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journey for justice


journey for justice

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Colophon

Table of Contents

Journey for Justice Utrecht, May 2015. Published by ICCO Cooperation on the occasion of its 50th anniversary

Preface

6

01: Interview. “Lack of democracy and poverty are man-made.”

8

Project leader Jaap ‘t Gilde Editor-in-chief Janneke Juffermans Authors Christien van den Brink (ICCO Cooperation) Jaap ’t Gilde (ICCO Cooperation) Janneke Juffermans Hanan Nhass (ICCO Cooperation)

PO Box 8190 3503 RD Utrecht The Netherlands info@icco.nl www.icco.nl www.icco-cooperation.org Member of the

CvdB

JtG

JJ

HN

English editor Susan Parren-Gardner Photo editor Marieke Viergever Production Jan Verhage Design Robin Sala, www.ontwerpkamer.nl Printed by Schotanus & Jens, www.schotanus-jens.nl

4 50 years icco cooperation

In 2012 ICCO became a cooperative and changed its name to ICCO Cooperation. We are a global, faith-based, nongovernmental organization for international cooperation. Members of the cooperative are coPrisma, Edukans and Kerk in Actie. We focus on justice and dignity for all and securing sustainable livelihoods for people everywhere.

02: Guatemala. Not Giving Up Despite Impunity

14

03: South Africa. Finding a New Purpose after Apartheid

22

04: Interview. A Constant Quest to Share Power

30

Special. ICCO throughout the Years

36

05: Ghana. Poverty Can Have Various Faces

38

06: Brazil. In Need of Political Reform

46

Special. Picture the Change

54

07: India. Rural Development In an Awakening Giant

58

08: Congo. Side by Side with Women

66

09: The Philippines. From Landless Peasants to Landowning Entrepeneurs

74

Special. Working with Businesses. Why?

82

10. Kyrgyzstan. Struggle for Real Democracy

86

11. Israel-Palestine. Solidarity with the Oppressed

94

Special. Linking Development to A Fair Economy

102

Acknowledgements

106

Table of Contents 5


preface

I’m proud of ICCO. We have existed for 50 years and, in those years, we have done an incredible amount of work to create a world with more opportunities and justice for vulnerable people in developing countries. A world where they can live, like us, in freedom and without poverty. On December 30, 1964, Protestant churches and organizations established ICCO based on the above vision. This was quite an achievement, one that required considerable lobbying in The Hague. The Roman Catholic and Protestant leaders, including our founder Jo Verkuyl, lobbied incessantly to obtain political support for co-financing. In 1965, the Marijnen government, convinced of the extraordinary value of social organizations in developing countries, reserved 5 million florins. ICCO was ready to roll. With only one room and one employee, ICCO began in the office of the former Stichting Oecumenische Hulp (Dutch Interchurch Aid) on Cornelis Houtmanstraat in Utrecht. But, in addition to this office, ICCO also had a network of worldwide contacts built up through the missionary and diaconal work carried out by its founders. These contacts grew slowly but surely, and new contacts were made, even beyond the church networks. This approach has resulted in ICCO’s unique, worldwide infrastructure. We have not remained passive, but have always looked for new ways to cooperate. This applies to sharing our expertise in development cooperation in developing countries and to organizational cooperation to improve the quality and efficiency of the work done there. Our strategy has resulted in national and international alliances, the structural integration of local knowledge and expertise into our policies, and the establishment of a cooperative in 2012. Fifty years covers two generations. It is therefore very special that this anniversary book contains a double interview with the first ICCO employee and co-founder, Jone

6 50 years icco cooperation

Bos (82 years old) and Marinus Verweij, the current chair of the board of directors. Although retired, Jone has never really left ICCO and he continues to support the organization. He occasionally pops into Marinus’ s office for a chat, as do many other people who work or have worked for ICCO. The organization itself and working for a good cause – it’s just not easy to let go. In the second double interview, two éminences grises in the field of international cooperation share their experiences and views: Jan Pronk and Richard Jolly, who met each other frequently in UN organizations (UNDP and UNICEF) and are now both honorary professors in the field of development cooperation in their countries of origin. Pronk and Jolly assess development cooperation in today’s world. ICCO has become one of the largest development organizations in the Netherlands. The Dutch government put its trust in ICCO and the organization has never abused this trust. The book gives an impression of our efforts in nine countries where ICCO was and is active. What was the cooperation with local organizations like? And how have people benefited? These stories illustrate our track record. Nevertheless, our anniversary is also somewhat overcast. In the past five years, ICCO has experienced a drastic decline in its subsidies. Our history, our past performances, our golden wedding anniversary with the Dutch state - they all seem to be less significant. Receiving less government money is hard to deal with. Our organization has to find new donors in order to continue its work. We fear that the rapid decline of funds will damage the work we have so carefully built up. But despite this situation, I am confident that we will find and construct a solid base for ICCO’s future. Our mission is far from complete, the journey for justice continues. Johan de Leeuw, Chairman Supervisory Board ICCO Cooperation

preface 7


A book on 50 years of ICCO’s history would not be complete without a retrospective on development cooperation. Two internationally renowned individuals in the field, Jan Pronk and Richard Jolly, reflect on the history and current status of development work. Although they express concern, they end on a point of optimism. “Young people can provide a new and hopeful outlook on the world.”

They greet, laugh and share anecdotes: Jan Pronk and Richard Jolly are like two old friends picking up their conversation where they left off. It makes the interviewer a little nervous. What if the two gentlemen agree on everything? Pronk answers, “I don’t think we haven’t disagreed sometimes.” And then they laugh, as if it was a very good joke. You seem very familiar with each other. When did you meet before?

Photo: Robert Coleman

01 interview: “Lack of democracy and poverty are man-made… by us”

Richard Jolly Richard Jolly was invited by Pronk to be his discussion partner in this interview. A choice that is understandable, since the two met on several occasions. Besides being an Assistant Secretary-General of the UN from 1982-2000, the Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF and, from 1996, Coordinator of the UNDP’s Human Development Reports, Richard Jolly co-authored the influential book “Adjustment with a Human Face: Protecting the Vulnerable and Promoting Growth”. Currently both Pronk and Jolly are honorary professors in the field of development cooperation in their respective countries of origin, Pronk at the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague and Jolly at the Institute of Development Studies in Sussex.

approach, this meant that developing countries had to adjust their financial policies. Countries could get loans from the World Bank and the IMF, but under certain conditions. As a consequence, the social sector in many countries became neglected. Under Richard’s influence, UNICEF’s answer was to agree to adjustment programs, but with a human face. And this became a new brand in the field. At that time I was the deputy secretary of UNCTAD. We also protested against the approach of the World Bank. So Richard and I joined hands. We experienced many political fluctuations in the development debate in the 1980s and 1990s. Richard also coordinated the human development reports, which was very important.”

Jolly: “Good heavens!”

Photo: Dida Mulder

Pronk: “We met several times when we both were active around and within the UN. As the deputy director of UNICEF, Richard was a major player in development cooperation. In the 1980s when the debate on development adopted a neoliberal

Jan Pronk Some observers feel that former Minister for Development Cooperation Jan Pronk was the most idealistic, driven, and dedicated politician to ever hold this position in the Netherlands. He also held several positions at the UN. For example, he was a special representative for the UN in Sudan from 2004-2006. In the first years of the millennium, Pronk was a member of ICCO’s International Advisory Council. In this capacity he stimulated ICCO to involve the South more often in decision-making. For example, speaking at the opening of the Regional Office of ICCO in Delhi, he stressed the importance of an independent attitude towards the West and the Netherlands. 8 50 years icco cooperation

Jolly: “Yes, it was. But to be fair, the Pakistani development economist Mahbub Ul Haq created the human development reports in 1990, and the economist Amartya Sen provided the philosophy behind it. I took over the coordination in 1996 for five years.” W  hat has changed in the debate on development cooperation since the 1980s and 1990s? Jolly: “The whole dialogue has shifted. Inequality has become a major issue in the past ten years, and this has provided new opportunities. Inequality has been reduced in 19 Latin American countries. What is new and very important is that industrial countries have their own problems, particularly the European countries and Japan. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) apply to them and to developing countries. Consequently, the paternal agenda that we used to have in the West is vanishing. Western countries are learning from how employment is stimulated in India or how Brazil deals with social welfare.” Pronk: “The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were very important. They were criticized, but I always defended them. I think it was extremely necessary that

interview pronk and Jolly 9


they were formulated, endorsed, and embraced at the summit held in Johannesburg in 2000. For years, world leaders had not kept their promises to give priority to reducing poverty. Have we met the goals? No, but some countries are heading in the right direction. At the same time, poverty is becoming a social and cultural issue. Cultural and religious minorities are poorer than others in societies. The SDGs are extremely important as well. I am very positive about how they have developed. Whether you represent a women’s group in Korea, an indigenous group in Brazil, or an NGO in Malaysia, you will be heard in New York. I never saw this openness before. I am keeping my fingers crossed though. Although the process by which the UN consults with such groups might be perfect, power still resides with the G20. This is risky because, on themes such as international finance, trade and investment, and climate, we are heading in the wrong direction.”

Financial capitalism is very worrying Jolly: “Let me add an optimistic point. Changes established by the UN were often initiated by the staff members and NGOs and were sometimes even opposed by some orthodox governments within the UN. On the pessimistic side, it was not just capitalism, but financial capitalism, that brought the world economy to its knees in 2009. I see a very inadequate response to this from Britain and Europe, the IMF, the World Bank, and the G20. I wonder whether the BRICS are going to use their new power and influence to shore up the directions taken by financial capitalism or whether they are going to provide a different direction? If they do, this would be a point of optimism.” Pronk: “I am afraid they will not because they depend too much on each other in financial terms. The current situation of financial capitalism worries me too. I wish we were still in a capitalistic world. Finance drains away funds that could have been used for development and employment; finance is used to lobby for bureaucracies and politics. Finance is also used to create more of itself. It is not only a Western phenomenon, but a major threat to development all over the world.” Jolly: “Another point is the control of the media by financial and old-fashion capitalism, but certainly the big guys at the top. Very worrying.”

10 50 years icco cooperation

So, where can we find the countervailing power? Jolly: “I wish more political parties would emphasize the need for people and democracy, but they themselves struggle with where to find their funding. The traditional parties and trade unions in many countries have also been financially weakened. Nevertheless, the challenge facing NGOs and the citizens of these countries is to emphasize the human impact and issues like sustainability and climate change.” Pronk: “NGOs should fight for countervailing power. Publicly, democratically, and internationally. They should not ally with large companies such as the oil companies, all the plantation companies, the huge mining industries, huge chemical companies, pharmaceutical companies, and all the financial banks. Such organizations do not strive towards sustainability. NGOs have to walk the line of democracy. People taking public responsibilities. So fight your fight and know where you have to fight.” What can governments do in this sense? Jolly: “Governments are vital. They have to be mobilized, for example with positive examples from other governments: Do you realize that your rate of mortality is higher than both of your neighbors? Why not learn from them?” Pronk: “I think your question is too simple. Don’t trust politicians and governments. I am one of the longest serving ministers in the country, so I am speaking from experience. You have to build your trust in the democratic nation-state. This entails not only a government, but also the press and an independent judiciary. They should carry public responsibilities based on an inclusive constitution.

interview pronk and Jolly 11


I believe in transparency. Documents should be open in a democratic country. Not only after decisions are made, but during. Then people will start to believe in democracy and politicians again. Decisions to intervene in other states, for example in Libya, are made by some Western powers. In the case of Libya by the UK and France, which means Europe and the NATO. Those decisions are often neither transparent nor accountable. The results are worse than all the other issues we are discussing at the moment.

Jolly: “They can.” Pronk: “Right, they can. We need gatherings of people that listen to each other. You can be aggressive, that doesn’t matter, but the exchange is at least open and physical.” Jolly: “International students learn from rubbing shoulders with others all over the world. They hear different views and perspectives. That is a point of hope.” Pronk: “Definitely.”

We need to encounter and listen to each other Terrorism, human rights violations, lack of democracy, and increasing poverty in the so-called fragile countries are man-made. Not only by them, but by us in the North. And it is not something independent of development; everything is linked. Development is a holistic issue.” Jolly: “Let me ask Jan a question. What points on development since the Second World War are still relevant?” Pronk: “In my view the establishment of the UN in 1945 meant a breakthrough in human civilization. The UN is the forum where values are developed and adapted. This has to be cherished, not only for the sake of developing countries, but also for the sake of people all around the world. The problem is that we are doing away with international laws and institutions.”

Do they have enough influence? Pronk: “My impression is that people in their twenties are very positive and curious. But their curiosity is currently not being translated into action.” Jolly: “Yes and no. One example is the small protests amongst the economic students in Britain and some other countries about the banks and financial capitalism. Enough is enough, they say.” Pronk: “I also get positive signals from some parts of Latin America. Students in Bolivia, Ecuador, and Brazil express a different vibe. Living a decent life, in combination with democracy, human rights, social welfare, and de-growth. People want this to be an alternative for financial capitalistic power. This is a point of hope, and NGOs should link up with it.”

JJ

Jolly: “We share this view of the UN as a forum for pioneering ideas. How do we go back to helping the media, ordinary people, and governments see things from an international perspective when so much of politics and the media is concerned with trivial domestic debates?” Pronk: “I had hoped the social media would provide an alternative, but I see polarization instead. It splits societies. Anonymous discussions are awful. People no longer communicate by knowing and seeing one another. The churches are losing members, as are the labor unions. People only meet each other at universities.”

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interview pronk and Jolly 13


02 Guatemala: NOT GIVING UP DESPITE IMPUNITy

Guatemalan NGOs working in the field of natural resources and the protection of human rights are increasingly threatened. But despite this tendancy, ICCO has been able to contribute to improving the rule of law by supporting dedicated individuals.

When a fragile example of the rule of law is mentioned, it is often Guatemala. This Central American country has been seriously torn by its violent history, which has led to unjust power relations. The gap between rich and poor is so extreme that the country is internationally recognized as one of the most financially unequal countries in the world. To a large extent, racism is institutionalized, with indigenous people having limited access to power and financial resources and being paid less for the same work. Civil society organizations that defend the rights of indigenous people face severe threats.

A protest against child labour

Given this context of violence, supporting NGOs working on human rights is a lengthy process. Improvements often appear to be fragile. An example is the protection of human rights defenders and journalists, an important pillar for improving the rule of law. ICCO Cooperation supports partners that are working on manuals, strategies, and emergency funds for human right defenders and journalists in the region. Journalist and human rights defender Iduvina Hernandez is one of those supported. She played a key role in protecting witnesses in the genocide case against former dictator Ríos Montt. “As an international organization, ICCO is able to raise awareness internationally. This way the political consequences of acting against people like me are increased, leaving us less at risk.”

guatemala 15

Photo: Alexander Pleizier

14 50 years icco cooperation

Photo: Armando Aquierre Arce

Furthermore, at the end of the 36-year Guatemalan Civil War in 1996, amnesty was granted through the Ley de Reconciliación. This amnesty law excluded genocide and crimes against humanity, but it left other crimes unpunished, thus enabling army representatives with questionable human rights records to make their comeback in influential positions. Nowadays, Guatemala has one of the highest violent crime rates in Latin America.


