Blog Page Navigation

Friday, August 26, 2016

Human Empowerment through Cooperation

Making the Cooperative the Ideal Business Model

The ideal of the 'cooperative' was first developed in the 1820s, long before privately held corporations by individuals, based on the development of the free and fair exchange of legally held assets through common ownership of a business or distribution system designed to benefit its members who collectively own the institution as a society. The non-profit and for profit co-operative embodiment today has become a solid institutional part of the corporate laws of many countries while in other countries that depend on the concept of international cooperation from other nations have yet to allow the concept of an employee owned business or corporation to emerge in their legal systems. Cooperatives are tax-free and generally protected by governments as social orders within the area of human and civil rights in addition to being legal businesses.

Cooperatives empower communities.
Cooperatives are and remain to be the safest, most sustainable and lowest-risk type of an investment an individual can make because the foundation of the cooperative involve intangible assets, membership involves special rights, privileges and benefits that are available through belonging. In a cooperative members in essence belong to one another equally and are responsible for perpetuating the cooperatorship. Globcal International has developed the first international cooperatorship that is truly non-governmental because it is formed as a non-state actor and bases its jurisdiction in the offshore international realm of the high-seas under admiralty, maritime and international law.

What you choose to follow or be a part of in life is generally based solely in your personal character and personality, but we do know that, once people begin to realize the potential of cooperatives and the benefits that are possible they will always cherish their cooperative memberships with our global development and by being a part of cooperatives locally in their own communities, cooperatives are security. Cooperatives are known for being socially responsible, fair, fraternal, equal and democratic. They are also designed to distribute benefits and profits equally to members. Commentary by David J. Wright

For information regarding the reformation of your business for the international sector or remove your state of incorporation or to offshore your personal character and intellectual property to a tax-free jurisdiction, then join us at Globcal International as a non-state citizen, then see the membership link on our blog.

Scaling Up Cooperatives to Reach the Sustainable Development Goals

Article: Huffington-Post

Cooperatives are Naturally the Best Way to promote the SDGs

Cooperatives empower women.
Long before Uber or Airbnb, cooperatives capitalized on a sharing economy, but with an explicit mission to share benefits with everyone in society, especially the poor and vulnerable. Cooperatives have a storied history and carry distinct advantages in addressing the needs of low-income people. They rely on sharing information and trust in communities around a common purpose.

Over the decades, cooperatives have had success in areas like savings, agriculture, housing, or distribution of electricity. While there have been many improvements, they have faced challenges in areas such as tax policy, discriminatory regulation, achieving scale, and prevailing business attitudes toward their mission and business model.

To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) — a set of 17 global goals which seek to end poverty by 2030, promote peace, and preserve the planet for future generations — we need to take advantage of the power of cooperatives. The SDGs fit nicely under the umbrella of the World Bank Group’s twin goals of ending poverty by 2030 and promoting shared prosperity.

The work is daunting, particularly in the area of financial inclusion. In 2014, only 62 percent of the world’s adult population had a financial account - leaving 2 billion adults without one.

Cooperative Financial Institutions (or CFI’s) include savings and credit cooperatives, credit unions, financial cooperatives, as well as savings and loan associations. They are key strategic partners in achieving both the goals of universal financial access, ending extreme poverty. They have low operating costs and are located in remote, rural areas with no financial institutions.

Yet for many of these member-owned institutions, scaling up savings services is impaired by challenges related to management and staff capacity, governance, and oversight and supervision. Some financial cooperatives and credit unions cannot safely lend funds received as deposits due to lack of credit capacity and systems.

We can help financial cooperatives scale-up by supporting them with technical advice and new technology to help them share data and information with their clients and with development practitioners. They can also benefit from active global partnerships with multilateral institutions, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector.

CFIs are one of the main providers of financial services to low-income people, with 700 million members and accountholders worldwide. CFIs have large constituencies in India, China, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, Kenya, Morocco, and over 35 smaller developing countries such as Togo and Haiti.

