<![CDATA[¥OURWORLD - Walks & Talks]]>Sun, 13 Dec 2015 05:49:41 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Capacity Development or Self Organized Learning]]>Tue, 30 Dec 2014 12:20:10 GMThttp://y-ourworld.weebly.com/walks--talks/capacity-development-or-self-organized-learningFoto
By Mulugeta Dejenu

Capacity needs have systemic roots and are not isolated or standalone problems but rather interconnected parts reinforcing each other. This implies that capacity needs are interconnected and have to be addressed from a systemic point of view and not unilaterally based on a “wish list” of donors. How do we do that? What capacity is lacking? What are its systemic roots? How can effective learning being enhanced? How can we stimulate effective learning? These important questions will lead us to the basic philosophy of human learning.


Over the last decade partner capacity assessments were done at different times, formally and informally with the purpose to identify key areas of support. The assessments that were done were mostly linear in their thinking, heavily focused on assessing gaps and suggesting unilateral solutions despite the capacity problems being systemic. Assessments often end up with endless wish lists. Those wish lists are often given to comply with or make happy those who made the request for them. The wish lists may not necessarily represent what the learners want. Solutions to capacity gaps are often addressed mainly through trainings, the topic, design and delivery of which were decided by the assessor of the capacity needs and not by the learner himself. This often leads to learners attending learning events that they do not want. From stakeholders perspective the impact of such training was not often as effective as needed.

Capacity development is not about imparting skills and knowledge only but changing behaviours and practices to sustain them. It is the understanding of the key drivers of capacity development (CD) that makes the difference. Capacity Development is finding the right foci and a model that works and finding the right tools to support the modality, sustain it and scaling it. Again the drivers of CD inter alia are the intrinsic motivation people have to learn, where the energy and the desire come from the activity of learning itself and not from outside where it is extrinsically pushed.  It is the liberty that learners have to be given to decide on their learning purposes (choices)  and strategies that bring about change of behaviour and practices in human learning and not deciding what is best for them from without.

Learning is about being aware of one’s processes (task or learning processes), putting our customized behaviour of learning into conscious awareness. The freedom and choice to learn challenges our usual learning skills and enhances adaptive and reflective learning practices. This is because, our learning purposes are negotiated from within our workplace, private or social life and determined based on their relevance to us as we see them fit and not someone from outside deciding for us.  Not only is the purpose of learning determined by the learners but the strategy and the evaluation criteria that they develop to monitor their own learning (the outcomes) and the review that they make at the end of each learning cycle.  This brings us to the Personal Learning Contract (PLC) that the learner develops as opposed to the “wish lists” that do not in the majority of cases seem not to have direct relevance to what the learners want to learn about. The learning conversation that the learner makes within his mind and with his colleagues brings out his mental model “schemata” for others to critique it and in the process of which new insights and new meanings (learning) are formed. Learning is about a change of schemata or mental representation. It is an inference with evidence from experience, behaviour and can be nurtured through learning conversations and continual support. It is personal and can be accessed by the learner himself and to others when it becomes explicit during learning conversations. The learner can always access training as a resource in the pursuit of his own learning deciding which training courses he would like to attend (not imposed on him) and may also be shown in his strategy (PLC) of acquiring new skills in preferred fields. Those may not necessarily be the same as the external stakeholders have in mind.

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<![CDATA[Poor Governance and the death of Civic Agency; the dilemma of institutional change in Zimbabwe]]>Thu, 24 Apr 2014 21:31:44 GMThttp://y-ourworld.weebly.com/walks--talks/poor-governance-and-the-death-of-civic-agency-the-dilemma-of-institutional-change-in-zimbabwePicture
By Isaac Hokonya

Zimbabwe can be described as a country at cross-roads. Pre-colonial Zimbabwe had a vibrant open or market-oriented economy with a capitalist governance.
After independence (1980), Zimbabwe adopted a communist- oriented approach to governance and led to more state power and influence on the economy and institutions. 

Whilst, market liberalisation brought about some positive improvements, the political and economic instability has derailed the gains. In the private sector there are a lot of state owned companies or where the state owns majority shares paying lip service to privatisation. There are also regulatory bodies to police the sector. Through the indigenisation policy the state or native individuals get 51% shareholding, whilst the private investor gets the remainder, and this has impeded foreign direct investments (FDI) into economy. Most of the parastatals are monopolies and are involved in shady deals and corruption and enjoy impunity as the judiciary is hijacked to make judgements that favour the state and its affiliated companies. Apparently, there is no institution in Zimbabwe that have the tenacity to effectively police the actions of the state. Even the regional body-SADC has become a teethless dog, on governance and several other issues. SADC and South Africa in particular is complacent to take Zimbabwe head on because of hidden agendas such as economic gains. South Africa has gained enormously in bilateral trade in the context of political and economic instability in Zimbabwe.