This art project consists of bloody pieces of clothing to protest against the crimes commited against women

Another example. Since 1998 one of the partners of ICCO has been the Myrna Mack Foundation. After Guatemalan anthropologist and human rights activist Myrna Mack was assassinated in 1990 by government forces, this foundation was established. Mack had criticized the government for its human rights abuses in indigenous Mayan communities.

Photo: Inge Landman

The genocide case of Ríos Montt led to a sentence, but this was later annulled. Judge Barrios, who oversaw the trial, was suspended for a year in 2014. Many people argue that these examples clearly indicate the deterioration of the rule of law in Guatemala. Critics say that the annulment of the sentence was almost inevitable, partly because the sentence had caused a huge split in public opinion. In this environment, promoting laws that ultimately criminalize public protest is more easily accepted. The criminalization of public protest is becoming more and more common. Support for indigenous people A group that suffers severely as a consequence of the current situation in Guatemala is that of indigenous people. Although they make up half of the country’s population, the system disadvantages them politically, economically, and even socially. ICCO supports partners that strengthen the political and organizational capacities of indigenous communities to develop lobbying and advocacy initiatives regarding the defence of their rights. But not only do their rights have to be defended; their territories can be endangered by mining ventures and other abuses of natural resources. For example, some partners have requested the Guatemalan government to respect ILO Convention 169, which it ratified in 1996. This is a legally binding international instrument that deals specifically with the rights of indigenous and tribal peoples.

Mother and daughter are collecting stones for a living

A dangerous trend But as indicated, not all developments are moving in the right direction. There is a visible and dangerous trend in the media to portray human rights organizations as unpatriotic or even terroristic. Those who have a real impact often suffer consequences. Former Attorney General Claudia Paz y Paz, for example, was removed from office despite not having completed a four-year term. Change is fragile in Guatemala. And successes in combating impunity can come at a high price.

16 50 years icco cooperation

guatemala 17

Photo: Alexander Pleizier

Over the years the organization has had many success stories in representative legal cases. In 2002 a colonel was sentenced for the murder of Myrna Mack. It was one of the first cases of political crimes committed by government figures during the Guatemalan Civil War and thus set a precedent.


Becoming effective by joining forces In the complexity of Guatemala, there is no straightforward solution for improving the rule of law. However, in the past eight years, ICCO has proved to be effective in forming coalitions of partners who can share regional expertise and learn and benefit from each other in terms of expertise, knowledge, and experience. The Centro AmĂŠrica DemocrĂĄtica (CAD) coalition is one example in which thirteen organizations collaborate. Administrated by ICCO partner ICCPG, they are actively trying to improve the rule of law in the region where these efforts, and those of human rights defenders in general, are highly criminalized because of general impunity. Will Guatemala overcome its fragility? Besides forming coalitions, ICCO also addresses issues strategically and in a more integrated way. Climate issues like deforestation go hand in hand with protecting the territories of indigenous peoples. Consequently, there can be no sustainable forest Climate issues like deforestation go hand in hand with the protection of the territories of indegenous people

management without respect for the rights of indigenous and forest communities to their land and resources. Companies interested in complying with the standards for Corporate Social Responsibility, also become partners with ICCO. They are gradually shifting from philanthropy to integrating CSR in their corporate activities, for example in sustainable forest management. ICCO supports them in developing strategies in which they involve the people and other stakeholders who are affected and who need to get involved. ICCO also enables indigenous people to organize themselves so that their voices are heard by companies and the government. How will the situation in Guatemala develop in the near future? There are some concerns, such as limiting space for public participation. There is pressure from Guatemalan government officials to reveal ICCO’s work and intentions; international organizations like ICCO are considered foreign involvement, which is not always appreciated. As the struggle becomes rougher, the campaigns against human rights defenders harden. Whether Guatemala will overcome its fragility is yet to be seen. However, ICCO is confident about developments that seem to have some degree of stability. Moreover, we hope Guatemala can maintain some links with its own past while dealing with the challenges of the present and the future. ICCO will not give up the fight for more democracy and equality. Promoting respect for human rights is an integral part of that struggle. HN

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guatemala 19


Photo: Vital Voices Global Partnership/Kisner

Claudia Paz y Paz

“The victims motivated me”

Statistics1) Claudia Paz y Paz was the first female Attorney General in Guatemala. Recently honored by former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, she also received the 2013 Judith Lee Stronach Human Rights Award from The Center for Justice and Accountability. Moreover, in 2013 she was considered to be a leading candidate for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.

“I saw that, despite being in a vulnerable situation, victims had the strength to approach the justice system and demand justice. That motivated me, along with my commitment to my post and my country. My main challenge as Attorney General was getting the justice system to reach “all who broke the law”, among them those responsible for human rights violations committed during the civil war. They felt that they were untouchable.

right to land, the right to territory, the right to water. The genocide trial has divided Guatemalan society. This development is a step back­wards. Conservative sectors that sympathized with the perpetrators, that were allies of former members of the military, generated a campaign that undermined human rights defenders. This has caused a lot of damage in the country.

While in trial during the Ríos Montt case I tried to give voice to indigenous victims of genocide in the courtroom. I think that an important advance is that Guatemalan citizens are demanding that their human rights be respected in an integral way. Not just the classic human rights – the right to life, the right to freedom – but also human rights of a more collective nature – the

In supporting and protecting these human rights defenders, the international community plays an important role. Even though the cases are heard in national courts, the attention of the international community is very important to avoid violations from happening again and to offer protection to those who make great sacrifices to end impunity.”

Guatemala

Past

Pres.

NL

Population (x million)

4.7 (1965)

16

(2015)

16.8 (2013)

GDP per capita (US$)

252 (1960)

3,478 (2013)

50,793 (2013)

Share agriculture in GNP

0.38% (1965)

12% (2012)

18% (2013)

Life expectancy (years)

48.5 (1965)

72

(2014)

81

Literacy rate (%)

71

(1994)

91

(2012)

98.5 (2012)

Civil liberties 2)

2

(1974)

4

(2013)

1

(2012)

(2013)

Sources: TheGlobalEconomy.com (World Bank, UNESCO). 1) These figures are indicative for the development that a country goes through. 2) The civil liberties index is based on assessments of freedom of expression and belief, associational and organizational rights, rule of law, and personal autonomy and individual rights. Free (1.0 to 2.5), partly free (3.0 to 5.0) or not free (5.5 to 7.0).

ICCO in Guatemala Guatemala

1977

2014

Name of project

Education of cooperatives (FENACOAC)

Human rights an Fair Economic Development Programs3)

Fund

€ 288,758

€ 2,207,721

Number projects

1 7

3) Because more than one project is supported we only indicate the thematic focus of the projects here.

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guatemala 21


03 South Africa: Finding a new purpose after apartheid Every now and then in the 50-year history of ICCO, there were very interesting shifts of power that ICCO and its local partners had long struggled for. This was the case, for example, in South Africa when apartheid was abolished in 1990. A victory that created new dilemmas; how could the government’s promises to its people be realized? In a new power-landscape, ICCO and its partners had to adjust their strategy towards equality and rights.

“During apartheid we all fought for a common cause. After apartheid was abolished, several groups fought for several causes. We had to find a new, level playing field and redefine our purpose,” said Dirk Bakker, who was program manager at ICCO’s Global Office in the 1990s. “ICCO’s policy in South Africa had focused primarily on human rights, but after apartheid this focus gradually shifted to economic development and human rights, such as land rights. We developed land programs with economic activities attached and we looked for partners that were practice-oriented and able to implement those projects. Travel to rural areas had always been rather risky in the years before. After apartheid we could expand our scope to rural areas, places with a high level of poverty.”

Mrs Thulisile Madlala (Chairperson of KwaMadlala Farmer Association)

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Photo: Lakarmissionen

Finding new partners Dirk Bakker’s colleague Ate Kooistra took over the South Africa program in 2003. He added, “We had to select the organizations with which we could continue our cooperation. We looked not only for partners that were specialized in poverty, health (aids) and rights, but we also shifted to stronger organizations in terms of management, administration and budgeting.” Bakker: “Some of our partners were ideologically strongly rooted in the legacy of apartheid. They couldn’t easily shift their attention to rural areas and, for example, to programs related to land and agrarian reform. In some cases we decided to end the relationship with them.” One case in point was the South African Council of Churches (SACC). Bakker: “After apartheid the SACC found it difficult to reposition itself and appeared incapable of guiding and empowering the local churches properly. We decided to gradually reduce our funding.”

south africa 23


But other organizations became new partners for ICCO and fitted well with the new focus on land and economic empowerment. One of these organizations is Siyavuna, which has been a partner of ICCO since 2011. It works with 600 smallholder farmers in Kwazulu Natal and helps them to find a market for their products. At the same time it encourages smallholder farmers to join a savings group that enables them to build up capital and access microfinance if needed. In addition, Siyavuna gives the farmers training in crop diversification and entrepreneurial skills. “Communities were marginalized during apartheid,” Diane Pieters, Siyavuna’s director, said. “So we want to give them the opportunity to help themselves with our cooperation. We give a ‘hand-up’ rather than a ‘hand-out’. It’s a slower but a more sustainable means of development.”

But even when those new partners were found, tensions in the still fragile, restructured society and political landscape there were serious contextual factors to take into account. Bakker: “The ANC, the Communist Party, and the labour unions (COSATU) were confronted with very high expectations. But those expectations were never really met. Many underprivileged people still had no hopes of better prospects. A new black middle class arose that got used to a new level of prosperity and power,” he continued. “They were not that committed to their original goals of fighting poverty and injustice. This was a bit disappointing, but maybe it was all we could expect.” ICCO’s partners had to affirm their role of watchdog to the new leaders and develop lobby and advocacy activities to achieve that aim. “We had to prevent the poor being victimized once again.” Another issue was the high demand for well-educated blacks for government positions, which resulted in a black brain drain from NGOs to the government. The vacant managerial positions in NGOs were often filled by whites. Although the farms

Mr. Themba Lushaba (Chairperson of Gcilima Farmer Association and Hibiscus Coast Co-operative)

Managing expectations Pieters greatly appreciates the relationship with ICCO. “ICCO is a wonderful partner because we get more than funding from them. ICCO also advises us on many aspects of our work, such as giving us leads and ideas on how to reach the market. We can tap into ICCO’s network and access markets that they already have. ICCO has also linked us to Edukans, which is one of its partners in the Netherlands. Edukans has know-how on education, and Siyavuna is getting input on improving the training we offer to farmers.”

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south-africa 25

Photo: Hans Jorgen Ramstedt

Poverty in rural areas

Photo: ICCO Cooperation

The partnership between ICCO and Siyavuna is relatively young. Kooistra and Bakker remember that, immediately after the end of apartheid, it took ICCO some time to find proper partners and adjust itself to working with rural communities in South Africa.


Woman is watering her crops

Photo: Siyavuna

In her view, the government is facing a major challenge in the areas of economic gains and job opportunities, especially in rural communities. “There is limited business presence and little money circulating in those communities, which makes it difficult to build a vibrant economy in rural communities.” Market-oriented approach But there’s hope, Pieters thinks: “We are working hard to find a good balance between supply and demand. In the beginning we told the farmers to grow what they could and said that the Co-op would try to sell it all. This resulted in an erratic supply with too much of the same product some weeks and then not enough the next week to meet customers’demands.” Now Siyavuna is taking a market-oriented approach by finding out what the customers want and then negotiating with farmers to grow accordingly. And not to harvest everything at once, but rather sell smaller amounts more frequently to the Co-op. This makes it possible to take on larger clients, who want a consistent supply. In 2015, the Co-ops will also add frozen cut vegetables to the product range. This will both reduce wastage and open up new market opportunities for Kumnandi produce. “All in all,” Pieters concluded, “it is an exciting time for all concerned and we see great opportunity for progress.”

JJ

of former white farmers became available to blacks, the latter often lacked sufficient farming skills. “During apartheid the government had never invested in higher education for black people,” Bakker concluded. Rock solid and reliable “For generations men in the rural areas worked in mining and other industries often far from home, while the women were responsible for daily family subsistence,” Bakker added. Pieters recognizes this gender difference in Siyavuna’s work with farmers. “84 % of the farmers are women, and the average age is 54. We find it a big challenge to get younger people and men involved and men. Men often move to urban areas to look for work. We are trying to find ways to attract younger people to agriculture and are discussing this with ICCO.” “Women hold the community together,” she added. “They are rock solid and reliable.” Despite the disappointment and struggle in the beginning after apartheid, there has been some improvement for rural communities since apartheid was abolished, Pieters stated. “One of the big changes is the government grants system. A lot of families who first had nothing currently receive some grant from the government. The government also improved the roads, clinics, and schools, and basic services have also been improved.”

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south africa 27


Marisa Gerards “Thanks in part to ICCO, the Netherlands has a bigger impact in South Africa”

Marisa Gerards is the Dutch Ambassador to South Africa. She started her career in the early 1990s at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague as a personal assistant to the Director-General of Development Cooperation. Following this, she worked at the Dutch Embassy in Brazil and, once back in the Netherlands, for the European Affairs Committee of the Dutch parliament. She then became the Deputy Director of the European Integration Department at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Before becoming an ambassador in 2014, she worked as the Deputy Director-General for Political Affairs at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

As the ambassador to South Africa, I have once again encountered ICCO. I knew ICCO already from my experience as a diplomat in Brazil. Whenever useful, we keep each other informed of issues such as equal rights and economic self-sufficiency. Of course, we play different roles: as a representative of the Dutch government or as a Dutch NGO. But that enables us to strengthen each other; that makes us complementary. And this means that the Netherlands can have a bigger impact on social developments and economic progress in South Africa. South Africa is a middle-income country and has the second largest economy in Africa. Its development policy has shifted from help to trade. I’ve noticed that this shift has also influenced the work done by NGOs. When I recently spoke at ICCO’s 50th -anniversary

celebration at its regional office in Pretoria, I said that it has become evident that ICCO is capable of tuning its help to today’s needs. In its search for economic empowerment, ICCO has developed innovative methods, such as ‘ICCO Investments’ by which financial products are offered to local SMEs that would otherwise not qualify for a financial loan. The gap between rich and poor is a large one in South Africa. Our embassy has a broad agenda, but our focus is an economic one. Encouraging trade benefits both countries. Trade brings jobs and skills development. And instruments such as the Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF) focus on both Dutch and the South African SMEs. ICCO also supports entrepreneurial people.”

Statistics1) south africa

Pres.