Last year, the World Bank Group’s private sector arm, the IFC, had an estimated $500 million of investments in CFIs around the world. The World Bank Group has been active for decades in this area. Some of the most notable programs include the Indian Dairy Cooperative, which has created an estimated 250,000 jobs, mostly in rural areas. Similarly, Mexico’s National Savings and Financial Services Bank has helped strengthen savings and credit institutions that serve millions of rural residents, who would otherwise have been relegated to the margins of the formal financial sector.

The World Bank Group’s policy teams have helped governments supervise and regulate cooperative financial institutions. For example, in 2009, the Bank Group worked with Rwanda to strengthen both the supervision and reach of Savings and Credit Cooperatives. By mid-2012 financial access in Rwanda increased from 47 percent to 72 percent. The newly created savings and credit cooperatives played an important role in this increase since they operated in 215 rural locations in which no financial institution existed previously. And the partnership with Rwanda also significantly increased the financial sustainability of the savings and credit cooperatives.

In a more mobile and urban world, cooperatives must adapt, while maintaining their basic values and approach. As seen in Sub-Saharan Africa, mobile money accounts can drive financial inclusion. While just 1 percent of adults globally say they use a mobile money account and nothing else, in Sub-Saharan Africa, 12 percent of adults (64 million adults) have mobile money accounts (compared to just 2 percent worldwide); 45 percent of them have only a mobile money account. Mobile money accounts can help narrow the gap in financial inclusion between men and women, which could have important effects on inequality and child welfare. CFIs will have to stay abreast of these developments and exploit these new technologies to maximize financial inclusion, particularly for the poor.

Capitalizing on cooperatives’ successes and learning from their mistakes can help us expand the menu of options as we search for more inclusive and sustainable models of development, and new ways of building and sharing knowledge. In this way we can significantly contribute to our common goal of ending extreme poverty in a single generation.

Republished from the Huffington Post, Scaling Up Cooperatives to Reach the Sustainable Development Goals by Mahmoud Mohieldin Senior Vice President for the 2030 Development Agenda, UN Relations and Partnerships

Monday, August 15, 2016

World Humanitarian Day

August 19th: An International Observance for Humanity

World Humanitarian Day (WHD) is held every year on 19 August to pay tribute to aid workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service, and to mobilize people to advocate for a more humane world. The day was designated by the General Assembly of the United Nations seven years ago to coincide with the anniversary of the 2003 bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq. This World Humanitarian Day, the UN and its partners are calling for global solidarity with the more than 130 million people around the world who need humanitarian assistance to survive.

As a goodwill ambassador working with these concepts and programs everyday, I perceive World Humanitarian Day as special because it gives us some valuable tools to mobilize people to come together as one. World Humanitarian Day highlights the World Humanitarian Summit which took place in Istanbul, Turkey, in May 2016. World leaders came together to declare their collective support for the new "Agenda for Humanity", which emphasizes some important areas where we can do better, and what we can do. Therefore, the World Humanitarian Summit was an important step on our common way to a better, more humane future. 

The theme of World Humanitarian Day 2016 is One Humanity. Source: United Nations

2016 Theme: One Humanity

The theme of World Humanitarian Day 2016 is “One Humanity”. We are confronting some of the greatest challenges of our time and we are all one humanity sharing our responsibilities. Not only the world leaders, but also each one of us, need to commit to these responsibilities for the sake of humanity.

In the digital quiz "The World You'd Rather" users will be confronted with challenging choices. Source: United Nations.

Digital campaign will bring to light the very real scenarios faced by people in crisis.

The WHD digital campaign “The World You’d Rather” will launch on 19 August. Featuring a quiz based on the popular game “Would you rather”, the digital campaign will bring to light the very real scenarios faced by people in crisis. After being confronted with challenging choices, users will be able to share a personalized graphic on social media, tweet their world leader and learn about the Agenda for Humanity.

