying to break on through the great inequality gap of Brazilian cities. They are bringing about hope not only for themselves, but to many others, in the sea of fear that ordinary life of marginalised people has become.

 

Conclusions

 

Hope! This is the most important thing about alternatives approaches towards development. Marginalised people need hope to keep on fighting for a better life.

 

Alternative development has emerged in between waves of fear, during the Cold War. From social movements to politics, from feelings to scientific literature, it has been breaking on through the tides of pessimism and fear of recent history. From the Cold War to the neo-liberal world of today, alternative development is opening up possibilities of a better future for those who believe there is something wrong in the world, the way it has been organised in the last centuries.

 

Socially, alternative development gives voice, power and emancipation to people to decide about their own present and future; furthermore, it points to social justice, human and civil rights, and environmental sustainability as important issues to be set on the agenda. Economically, it is drawing concrete and inclusive alternatives to the current economic system, especially in the local level; however, the path ahead is still tremendously huge, as huge as the international powers of neo-liberalism. Politically, participatory democracy is starting to challenge representative democracy in the debate on the quality and the level of democracy. Morally, it is very well grounded and committed to people; additionally, it is not a singularity in itself, once it is not proposing any miracle blueprint to development. Academically, it has been a promising space for new thinking and for questioning of the present; however, it still lacks more space and recognition. Practically, it has already a great number of adopters, worldwide. Even not necessarily aware of the subject, they are proposing, implementing and achieving new practices, behaviours, relations and hope for society. Altogether, alternative development is a way to promote the promised people’s revolution without guns.

 


References

 

·         De Souza, Galo (2005) Liberdade Comunitária. Recife: Rede de Resistência Solidária.[11]

·         Eckert, Roland & Willems, Helmut (1986) Youth Protests in Western Europe: Four case studies. In: Lang, Kurt & Lang, Glayds Engel (1986) Research in Social Movements, Conflict and Change, Vol. 9. London: Jai Press Inc.

·         Friedman, John (1992) Empowerment – The Politics of Alternative Development. Cambridge: Blackwell Publishers.

·         Gaonkar, Dilip P. (2001) On Alternative Modernities. In: Gaonkar, Dilip P. (ed.) Alternative Modernities. Durham: Duke University Press.

·         Korten, David C. (1984) People Centred Development: Toward a Framework. In: Korten, David C. & Klauss, Rudi (1984) People Centred Development. West Hartford: Kumarian Press.

·         Korten, David C. (1992) People-Centred Development, in Bauzon, Kenneth E. – Development and Democratization in the Third World – Myths, Hopes, and Realities. New York: Yeshiva University.

·         Peters, Michael (1999) Neoliberalism. On 15/Jan/2005, at http://www.vusst.hr/ENCYCLOPAEDIA/neoliberalism.htm [12]

·         PNUD, Boletim Diário Brasil (12/12/2005) Capitais nordestinas são as mais desiguais. Brasília: UNDP Brazil, at http://www.pnud.org.br/pobreza_desigualdade/reportagens/index.php?id01=1667&lay=pde [13]

·         Rahnema, Majid (1997) Towards Post-Development: searching for signposts, a new language and new paradigms, in: Rahnema, Majid & Bawtree, Victoria (1997) The Post-Development Reader. Dhaka: University Press LTD.

·         Rede de Resistência Solidária (2005) Projeto de Constituição. Recife: Rede de Resistência Solidária.[14]

·         Shiva, Vandana (1989) Western Science and its Destruction of Local Knowledge, in: Rahnema, Majid & Bawtree, Victoria (1997) The Post-Development Reader. Dhaka: University Press LTD.

·         Thirlwall, A. P. (2003) Growth and Development. New York: Palgrave.

·         Weinstain, Mark (2004) Political Activism and Youth in Britain. In: Todd, Malcolm J. & Taylor, Gary (2004) Democracy and Participation: Popular protests and new social movements. London: Merlin Press.

·         Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2005) Non-Aligned Movement. On 14-Jan-2006, at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-Aligned_Movement

·         Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2006a) Modernity. On 14-Jan-2006, at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modernity

·         Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2006b) Homo economicus. On 15-Jan-2006, at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_economicus

·         Williams, Coin C.; Aldridge, Theresa & Tooke, Jane (2003) Alternative Exchange Spaces. In: Leyshon, Andrew; Lee, Roger & Williams, Colin C. (2003) Alternative Economic Spaces. London: Sage Publications.

 


[1] For Friedman (1992:10), people should not only live but also flourish.