Peripheral
In Zimbabwe the state regards the community as peripheral, therefore without any significant contribution to make. Even the members of parliament that should represent and fight for people’s interest are not doing so. Human and property rights are not well articulated in the new constitution and in most cases rights are violated. For example land is nationalised and the state has power to evict people and grab land, as has been the case during the infamous land invasions of the early 2000s. 

The Lands Act (1982) gives power to chiefs over land occupation and use and households and individuals have to ascribe to chief’s orders. More than 70% of Zimbabwean population live in state-controlled communal areas. The state is embroidered in profligacy as there is unprecedented corruption by state duty bearers such as legislators who mismanage state-allocated Constituency Development Funds. The people aligned to the ruling regime give bribes to judiciary officials and get lip service in return. There is deep mistrust and scepticism between state and civil society. Some civil society voices are silenced by the state providing them priviledges, others are arrested and leaders of restive civil society imprisoned.

Third sector space and civic agency
There are many civil society organizations (CSOs), and they occupy the “Third Sector” domain of the
welfare triangle and have different objectives. The influence of these organizations represent the interest of their sector such as farmers associations, and private companies associations.  The civil society organisations are governed by the private voluntary organization (PVO) act. The state has power to police CSOs and deregister them in case of any interference in state affairs. This constrains CSOs’ space and room to manoeuvre. There are also civic groups that are sympathetic and hence biased to the state. The state uses the police, army and judiciary to clip the wings of CSOs. The third sector space in Zimbabwe is becoming smaller by the day and there is not enough civic agency to fight back and reclaim the lost space.

Power and resistance operate differently in Africa, as compared to the western world. Informality has been “legitimised”as the formal and is central to the way both state officials and the citizens exercise civic agency. The notion of “active citizenry”, to rise again and take rightful space in Zimbabwe has become only imaginary. The rights of the citizenry are trampled on as at when the state so desires, as the institutions only exist on paper and are in state of disarray and dysfunctional. Therefore for change to happen, it requires the will power of an “activate citizenry”, to reclaim its space and power in the “Third Sector.”

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<![CDATA[Entrepreneur Aiming to Conquer Malawi by Bike]]>Sat, 05 Apr 2014 05:39:06 GMThttp://y-ourworld.weebly.com/walks--talks/entrepreneur-aiming-to-conquer-malawi-by-bikePicture
Savings is not much practiced in most African  cultures or in our day to day life and here I was doing it for three years. It was meant for my long awaited trip to Europe and more precisely the Netherlands “my dream country”. The country where I was told everyone cycles, but most importantly because I love cycling too and want to make a living out of it!  Just like Thomas I wanted to see with my own eyes and touch with my own hands. All was put together and my trip was set.
 
I found myself in the Dutch land on the 21st  September 2013 exactly at 15:00hrs. I really got the shocking truth when I saw most people cycle to and from,  got thrilled by large bike parks in schools, train and bus stations. Cycling is actually in the blood of the Dutch! It is part and parcel of their daily lives, their culture and a way of life. The Dutch people reminded me of how everyone needs to take a role in saving our planet earth by being  eco-friendly and in this regard by the use of the “green transport”- the bicycles. My business inspiration got triggered again and I couldn’t wait to go back home and open up my bicycle rental outlets though at the same time it seemed like I was still dreaming because of the difficulties I am still going through the start up of the business.

Changing the image
For a high time Africa and more specifically Malawi (The Warm heart of Africa) where I come from has only been identified globally with Poverty, HIV/Aids, Malaria, Poor democratic leadership and high rates of corruption. I for one believe that the donor funding community and investors should look at things more differently by considering Africa as a worthy investing region and start believing in its people, a total shift that turns it from a “Donor Dependent” continent to an “Economically Independent” continent through its Potential Entrepreneurs.

I agree with most people that entrepreneurship has the majority share in job creation and the strength to building economy globally. As Jon Butcher expressed it: “Entrepreneurs have literally destroyed poverty in the Western world as the rest of the world knows it and as history knows it. No other social system can compete with the entrepreneurial free market system in terms of productivity, raising standards of living and creating permanent prosperity. Asia has exploded out of poverty in the lifetime thanks to entrepreneurs. Huge chunks of poverty should be taken out of Africa in the next ten years, thanks to up-and-coming entrepreneurs”.  