Activities for World Humanitarian Day

In New York, a special event will be held at the General Assembly of the United Nations on 19 August from 6:30 to 9:00 pm. Hala Kalim and her four children, who were featured in the documentary “Children of Syria”, will attend. Alongside talented musicians and high-level speakers, they will tell their story of the impossible choices they faced living in and fleeing Syria through four short films. A wreath laying ceremony will be held on 19 August at the Visitors’ Entrance at UN Headquarters to honor the aid workers who lost their lives in humanitarian service.

A virtual reality film, “Home”, will be launched on 19 August, which documents the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s travels to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Jordan, Lebanon and South Sudan as part of his “Mission for Humanity”. On the day, the Secretary-General will also release a video statement on the Day and OCHA (United Nations Office for the coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) will launch a three-minute film on this year’s WHD.

What we all can do?

World Humanitarian Day is a day for everyone to come together and take action for a safer and more humane world for the communities affected by crisis and the people who devote their lives to helping them.

Here are a few ways you can get involved:

  • Learn about the Agenda for Humanity and the core responsibilities.
  • Use the #sharehumanity hashtag to advocate for the Agenda for Humanity and the more than 130 million people affected by crisis.
  • Attend or organize a WHD event on 19 August.

Agenda for Humanity - Core Responsibilities

The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for humanity – people’s safety, dignity and the right to thrive – to be placed at the heart of global decision-making. To deliver for humanity, stakeholders must act on the core responsibilities seen in the illustrations below.

"In a world that is ever more digitally connected, each of us has the power and responsibility to inspire our fellow human beings to act to help others and create a more humane world."

- UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, for World Humanitarian Day 2016

Core responsibilities in the Agenda for Humanity. Source: United Nations.

For this World Humanitarian Day, let us all come together as one humanity. Let us realize what kind of reality our fellow humans live in and show some solidarity. We don’t all need to make big efforts, but if each one of us does a small act for a more humane world, our collective efforts will make a change.

Article by: Maria Veneke Ylikomi, Goodwill Ambassador, Globcal International

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Is a Global Commonwealth our Natural Destiny?

The Ideal of Globalization began in the 1700's 

Globcal International knows that globalization is the basis for the founding of the United States and most of Latin America, because it is clear in history. We also see that people today want to refuse to accept this as their destiny or connect all the dots when all they need to do is understand history and the state of the world in its most obvious form. It is taking so long to see a civil system because corruption and power have been exploited under political and economic systems that entered the fold which have fouled the ideals and distorted their purpose to create a peaceful civil order of fair and just government, like the forefathers of the Americas conceived.

Let's understand the creators of the original ideals. John Locke, the Father of Liberalism, was responsible for the most of the philosophic thought that led to the revolutions in the Americas from 1776-1825, his philosophy is also responsible for the globalization movements of today. His influence is embedded in law and our daily lives, thanks to John Locke we created property ownership, but we also abused the principles he taught without understanding the big picture.

John Locke and the Possibility of a ‘Global Commonwealth’

John Locke, Father of Liberalism and Modern Political Thought
In a time of globalization, when the world is becoming increasingly interconnected and the sovereignty of the nation state is sometimes challenged by a growing number of regional and international institutions, scholars and academics are looking for ways to make sense of these new phenomena and for ways to tackle the problems that coincide with these changes. While these trends represent new challenges to international relations, by drawing on the ideas of past influential thinkers and adapting these concepts to current circumstances, it is possible to gain a better understanding of the subject matter. The focus of this essay will be on “the founder of philosophical Liberalism” (von Leyden 1956: 23), John Locke, and the impact of his theory regarding the State of Nature in the international system on the analysis of present day international relations. To this end, a brief outline of Locke’s core principles and ideas will be given, in order to provide the necessary background for the subsequent discussion regarding the possibility of a ‘Global Commonwealth’.