[2] IMF: International Monetary Fund – http://www.imf.org/

[3] WTO: World Trade Organisation – http://www.wto.int/

[4] WB: World Bank – http://www.worldbank.org/

[5] NGO: Non Governmental Organisations

[6] LETS: Local Exchange Trade Systems – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LETS

[7] SHG: Self-Help Groups

[8] By collective it means all kinds of grassroots and community based organisations.

[9] Accordingly to City Population ©, in 01 July 2005: http://www.citypopulation.de/Brazil.html

[10] UNDP: United Nations Development Program: http://www.pnud.org.br/ (Brazilian website)

[11] This original text is in Portuguese. All translations were done by the author. Reference in English as follows: De Souza, Galo (2005) Community Liberty. Recife: Network of Solidary Resistance.

[12] The link only works with the capital letters on for “ENCYCLOPAEDIA”.

[13] This original text is in Portuguese. All translations were done by the author. Reference in English as follows: UNDP, Daily Bulletin Brazil (12/12/2005) North-eastern capitals are the most unequal. Brasília: UNDP Brazil.

[14] This original text is in Portuguese. All translations were done by the author. Reference in English as follows: Network of Solidary Resistance (2005) Constituency Project. Recife: Network of Solidary Resistance. 

16 January, 2006 Posted by | Development, Intl Cooperation | Leave a comment

Participation is a necessary condition for poverty alleviation

Participation is a necessary condition for poverty alleviation

 

The Hague, 15/Dec/2005 | By Rui Mesquita Cordeiro | rui@cidadania.org.br

 

 

Development has been usually addressed towards “poor” people and not to people in general; as a result, it generates top-down pro-development strategies, which are designed by those who do not identify themselves as “poor” but do categorise others as such. The result is that such approaches generate unequal growth-centred vertical relations, and consequently no sustainable development. Alternatively, there are some people-centred and bottom-up approaches that are more focused in horizontal relations. These are usually using participation and empowerment as the strongest means to generate sustainable development from within. By stressing that, I state my agreement to the topic and move forward defining these concepts.

 

“Different interpretations of reality translate into different poverty measures”[1]. Through this statement, Laderchi, Saith and Stewart try to stress that poverty has no single meaning, and either it has no single approach. They try to define poverty through four different approaches: the monetary approach, the capability approach, the social exclusion approach, and the participatory approach.

 

Firstly, the monetary approach “identifies poverty with a shortfall in consumption (or income) from some poverty line” (ibid.). Secondly, the capability approach says that “development should be seen as the expansion of human capabilities, not the maximisation of utility, or its proxy, money income” (Sen 1985; Sen 1999: ibid. Laderchi, Saith and Stewart), drawing “attention to a much wider range of causes of poverty and options for policies than the monetary approach”. Thirdly, the social exclusion approaches describes “the processes of marginalisation and deprivation that can arise even within rich countries with comprehensive welfare provisions” (ibid.), being “the only one that focuses intrinsically, rather than as an add-on, on the processes and dynamics which allow deprivation to arise and persist” (ibid.). Finally, the participatory approach is meant by Laderchi, Saith and Stewart as the one that counterpart the three previous approaches, because the three of them are “externally imposed and not taking into account the views of poor people themselves”.

 

In addiction to those approaches and concepts on poverty, the concept of participation itself is equally important. Kingsbury says that “development is meant to be about improving the lives of people so it is logical that development should start with people”[2]. As previously said, that means that development starts from within, from empowering and strengthening people to bust their own development, in bottom-up processes of decision making. Ultimately, this is participation. Participation ideas were formulated by a selection of many ideological and theoretical roots[3], such as the Theology of Liberation by Paulo Freire (identification of the oppressors) and the Alternative Development by Escobar Korten (justice, sustainability and inclusiveness), among others.

 

Overall, I agree that participation is not only a necessary condition for poverty alleviation, but it is an essential one. Furthermore, it becomes especially important to achieve a sustainable level of development, where people become creators and owners of their own progress.

 

 


[1] Ruggeri Laderchi, C.; Saith, R.; & Stewart, F. (2003). Does it matter that we don’t agree on the definition of poverty? A comparison of four approaches. Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford. http://www2.qeh.ox.ac.uk/pdf/qehwp/qehwps107.pdf

[2] Kingsbury, D. (2005). Community Development: In Kingsbury, D. et al., Key Issues in Development. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

[3] Class notes from course 2101 (Development Theories and Strategies) – session 10, at the Institute of Social Studies, in 06 December 2005, on Participation and Development, by Marlène Buchy.

15 December, 2005 Posted by | Development | Leave a comment

Be young and shut up? Youth Uprisings: from 1968 to 2005

Be young and shut up?