Business capital
Apart from the need for business mentors and skills, “lack of start-up capital” is the major problem that hinders potential entrepreneurs in Africa from starting up businesses. Capital is not easily accessed for new start-up businesses because financial institutions are not flexible; they have rigid and outdated risk assessment procedures that hinder potential businesses to get off the ground, develop and grow. For those who are lucky to acquire the funding it comes with a price: high interest rate charges which eventually inhibit steady growth of the businesses.

As an example it has taken me almost five years now since I had my plan to open up bicycle rental outlets and I have not rolled up yet since financial institutions do not guarantee funding based on a business idea no matter how brilliant it maybe. I believe it is one thing having an idea but eventually that’s no use if you can’t talk to people who are willing to buy in. Entrepreneurs need relationships with potential investors hence the trouble for coming up with my article at this space so generously granted.

Dutch experiences
Probably I should congratulate some International Dutch Organizations who are already helping out but I know for sure we need a lot of them to reach out to the greater masses of potential entrepreneurs who are very willing to cooperate and develop their nations. There is dire need for Africans to take up global opportunities and agreements but also to be open minded to learn from what other entrepreneurs do in other parts of the world.

We are crying for more Wealth Creation Programs, Job Creation Programs, Creativity Enhancement Programs and Entrepreneurial Training Programs that will help both small and medium enterprises contribute significantly to the creation of formal and informal employment leading to development and good living standards. Entrepreneurship is a great asset to any nation therefore investing in ambitious and hardworking youths/citizens is a long term solution to poverty and development in Africa.

I rest my case.

Jonathan Tengani
Entrepreneur (jonateng@yahoo.com)

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<![CDATA[Priorities of Cocoa Farmers in Ghana]]>Sat, 21 Dec 2013 06:51:45 GMThttp://y-ourworld.weebly.com/walks--talks/priorities-of-cocoa-farmers-in-ghanaPicture
December 18, 2013
by Konstantin Vekua

Hello. I am an entrepreneur from Georgia and followed a Masters course in Agricultural Production Chain Management at VHL University of Applied Sciences in Wageningen. As entrepreneur, I have been working in confectionery and fresh fruit supply chains. VHL is strategizing its way forward in the international commodity market. Hence, I would like to share some of my experience doing field work in Ghana.

Our research objective was to study the constraints for replanting aged cocoa trees with hybrid cocoa varieties. We asked questions to capture a wide range of possible constraints as well as possible alternatives available to the farmers. Find more information about my research at this blog where I also posted the interviews with the farmers, naturally with their prior consent. What we found out was that farmers were not motivated to replace their old less-producing cacao trees by new hybrids primarily as a result of lack of capital to invest in fertilizer. Access to credit seems therefore the most important bottleneck

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<![CDATA[Empowering Youth Towards Resilience in the Philippines]]>Thu, 21 Nov 2013 06:49:00 GMThttp://y-ourworld.weebly.com/walks--talks/empowering-youth-towards-resilience-in-the-philippinesPicture
Photo by Jimmy Domingo/ Task Force Mapalad (source: www.landscapes.org) with her permission find here the speech of Mrs. Karen S. Tuason from the Philippines at the Global Landscapes Forum in Warsaw this past weekend

November 16, 2013


I was preparing to come to Warsaw to share the Philippine experience in empowering young farmer-smallholders in a context of food security and well-being, when last Friday - Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest typhoon ever, hit my country. Typhoon Haiyan left too many people dead and left the survivors hungry, homeless and without harvest. When the storm surge and the direct relief stage subside, we have to question who has what capacities for recovery.

Typhoons do not discriminate between farmers and non-farmers. They do, however, discriminate between one economic status to another. A 300-kph typhoon like Haiyan is only from a meteorological perspective the same to everybody. In most other perspectives, the typhoon hits rich and poor people differently; it is a disaster that widens the gap between the rich and poor.

The rich have more and better opportunities for recovery – they have money in the bank, they have safe investments and most likely relatives and friends who are also wealthy. But the majority of the Filipinos who live day by day, have no cash deposits, their investments like poultry and fruit trees are blown away and their family and friends have equally lost their house and livelihood.