Past

NL

Population (x million)

17.4

GDP per capita (US$)

423.27 (1960) 6,617.91 (2013) 50,793 (2013)

(1965)

53.16

(2013)

16.8

(2013)

Share agriculture in GNP (%) 11.21

(1965)

2.39

(2012)

18

(2013)

Life expectancy (years)

49

(1960)

57

(2014)

81

(2012)

Literacy rate (%)

76.2

(1980)

93.73

(2012)

98.5

(2012)

Civil liberties 2)

5

(1973) 2

(2014) 1

(2013)

Sources: TheGlobalEconomy.com (World Bank, UNESCO). 1) These figures are indicative for the development that a country goes through. 2) The civil liberties index is based on assessments of freedom of expression and belief, associational and organizational rights, rule of law, and personal autonomy and individual rights. Free (1.0 to 2.5), partly free (3.0 to 5.0) or not free (5.5 to 7.0).

ICCO in South africa south africa

1979

2014

Name of project

Sizamile school in crossroads township Capetown

Several projects on health, education and fair economic development3)

Fund

€ 10,700

€ 1,882,538

Number projects

1 32

3) Because more than one project is supported we only indicate the thematic focus of the projects here.

28 50 years icco cooperation

south africa 29


Photo: Marieke Viergever

04 interview: “A Constant Quest to Share Power”

Jone Bos was ICCO’s first director. He oversaw the first sixteen years of ICCO’s development and vividly recalls how it grew from a small but committed organization to the professional – but not less committed - cooperative that it is today. Marinus Verweij has been ICCO’s director since 2010. In the past five years, he and his colleagues have developed innovative strategies for the years ahead. In ICCO’s global office in Utrecht, these two men looked back on the fifty years of ICCO’s existence and shared their views on ICCO’s future. Could you tell us about the dilemmas facing ICCO at the beginning? Jone Bos and Marinus Verweij talking about the ICCO’s history

Bos: “Firstly, there was a certain fear among the churches that colonial structures would be re-confirmed by the flow of funds from the Dutch government to private organizations in developing countries. Secondly, others feared that Christianity would be an export product at the expense of the Dutch tax-payer.” Verweij: “Apart from the colonial histories and the sensitivities that coincide with it, a certain tension in the relationship between donors and recipients is always part of development cooperation. ICCO tried to address this in various ways. At some point, we - and other organizations as well - decided to call the recipients ‘partners’ in order to stress the reciprocal relationship and reflect the wish for equality. But in fact, this term disguises the inherent inequality in power between donors and recipients.” Bos: “We have been aware of this dilemma from the start. To address it, the Dutch government, in consultation with the Roman Catholic and the Protestant churches and other groups, developed a set of sharp criteria. For instance, absolutely no funds would be granted for missionary activities. Secondly, the co-financing program (as it was called from the start) was not restricted to religious organizations, but was open to projects from all private, non-commercial organizations. Finally, the approval of the proper authorities was required in the recipient country. Nevertheless, we saw that the inequality in power was a permanent and growing problem. Each project had to be decided upon in Utrecht and The Hague. As if we could assess the local situation everywhere. Completely unrealistic.

30 50 years icco cooperation

interview bos AND VERWEIJ 31


Photo: ICCO Cooperation

In the beginning... December 30, 1964 was the first meeting of representatives of Dutch Protestant missions, Dutch Interchurch Aid and a number of Christian organizations. The meeting was initiated by Professor and chairman Dr. Jo Verkuyl, a former missionary, and secretary Jone Bos, a former manager in secular and ecclesiastic affairs. This first meeting of what in 1965 became ICCO was convened because, in 1965 and in response to an appeal from the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches, the Dutch government decided to allocate a modest amount of the state budget to co-financing development projects of NGOs in developing countries.

Prince Claus at the opening of ICCO’s office in Zeist (1980)

In the bilateral aid program in the beginning of the 1970s, we noticed the rise of consortia: a number of donors advising one recipient. ICCO developed the idea of Reverse Consortia: a number of longstanding partners (recipients) advising one donor, in this case ICCO. We organized Reverse Consortia in 1977 and in 1979. However, we felt that the results were disappointing. Our partners did not appear to be very interested in sharing power. They were happy with decisions being made in Utrecht and The Hague. Perhaps our idea was ahead of its time at that point.”

32 50 years icco cooperation

Although the partners didn’t want to share power, the relationships professionalized? Bos: “As early as the 1970s, ICCO had developed relations with a growing number of organizations that were not based on religion but that shared our views on development. The permanent needs of the developing countries, the increase in the number of NGOs exercising countervailing power in these countries, and the annual increase in available funds enabled ICCO to support many diverse projects. ICCO’s relationship with the government changed too. An important turning point was the introduction of program financing by Jan de Koning, the Minister of Development Cooperation, in 1980. Based on a mandate agreed on between the government and ICCO, we could decide independently on each project or program. This ministerial decision was a result of the government’s growing appreciation and our reciprocal trust.”

We were not entitled to ‘steer the world’ Verweij: “As the relationship with the government became stronger, the connections with churches, the constituencies that we had originated from, simultaneously became looser. So in 2000, Eveline Herfkens, then the Minister of Development Cooperation, challenged us. Did ICCO conceive of itself as an extended arm of government bureaucracy or was ICCO still rooted in society? That was a reasonable question. The identity question of who or what ICCO is went hand in hand with an organizational and strategic renewal in 2007, which we called PROCODE. This means: working with PROgrams, CO-responsibility and DEcentralization. It was a result of ICCO’s wish to shorten its distance to the actual work in the field (= decentralization). We thought we were not entitled to ‘steer the world’ with three hundred people from one office in Utrecht. This renewal led to dismissing many of our employees in Utrecht and hiring local employees at Regional Offices worldwide. In addition, we installed regional councils (= co-responsibility) whose members had a solid background in the respective regions that we work in. We use the advice of the Regional Councils to further develop our strategies and policy. In 2010 we were confronted for the first time in our history with a huge decline in funding from the Dutch government. This was the result of both the financial and economic crises that erupted in 2008 and of government decisions to cut the budget for development cooperation. The relationship with the Dutch government as well as with our partners became more businesslike.”

interview bos AND VERWEIJ 33


In the late 1980s ICCO also began to develop partnerships with new players in the field of development, namely companies. Verweij: “Yes, and when we started to do so we were sometimes accused of collaborating with the enemy, particularly by some activist organizations. And not without reason, since businesses have done damage in Latin America, Africa and Asia.” Bos: “ICCO was also criticized within our own ranks. Many employees had major objections against businesses.” Verweij: “We realized, I think as one of the first organizations, that current global problems are very complicated and that several parties are needed to solve them. We need businesses and we must work with them pragmatically. At the same time, ICCO promotes new ways of thinking about business and human rights. the UNGP framework (United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights) principles play an important role here. They provide a global standard for preventing and addressing the risk of adverse impacts on human rights that are linked to business activities.” Bos: “Businesses have changed too. They are more willing to take responsibility.” Verweij: “Yes, and also for their own interests. For example, they have to cooperate in preventing definite shortages of natural resources. NGOs provide them with an additional means to realize this. Together with businesses, we search to align our aims. But we remain on our guard; companies stand to benefit from our critical attitude.” You told us that the relationship with ICCO’s founding partners, the Protestant churches, became looser in the 1980s and 1990s. How has this relationship evolved since then?

We have set our strategy around two central themes that have always been important to ICCO: enhancing sustainable livelihoods and striving for justice and dignity for all. These themes involve connecting farmers to value chains and making markets work for the poor. Improved farming is also crucial to the world’s food security. The way we implement this strategy is changing. Coming from a primarily grant-based approach, we are now increasingly using other instruments such as loans, guarantees and investments. These different financial instruments not only reduce dependency on ICCO grants but also increase our regional partners’ responsibility for having an impact on a program. ICCO now has more roles: broker, networker, co-financer and lobbyist, all based on 50 years of experience and expertise. This approach is more suitable to the livelihoods programs; good business should not depend on grants. Mixing these mechanisms is what we call ‘blending’. At the same time we promote human rights and increasingly look at their interface with livelihoods. A good example is land rights, which is a sensitive issue on all continents.” Bos: “When we started ICCO I appear to have said: When ICCO reaches its fifty years of existence, the world will have become a more decent place to live in. This is partly true because the number of persons that live below the poverty line has decreased; however, this number is still much too high.” Verweij: “I agree. ICCO will therefore continue its work based on its principles of stewardship, justice and compassion combined with a rights-based approach. We haven’t accomplished our mission yet.”

JJ

Verweij: “After 2000 we reinforced those connections. We formed an alliance and, since 2012, a cooperative with several faith-based organizations. The relationship between faith and development was tense in the past, but this has changed in the last few years. We came to realize that the importance of religion in society is very prevalent outside of Europe. Take, for example, the influence of church leaders on how people deal with sexuality in general and homosexuality in specific. There are many strengths in societies that are faith-based.” What prospects do you see for the future? Verweij: “Our future has been put to the test because the government supports us less than we had hoped for. But ICCO has a future, and I see a justification for continuing.

34 50 years icco cooperation

interview bos AND VERWEIJ 35


ICCO throughout the years 1964

30 December 1964 Dr. Jo Verkuyl is founder and first chair of ICCO. ICCO was established by Protestant churches and organizations ICCO (Interkerkelijke Coördinatie Commissie Ontwikkelingshulp) and starts with small a subsidy from the Dutch government.

1970

ICCO signs a contract with a Philippine partner. Second form left is Jone Bos, ICCO’s first secretary. In 1970, ICCO becomes an independent foundation. The start-up capital is 100 florins.

2000

2005

ICCO goes back to its Christian roots and connects with churches and church-related organizations. Dienst over Grenzen (cross-border services) and the Stichting Oecumenische Hulp (the latter partially) merge with ICCO.

An alliance with Edukans, Kerk in Actie, Oikocredit, Prisma, Share People and ICCO is established. ICCO and Kerk in Actie put together their international program.

36 50 years icco cooperation

An more extensive timeline can be found at www.iccco-cooperation.org

1975

The budget of ICCO increases rapidly. Relations are extended to organizations outside the traditional church networks. In 1980 ICCO moves from Utrecht to Zeist.

2008

Fair & Sustainable Holding B.V. is established, a 100% subsidiary of ICCO. FairClimateFund B.V. and F&S Advisory Services B.V. are part of this structure. In 2014 ICCO Investments B.V. joins the F&S Holding.

1980

ICCO is now officially an independent co-financing organization (MFO) It justifies its actions by means of reports and evaluations to the Dutch government. It campaigns with the slogan: Poverty is the ‘core’ problem.

1990

1995

Cooperation is started with private companies that can contribute to the realization of ICCO’s objectives. MFOs start an extensive impact study and realize that good intentions do not automatically mean good results.

2010

2012

Between 2007 and 2010 seven Regional Offices in Africa, Asia and Latin America are opened. They get support from Regional Councils, consisting of independent experts, that carry co-responsibility in the policy and strategy of ICCO.

The cooperative is founded from the ICCO Alliance. This cooperative, l called ICCO Cooperation, is a unique construction in the development sector in the Netherlands. Its members are coPrisma, Kerk in Actie, and Edukans. In positions itself on the cutting edge of human rights and economic development.

The mission statement is reformulated: “Working on a World without Poverty and Injustice”. The objective is to make civil society in developing countries less dependent on Western donors.

2015

ICCO Cooperation celebrates its 50th anniversary. The co-financing program with the government has come to an end. Funding has to come from various national and international sources. Cooperation with the ACT Alliance and European sister organizations intensifies.

ICCO throughout the years 37


05 ghana: Poverty Can Have Various faces

Through support from ICCO, the Presbyterian Church (PCG) in Ghana set up an agricultural station in 1967, providing innovative agricultural advisory services and introducing crop varieties. The area was plagued by frequent droughts causing food insecurity and low incomes. How did the program ensure that it reached the ones who really needed it and not only men with a Protestant background?

The unpaved potholed road from Garu to Gozeig leads through a colorful patchwork of rice fields, acres of corn, and shea tree plantations. The rainy season brings fresh colors and odors and makes the soil fertile. A motorized tractor driven by a farmer wearing a weathered straw hat plows its way through a small sorghum field.

The project Garu agricultural station is one of the first project ICCO supported

A visitor unaware of the historical context would ignore these signs of progress; the crop varieties, the motorized cultivation methods, and the fertile soil thanks to the introduction of fertilizers. But for the people of the Garu agricultural station, this is the fruit of 50 years of cooperation with ICCO. The previous periods of hunger have hopefully been left behind for good.

38 50 years icco cooperation

Photo: ICCO Cooperation

Longstanding partnership The Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG) is ICCO’s most longstanding partner in West Africa. Throughout the years, ICCO has offered support in terms of finance, technical knowledge, market linkage, exchange visits, human resource management, and facilitation. When the cooperation started, the main objective was to address food inadequacy and the problems of malnutrition in the region. And even today these challenges remain visible, although to a lesser extent. Regarded as the most underdeveloped region in Ghana in terms of physical infrastructure and livelihood opportunities, the northern area still relies heavily on agriculture. By introducing crop varieties, providing technical assistance, and increasing knowledge on best agricultural practices, ICCO and PCG paved the way for local farmers to shift from the previously dominant consumption-oriented production to a more market-driven approach. Farmers’ incomes increased significantly when they started to produce new crops such as sorghum, soybeans, and groundnuts.

GHANA 39


Solomon Atigah, program manager of the Garu agricultural station

One of the underlying reasons for income differences is that most of the poorest community members do not have access to land. And the ones without access to land often happen to be women.

Photo: ICCO Cooperation

Women gaining independence Traditionally seen as the property of men, women were always in the background. The men decided everything, ranging from what food to cultivate to which of the children would be sent to school. The girls did not attend school but served for cleaning and cooking instead. After a certain age they were given as wives to men, sometimes in exchange for cattle. “This reality was reflected in the community meetings we held. Women had to sit in the back. They were not given the opportunity to speak in public. Changing the perspective of people turned out to be a hard nut to crack,” Dan Kolbilla, national director the PCG agricultural services said.

Protestant bias? Ton Dietz, currently director of the African Studies Centre in Leiden, the Netherlands, published a report in 2002 entitled “The Impact of ICCO and Cordaid on the Development of Northern Ghana”. He was critical of the ICCO/PCG’s working method: “PCG has a handicap because there is such an express commitment to a Protestant identity. In practice, this makes it difficult to reach the Muslim population.”

Raising the gender issue has proven to be more difficult in polygamous families. Some Muslim men remained resistant to giving resources to women. Access to land was not given to them, so they were not able to set up their own agricultural businesses. “With help from ICCO we slowly addressed this issue. Through town meetings, men were stimulated to release small parts of the land for their wives

While northern Ghana is predominantly Muslim, the majority of the interventions in the region do indeed have Christian origins. So was Ton Dietz right? Not according to the PCG, whose members considered his criticism unfounded. “We never used religion as a criterion for selection. In fact, most of our beneficiaries are Muslim or traditionalists,” Solomon Atigah, program manager of the Garu agricultural station said.

Dietz: “The problem with poverty-ranking indexes is that they probably show the differences in incomes but not the underlying patterns, nor do they show how incomes evolve throughout the years. An organization such as PCG does not have the right equipment to measure these developments.”