Youth Uprisings: from 1968 to 2005

 

The Hague, 09/Nov/2005 | By Rui Mesquita Cordeiro | rui@cidadania.org.br

Thirty seven years after French student riots in Paris (May 1968), new riots take place in France. 

May 1968 represented a great historic point for social movements in Europe and the whole world. Youth, as students, started an insurrection in France that quickly gained force and for little did not take revolutionary proportions. It started with protest for “the closure and the threatened expulsion of several students”[1] at the University of Paris at Nanterre. This generated students’ strikes through universities and schools, and soon it became also a worker’s strikes, all over France, stopping from half to two-thirds of French workforce at the time. 

They were calling attention for something wrong happening in the world: personal frustration, wars, unemployment, poverty, inequality and others (see what was shown in slogans and graffiti by the end of this document)

Peaceful students’ and worker’s strikes soon became violent, after state (through police) intervention in occupied university and workplaces, under de Gaulle orders. But instead of controlling the riots, state intervention helped to sensitise others to join protests and strikes. 

Art played a very import role in 1968 riots. It was a youthful way to protest against what was wrong. Many posters, like the ones used in this paper, represent the artistic and peaceful youth movement. 

The movement gave space to discussion about development and freedom. Around the same historical moment, others new player movements were also taking place. John Friedman[2] (1992: 1) talks about “the new social movements of ecology, peace and women” and the “Paris student uprising of May 1968” as part of the origins of Alternative Development thinking.

 History seems to be ironic. Or so are human beings.

 After 37 years, the same problems are still in place: personal frustration, wars, unemployment, poverty, inequality. Not only in France, but worldwide. After two young French died on 27 October 2005, new youth riots starts over Paris and France. The deaths happened after a police chase or a “tragic misunderstanding”[3], according to French authorities.

The dead young men were French citizens, but sons of immigrants. They used to live in the suburbs of Paris, and as many immigrants and decedents, excluded from the same social life that is common for “pure” French citizens.

That was enough to reveal again the youth voice that was hidden under the curtains of our world social structure. And new youth riots started again, over days and weeks in France!

And like in 1968, this time it was only started by youth. It is not only this suburban youth which is suffering of exclusion, but also their families and adults neighbours. Quickly it is becoming a riot in partnership among youth and other excluded, basically muslins and immigrants.

Mr. de Villepin, French Prime Minister, has copied Mr. de Gaulle in 1968, and asked police intervention, what again only stimulated further protests. I wonder whether french authorities remember or not their own history. As a direct result of police intervention, youth protests quickly are spreading over Paris and in many other cities in France, where immigrant population suffers of similar problems. Even other rich countries in Western Europe started to fear that similar youth riots could also take place there, given the social problems.

All over the world, similar social and economical problems generate youth restlessness and further action. But it is only in times of crises, when youth tries to use some hard power instead of their usual soft power, that media and governments pay attention to youth action, manifestation and initiatives. And the worse is that it’s always labelling youth as bad persons, productive less, vagabonds and anarchists (in the wrong meaning of this word).

There are lots of youth organisations, all over the world, addressing and stressing many different issues in society. They use their soft power all the time to fight inequalities. And like in 1968 they are also using art to deliver their message. Have you ever heard the real Hip-Hop expression?

When is the adult world stopping to really listen the youth? There is an inter-generational conflict installed since a long time ago. We just close our eyes to it!

Youth can bring very good answers. Actually they bring answers! Take a look on the websites below and be surprised with the quantity and quality of grassroots work youth is leading all over the world. Some of these websites have the same intention of the 1968 posters. Be aware that the great majority of the current youth organisations do not maintain website on the internet. This is just a simple and small sample of the whole greater picture.

Latin America:
http://www.movimentojuvenil.org.br/
http://www.iica.org.uy/redlat/
http://www.joveneslac.org/ 

North America:
http://www.youthmovements.org/
http://www.takingitglobal.org/
http://www.youthradio.org/ 

Europe:
http://www.ojala.nl/
http://www.unoy.org/
http://www.cje.org/oje/

Africa:
http://www.azapo.org.za/
http://www.mysakenya.org/
http://www.youthmedia.org.zm/ 

Asia:
http://www.game4change.org/
http://www.takingitglobal.org/resources/orgs/view.html?OrgID=4896
http://www.takingitglobal.org/resources/orgs/view.html?OrgID=7537

Youth is not shutting up! Youth is speaking up! And it is bringing alternative forms of development and hope for society. But it seems that the adult world is not interested and consequently not partnering with youth to (re)build the present.