The reality is that our country’s poor do not have the means to effectively protect themselves from disasters and to cope with it. This does not only happen in the Philippines, of course, but now that we expect these disasters to happen more frequently and more unpredictably, we ask:  How do we build on our resilience?  How do we, young people, ensure that there is a sustainable investment for our future?


RURAL POVERTY AND LANDLESSNESS

More than half of the Filipino population lives in the country side where most of the country’s poor are concentrated. One third of the entire labour force is working in agriculture.

The Philippine society is still feudalistic, and landlessness is still a major cause of poverty. 

Lands are concentrated in the hands of a few powerful and influential families. Most Filipinos are landless; the youth are almost always landless.

Agrarian reform is mandated in our constitution, which means that farm workers can apply for a piece of land of their own. It is a good social justice program, but it is inefficient due to bureaucracy and corruption.

For young Filipinos, living in the countryside does not hold a bright future. Most of them have low levels of formal education since they were pushed to work from pre-adulthood to support their families, or they ended up as school drop-outs with the pressures of balancing off responsibilities at home and at school. Without land and without education, their problems just grow exponentially.

LAND TENURE IMPROVEMENT

I am a member of the peasant organization called Task Force Mapalad. Task Force Mapalad is a federation of people’s organizations owned by farmers, farm workers, plantation workers, upland farmers, and indigenous peoples in 11 provinces in the Philippines. Currently the membership is about 30,000 with both women and men, young and old. This means a prospect of development for about 30,000 families.

Working with this organization, I have witnessed first-hand the bleak future of young Filipinos living in the countryside who do not own a piece of land. They do not have other opportunities but to work as contractual labourers during harvest season. They are mostly seasonal farm workers, if not jobless. They are involved in agriculture but in oppressive conditions. With no other options for a better income, they are forced to move to the big cities to work in the service sector – as waiters, construction workers, drivers, house-helpers and other informal jobs prone to exploitation.

Owning your own piece of land can make a difference. Why?

It impacts directly on a person’s household income and it builds self-esteem. As a contractual farm worker, it doesn’t matter how hard or how long you work. Making an extra effort will not earn you one cent more than the fellow next to you. Young farmers who own a piece of land is an entirely different story. If they own the land, they decide what crops to plant. They harvest what they plant. They invest and work harder on their own land to earn more. They decide about their own value-adding activities.

I’ve witnessed how the transformation of socio-economic roles – from mere landless farm workers to new land owners and managers – has enabled young farmers to collectively address and improve food security of their communities, raise their household income, gain access to education and healthcare, and so on.

However, we cannot merely depend on the government to give us what you need - not even if that is our fair share. We have to take ownership of our problem.

Task Force Mapalad supports claims for land through para-legal, negotiator and speaker’s trainings. With these trainings, farmers-to-be become empowered to deal with the government and other sectors and bring forth the issues encountered in the communities including human rights violence and inaction of the government to their land tenure applications. Legal and moral legitimacy of the farm workers’ claim to land results in successful campaigns for land rights even in the most contentious properties.

When you know the law, you know your rights. Such a statement may seem obvious, but for many landless young farmers in the Philippines, this statement does not ring true enough.

PRODUCTIVITY DEVELOPMENT SUPPORT

Having your own piece of land, though, is not quite enough to improve your livelihood. Working in the field is one thing, managing your own farm is something entirely different.

For those who have successfully acquired land from the government, it is necessary to raise their capacities as new land-owners especially on how to improve their crop yields so they can engage in better markets, eventually increase their income and build on their resilience.

To do so, Task Force Mapalad offers young farmers access to productivity trainings. We’re functioning like a platform: we link young people with Local Government units for extension work. Or we connect them with agriculture and technology schools for the provision of technology support.

Trainings include Farm Diversification, Integrated Pest Management and Sustainable Agriculture Technologies. In turn, these young farmers are motivated to share their gained knowledge to their communities.

CAPACITY BUILDING FOR ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT

Aside from being a farmer, a new land owner also needs to be a business person. That’s why we support farmers in developing their entrepreneurial skills. Our members take part in capacity building activities, they engage in campaigns and research, they set up small scale businesses. They improve their capacities to engage the mainstream markets, but also private corporations that may have specific demands for volumes, qualities and costs standards. By doing so, they make their cooperatives and organizations stronger and more capable of doing businesses.

Also as an organized group, we have been able to help young farmers establish producers’ groups - giving them a collective bargaining position, credible image and track record in accessing finance and other resources from various government and non-government agencies.