40 50 years icco cooperation

Woman is gathering sheanuts in sheanut plantation

ghana 41

Photo: ICCO Cooperatiom

But the question Ton Dietz addressed did lead to further reflections on the question of whether ICCO/PCG really reached those who needed help the most. In many communities Muslims belonged to the lowest income groups. PCG had already started using the so-called participatory wealth-ranking approach, a tool making it possible to better define poverty. In this wealth-ranking approach, community members set up their own wealth indicators, varying from the possession of thatched roofs to motorbikes, livestock, and sometimes even a second wife.


so that they would be able to become financially independent,” Kolbilla said. The 33-year-old Celestina lives together with her husband and parents-inlaw in a small town near Garu. The interventions from PCG helped her to become more independent, not only financially. “The PCG trained us in making compost and block farming and they introduced new varieties of crops such as corn and soya beans,” Celestina said. Celestina: “Now that I have access to land, my financial situation is much better. But most importantly, I have the sense of ownership. I can do things without consulting my husband.” Celestina was lucky that her husband released a piece of land for her. This was not the case for all of the mostly Muslim women in her town. “And a new challenge is arising. Land is becoming scarce, so women’s access to land is decreasing again. This is because of overpopulation. People have also started to use land in a greedier way,” said Dan Kolbilla. Reliable and experimenting It is crystal clear that the road ahead is still long. Despite his critical note, Ton Dietz is convinced that PCG is the right organization to take this road. “The PCG is the complete opposite of these development organizations that want to achieve popular short-term goals. Without exaggerating, I think PCG is one of the best local grassroots organizations in West Africa. They are not afraid to experiment, to fail, and to learn from their experiences. The local communities see them as a reliable partner that does not give up on their people.” ICCO has been standing alongside the PCG all these years. According to Prosper Sapathy, program officer for ICCO in West Africa, the relationship between ICCO and PCG has known its ups and downs, especially in terms of funding. “The amount of money ICCO gives is very insignificant compared to what the PCG is achieving. But we should not forget that ICCO was the one that helped the PCG to go that far and to become so financially independent,” Sapathy said.

42 50 years icco cooperation

So can such an independent organization still benefit from cooperation with ICCO? In a recent interview with ICCO, Manon Stravens, program officer for ICCO West Africa from 2009-2013, said that the PCG had managed to find such a variety of donors that the financial support from ICCO had almost become unnecessary. Does this mean that the time has come for ICCO to end its partnership with the PCG? “That depends on how you look at it,” Ton Dietz said, adding: “If you see ICCO as a traditional development organization, then ICCO should have left a long time ago. But when a huge multinational such as Heineken enters a new market, they show long-term commitment in a country by building sustainable partnerships. ICCO should continue to do the same. As a catalyzer for social entrepreneurship they build longstanding partnerships with grassroots organizations.” Not only boys The 65-year-old farmer Akudago Anthony overlooks his corn fields surrounding his house located in the small town of Gozeig, near Garu. He has been involved in the agricultural programs from the agricultural station since the early days. He is well placed to look back and see the differences the ICCO/PCG cooperation brought to him and his community members. “To be honest, without the agricultural station my life would be miserable,” he said, while picking a ripe corncob from the field. Anthony feeds the corncob to a small pig that lies under the big tree near his house and continues to talk. “Without the station I would not have been able to feed my children. Now I can even send them to high school and hopefully even the university. And not only the boys, the girls go to school too. So that is a big change indeed.”

CvdB

GHANA 43


Akua Kuenyehia

“I know how woman are affected by poverty”

Statistics 1) Judge Akua Kuenyehia is a Ghanaian lawyer who has been a judge on the International Criminal Court (ICC) since 2003. She is now retiring. She was the first vice-president of the Court and one of the only three female African judges at the ICC. Furthermore, she represented Ghana on the United Nations’ Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) committee in 2003.

“Before I went to Holland, I defended women’s rights in Ghana for a very long time. So I know how women are affected by poverty. I was lucky. I was raised in the Presbyterian church. My mother used to teach there, where she educated people for many years, including me. This way I had the opportunity to develop myself. But this doesn’t apply to many other women in Ghana. Women carry most of the responsibilities but do not have the same access to economic resources. Sometimes cultural barriers limit girls’ access to schooling, and in other cases there is simply not enough money to educate everyone in the family. Girls then drop out, while they should be educated. So therefore I am

glad that now girls can also attend school. Men have to be educated on how they can do their part. They should be more helpful, have a bigger role in the family. But in many countries we still have a very patriarchal culture. It is good that ICCO and the Presbyterian church have such a long history and have achieved so much. I have seen development organizations not meeting the needs of specific groups in society. Often the question of what for example women need was not even asked, but answered for them instead. This is a major mistake. In Ghana there are steps to take since Ghana is a developing country. I’m looking forward to going back. I think my country still needs me, even though I will be retired.”

ghana

Past

Pres.

NL

Population (x million)

7.71

GDP per capita (US$)

230.42 (1965)

1,858.24 (2013)

50,793.14 (2013)

Share agriculture in GNP

49.9

21.96 (2013)

1.65

(2013)

Life expectancy (years)

47.81 (1965)

60.95

(2012)

81.1

(2012)

Literacy rate (%)

57.9

(2001)

71.5

(2010)

98.5

(2012)

Civil liberties2)

6

(1972)

2

(2014)

1

(2013)

(1965)

(1965)

25.9

(2013)

16.8

(2013)

Sources: The GlobalEconomy.com (World Bank, UNESCO). 1) These figures are indicative for the development that a country goes through. 2) The civil liberties index is based on assessments of freedom of expression and belief, associational and organizational rights, rule of law, and personal autonomy and individual rights. Free (1.0 to 2.5), Partly Free (3.0 to 5.0) or Not Free (5.5 to 7.0).

ICCO in ghana ghana

1966

2014

Name of project

Agricultural Station in Bawhu

A mix of projects on food security, health, and economic development3)

Fund

€ 52,180

€ 958,161

Number of projects

1 12

3) Because more than one project is supported we only indicate the thematic focus of the projects here.

44 50 years icco cooperation

Ghana 45


06 Brazil: IN need of political reform

Does Brazil still need development aid? Many international donors and development organizations have recently withdrawn from Brazil. Since millions of Brazilians have now been elevated from poverty, help no longer seemed necessary. And although ICCO is still cooperating with partners in Brazil, even ICCO is reconsidering.

Although Brazil is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, the economy has grown less than expected in the past two years. As a result of this slowdown, foreign investors are hesitant. In an interview with the Financial Times in January 2015, the Brazilian Minister of Finance, Mr. Levy, said that austerity is necessary; even the social welfare program, which has been so successful for many years, has to be overhauled.

Indian protest in the capital Brasilia

One of ICCO’s partners in Brazil that works towards equality in economic development is Instituto Socioambiental (ISA). ISA represents the rights of indigenous people, groups who have not yet profited very much from the country’s economic advances. Since its foundation in 1994, ISA has been given funds and advice by ICCO. Support for Lula ISA has the same societal roots as the Labor Party of Lula, who was Brazil’s president from 2003-2011. In the early 1960s, Lula was involved in trade union activities, in which he led several strikes in opposition to the dictatorial regime at that time. In February 1980, together with academics, trade union leaders and intellectuals, Lula founded the Partido dos Trabalhadores (Workers’ Party), which espoused ideas that were opposed to those of the regime. In 1983 he helped to found the central trade union Central Única dos Trabalhadores (CUT). This organization was supported by ICCO. “Coming from the same activist background, ISA actively supported Lula’s Labor Party. In 2001, just before Lula was elected president, we invited him to the office to discuss the challenges of social and environmental issues in Brazil,” Adriana Ramos, ISA director, remembers.

46 50 years icco cooperation

Photo: ISA

ISA’s main concerns were environmental issues and the rights of indigenous people. “The Workers’ Party is not very open to the minority agenda in general. But in the

brazil 47


Indian communities and farmers to grow trees in areas where once rainforest was growing.

beginning of Lula’s tenure indigenous people’s problems and environmental issues were taken seriously,” Ramos said. “The advisory support of ICCO to ISA was very helpful. We proposed new approaches to the government. For example, increasing the importance of indigenous territories with regard to bio-diversity and forest conservation.” And ISA’s efforts were successful: “The Ministry of Environment turned the environmental policy into a more social-environmental policy. Specific policies for indigenous communities were created.”

Photo: Ton Koene

Corruption scandal But in 2004 some of the progress came to a halt when the Labor Party was involved in a huge corruption scandal. According to the judges of Brazil’s Supreme Court, in 2003 and 2004 the top officials of the Labor Party had offered members of parliament monthly bribes in return for their support of government projects. Ramos: “After this scandal, the more conservative factions of the government felt more empowered. They took over some of the strategic ministries such as agriculture, mining and energy. They put pressure on the visibly weakened government to agree to their demands. We still live in this situation today,” Ramos said regretfully. Despite this scandal and its consequences, some successes were achieved: In 2006 the government announced a national plan to protect certain areas, such as the Amazon; this was the first time that such plans included indigenous territories as part of the strategy. In 2013 the government adopted a new policy for the environmental management of indigenous territories. “We think that this had a lot to do with the work that we did in the years when Lula was president. Work that was supported by ICCO,” Ramos said.

Xingu indians witness the deforrestation of their territory

48 50 years icco cooperation

Photo: Ton Koene

Too little inclusiveness However, Ramos sees setbacks as well: “The focus of our current president is on urban development and on inclusion, but it gives too little attention to social diversity. Indigenous people, such as Indians and Maroons, the descendents of former slaves, are groups who are involved in the dispute for territory and natural resources but who do not profit from the government policies. Their different needs are not being addressed, especially with regard to territory (land, mining, agriculture),” Ramos said. Ramos offered the following example. “Lula’s government wanted to build a road through the Amazon. There was concern from environmentalists since such a road often involves deforestation. However, this road was important for the transport of soybeans. The initial plan failed to consider the other communities living in the Amazon, let alone how they could benefit from the road. We brought those

brazil 49


And this is not the only example. “A lot of good practices during Lula’s administration were not further developed into public policy.” Northeast Brazil, for example, suffers from drought. Civil society organizations, like ISA and others, worked with local organizations to build cisterns to collect rainwater. The cisterns were built from cement and provided some extra maintenance jobs. Ramos: “But at the end of Lula’s term, the government wanted to buy plastic cisterns. This is a product with a very short lifetime. 15,000 people demonstrated against it.” Political reform needed To Ramos, the examples illustrate the ongoing need for a strong civil society in Brazil. “We need political reform in Brazil. Currently, those who have money will be elected and those who don’t will not. We can only change this by political reform and the only way to do so is with strong civil society organizations.” Now, due to financial cutbacks, ICCO is rethinking its support of ISA and other Brazilian organizations. What does Ramos think of that? “A lot of organizations thought that Brazil now has what it needed in terms of democracy, so they left Brazil; even the cooperation with ICCO has diminished. To guarantee that we go further with the achievements

50 50 years icco cooperation

Photo: ISA

communities together and developed a plan. For example, we suggested small side roads so different communities could reach the main road. We also demanded the protection of land tenure and biodiversity. The government accepted our propositions and brought all societies together, with ministries to manage the overall project. But after the corruption scandal, the government set this plan aside. They could have used the model for building dams or other projects in the Amazon. But they never did that again.”

we have made, however, civil society should be supported in playing its part and introducing a more social agenda.” Ramos thinks that ICCO has a lot of experience and knowledge of the country and can also advise organizations like ISA on how to approach different issues. In her view, finding new ways to tackle political reform and also involving a younger audience are two of the greatest challenges facing current civil society organizations in Brazil. “It helps that ICCO has experience with other partners. It can therefore play a role as a broker in the debate and bring new points of view to the table.”

JJ

braZil 51


Gilberto Carvalho

”International cooperation should never leave Brazil”

statistics1) After serving as former President Lula’s chief of staff for eight years, Gilberto Carvalho was President Dilma’s General Secretary for four years (2011-2014). His position is considered by some as an important bridge between the government and a society demanding to be heard.

“I would like international cooperation never to leave Brazil, even if this means changing part of its role. Although we have a better economic situation today, we still face deep contradictions in power. International cooperation could help us a lot. Although poverty in Brazil is much less today than it was some time ago, we still need reform, agrarian reform that deals with landownership and fiscal reform. We still have a system that concentrates wealth in the hands of a few. Every small organization, company or enterprise finds it very difficult to grow because of the hard fiscal policy privileging the larger organizations. We also need policies to protect the minimum wage and to improve healthcare and education. To achieve all of this we have to start with the mother of all reforms: political reform. We need to diminish economic power in politics. In Brazil corporations finance campaigns, which is a cancer in our politics.

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It ensures that companies play a large role in state policies. This is also the main cause of corruption. Companies don’t donate money to political campaigns, they “invest”. However, some changes have taken place. Different councils have been installed in which government officials, social movements and universities advise and, in growing numbers, decide on several issues. But support for civil society is still necessary. Not only financial support but also the transfer of social technology so we can learn from other people who have been successful and who could help us. Due to today’s globalization, all people have to learn from each other in some way; there are advances in Brazilian democracy that are worth sharing with others. I don’t think that we should interrupt this relationship. Although the quality of the relationship and its objectives may change, it is vital that it continues.”

Brazil

Past

Pres.

NL

Population (x million)

84.83 (1965)

200.63

GDP per capita (US$)

258.24 (1965)

11,208.08 (2013) 50,793.14 (2013)

Share agriculture in GNP

18.71 (1965)

5.71

(2013) 18.2

(2013)

Life expectancy (years)

56.92 (1965)

73.62

(2012) 81.1

(2012)

Literacy rate (%)

74.59 (1980)

91.33

(2006) 98.5

(2012)

Civil liberties

5

2

(2014) 1

(2013)

2)

(1972)

(2013) 16.8

(2013)

Sources: TheGlobalEconomy.com (World Bank, UNESCO). 1) These figures are indicative for the development that a country goes through. 2) The civil liberties index is based on assessments of freedom of expression and belief, associational and organizational rights, rule of law, and personal autonomy and individual rights. Free (1.0 to 2.5), partly free (3.0 to 5.0) or not free (5.5 to 7.0).

ICCO in braZil brasil

1966

2014

Name of project

Extension secondary school3) in Castrolanda.

Primarily fair economic develop and climat projects3)

Fund

€ 45,380

€ 1,547,851

Number projects

1 16

3) Because more than one project is supported we only indicate the thematic focus of the projects here.

braZil 53


Twelve years ago the well-known, prize-winning Dutch photographer Raymond Rutting travelled with ICCO for the first time. That trip was to DR Congo, and many other countries followed. He always captured the changes in people’s lives in his own characteristic and almost artistic style.