A tension is installed and from time to time it just blows up! That’s what is happening again in France, an explosive mixture of social injustice and intergenerational tension.

Both riots did not happen because youth is violent, but because the world is unfair. Much more violent were/are politicians and their greed. They created wars and the current unequal social structure we have.

And how about the future? How many riots like these we still need to wait in the future? The turbulence in France will pass, but what about injustice? Will it too?

Youth uprisings of 1968 changed French and western societies in many ways: culturally, sexually, intellectually and even politically.

Will this new youth upraise of 2005 change society again somehow? Will we realise that the biggest challenge and problem we face today in our planet is inequality? This is what youth is claming now! Will we listen to them?

I believe we (as society) have two paths to follow: listen youth through their soft power or through their hard power. Which one we choose, will give us very different consequences.

________________________________________ 

Slogans and graffiti one could see on French streets and posters in May 1968[4]:

 

L’ennui est contre-révolutionnaire.

Boredom is counterrevolutionary.

Pas de replâtrage, la structure est pourrie.

No replastering, the structure is rotten.

Nous ne voulons pas d’un monde où la certitude de ne pas mourir de faim s’échange contre le risque de mourir d’ennui.

We want nothing of a world in which the certainty of not dying from hunger comes in exchange for the risk of dying from boredom.

Ceux qui font les révolutions à moitié ne font que se creuser un tombeau.

Those who make revolutions by halves do but dig themselves a grave.

On ne revendiquera rien, on ne demandera rien. On prendra, on occupera.

We will claim nothing, we will ask for nothing. We will take, we will occupy.

Plebiscite : qu’on dise oui qu’on dise non il fait de nous des cons.

Plebiscite: Whether we say yes or no, it makes chumps of us.

Depuis 1936 j’ai lutté pour les augmentations de salaire. Mon père avant moi a lutté pour les augmentations de salaire. Maintenant j’ai une télé, un frigo, une VW. Et cependant j’ai vécu toujours la vie d’un con. Ne négociez pas avec les patrons. Abolissez-les.

Since 1936 I have fought for wage increases. My father before me fought for wage increases. Now I have a TV, a fridge, a Volkswagen. Yet my whole life I’ve been a chump. Don’t negotiate with the bosses. Abolish them.

Le patron a besoin de toi, tu n’as pas besoin de lui.

The boss needs you, you don’t need him.

Travailleur: Tu as 25 ans mais ton syndicat est de l’autre siècle.

Worker: You are 25, but your union is from the last century.

Veuillez laisser le Parti communiste aussi net en en sortant que vous voudriez le trouver en y entrant.

Please leave the Communist Party as clean on leaving as you would like to find it on entering.

Je suis marxiste tendance Groucho.

I am a Marxist of the Groucho tendency.

Soyez réalistes, demandez l’impossible.

Be realistic, ask for the impossible.

 

On achète ton bonheur. Vole-le.

Your happiness is being bought. Steal it.

Sous les pavés, la plage !

Beneath the cobblestones, the beach!

Ni Dieu ni maître !

Neither God nor master!

Godard : le plus con des suisses pro-chinois !

Godard: the biggest of all the pro-Chinese Swiss assholes!

Soyons cruels !

Let us be cruel!

Comment penser librement à l’ombre d’une chapelle ?

How can one think freely in the shadow of a chapel?

À bas la charogne stalinienne ! À bas les groupuscules récupérateurs !

Down with the Stalinist carcass! Down with the recuperator cells!

Vivre sans temps mort – jouir sans entraves

Live without dead time [ie. work-time] – enjoy without chains.

Il est interdit d’interdire.

It is forbidden to forbid.

Dans une société qui a aboli toute aventure, la seule aventure qui reste est celle d’abolir la société.

In a society that has abolished all adventures, the only adventure left is to abolish society.

Et cependant tout le monde veut respirer et personne ne peut respirer et beaucoup disent ” nous respirerons plus tard. ” Et la plupart ne meurent pas car ils sont déjà morts.

Meanwhile everyone wants to breathe and nobody can breathe and many say, “We will breathe later.” And most of them don’t die because they are already dead.

L’émancipation de l’homme sera totale ou ne sera pas.

The liberation of humanity will be total or it will not be.

La révolution est incroyable parce que vraie.

The revolution is incredible because it’s real.

Je suis venu. J’ai vu. J’ai cru.

I came. I saw. I believed.

Cours, camarade, le vieux monde est derrière toi !

Run, comrade, the old world is behind you!

Il est douloureux de subir les chefs, il est encore plus bête de les choisir.

It’s painful to submit to our bosses; it’s even stupider to pick them.