The youth become adept in business planning. Seeing the results, they become very enthusiastic about having the opportunity to increase their capabilities to become better managers of their enterprises.

A SUSTAINABLE AND RESILIENT FUTURE

The population of Filipino farmers is aging. The average age of Filipino farmers is between 55-59. While 60% of the working young people aged 5-17 are working in agriculture, there is a growing number of young Filipinos driven to the urban areas to find alternative livelihoods in the service sector so that they can feed their families. With last week’s huge calamity, this is just expected to worsen.

As such, working in the service sector is not bad, even more when it is a positive choice. But how do we give the youth the liberty of choice? Our approach of collectively empowering the rural youth by interlinking land tenure, productivity and enterprise development gives those who have no other options a sustainable means to fend for their family and to have greater chances of surviving in times of calamities. A chance to cope with disasters, to survive with human dignity and thereby build up resilience which means that even a typhoon like Haiyan does not force the farmers and the youth to leave their families and communities.

Karen S. Tuason

MSc student, Van Hall Larenstein Institute of Applied Sciences


Member, Task Force Mapalad, Philippines


See also this article in Jakarta Post

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<![CDATA[Collective Impact on Flores (Indonesia)]]>Wed, 23 Oct 2013 05:43:40 GMThttp://y-ourworld.weebly.com/walks--talks/collective-impact-on-flores-indonesiaPicture
Running an import business in the Netherlands importing
furniture and decoration from China and Indonesia and selling to wholesale  customers worldwide, I got increasingly conscious about sustainability and corporate social responsibility. I wanted to make a difference for the island I fell in love with: Flores in Indonesia.


As I was struck by the enormous amounts of waste that I felt was spoiling this beautiful island, with a lot of potential for tourism, in 2010 I started volunteering for a local waste management project in Labuan Bajo on Flores. In the process I started to collect data about other sustainability  initiatives on Flores and their national and international supporting organizations. By doing so I observed that most organizations were not working together, were not sharing expertise and resources and often were not aware of one another’s existence.

Platform
In response I created a platform and organized a conference, bringing all initiatives together, resulting in the launch of www.ecoflores.org. This website presents information about local NGO’s and their initiatives, their ties with supporting organizations, useful links and updates. It lists governmental affiliations and private enterprises, companies with a Corporate Responsibility Program and their ties to local projects. The website creates transparency and promotes sharing. It functions as a market place, posting project proposals of local organizations which need support with expertise and/or funding. 

Over time, many volunteers joined the efforts of Eco Flores. In 2012 Eco Flores Foundation registered as a non-for-profit organization in Jakarta, Indonesia. Up to September 2012 contacts in this network were mostly virtual. In order to truly connect participants, I organized the first Eco Flores Network Congress  with the intention to share knowledge and experience in support of sustainable development  of Flores. The congress was a huge success, gathering 154 participants, mostly from Flores and also from other locations in Indonesia and elsewhere in the world. 

Objectives of the Congress were: 
  • Defining sustainability issues on Flores at present and in the foreseeable future
  • Indentify which expertise is present on Flores and
    whether such expertise can be used in other locations
    on Flores
  • Define needs and gaps 
  • Define action plans
  • Discuss the future role of the Eco Flores organization.
It was a no-nonsense approach. All participants joined working group in the fields on which they focus, Agriculture, Health, Mining, Forestry, Water&Sanitation, Marine Management, Community Development, Tourism, Disaster Risk Reduction. 

Follow-up
Already several collective initiatives have come out of the congress and are ongoing now. They are in various fields and all with multi-stakeholder involvement:
  1. Komodo-Kiwi concept –further develop cooperation between New-Zealand and Flores
  2. Flores Home Stay Network - developing a network of small scale community based Hospitality enterprises – benefitting traditional farming- and ishing communities
  3. Internet Access for All on Flores - attracting internet
  4. providers, connecting communities to the world wide web    
  5. Eco Flores Waste Management Initiative - connecting stakeholders cross-sector and cross-border in a joint Waste
    Management campaign, slogan Waste is Money, introducing Bank $ampah model large scale
  6. HIV/AIDS awareness campaign – connecting stakeholders cross-sector and cross-border to set up 3 workshops to empower
    HIV-positive women in all Kebupaten to enable them to go into communities for raising awareness about HIV/AIDS
  7. Locally Managed Marine Area Labuan Bajo  - connecting stakeholders to support a local fishing community in a non-functional Marine Protected Area in a 3-year pilot learning
    process about Marine Management 
In all cases Eco Flores was initiator and coordinates communications and actions.