‘Twelve years ago I visited a project of ICCO for the Dutch newspaper, De Volkskrant. We were in Congo and I took pictures of sexually abused women who were supported by ICCO’s partner. Those women made a tremendous impression on me. Back in the Netherlands, I realized I wanted to help them. I organized an auction to sell my photographs and I donated the profits to ICCO. We all know the World Press Photo that shows a girl in Vietnam running on the street after being struck by napalm. However, the power of pictures today isn’t what it was then. As a photographer I sometimes find it hard to see so much misery and, at the same time, to be so limited in my possibilities to make a difference. So I started the “Art of News Foundation” to raise funds for projects. When I go along with ICCO to visit its partners, I sometimes withdraw from all official business, like extensive greetings, presentations, etc. I have to wander around a village, for example, and look for the beautiful stories. This way I can take the best pictures. Luckily ICCO understands that this is part of my job and explains this to its partners.

Congo 2003

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picture the change 55


Congo 2005

Senegal 2007 56 50 years icco cooperation

Madagascar 2012

Mali 2007 picture the change 57


07 India: Rural Development in an Awakening Giant ICCO and the Indian NGO PRADAN share a long-standing relationship based on their common passion of working for the poor. In 1988, ICCO and PRADAN embarked on a common journey. Since then, although the economy of India has grown spectacularly, rural people in particular have hardly benefited. The gap between rich and poor is only widening.

PRADAN is the prototype of a Southern partner that, with strength and support, was able to grow into the organization it is today: a successful development advocate in Indian society. ICCO grants, for example, offered PRADAN the possibility of leveraging funds from the government and banks. This was also true of the tasar silk value chain program for tribal communities in Bihar, which was supported with a grant from the Ford Foundation and other subsequent donors. Currently, PRADAN is largely independent of ICCO.

Woman is carrying firewood

58 50 years icco cooperation

Photo: Margriet Smulders

First date A successful story. But how did the cooperation start? At the New Delhi airport in 1988, PRADAN’s co-founder, Mr. Deep Joshi, met ICCO representative Mr. Bram van Leeuwen. In a hurry to catch his flight, Mr. Joshi only handed a proposal to Mr. Van Leeuwen. At that time, PRADAN wanted to revamp its production of tasar, a wild silk that has been a traditional livelihood of the Adivasis (indigenous tribal peoples in India). Nivedita Narain, one of PRADAN’s program directors, remembered: “We assumed that, by adopting a sub-sector approach, we could be successful.” She continued, “Months after Deep Joshi and Bram Van Leeuwen met briefly at the airport, we had a detailed discussion with ICCO. Although we shared the goal to improve the livelihoods of disadvantaged groups in rural India, our organization was at that time quite different from other Indian NGOs. Our staff members are urban professionals, not grassroots persons, and we did not follow the then common “integrated rural development” approach, in which different agencies are coordinated under a single management system in order to get agricultural or rural development moving. So we depended on a donor agency that, we assumed, would understand our philosophy.

india 59


Woman is attending to caterpillars

Photo: Margriet Smulders

that ICCO has not been merely an institutional – i.e. distant - donor for PRADAN. “We had joint priorities and our relationship involved more than just money. We maintained a North – South NGO partnership; there was an exchange of experiences, views and strategies on development and the roles of NGOs in relation to the state. We could share our expertise professionally and influence each other.” If there were disagreements, they were resolved very amicably. There was some debate, if you can call it that, on the “Lift Irrigation” project in the Hazaribagh district. It challenged ICCO’s idea about PRADAN’s gender strategy, or rather the lack of it. Narain remembers that Van der Vleuten came to India and spent time in the PRADAN field areas in Hazaribagh, Jharkhand. “She wanted to better understand our Lift Irrigation program and the way we worked with women, and she shared her insights with all our team members during our annual retreat. She linked us to a women’s rights organization, another ICCO partner. We understood that, although we were working with women, we were not very gender sensitive at that time. Women’s self-improvement groups offered the financial basis for our work in the villages, but women themselves were not integrated into our business development models. They were regarded as “women” and not as people with different economic skills. Now we focus much more on women’s entrepreneurship; in our poultry program, for example, we work with women as farmers and promote their equal access to land rights.”

Initially, ICCO was a bit apprehensive, but they gave us the benefit of the doubt and agreed to support our pilot on tasar silk.”

Photo: Margriet Smulders

With respect to the results, she added, “ICCO’s continued support for our approach has been instrumental in turning tasar from a declining tradition into a significant and sustainable source of income for 15,000 families. The funds have gone a long way in sustaining the organization and helping it reaching the point where it is today.”

PRADAN’s achievements The 30-year-old organization PRADAN is a leader in the livelihood sector in India. In 2013, PRADAN’s staff of 640 persons plus apprentices reached 272,000 families in 7 Indian states and, and in collaboration with 70 NGOs, another 45,000 households. PRADAN engages with national and international organizations and has built relations with corporate foundations and More than justcivil thesociety money value chain actors in India. An in theprogram USA was recently in orderdesk, to raise funds. Nelleke van der Vleuten, aoffice previous officer established at ICCO’s Indian explained

A woman is unraveling the filaments from the silk cocoons

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india 61


Changing relationship A “reciprocal relationship” both partners emphasized, in which they could exchange their mutual passion for rural development and learn from each other’s views. But after ICCO decentralized and opened a regional office in New Delhi in 2009, PRADAN felt there was little opportunity to share thoughts on development. The lack of a North-South exchange of ideas is something that PRADAN still regrets. Narain: “Our relation was also based on sharing people and knowledge. Our work greatly benefited from this, and vice versa. Various exchanges from 2003 onwards through ICCO and SharePeople, an organization that sent Dutch business professionals to local development organizations, enabled personal contacts with

different persons from the corporate sector and led to new professional ideas. For example, we used a stronger business focus in our work. Annemarie Mink from TUDelft designed a technological innovation for tasar reeling, and Margriet Smulders, an artist and photographer, made wonderful photographs of the tasar value chain and its producers. From Deborah Pepper, a Dutch retailer, we received marketing input. Some Dutch business contacts generated donations and they spread the word about our work. There was mutuality in sharing knowledge because we welcomed ICCO staff and partners from Central Asia who wanted to learn from our cooperative models in India. We also received a visit from the top 40 global highpotential leaders of Philips who wanted to better understand the so-called “base of the pyramid” model. ICCO’s introduction of the programmatic approach stimulated PRADAN to link with other NGOs working on access to markets for small producers in the same region. This was very helpful to us. “ According to PRADAN, the current relation is more focused on administrating programs. Narain: “With the reduction of funds and the organizational changes, we feel that ICCO is also withdrawing from our relationship. However, we would still like to build our future with ICCO and align ideas on how we can achieve much more for society-building.”

Photo: Margriet Smulders

Holistic change In the meantime, PRADAN has moved from having a techno-managerial approach to being an organization focusing more on the self-reliance of rural communities. An understandable development. Van der Vleuten: “There are sufficient resources in India to close the gap between rich and poor and between urban and rural areas. But that does not happen automatically. Many indigenous and Dalit people in rural areas are discriminated against and excluded. By securing their livelihoods, defending their dignity, and promoting their self-esteem, they are better able to stand up for their rights and get their share of the nation’s prosperity. A rights-based approach, which focuses on the accountability of so-called “duty bearers”, should be high on the agenda of any civil society organization.” Narain agreed: “From being a big player in a particular rural context, we have become a small player in a larger context. Now we are preparing rural communities to become self-reliant so that they can exercise their agency and be able to reach out to the government and other stakeholders. So improved livelihoods is an outcome and no longer our single entry point. It is like Ghandi’s gram swaraj (village self-reliance), but then in a modern context and in interaction with the outside world. Rural community development is bringing about holistic change in Indian society.”

JtG

A man is inspecting the silk fabrics

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Deep Joshi

“Civil society should move towards advocacy and coalition building.”

Deep Joshi was born in a small village in the Central Himalayas. He received his Masters in Mechanical Engineering and Management from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA. Upon returning to India, he developed the idea of setting up PRADAN as an NGO to get professionals to work in villages. Until his retirement in 2007, he had been involved in PRADAN for over two decades in various capacities, including as its Chief Executive. In 2009, he received the prestigious Magsaysay Award for his work for the development of rural communities.

“India has had a long tradition of a vibrant civil society, active in all walks of life: social reform, relief, advocacy, and constructive social work. There has been a huge economic growth over the past 30-35 years as new issues have come forth with evolving human consciousness, especially since post-independence generations have joined in. There is more focus on outcomes and scale. Engagement with the state has grown, both via advocacy as well as partnership. After a two-three-decade period lasting until about the turn of the millennium, funding from overseas donors has come down sharply. There has been some growth of local philanthropy, but still far from the potential. Lack of collaboration, resources, and credibility remain issues.

The traditional watchdog role of civil society remains and is perhaps more critical now that there is growing competition for resources and policy space and there is heightened pressure and opportunity for rapid economic growth. Despite the opportunities, access, and possibilities of raising one’s voice, India has never seen this much disparity in wealth before. Civil society therefore needs to move away from focusing just on poverty alleviation. It should move towards advocacy and coalition building. ICCO can support this by focusing more on fostering networks, capacities, and partnerships rather than on resource transfers. There is also much scope for sharing experiences, stimulating cross-border, citizen-to-citizen exchanges, and engaging with corporate citizens.”

Statistics1) india

Past

Pres.

NL

Population (x million)

497.95 (1965)

1,252.14 (2013)

16.8

GDP per capita (US$)

121.7 (1965)

1,498.87 (2013)

50,793.14 (2013)

Share agriculture in GNP

40.91 (1965)

46.32

(2013)

18.2

(2013)

Life expectancy (years)

45.14 (1965)

66.21

(2012)

81.1

(2012)

Literacy rate (%)

40.76 (1981)

62.75

(2006)

98.5

(2012)

Civil liberties2)

3

3

(2014)

1

(2013)

(1972)

(2013)

Sources: The GlobalEconomy.com (World Bank, UNESCO). 1) These figures are indicative for the development that a country goes through. 2) The civil liberties index is based on assessments of freedom of expression and belief, associational and organizational rights, rule of law, and personal autonomy and individual rights. Free (1.0 to 2.5), Partly Free (3.0 to 5.0) or Not Free (5.5 to 7.0).

ICCO in India india

1966

2014

Name of project

Kolenchery Mission More than half of the projects Hospital, Malankara, Kerala deal with fair economic development and food & nutritional security3)

Fund

€ 385,280 € 2,569,105.36

Number of projects

1 71

3) Because more than one project is supported we only indicate the thematic focus of the projects here.

64 50 years icco cooperation

india 65


08 Congo: Standing Side by Side with Women

The Democratic Republic of Congo, the eastern part in particular, has been described as the “rape capital of the world”. In the Congolese wars (1996-2003), women were molested and raped (about 150,000) on an unprecedented scale as a military strategy. Today there is relative peace in the country, but the situation remains critical. ICCO partners in Congo continue to plead for the cause of Congolese women.

The first ICCO project in northeast Congo in 1966 was intended to improve healthcare in Kisangani. In the 1970s and 1980s development cooperation in Congo focused on basic human needs such as healthcare, water, education, and agriculture; in the 1990s human rights became more and more important, not without reason.

Congolese woman claim their rights

“1994 was a turning point in our policy,” Gonda de Haan, regional coordinator Africa for ICCO and Kerk in Actie explained. “The genocide in Rwanda in April of that year and the aftermath with millions of refugees set the Great Lakes Region on fire. We chose to prioritize on relief, psycho-social programs, and lobby activities in the whole region because the developments were strongly interconnected with one another.”

66 50 years icco cooperation

Photo: ACT/FCA/Anna Muinonen

Women were especially vulnerable in the chaotic military conflict. And where security and women’s rights are at stake, food security and ultimately the livelihoods of families are also jeopardized. Based on their long presence in the rural areas in the Kivus, ICCO and its partners implemented a coherent program that covered human and land rights, gender, and food security. Women defend women In 2007 ICCO and DFJ (Dynamique de Femmes Juristes) started to cooperate. DFJ was founded by Congolese women lawyers, judges, and activists who had met at law school. They prosecute perpetrators of women’s rights abuses, including sexual abuse, inheritance rights, and physical abuse. Claudine Tsongo Mbalamya (35) is DFJ’s director: “Many people visit our legal clinic. They seek information about their rights and solutions to their conflicts. We accompany them in court or track the progress of their case. We give guidance and refer them to psychosocial support

congo 67


or socio-economic reintegration services. We prepare court dossiers for hearings and other judicial duties.” The juridical context in Congo is far from ideal, she explained: “With the support of our international partners and pressure from civil society, some policy documents and national strategy have emerged. However, implementing these policies hasn’t been very effective yet. Due to socio-cultural barriers, gender inequality, and lack of political will, some legal texts still conflict with women’s rights, such as the “family code” and the “law of parity”. The first ICCO-DFJ cooperative program therefore focused mainly on Claudine appears on a poster in ICCO’s campaign the awareness of women’s rights and to support woman in fragile countries the fight against widespread impunity. Because the partnership was very strong, DFJ could participate in international conferences, mobilize funds, and attend advocacy and capacity-building workshops. Between 2008 – 2010, ICCO in The Netherlands launched a campaign to call for compliance with UN Resolution 1325. Claudine Tsongo Mbalamya was one of the campaign’s main figures, deserving support in her struggle for women’s rights in a fragile country.

that women should get one-third of the positions in the government. Although that was agreed on, the government later failed to keep its agreement. Women have still a long way to go, but I see examples of brave women, especially at the local level. This is the best place to change society step by step.” Although the future of women in Congo sometimes still seems a bit dark, Tsongo Mbalamya never becomes pessimistic: “We must further strengthen the actions on policy change and prevention, focus on the economic power of women and on their empowerment in general, and continue to promote women’s leadership. Although the fight is very hard, it is not impossible.”

Women in politics

2015 provides a new opportunity for women to raise their voice because national and local elections are going to be held in DR Congo. Tsongo Mbalamya: “This is a chance for women to participate and be elected. We equip women and mobilize them to participate in the elections. We will guide female candidates and help them to develop strong political agendas. We will also train them in strategies that they can use to get elected. And when they are elected, we will convince them to create a coalition to work together.”

JtG

Positive signs All this contributed to small steps in the right direction. The mortality rate in Congo has dropped recently. Women from different backgrounds have come to understand their rights and they now know how to claim these rights when they are violated. Before, they used to remain silent about their often horrendous experiences.

De Haan recognizes the need to start at local level: “At the Sun City negotiations in South Africa 2002 (also known as the Inter-Congolese dialogue), NGOs demanded

68 50 years icco cooperation

Two women are digging a trench to install a water distribution point in the eastern Congo village of Nzulu

congo 69

Photo: ACT/Paul Jeffrey

Tsongo Mbalamya: “We organized radio broadcasts about female rights. Communities were enthusiastic and wanted more information. They asked us to organize workshops and training programs for them. As a result of these efforts, a woman was nominated chief of her village last year. It is not easy - let alone likely - for a woman to be chief. So these women’s leadership programs have significantly improved how women are being viewed in the political arena. They are ready to train other women about their rights.”