Un seul week-end non révolutionnaire est infiniment plus sanglant qu’un mois de révolution permanente.

A single nonrevolutionary weekend is infinitely more bloody than a month of permanent revolution.

Le bonheur est une idée neuve.

Happiness is a new idea.

La culture est l’inversion de la vie.

Culture is the inversion of life.

La poésie est dans la rue.

Poetry is in the street.

L’art est mort, ne consommez pas son cadavre.

Art is dead, don’t consume its corpse.

L’alcool tue. Prenez du L.S.D.

Alcohol kills. Take LSD.

Debout les damnés de l’Université.

Arise, wretched of the University.

Même si Dieu existait il faudrait le supprimer.

Even if God existed he would have to be suppressed.

SEXE : C’est bien, a dit Mao, mais pas trop souvent.

SEX: It’s okay, says Mao, but not too often.

Je t’aime! Oh! dites-le avec des pavés!

I love you! Oh, say it with cobblestones!

Camarades, l’amour se fait aussi en Sc. Po, pas seulement aux champs.

Comrades, people are making love in the classrooms, not just in the fields.

Mort aux vaches!

Death to the cows (police)!

 

 

  Note:  All pictures were taken from Mark Vallen’s “Art for a Change” website:

http://www.art-for-a-change.com/Paris/paris.html

 


[1] Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The Events of May. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1968_student_riots#The_Events_of_May | 09 November 2005

[2] Friedman, John. Empowerment: The Politics of Alternative Development. Cambridge MA: Blackwell, 1992.

[3] BBC News. The deaths that set Clichy ablaze. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4399070.stm | 06 November 2005

[4] Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Slogans and graffiti from May 1968. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1968_student_riots#Slogans_and_graffiti | 09 November 2005

9 November, 2005 Posted by | Governance, Youth | Leave a comment

Dependency Theory and International-Local Development

Dependency Theory and International-Local Development

 

The Hague, 19/Oct/2005 | By Rui Mesquita Cordeiro | rui@cidadania.org.br

 

 

In a provocative interview for Mother Jones E-Journal, Jeffrey Sachs, an economist for the United Nations, comes up with some points defending more co-operation among rich and poor countries for developmental ends. United Nations has said that more development aid should be given on a local level, bypassing governments, for more immediate and effective outcomes, empowering local organisations. That is aligned with Sachs’ proposal “to help people help themselves”. He says that it can be done through international co-operation focusing practical investments on very basic things, all at once, such as immunizations against well known diseases, access to water or food production to fight hunger, using our current technology. For that, he believes in public “pressuring rich nations to set aside 0.7 percent of GNP for development aid”.

 

Sachs’ ideas can be related with the called dependency theory in many aspects. First of all in the sense that poor countries or communities need help from outside, either financial or technological. F. H. Cardoso (1970’s) writes about it and calls it dependent development. It is a way to think that development of peripherical countries or regions can be done without delinking from rich countries co-operation. In opposition to that idea, A. G. Frank (1950’s), one of the pioneers of the dependency theory, says that delinking “metropolis and satellites” relation is the way to avoid what he calls the development of underdevelopment, a historical and structural approach to explain the development of the current rich countries over the exploitation of the current underdeveloped countries. One’s can also reflect that development aid throughout the last decades is being based on poor countries contracting debt from international institutions based in the rich countries, generating a new kind of dependence relation, called by M. Castells and R. Laserna (1990’s) of new dependency, while Sachs seems to agree that bypassing governments and sending aid directly to the local level, through donations with no pay back agreement, can avoid this new kind of dependence relation.

 

I agree with Sachs’ arguments mainly because I believe that each day, more and more, alternative and effective solutions for our world society, in general, should be based and decided at local and international arenas, rather than at the national level. In one hand empowerment, governance, autonomy and participation of and in the local level and, in another hand, political willing, governance, cooperation, democracy and peace in and for the international level will be decisive for the political and economical choices we, as humanity, shall make to address our own global development all over the entire planet. I also believe that international-local and local-international co-operation is a way to alleviate the historical and international economical gap we face today basically everywhere, what makes that many simple problems are still going on, together with a growing inequality. But, at international level, who’s talking for us?

 

 

____________________________

Reference:

The End of Poverty: An Interview with Jeffrey Sachs – One of the world’s top economists offers a blueprint for transforming the developing world.

Interviewed by Onnesha Roychoudhuri on May 6, 2005

(Mother Jones E-Journal, http://www.motherjones.com/news/qa/2005/05/jeffrey_sachs.html)

19 October, 2005 Posted by | Development, Intl Cooperation | Leave a comment