After a year now a second congress "Collective Impact" is being organized to harvest the successes but also to bring these successes to scale. The conference is preceded by a Business Development Iniative Pre-conference meeting starting teh 25th of October. I feel excited and am eager to engage.
The people of Flores are luckily driving the change. But the engine needs lubricants to run smoothly and some petrol to make mileage. Not well-versed with fund raising the challenge is now how to turn this enterprise into a true social enterprise that raises its own funds for its operations, is intrinsically driven and is sustainably carried forward by the people of Flores. And if you happen to be on Flores: You are welcome to join!

Nina van Toulon "I  need to find somebody who has expert knowledge of agriculture in developing countries AND with a vision AND with expertise on program development who would be willing to review these documents and share thoughts about how to continue.
There are so many issues and there are also opportunistic initiatives which are controversial (Jatropha) and which might not be beneficial for Flores population and environment."
~ Nina van Toulon

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<![CDATA[Enabling Environment Index fails to deliver for entrepreneurs]]>Wed, 16 Oct 2013 12:12:58 GMThttp://y-ourworld.weebly.com/walks--talks/enabling-environment-index-fails-to-deliver-for-entrepreneursFoto
Since the Dutch government co-financing system for civil society included the civil society index as a point of reference in their policy documents, not much has moved on the CIVICUS front. For some reason the CSI pages were left untouch ever since. Likewise the Civil Society Watch page lost its momentum to serve as a canvas against which the picture of civil society could be drawn. Instead CIVICUS decided to partner with a South-African university in designing the what is called the Enabling Environment Index.

At first appreciating the diversion in focus from civil society to the enabling environment, after reading the report I cannot help to feel disappointed. First it did not manage to take all relevant environmental dimensions into account. Second, it seems the index is yet another attempt to arrive at a country list leading to ranking exercises. It misses out on impacting the local discourse in countries of analysis due to its lack of rigour and data. To support these conclusions I naturally need to provide the evidence, in this case contained in the report itself as well as in the external environment. Lets look at it in detail, hitch-hiking on the Dutch policy intents.

Dutch civil society policy
Recently the Dutch minister of Aid, Trade and Investment launched a new policy document that pinpoints to the counterveiling power role civil society has maintaining the space between people, the market and the state. I was quite content to see this conceptualisation of civil society as a space appearing in the discourse. It had already been introduced by Mrs. Ploumen's predecessor Mr. Ben Knapen in his 'Non-Paper' on civil society engagement and Mrs. Ploumen has not failed to build on it. However, in the process she cut a large portion of financing for service delivery by civil society in contexts that have a failing or absent state, situations that are also not inviting for private sector actors to take their role in basic service delivery.

Back in the nineties the concept of space was also embraced by CIVICUS and resulted in the birth of the earlier mentioned Civil Society Index, funded primarily by UNDP. Though the word index suggests a mathematical and measurable parameter, the number of variables involved and the way they got measured involved a self-reflective highly participatory and intrinsically subjective process contained in civil society itself. As a consequence the original rigour of the concept was lost in the implementation which involved lengthy and cumbersome country processes. Though the resulting country reports were worth reading, cross country comparison remained a challenge.

State and market
With the Enabling Environment Index an attempt was made to bring the contextual factors back on stage, which got burried in the self-reflection process by civil society. Table 1 presents the dimensions and sub-dimensions that basically are the variables establishing the index. The main dimensions make a promising link to the economic, cultural and governance realities in the country of analysis. However, the sub-dimensions unfortunately fail to refer to enabling environment for entrepreneurs, who make use of the same space. Issues like fair competition, seperation of public and private domains, empoyers vs employee dynamics etc., labour conditions, etc. Likewise even the governance sub-dimensions miss out on important variable for good governance and are inclined towards a focus on bad-governance and its impact on people.

Though from an activist point of view the chosen dimensions may make sense, the creation of civil society space in a country will also depend on the deliverables of civil society for market and state parties, as the state is increasingly involved in 'running' the economy, it sometimes forgets to take care of other aspects of the social contract. This has lead to a profit focus even in governing circles. If there is nothing to 'gain' in economic terms, invest is lacking. In situations where public and private sector parties completely overlap it is no surprise that 'civil society' organisations are not listened to as the space between market and state and therefore civil society virtually does not exist. Civic participation in civil society in such situations will mobilise the people to claim what is rightfully theirs and results in revolution as we have seen in many occasssions. It poses a threat to vested interests and therefore will be discouraged or 'stifled' in the words of activists. Only when civil society as a concept starts delivering for entrepreneurs and for governance state and market may be triggered to engage. 