Breaking the silence

70 50 years icco cooperation

Photo: Raymond Rutting

In 1960 Belgium left behind a huge and fragile country with tribal leaders in the provinces having more power than the central government. After a coup d’état in 1965, colonel Mobutu Sese Seko seized power. In 1996 he was overthrown by Rwandan troops, who invaded Congo after the genocide (1994). From 1996 to 2003, there were two Congolese wars between the army and rebel movements in which an estimated 4 million people were killed. In 2005, a cease-fire was reached in Sun City, South Africa. Joseph Kabila was elected president of DR Congo and re-elected in 2011. The wars in eastern Congo initially remained unnoticed by the rest of the world. De Haan: “ICCO and other NGOs did their utmost to break that silence. We took Dutch MPs to the region. We organized a conference in Brussels in which partner organizations participated, witnessed the horrors, and demanded interventions. Our lobby insisted on better protection for women in conflict

situations in accordance with the rules of UN Resolution 1325.” ICCO also tried to influence public opinion. The wellknown Dutch photographer Raymond Rutting went to Congo and portrayed afflicted women for the Dutch media. ICCO sponsored two internationally acknowledged films by Femke and Isle van Velzen, “Fighting the Silence” and “Weapon of War”. The lobby work and involvement of ICCO and its partners even brought Congolese NGOs to the table of the peace conference (2003 – 2005) in Sun City, South Africa. They negotiated a new democratic course for DR Congo with special attention to the position of women in accordance with UN Resolution 1325. Although there is some optimism about less armed violence and attacks on civilians in eastern Congo today, a culture of impunity prevails, and abuses by armed groups and state security forces remain widespread. The position of Congolese women still leaves much to be desired. Of particular concern is the apparent shrinking political space in which civil society groups can operate.

congo 71

Photo: ICCO Cooperatiom

Former ICCO director Jack van Ham (right) with a Dutch MP (2007)


Justine Masika Bihimba “Women can be the agents of change”

Statistics1) Justine Masika Bihamba is a Congolese activist. As coordinator of the Association of Women for Victims of Sexual Violence in NorthKivu, she works to improve the lives of rural women, defend human rights and assist victims of war, especially women survivors of sexual violence. She has won considerable international recognition for her achievements. She has also received several threats of arrest or death.

“In traditional communities, women are considered assets and men talk about them like property. A woman is not allowed to say no to a man, even when she is sick. I want to explain to women what their rights are. In 2009 we partnered with ICCO about caring for victims of sexual violence and the legal process. When we started to fight for women’s rights, we had no written law on sexual violence. In 2004, we proposed a law, which was officially accepted by the president of the Republic in 2006. I myself have received many awards for the work that I am doing, including an award I received in the Netherlands in 2008. But the work is risky. There have been threats not only to myself but also to my family. In 2012,

soldiers came and surrounded my house. I was not there but my brother told me. I called a Dutch diplomat and he helped me to go to Amsterdam. There are times when I ask myself why I continue to make these efforts, but as we work with women we gradually see things change. And I have ambitions. I want women at the village level to start fighting to protect women against sexual violence. I also want women to participate in peace negotiations, as stated in UN resolution 1325. ICCO and DFJ can help by strengthening women in leadership. I want many women to be involved in political activities so they can stand up for their rights and needs. Now women are ready to fight for their rights and be agents of change. They want to be involved and take matters into their own hands. That keeps me going.”

CONGO

Past

Pres.

NL

Population (x million)

17.37 (1965)

67.51 (2013)

16.8

GDP per capita (US$)

232.81 (1965)

484.21 (2013)

50,793.14 (2013)

Share agriculture in GNP

201

46.32

1.65

(2013)

Life expectancy (years)

42.18 (1965)

49.62 (2012)

81.1

(2012)

Literacy rate (%)

67.77 (2001)

66.8 (2010)

98.5

(2012)

Civil liberties2)

6

6

1

(2013)

(1972)

(2014)

(2013)

Sources: The GlobalEconomy.com (World Bank, UNESCO). 1) These figures are indicative for the development that a country goes through. 2) The civil liberties index is based on assessments of freedom of expression and belief, associational and organizational rights, rule of law, and personal autonomy and individual rights. Free (1.0 to 2.5), Partly Free (3.0 to 5.0) or Not Free (5.5 to 7.0).

ICCO in DR Congo CONGO

1966

2014

Name of project

Equipment for physical and chemical laboratory and library books, Kisangani

Mix of human rights and food & nutrition security projects3)

Fund

€ 46,120

€ 562,577

Number of projects

1 19

3) Because more than one project is supported we only indicate the thematic focus of the projects here.

72 50 years icco cooperation

congo 73


09 The Philippines: from landless peasants to landowning entrepreneurs ICCO’s collaboration with its partner in The Philippines, Task Force Malapad (TFM), has led to interesting insights. The project combines human rights with economic development and is an excellent example of a project that has developed from fighting for farmers’ land rights to their economic development.

In 2004 ICCO started to cooperate with TFM. The 16th-century Spanish settlement of The Philippines and its American colonial period in the first half of the 20th century had left the country with a feudal system of landowners and tenants. In 1988 the government had started an agrarian reform program to redistribute the land. However, many wealthy landowners refused to cooperate and to part with their land.

Sugar cane is being crushed for the muscovado production

Difficult struggle “During the first few years of our existence we concentrated on land rights advocacy only. This was a struggle in itself. We gradually succeeded in redistributing land that

75

Photo: TFM

74 50 years icco cooperation

Photo: Toto Camba

Farmers rally


The Farmers of the Muscovado Mill

To TFM farmers, the muscovado plant symbolizes a reversal of fortunes, so to speak. Not long ago, they were battling vicious security forces over the right to own the land. In just a decade, they have transformed themselves from landless peasants into landowning agribusiness entrepreneurs. The muscovado mill also represents the next phase of the struggle: making collective farming work through social enterprise. Now the former farmworkers-turned-entrepreneurs have to master the technology of muscovado production from planting sugar to marketing it, a chain of activities in which they play a vital role.

Hungerstrike

belonged to landowners. We could assign it to the farmers. Our focus then shifted from land rights to sustainable farming. For farmers this was a challenge since they had to develop a new attitude. Some had difficulty in adapting and returned to working for the landowners. To prevent them from doing so, we integrated the concepts of land productivity and land rights from the beginning,” explained Armando Jarilla, director of TFM.

Photo: TFM

At daybreak six days a week, 30-year-old Gremar Paclibar reports for work at the mill as a supervisor-in-training overseeing the cooking of muscovado. He and his fellow farmers paid dearly for the right to own land. Two of them members died in the series of confrontations with blue guards, the dreaded security forces of the landowner. Another was murdered in his home in the dead of night. “Without that struggle, there would be no jobs for us here,” said Gremar, pointing to the muscovado mixers whose work he helps supervise. All workers at the mill are children of farmerbeneficiaries. They said things are much better now that their families own the land. Peasant leader Gregorio Paclibar remembers life in the sugarcane fields not too long ago. “Trabaho ng trabaho, otso oras (Work and work for eight hours),” he said. But at the end of the sugar season each August, the hacienda closed down, most farmworkers lost their jobs, and hunger began. That was a different time. Paclibar now owns a small piece of land. He has the option of planting other crops, and sells his sugarcane to either the NMPC or the big central that produces white sugar. Hunger is no longer present and profit can be made.

Because of the refusal of the landowners to part with their lands, TFM and the farmers in particular suffered severely. “Fourteen farmers were killed on the order of landowners,” Jarilla explained. “Numerous examples of violence, harassment and lawsuits against farmers can be added to this. For example, landowners listed farmers in the workforce and then dismissed them or accused them of theft. They hoped these measures would break the spirit and unity of the farmers.” But that’s not what usually happened, Jarilla commented. On the contrary. “When farmers learn about their rights, they build confidence and regain their dignity as persons. They become even more committed to claiming their land. This process is very important because, when the landowners saw that the farmers were really determined, even though their leaders had been assassinated they agreed to negotiations.”

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Carrying sugarcane for muscovado production

the philippines 77

Photo: Toto Camba

TFM worked along the same lines as the government: redistribution. In 2004 TFM supported farmers in Negros Occidental, an area where the largest sugar estates were owned by politically well-connected families.


The next step was simple: “We attracted lawyers who were very sympathetic to farmers. They were satisfied with chicken and rice as their honorarium,” Jarilla laughed. As a result, agrarian reform cases were resolved, and farmers were getting land rights. By 2005 TFM’s work had expanded to 287 haciendas instead of the original 170 at the start of the first ICCO-TFM cooperative venture. From activists to entrepreneurs But supporting farmers was not TFM’s only strategy in this matter. The organization also successfully managed to put land rights on the public agenda. “We organized rallies, marches, and hunger strikes and drew the attention of the media and the government.” The next phase after land redistribution, switching from an activist approach to an entrepreneurial one, wasn’t always easy for TFM. Jarilla: “We came from a history of activism and, like the farmers, we had to adapt to a different mindset. For example, we had to hire people and create new commitments and ideas. We are currently doing that.”

Cacao And what about the cooperative for cacao? Motivated by the confidence-building results of muscovado production, TFM started another economically promising venture with farmers in cacao production who live in the Mindanao provinces of Davao Orental, Davao del Sur, and Davao City. Cacao plantations have been redistributed to them and, given the huge demand for locally fermented cacao, the farmers want to produce it in a new cooperative. In the meantime, TFM will continue to assist farmers in gaining ownership of the land. This is crucial because, when the government’s Central Agrarian Reform Program ended in 2014, it left a huge backlog of landholdings that have yet to be distributed to the landless in other areas in the Philippines. TFM and ICCO will therefore continue to focus on both land rights and agricultural productivity in order to fight rural poverty. JJ

“Healthy” sugar With its new financial resources, TFM built a muscovado mill in the Negros Occidental. Muscovado is a sweetener that is considered healthier than regular sugar. Furthermore, TFM established two cooperatives: one for muscovado and one for cacao. For its part, ICCO subsequently introduced a value-chain approach in order to make every step of the production process of both products fair and sustainable. “The relationship with ICCO goes beyond funding,” Jarilla explained. “ICCO also helps us in actually executing the project. For example, with advice, capacity building, and seminars” The muscovado mill and the cooperatives may have come at exactly the right time. In The Philippines the demand for muscovado is growing. The European Union and Japan are also interested, as a result of which the Philippine Export Development Plan has listed muscovado as one of the priority products for export.

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People are mixing the muscovado Photo: Toto Camba

To meet the huge demand for muscovado, ICCO and TFM currently have two goals: access to the market and an increased yield. In order to reach the market, TFM managed to arrange contracts with a major supermarket and a beverage company. Another contract to supply a popular fast-food chain has been drawn up. To increase yield, ICCO is asking private companies in The Philippines and in Europe to invest in the production of muscovado. In fact, the value of public-private partnerships is now being discussed with the European Chamber of Commerce in The Philippines.


francisco J. lara jR.

“I am amazed by ICCO’s step-wise approach to sustainable reform”

statistics1) Dr. Francisco J. Lara Jr. is the country director of International Alert in The Philippines and member of ICCO’s Regional Council South East Asia & Pacific. He worked as a research associate at the LSE Crisis States Research Centre and wrote on political economy issues in Indonesia and The Philippines. He also taught at the University of The Philippines and has researched and written on diverse topics in development.

I am constantly amazed by ICCO’s stepwise approach to a reform process that leads to sustained livelihoods and overall economic development in their focus. I see the need for continued support to programs in The Philippines and the rest of Southeast Asia in which land is transferred from landowners to farmers. But we must not forget that the developmental trajectory in the country is threatened by violence emanating from conflicts that arise from competition between retailers in the same market space and conflict between certain rebel groups and the government. Moreover, scare resources cause tension. All this necessitates a humanitarian assistance strategy that is conflict-sensitive and the creation of new institutions that can frame an inclusive and peaceful response. Hence, peace building and developmental activities in conflict

areas are central towards preserving the developmental trajectory. I advise ICCO to remain engaged because poverty and conflict continue to endure as two of the most hidden aspects of the developmental process in which ICCO can deliver a maximum impact. I would also strongly urge ICCO to focus on what matters, namely, democratization, redistributive reform, justice, and peace building. I have to say that ICCO’s choice preference for the sort of value-chain enterprise development model risks neglecting the genuine demands of poor and excluded people. It should always address human rights and dignity issues. To enable impact and a real recognition of ICCO’s strength, it must make a mark on the issues of redistribution, social justice, peace building, institutional reform, gender, and climate change.

The Philippines

Past

Pres.

NL

Population (x million)

65.30 (1965)

98.39 (2013)

16.8

GDP per capita (US$)

187.12 (1965)

2,765.08 (2014)

50,793.14 (2013)

Share agriculture in GNP (%) 27.15 (1965)

11.84 (2012)

18.2

(2013)

Life expectancy (years)

59.33 (1965)

72.48

(2012)

81.1

(2012)

Literacy rate (%)

83.32 (1981)

95.42

(2006)

98.5

(2012)

Civil liberties2)

6

3

(2014)

1

(2013)

(1972)

(2013)

Sources: The GlobalEconomy.com (World Bank, UNESCO). 1) These figures are indicative for the development that a country goes through. 2) The civil liberties index is based on assessments of freedom of expression and belief, associational and organizational rights, rule of law, and personal autonomy and individual rights. Free (1.0 to 2.5), Partly Free (3.0 to 5.0) or Not Free (5.5 to 7.0).

ICCO in the Philippines The Philippines

1970

2014

Name of project

Faculty of Technical Studies Projects varying from land rights and Silliman University in economic development to conflict Dumaguete transformation and democratization3)

Fund

€ 335,138

Number of projects

1 30

€ 3,583,793

3) Because more than one project is supported we only indicate the thematic focus of the projects here.

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the philippines 81


Working with businesses. Why? Since the mid-1990s, ICCO has been working with businesses. At first a bit carefully, just exploring this new field of possibilities, ICCO has since become one of the leading Dutch development organizations in this field. But why? Working with businesses: What’s in it for an NGO?

ICCO has a long track record of working with companies, a trend that has accelerated in recent years. The first contacts stem from the mid-1990s. Some ICCO employees were carefully exploring the possibilities of working with companies; at the same time, however, other colleagues seriously objected. In development cooperation, companies were then considered as part of the problem of unequal power relations worldwide that led to poverty, and certainly not as part of the solution. Companies were notorious for violating human rights, and ICCO was always striving for better human rights for people in developing countries. So why sleep with the enemy?

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Photo: ICCO Cooperation

Producing coffee in Nepal

Gradually, changes took place in discussions on the roles of companies, NGOs, and businesses in development. It became clear that the main actors in society play different roles. The government delivers public services for basic needs, enforces a framework of human rights, and complies with international obligations. Businesses create products and services, provide employment, and ensure economic growth. Civil society acts as the guardians

of public goods and seizes opportunities for empowerment, especially for people excluded from support and services.