Social economy
I had hoped the enabling environment index had more consideration for the deliverables of what is also called the social economy, contributing to sustainable entrepreneurship and fair governance. See also other pages on this website emphasizing the need to perceive civil society as a space that also delivers for the state and the market without preferring one party over the other. As also discussed with UNDP back in 2010, there is a lot of mileage to gain for civil society. The big absentee, also in the theory of change for many activist groups, are the people. Not the well-educated minorities that are well connected to their international peers. But the poorly educated mass that will only listen to those who provide air to breath, water to drink, land to sustain. Fundamentalist groups have better understood the enormous power potential of mass mobilization by simply providing basic services at grass roots level. However, this won't bring the type of transition that is required nor will it bring good practice with balancing people, profit and power at the local level.

Solutions may be found in the current drive for decentralisation, which originates from the states inability to cater for the needs of its citizens. In situations where the total conflation of public and private interests at national level has not percolated down to the district level yet, good experiences with sound participatory processes may bring the desired change towards public participation, that will help people to regain control over public goods and private productive assets en reinvent reciprocity in a way that fits empowered twenty-first century people. Who knows we may be heading for an inclusion index with public and private, for-profit and not-for-profit, formal and informal dimensions.

Foto
Source: Civicus, 2013. Enabling Environment Index
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<![CDATA[Global Fund, IATI and the Big Elephant in the Room]]>Sat, 20 Apr 2013 21:26:31 GMThttp://y-ourworld.weebly.com/walks--talks/global-fund-iati-and-the-big-elephant-in-the-roomFoto
Robert Burgoing, a former senior employee of the Global Fund shared his views on the disfunctioning of IATI as it relates to funding mechanisms like Global Fund at Aidspan, an independent observer of the Global Fund. I do agree with his analysis regarding the result of sharing to much information in order to dilute the substance finally leading to less accountability. In his solutions he opts for trained watch-dogs. However, I don't think it solves the problem as I do think the problem is more fundamentaly with the aid system itself, and in particular the existence of global funding mechanisms that many contribute to.

I do think that the existence of pooled funding of such a magnitude is the very reason for its lack of accountability. What I do not like about pooled funding is that it provides an excuse for bureaucrats not to having to deal with the substance (effectiveness), but rather win 'hearts and minds' of tax payers through efficiency gains. Those awarding grants hardly see it reported on, as people in the foreign service offices change jobs every three to four years. Hence accountability is detached from human relationships and only becomes a bureaucratic exercise to satisfy politicians. And for politicians it may come in handy that results are hard to trace. You can just pick and choose the results that serves your political agenda and leave the rest unnoticed. In the
Netherlands our Ministry has even designed an instrument to avoid 'heavy' (read thorough) evaluations. It is called a 'beleidsdoorlichting'. The word carries also the connotation of transparency. However, as a decisionmaker you just pick and choose what you wish to look at. In this way the two previous ministers have successfully altered their strategies to make them align with their political preferences. Effectiveness of past performance hardly mattered. 
 
I have argued before against IATI at this blog as it carries the image of transparency while actually detaching accountability from the relationship. XML now replaces reports from one person to the other on what has been agreed. We have commonly agreed to  commonly formulated objectives. So commonly we decide that we have commonly failed and therefore all of us have learned our lessons and will improve our practice in future. I therefore plea for down-scaling interventions to a level that can be controlled and decentralising decisionmaking on grant awarding. In database terms I am in favor for a  many-to-many structure where aid is not collected (tax/crowdsourcing/fundraising) and distributed (aid) but exchanged from many to many. From a governance point of view this may look like a nightmare. However, it may be a better match with todays connected world.

Today I helped one international NGO applying for funding from a fund managed by another international NGO creating an additional accountability relation at the local level in a third country. You wonder how accountability takes shape in such a
context. The world changes

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<![CDATA[Zimbabwe Needs Electoral Education System]]>Wed, 09 Jan 2013 06:25:18 GMThttp://y-ourworld.weebly.com/walks--talks/zimbabwe-needs-electoral-education-systemPicturePhotograph: Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters (source: the Guardian)
When Winston Churchill (1874-1965) said “democracy is the worst form of government except all that had been tried”, Zimbabweans were crying for one man one vote.