Part of the solution

So the pioneers at ICCO moved forward with the support of their management. But the next question was how ICCO could then motivate the private sector to change while remaining critical, as ICCO still had reason to be. It used what could be described as ‘push-and-pull’ tactics. An example of a push tactic, for example, is advocating a human-rights-based approach in the value chain. A push tactic stems from a critical viewpoint and is intended to hold a company accountable for harmful practices like neglecting human rights or causing environmental pollution. A pull tactic, on the other hand, often involves collaboration between ICCO and a business. In its early years in Brazil, for example, ICCO connected with a huge network of companies that were dedicated to socially responsible entrepreneurship. At the same time, the first experiments with the multi-stakeholder approach, in which businesses, governments, knowledge institutes and NGOs collaborate, were undertaken in the Netherlands.

Working with businesses. Why? 83


In 2001 ICCO organized a conference together with the Rabobank, a large Dutch cooperative bank, and other major companies, including the Dutch retailer Albert Heijn, on aid, trade, and poverty reduction. Some years later, these pioneering activities got a firm foothold within ICCO, resulting in a separate, crosscutting focus in the new department of Sustainable, Just, and Economic Development.

Private sector engagement: from philanthropy to systemic change

ICCO works with the private sector in three ways. It stimulates the private sector in developing countries, it raises funds with the private sector, and it engages the private sector in strategies to reduce poverty. For example, in 2007 ICCO encouraged the large retailer Albert Heijn to establish a foundation to support community development among farmers and workers in the supply chain. ICCO and Albert Heijn had dialogues on how to better ensure the sustainability and continuity of its supply chains by securing long-term relationships with suppliers and improving the levels of the quality and quantity of the products. Both Albert Heijn and the suppliers benefited. ICCO advised the Albert Heijn foundation from the beginning and it still does so today. The cooperation with Albert Hein started as an example of corporate philanthropy (or CSR 1.0) Currently the cooperation has shifted towards responsible core business (CSR 2.0) as both ICCO and Albert Heijn are members of IDH (Initiative Sustainable Trade), which aims to make tropical fruits and vegetables completely sustainable

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by 2020. Another example of the latter type of cooperation is the Better Cotton Initiative, in which ICCO collaborated with IKEA, H&M, and other large firms in the cotton sector. Environmental and social responsibility was integrated across the entire supply chain.

push and pull factors can be used simultaneously Engagement is taken even a step further when core business is not only responsible, but business itself creates a shared value (CSR 3.0). Integrating local producers and their communities in a mutually beneficial way is an integral part of the business model in these cases. Shea nut production is a good example of this step. Shea nuts are grown for beauty products, medicines, and food; however, the price in the past was not fair enough to sustain the producers, and the buyers had no control over the quality and quantity of the nuts. Together with ICCO and the Dutch service provider Fair Match Support, Olvea Burkina Faso (a nut processing company whose buyers include L’Oreal) worked with more than 20,000 female nut collectors through producer organizations as their suppliers in a sustainable and profitable way. Female producers get a premium price when their nuts comply with a certain standard. And

Olvea invests in community projects like literacy centres for women. The final step might be systemic change. (CSR 4.0). If you buy coffee in a supermarket nowadays, it is hard to find a brand without a certified fair trade logo or the equivalent. After farmers had argued that they wanted a decent price for their coffee, a fair trade logo was developed. Fair trade coffee, and especially the lower standard UTZ, became so popular with consumers that many retailers and producers followed the once ‘outsider’ coffee and made sure that their coffee became worthy of certification. Fair trade coffee is no longer the exception; in fact, it might gradually become the rule. This is the systemic change ICCO is ultimately looking for, when human rights, propoor standards, and an environmentally sustainable approach are integrated and eventually become standardized.

The right way to do business

To develop a global framework on the responsibility of companies for human rights, the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights was drawn up and adopted by the UN. This document states how human rights should be integrated into all aspects of the value chain and business activities. ICCO plays a very active role in creating awareness of this framework among civil society and companies in developing countries because ICCO acknowledges that businesses can become part of the solution against poverty and injustice, but only if their risks and weaknesses are addressed and dealt with. One of the ways to do so is to implement these

guidelines. Currently, ICCO is fostering a global awareness campaign on the UNGP Framework. ICCO has also produced an e-book about the local responsibilities of companies that addresses such questions as what it means to respect human rights in business and what the risks and opportunities are. This approach implies that all business operations have no negative impacts on human rights, which are always respected. Although there are many possible partners, ICCO does not work together with all companies. ICCO remains critical. It has developed a code of conduct, a set of internal NGO principles, criteria, and procedures of working with the private sector. A company scan is one of the internal procedures that ICCO has introduced to investigate any potential risks attached to linking and collaborating with a particular company. Documents about such a collaboration contain a section on the critical role of NGOs, stressing the right to publicly challenge the company. And eventually, ICCO defines, monitors, learns about, and, if necessary, adjusts its goals. Promoting human rights and reducing poverty have always been ICCO’s two most important spearheads and will remain so. That is why ICCO is able to work with companies without ever losing its critical point of view.

JJ

Working with businesses. Why? 85


10 Kyrgyzstan: Struggle for Real Democracy

Working with Kyrgyz labor migrants in Kyrgyzstan is an important way to secure sustainable livelihoods and improve justice and dignity, two core principals of ICCO’s mission. But how can ICCO really help make social, economic, and legal improvements in the lives of many affected by migration? This question is becoming increasingly vital now that the space for NGOs seems to be shrinking.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Kyrgyzstan has struggled to develop a new, viable economic foundation and to modernize both the economy and the public sector. It seems clear that this transition has not gone smoothly. Considering the fragility of the country and its economy, labor migration is very common in Kyrgyzstan. Economic empowerment and community development are therefore a new ICCO strategy to tackle the root causes of labor migration in the years ahead. ICCO’s partners will play an important role. One of these partners, the coalition ‘Central Asia on the Move’, carries out programs in Kyrgyzstan that aim to minimize the risks of labor migration and the negative consequences on the lives of migrant workers and their families.

Reconstruction of Uzbek quarters in Osh before winter arrives

86 50 years icco cooperation

Photo: ACT/Dimitri Motinov

Miscrable conditions About 30 percent of Kyrgyzstan’s working population works abroad, mostly in Russia and Kazakhstan. According to the World Bank, money sent home by Kyrgyz migrants equals 30 percent of Kyrgyzstan’s GDP, making Kyrgyzstan one of leading countries in this matter. This money is a very important source of income for many families. However, the earners often travel without the required authorization and work permits, which leaves them without the civil and social rights enjoyed by legal migrants. Many live under miserable conditions and work long hours for low wages and at a risk to their health. Internal migrants in Kyrgyzstan, up to 700,000, are hardly better off. They have either no or only limited opportunities to claim their civic and social rights. This is the result of the civil registration system (Propiska) inherited from Soviet times, which states that migrants traveling from rural to urban areas in search of a livelihood loose their civic and social rights, including their rights to access health

KYRGYZSTAN 87


Human Rights Committee in Brussels, and the issue was referred to by the EU’s special representative for Central Asia at an EU – Central Asia Rule of Law conference at the ministerial level.

Workers in Russia gather to watch TV in their shelter

services, social services, and education for themselves and their children. In the next few years, many people will be searching for a livelihood in economic centers either in their own country or abroad. This will give rise to a number of challenges since migrants are highly vulnerable as are their relatives left behind in rural and often economically depressed areas.

In order to do their work well, NGOs need space and freedom. It is exactly that freedom that is threatened by the draft law, which grants the ministry of justice the right to request and check internal documents of NGOs, send its representatives to participate in any internal activities of NGOs, conduct scheduled and unscheduled inspections of NGO activities, and suspend their activity for up to 6 months. The draft law also forces NGOs who receive funding from foreign sources to go through a humiliating special registration process as a foreign agent. In Kyrgyz and Russian, the phrase foreign agent has a negative connotation and is normally regarded as synonymous with foreign spy.

Children are left with grandparents

Social price is high Although the money sent home makes up a large part of the domestic economy, the social price is high. Children, for example, are left with their grandparents or even with neighbors without proper care and attention. And divorces have increased. To tackle these issues, Central Asia on the Move has developed small public councils with members of the families who have been left behind. In addition to these family members, these councils include many stakeholders, like local authorities, enforcement bodies, educational and health organizations, the police, and social protection departments. Together they try to find local solutions; if unsuccessful, the council raises the issue to the national level. The biggest achievement of the coalition Central Asia on the Move is that several partner organizations have joined a working group of the Kyrgyz president and have developed a concept for a State Migration Policy. The coalition raised political awareness, which caught the attention of the European Union. Representatives of the NGOs were invited to present the issue at a hearing of the European Parliament’s

88 50 years icco cooperation

KYRGYZSTAN 89

Photo: Marieke Viergever

Photo: Denis Sinyakov

Making way for partners Other partners of ICCO also play a very important role in noting human rights violations and developing solutions for issues like migration. But their operational workspace is becoming increasingly restricted by government policy, adding to the unfavorable environment for NGOs.


Due to the active lobbying efforts of ICCO’s partners, the third version of the draft law has not yet passed parliament. At this moment, most of the NGOs have been mobilized and have joined together to protect their operational space; moreover, they are holding active dialogues with the OSCE, the EU and the UN Freedom House. The ICCO partners, especially organizations gathered in the coalition Central Asia on the Move, have been one of the actors in this resistance process, showing their ability to work together with other Civil Society Organisations in a concerted effort against official attempts to reduce their space to operate. They feel it is time to take new steps in order to make a real difference. The question is whether or not Kyrgyzstan will succeed in doing so. The international community has already made several appeals and statements. The outcome is uncertain, but it’s known that the road to democracy is paved with obstacles, pitfalls, and discouragements. However perseverance and perssistence are important elements for success. All seems impossible until it’s done.

HN

The Kyrgyz Revolution erupted in April 2010, ethnic tension increased. in June 2010. Many buildings, cars and shops were set on fire

ICCO in Kyrgyzstan

When ICCO first started to work in Kyrgyzstan in 1995, the aim was to prevent social unrest. The Soviet Union had just collapsed, and there was widespread ethnic tension. By securing the livelihoods of labor migrants working in neighboring countries and living under poor circumstances, ICCO tried to prevent ethnic clashes. Gradually, the aim of ICCO’s work in Kyrgyzstan was no longer restricted to preventing social unrest. The 2005 Tulip Revolution, which overthrew President Akayev and his government after parliamentary elections in the spring, thought to bring an end to corruption and authoritarian leadership. These events gave more space to ICCO’s partners and boosted their efforts for more democratic reform, paving the way for major change. Furthermore, the events led to Kyrgyzstan’s

90 50 years icco cooperation

Photo: ACT/Dimitry Motinov

With ICCO’s assistance, 42 NGOs were involved in doing research. The results of the studies were taken into account by the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights, Maina Kiai. In 2013 he stated: “Civil society organizations have experienced significant limitations of their mandate and have suffered the unprecedented control over their activities, which led to the limitation of freedom of association and brought about violations of fundamental human rights.”

well-deserved reputation as a progressive country in Central Asia that ensures and protects fundamental rights and freedoms. The violent ethnic clashes of 2010, however, brutally ended this cautious optimism and showed the fragility and failure of the state to protect its citizens. Critics say rule of law has been seriously compromised because the perpetrators and instigators of the violence have still not been brought to justice. ICCO’s partners and international NGOs, like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, are concerned and have been calling for legal actions in order to promote truth and reconciliation. The 2010 events show the importance of preventing ethnic clashes when building a democratic society. This crucial factor was emphasized already years ago when ICCO developed its migration programs.

KYRGYZSTAN 91


Tolekan Ismailova

“Thanks to ICCO we have built a large coalition to defend human rights”

Statistics1) Tolekan Ismailova is a Kyrgyz human rights defender and director of Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan (formerly known as Citizens against Corruption). Since May 2000, she has been the Executive Secretary of the Kyrgyzstan NGOs Forum and founding president of Kyrgyzstan’s Coalition for Democracy and Civil Society.

“As a human rights organization, we have faced targeted intimidation and threats in recent years. Our offices in Bishkek were burgled twice, and computers and data were stolen. We are one of the oldest and most active human rights organizations in Kyrgyzstan. Our aim for the next four years is to offer information resources on human rights in the Kyrgyz Republic. We want to become the most comprehensive and factual resource on human rights and to provide high-quality research and analysis at the national, regional, and international levels.”

“We value our partnership and the financial assistance of ICCO as it gives us the opportunity to organize ourselves in order to create a favorable environment for the full and effective development of Kyrgyz NGOs. We have formed a large coalition of civil society organizations to act against the draft law. And together with ICCO, we wrote a joint report on the problems with political space. It was both unique and timely and it gave us the opportunity to lobby for the recommendations at all levels.”

Kyrgyzstan

Past

Pres.

NL

Population (x million)

7.71 (1965)

25.9 (2013)

16.8

GDP per capita (US$)

258 (1999)

1,263 (2013)

50,793.14 (2013)

Share agriculture in GNP

31.8 (1988)

19.7 (2012)

1.65

(2013)

Life expectancy (years)

58.3 (1965)

70

81.1

(2012)

Literacy rate (%)

98.7 (1999)

99.2 (2010)

99

(2014)

Civil liberties2)

4

5

1

(2013)

(1991)

(2012)

(2014)

(2013)

Sources: The GlobalEconomy.com (World Bank, UNESCO). 1) These figures are indicative for the development that a country goes through. 2) The civil liberties index is based on assessments of freedom of expression and belief, associational and organizational rights, rule of law, and personal autonomy and individual rights. Free (1.0 to 2.5), Partly Free (3.0 to 5.0) or Not Free (5.5 to 7.0).

ICCO in Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyzstan

1996

2014

Name of project

Street children program (KCF) in Bishkek

Program mainly CTD and partly on FED3)

Fund

€ 36,302

€ 832,856

Number of projects

1 6

3) Because more than one project is supported we only indicate the thematic focus of the projects here.

92 50 years icco cooperation

KYRGYZSTAN 93


11 Israel-Palestine: Solidarity with the Oppressed

Since 1967, ICCO has worked on a just, sustainable peace for Palestinians and Israelis. A story on about how the struggle of partners became the struggle of ICCO itself.

This story is about justice and peace. And about hope for a better existence. This story could be about any developing country. But there is one large struggle for freedom and justice that has been arousing indignation in Europe for decades: Israel - Palestine. The campaign ‘Keep hope alive, plant an olive tree’ helps Palestine farmers and their families

Discovering the impact of occupation ICCO set its first steps in Israel/Palestine in 1972. Israel’s occupation during the Six Day War (1967) had just started, and Israel ignored international calls to withdraw. ICCO financed the Christian Kibbutz Nes Ammim: founded by Dutch and German Christians who felt that, after the Second World War, a dialogue with Jewish people was necessary.

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Photo: kerk in Actie

It was not until 1979 that ICCO became more aware of the story of the Palestinian people and their restricted economical and political position. However, some parts of the Dutch church felt an unbreakable bond with Israel and found it extremely difficult to perceive of Israel as an occupying nation. But ICCO saw the impact of the Israeli occupation on human rights and started talking to Palestinians from Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Ramallah. For the first time, ICCO heard about the dramatic consequences of the occupation and became convinced that, since it expressed solidarity with oppressed everywhere, it should also do so in Palestine. The first projects in the 1970s were focused on Palestinian refugees. Millions of Palestinian people fled to the refugee camps in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and the neighboring countries of Jordan and Syria. During the first intifada in 1989, ICCO phased out its help to refugees and shifted its focus to human rights. One of the partners that ICCO started to support (and still supports) is Al-Haq, an independent Palestinian human rights organization based in Ramallah and on the West Bank. Al-Haq monitors and documents human rights violations by all parties

Israel-Palestine 95


Refugeecamp in Gaza in 1978

involved in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, issues reports on its findings, and produces detailed legal studies. On the Israeli side, ICCO started to support B’Tselem, an NGO that attracts attention to the conflict with a board consisting of lawyers, doctors, journalists, and members of the Knesset.

Source: The Berlin newspaper Der Tagesspiegel. An Israeli pop artist who refused military service said: “Simple. I wake up in Israel in a clean house. I take a shower, have breakfast, check my email, and get into my car. But a few kilometers down the road, a Palestinian guy of my age has to burn his table in order to stay warm. He smuggles his bread to his house through a tunnel and his 80-year-old father is humiliated by teenage Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint. They refuse to let him pass just because they don’t feel like it. If that was my father, I would forget to be so peace-loving.”

Growing frustration The peace negotiations after the Oslo accords (1993) were hopeful for Palestinians. However, hope vanished when Israel proceeded to build new settlements and roads, closing off Palestinian areas. Frustration among Palestinians grew, and terrorist attacks in Israel gave rise to severe security measures that restricted the lives of Palestinians in various ways. The second intifada, the second Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation, resulted in thousands of civilian casualties.

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Photo: Corbis/David Rubinger

In the 1990s therefore, ICCO’s emphasis on human rights grew even stronger. Besides financial support to its partners, ICCO paved the way for much-needed debate and critical dialogue, also among the Dutch public and politicians. It funded the working group UCP (United Civilians for Peace) in 2001 that consisted of a few large Dutch NGOs that lobby for a sustainable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Pro-human rights In 1994 ICCO formulated its departure point and strategy. ICCO is neither proPalestinian nor pro-Israel, but pro- human rights and international law. This certain degree of neutrality resulted in a high level of trust between ICCO and its partners. Partners knew ICCO had no hidden agenda, unlike some other international donors. During the 1980s ICCO supported partners in Latin America, liberating countries from the grip of dictatorship. In the Philippines and in India ICCO had always supported the oppressed, as it did in South Africa. So too did it support the nonviolent fight for freedom in Israel and Palestine. Similarities with apartheid From the mid nineties onward ICCO saw clear similarities between the Palestinian struggle and South African apartheid. Therefore ICCO linked Palestinian and Israeli partners to South African partners. In the South African Kairos Document in 1985, black South African theologians had stated that apartheid was a sin and contributing to and supporting the system was also a sin. This declaration was a turning point in South African history. With this in mind, ICCO facilitated a Palestinian Kairos Document that was eventually published in 2009. In this Kairos Document, Palestinian Christians called for more pressure against Israel’s policies. The document, which sparked a lot of discussion within churches globally, evoked a furious debate within the Protestant Church in The Netherlands. Among other things, it resulted in a letter to the Israeli Embassy confirming mutual friendship but also pointing out the deteriorating situation of the Palestinians as a result of the Israeli occupation. Clashing with the Dutch government From 2000 onwards, the Palestinians’ call for justice became louder and resulted in the BDS movement. This is a movement calling for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies a with international law and Palestinian rights. The relationship between ICCO and the Dutch government, its main funder, was based on mutual respect and understanding. However, the sensitivity of the IsraeliPalestinian conflict became critical when Dutch minister of Foreign affairs Uri Rosenthal summoned ICCO to explain its funding of Electronic Intifada, a Palestinian

Israel-Palestine 97


Orchard with olive trees belonging to a palestinian family. On the background the seperation wall.

NGO that had initiated a news website accused by the Israeli NGO Monitor of calling for a boycott of Israel. According to Rosenthal, ICCO’s support of Electronic Intifada was diametrically opposed to Dutch foreign policy. While ICCO itself had not endorsed the 2005 Palestinian civil society call, it also reaffirmed that BDS is a lawful and non-violent campaign to convince Israel to respect the human rights of Palestinians and abide by international law. Thus, ICCO publicly disagreed with the minister on this issue. ICCO reaffirmed the importance of an independent civil society and the right of such organizations to work free from any pressure to tailor their work or curtail their lawful free speech and advocacy to suit government agendas. The affair fizzled out. Targeting companies violating human rights There was more work to be done. ICCO initiated research and developed a strategy that targeted European companies contributing to and benefiting from the occupation. ICCO played a key role, for example, in the decision of ASN Bank, a bank based in the Netherlands, to end its early relationship with Veolia Transport, a French multinational corporation planning to build a light rail / tramline system connecting East Jerusalem to illegal settlements. ICCO created a coalition with Palestinian and Israeli NGOs and Dutch clients of the bank in question. The coalition gathered evidence and created political pressure to successfully challenge the bank. More companies were addressed. Together with other NGOs, ICCO created a database of companies violating international law by taking advantage of the occupation. In 2006 UCP, founded by ICCO, published the report “Dutch links with the occupation”.

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Photo: Anouk Helmich

For the third time in nearly four decades, Ghada Karmi (l) and Ellen Siegel have stood outside an Israel embassy—in London in 1973 and 1992, and in Washington, DC in 2011—holding identical signs telling the world of their respective dispossession and privilege.

ICCO also asked a large Dutch Pension Fund (PGGM) to withdraw its financial investments in Israeli zones in occupied territories. Entrepeneurship More recently, an ICCO country office was opened in East Jerusalem earlier this year to further develop ICCO’s activities. This office will focus on two objectives: Firstly, connecting the already existing program on human rights to activities aimed at improving the livelihood of Palestinians and promoting Palestinian entrepreneurship. Secondly, linking the work of ICCO’s partners to lobbying and advocacy work in the Netherlands and in Brussels (EU). The latter will be done within the United Civilians for Peace coalition. Hope is essential to well-being Yes, it’s hope that keeps going. Hope is essential to human well-being and development. ICCO sees it as its responsibility, to strengthen critical Palestinian and Israeli NGOs in order to enable them to peacefully make way for change. Why? Because there is no alternative.

HN

Israel-Palestine 99


Rifat Odeh Kassis

”Don’t lose your connec­tion to Palestinians”

Rifat Odeh Kassis, born in Beit Sahour in the West Bank, is an author and speaker. From 2002 to 2009 he was a member of the ICCO International Advisory Group, advising the Board of Directors on strategy and policy. After an international career, he is now based in Jordan, where he works for the Lutheran World Federation on the Syrian refugee program. As an active human rights and political activist he has been arrested and imprisoned several times by Israel.

“I remember in the 1990s we suggested that ICCO work on children’s rights, a nascent and not fully grounded idea at the time. But ICCO saw potential. The organization that grew from this initiative – Defense for Children International (DCI)– is now one of the biggest and strongest organizations in Palestine. The same happened in 1995, when we suggested developing an alternative for tourism in Palestine. ICCO believed in us and gave us the opportunity to do a visibility study that resulted in the Alternative Tourism Group (ATG), a center that advocates for responsible and just tourism throughout Palestine, challenging the Israeli monopoly over tourism in the Holy Land.” “Today donors don’t look at your intrinsic motivations; they tend to look at outputs and outcomes and if you are well structured. You don’t need to be an activist, you don’t need to be part of a resistance

movement. This way the risk of losing your connection to the people on the ground increases. In The Palestinian Kairos Document, Palestinian Christians express their concern about living under occupation. I feel that Israel failed to understand its message of hope. The Palestinians have tried everything. New options are narrow; either we choose another war or we reinforce peaceful tools like the BDS Movement. BDS can liberate Palestinians as well as Israelis. I believe this option is gaining momentum. Many nations worldwide support and have joined this campaign. Some Western governments need to change their perception of Israel and focus on what Israel does to many Palestinians and on how to end this suffering. Eventually we should end this very long military occupation for Palestinians and Israelis alike.”

Statistics1) palestine

Past

Pres.

NL

Population (x million)

1.03 (1970)

4.5 (2014)

16.8

GDP per capita (US$)

1,156 (2002)

2,782 (2012)

50,793.14 (2013)

Share agriculture in GNP

13.4 (1994)

6.87 (2011)

1.65

(2013)

Life expectancy (years)

68

(1990)

73

(2012)

81.1

(2012)

Literacy rate (%)

68

(1997)

96

(2012)

98,5

(2012)

Civil liberties2)

5

(2011)

5.5 (2015)

1

(2013)

(2013)

Sources: The GlobalEconomy.com (World Bank, UNESCO). 1) These figures are indicative for the development that a country goes through and relate to Palestine only. 2) The civil liberties index is based on assessments of freedom of expression and belief, associational and organizational rights, rule of law, and personal autonomy and individual rights. Free (1.0 to 2.5), Partly Free (3.0 to 5.0) or Not Free (5.5 to 7.0).

ICCO in Israel-Palestine 1972

2014

Name of project

Nes Amin, a rose nursery in Judeo-Christian kibbutz

Human rights3)

Fund

€ 74,023

€ 450,000

Number of projects

1 3

3) Because more than one project is supported we only indicate the thematic focus of the projects here.

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Israel-Palestine 101


Linking development to a fair economy For the past few years, ICCO has been experimenting with a new approach to financing and capacitating start-ups and businesses with a potential for growth and development. This approach is called “blending” and is a way to provide businesses with the right financing tool and services in the different stages of their development. Finding the right tool

“Ten years ago I started to work for ICCO. I was hired to set up a regional office in South Sudan. When I started I wrote a business plan because I was used to a business approach to development issues. The response from ICCO’s head office was: ‘We need a project plan, not a business plan.’ And I answered: ‘Why don’t you give it a try and read it first?’ My idea appealed to them, and I could start on what I intended,” Jaap Jan Verboom laughed. He explained, “It is important to use the appropriate financial instrument for the right goal. If you want people to make a profit, then giving a grant is not the right tool.” He and his colleague Mark Joenje work with ICCO’s blending approach. With this approach they do exactly what Verboom stresses: finding the proper financing intervention for a developing business.

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Photo: Raymond Rutting

Harvesting of cloves in Madagascar

Verboom is not working in Sudan anymore but he supports businesses with ICCO tools to grow and develop. His program is called Business Booster. Potential but small businesses can enter this program that helps them become profitable by

offering them business development services combined with seed capital investments. Joenje looks for businesses that have taken this step already and are ready for a next investment to scale up. ICCO’s Capital4Development Fund invests amounts ranging from 100,000 to 1,000,000 euros. The investment work is done by the fund management company ICCO Investments B.V.,of which Joenje is the Managing Director.

why not give it a try ICCO Investments and the Business Booster are two parts of the blending principle. Other businesses still rely on subsidies, the instrument that ICCO already had and has used for years. In the ideal situation businesses develop from being supported by subsidies via the Business Booster into larger but still fragile businesses that can be invested in with the fund. The investment range of between

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100, 000 and 1,000, 000 euros is not an arbitrary decision; this is a void in financing that ICCO has stepped into. “The businesses we look at are still considered investment opportunities with a high risk. The companies that need (much) more financing often have a better track record. Consequently, they are often less risky and have better access to funding. Especially from other financiers with a lower risk appetite,” Joenje explained.

we finance businesses that are considered financially risky Different criteria

An example of such a business is the farmers’ cooperative Katapagan in the Philippines. It consists of approximately 1,300 members, 60 % of whom are female. The cooperative produces organic compost and offers its members compost and advice on production and income diversification at a reasonable price. The cooperative members also produce seedlings that are sold at the local market. With the investment in Kapatagan, the cooperative is able to substantially increase its production and benefit from

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the increased market demand for compost. The secondary effect is that the quantity and the quality of production increase, which in turn increases the farmers’ income; moreover, the farmers become less dependent on chemical fertilizer. With an investment of 420,000 euros, Kapatagan has been able to increase production from 200, 000 bags/year to 600, 000 bags/year. Subsidies, Business Booster and investments. How are the three approaches applied and how to coordinate the use of the different instruments? Verboom: “We all use different criteria for decision-making. For ICCO Investments, for example, an investment has to guarantee social impact and profit, whereas for Business Booster, future profit is already a sufficient reason to step into a business. We do not interfere with each other’s decisions, but we do negotiate because we are all striving for the sustainable growth of businesses in different stages.”

can use blending to lift development cooperation from a project environment and link it to the real economy. With that we can reach a scale and an economic sustainability that we would never obtain within the development cooperation sector.”

foundation or a loan from the Holding or a combination. Furthermore, within the cooperative there is expertise and experience that can also be used and blended to create a favorable social and political environment for doing good business. Verboom: “I think that we

The organizational structure of ICCO Cooperation consists of: • Foundation ICCO: implements and finances grant-based programs. • Fair & Sustainable Holding B.V. with the subsidiaries of ICCO Investments, Fair & Sustainable Advisory Services and FairClimateFund. Foundation ICCO is shareholder in the Holding.

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Verboom cites the example of about 20 businesses that the Business Booster supports; none could yet meet the criteria of ICCO Investments. “The idea is that they will eventually be ready for ICCO Investments,” Verboom said.

Lift development from a project environment

Both Joenje and Verboom consider blending an approach from which they expect many benefits for various stakeholders. The cooperative which ICCO formed makes it possible to choose the best financial instruments for a business; that can be a grant originating from the

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Acknowledgements Five decades of working on development. We would especially like to express our thanks to: Our civil society partners in the South In all corners of the world civil society organizations have helped us to hear the voices of the poor and to assist them in their needs. Our donors National and international donors, private, public, and multilateral, have contributed financially to ICCO’s programs. Their partnership with and support for our organization have been crucial to us. Our national agency and government contacts As an international organization, national governments and state agencies grant us permits and opportunities to perform our work. Our private sector partners In the late 1980s, we started cooperation with the private sector and have become partners with many SMEs and multinationals. Our sister organizations in the Netherlands and worldwide The global alliance of churches and organizations with common roots and the same biblical inspiration has brought us much. Our colleague organizations and institutions Many non-governmental people, organizations, and networks have helped ICCO to develop. They have shared knowledge and held a mirror up to us. Our present and former employees and board members Numerous committed employees, board and council members worked for ICCO, both in the Netherlands and in our international offices, for the betterment of all human beings. They have sometimes gave the best of their working years for ICCO. The following people contributed to this book Camie van der Brug, Consodyne Buzabo, Harry Derksen, Mariecke van der Glas, Else Hofland, Aparajita Kujur, Nathalie Mercier, Wozani Moyo, Sjoerd van Schooneveld, Gulzat Temirova, Nelleke van der Vleuten, Manon Wolfkamp, Mieke Zagt.

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ICCO has become one of the largest development organizations in the Netherlands. The book gives an impression of our efforts in nine countri...

ICCO 50 Years: Journey for Justice  

ICCO has become one of the largest development organizations in the Netherlands. The book gives an impression of our efforts in nine countri...

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