With the 2013 elections in Zimbabwe this  statement has become apparent; considering the quality and depth of the Manifestos availed. Save for the usual political bickering, personality and character attacks, in my perceptions the manifestos are void of depth and substance.

With unemployment rate beyond 70% (though debatable), there was no concise mention of “how” the jobs will be created. It was mentioned as an outcome of development policies like privatisation,  indigenisation and taking all parties words for it; they are all hoping for  private sector investment. How will the private sector be harnessed, I saw no clear strategy for the PPP initiatives or something like it! Social service and public service support was also guaranteed after elections. I could not conceptualise the modus operandi for it; is it going to be private sector initiative, social economy given more  room to manoeuvre or public office support?

In the social sector, not even a single word was mentioned of equity? The orphans (now over 1,000,000) about 10% of Zimbabwe’s population, the widows, people with disability, crime, social cohesion, peace and conflict transformation, let alone research and development. I have seen and deduced that all political parties are tramping on the dividers hence no need for conflict transformation at all cost. We have Matebeleland parties, Mashonaland and Manicaland. We have urban and rural parties. What are the efforts to harmonise and unify people? The policies proposed are also reactionary and emotive to protect these turfs.

What Zimbabwe needs is an electoral education system, this should also include policy education and vote of no confidence in political parties before an actual election. Coming from food security, with right based approaches dominant it would have been best when there was small indication of how right to food will be codified and legitimised. I think social service has been left to citizens far too long.

I truly believe the electorate was caught napping. They have to vote for someone in office, which was done peacefully. Though regrettable that a million eligible voters did not participate due to stringent registration process, and a rigid voting system as has been mentioned.
Otherwise the peace is something commendable.

Taurai A. Mutassa, Zimbabwe

(for more on the elections check this article at theguardian)

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<![CDATA[Building a cosmopolitan corporation]]>Thu, 26 Jul 2012 18:55:45 GMThttp://y-ourworld.weebly.com/walks--talks/building-a-cosmopolitan-corporationFoto
I was triggered by one of my partner contact to read this book, as being one of the text books used at Business Universities around the world. This book has silently entered the discourse in the Netherlands and also slipped out of it again as many are ruled by the simple rule that only today and tomorrow counts. This dimension, time, represents exactly the missing link in World 3.0.

The book is clearly written without all the scientific referencing that make many other books unreadable. And though the book can be called successful in fighting some of the scepticism around regarding globalisation, the subtitle is a bit misleading, as it percolates as another prosperity gospel rather than a realist view on global trends, which the book is quite capably demonstrating.

Especially the CAGE model on different types of distances is worth using in understanding some of the global realities around. It differentiates between Cultural, Administrative, Geographic and Economic distances. However, the time distance dimension seems missing. This may often be a function of one or more of the other distances, but can also be a distance in its own right.

After setting the stage with describing colliding wordviews, Ghemawat makes your mind susceptible to his worldview captured in the Law of Distance that he already introduced a decade ago as the CAGE model (refering to Cultural, Administrative, Geographic and Economic distances between countries (see also www.ghemawat.com). He then describes a number of problems with Global. You then really wonder, what is Ghemawat heading for. On page 255 it then boils down to the comparison between two schools of thought Harvard and Chicago. (I know, both American. That’s an omission on his part, nevertheless). But it is already clear from the start that Ghemawat is not going to support the one over the other (though a slight inclination towards Harvard should be expected from him).

And here we see the Eastern Schools of thought coming in currently teaching both Harvard and Chicago a lesson.  to re-consider eastern Philosophy. Coming from the Indian sub-continent it should not be a surprise that also Ghemawat ends up embracing his roots. Mutualism comes back into the game, playfully balancing free markets and regulation of them.

Though this seems a smart solution, the introduction of a World 3.0 further resembles a kind of linearity that is very much part and parcel of World 2.0. After World 1.0, where we had odd views about other worlds and always preferred our own worldview over someone else’s, we became interconnected in World 2.0 tolerating any worldview, leaving it to the Market to provide our common worldview, forgetting that the world still is utterly complex. Combining both seems a logical next step. Hence worldview 3.0 does not resolves our linear and sequential thinking. 

The question raises: what's next? When will we discover that world 3.0 is also missing a dimension and we need to get into a three dimensional model for instance integrating time or history if you like in the equation? So let's forget about global prosperity. We need individual prosperity determined by the well-being of our planet. How do we achieve that? Let's skip level three and four and jump to World Y. Crossing out the why finally accepting we are living in ¥ourWorld.


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