As a natural philosopher by profession, Locke argued that all humans were born of equal ability and that we may suppose that “the mind to be, as we say, white paper, void of all characters, without any ideas” (Locke 1690: Book 2, Chapter 5, Paragraph 2) and that hence all knowledge is acquired and shaped by an individual’s environment and experiences. These two notions directly relate to the assumptions of the State of Nature, the Law of Nature, the idea of a ‘Social Contract’ and the notion of Property, which Locke holds about the individual, states, and the realm of politics. In reference to the individual, Locke defines the State of Nature as “a State of perfect Freedom to order their Actions, and dispose of their Possessions, and Persons as they think fit, within the bounds of the Law of Nature, without asking leave, or depending upon the Will of any other Man”. In the international arena, “the definitive demonstration of the existence of the state of nature is the permanent condition of international relations.” (Ward 2006: 693). The State of Nature, according to Locke, thus exists wherever individuals or commonwealths find themselves without a superior governmental authority to which they have surrendered their rights in the hope of finding a “sanctuary from the anarchic condition” (Cox 1960: 106). Although Locke’s notion of the State of Nature has been described as an “anarchic condition” (Cox 1960: 106), this does not imply that it is completely lawless and that chaos is the rule. Quite the opposite: Locke asserts that “The State of Nature has a Law of Nature to govern it, which obliges every one: And Reason, which is that Law, teaches all Mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his Life, Health, Liberty, or Possessions” (Locke 1988: 271; emphasis added).

However, Locke does point out one obvious defect which persists even beyond the fact that a Law of Nature exists, and that is the lack of an executioner and a judge of this Law and hence “the Execution of the Law of Nature is in that State [the State of Nature], put into every Mans hands” (Locke 1988: 271). This, he then admits, could obviously lead to one-sided and inequitable judgements and thus highlights one of the “Inconveniences of the State of Nature” (Locke 1988: 276), which will be explained in more detail later on. The “Remedy for the Inconveniences of the State of Nature” (Locke 1988: 276), according to Locke, is a Civil Government that is established through a ‘Social Contract’, a “Compact […] of agreeing mutually to enter into one Community, and make one Body Politick” (Locke 1988: 276-277). Apart from offering relief from “the Inconveniences of the State of Nature” (Locke 1988: 276), the formation of a ‘Body Politick’ also provides for the protection of an individual’s property, since, according to Locke: “Government has no other end but the preservation of Property” (Locke 1988: 329). The concept of property was very important to Locke. In his second Treatise, Locke devotes the entire Chapter five to ‘Property’, the ways of acquiring it, limitations to an individual’s property and the protection of it. The essence of his analysis is that, although in the State of Nature the Law of Nature “willeth the Peace and Preservation of all Mankind” (Locke 1988: 271), there is no actual security like that which a government would provide, as well as no common judge enforcing a law that is binding for every member of that society.

Now that the most important notions of John Locke’s political philosophy – outlined in his ‘Second Treatise of Government’ – have been briefly explained, the discussion may turn to the question posed at the beginning, of whether it is possible or, rather, desirable for states to, like individuals, decide to leave the State of Nature and form a ‘Global Commonwealth’. For the purpose of this essay, the term ‘Global Commonwealth’ refers to a global union wherein all states transfer their individual rights to a collective government of the majority, composed of a legislative that constructs- and an executive that executes the common law. Whether, or to what extent Locke meant to propose a political philosophy that was also applicable to the international realm has often been contested. Lee Ward has put it excellently when he said that “International relations were not the primary focus of his [Locke’s] work, and foreign affairs is treated less systematically by Locke than other modern political philosophers” however, “his [Locke’s] relatively modest reflections on international relations merit more attention than they have historically received” (Ward 2006: 691). Further, it will be shown that even if one does not find many explicit prescriptions for the international realm in Locke’s work, a “Domestic Analogy” (Ward 2006: 694) can in many instances be drawn between the level of the individual and the state.

The most obvious incentive why states would agree to unite with each other under the government of a ‘Global Commonwealth’ is identical to that, which drives individuals into Civil Society – alleviation of the “Inconveniences of the State of Nature” (Locke 1988: 276) achieved in the ‘Body Politick’. In the international State of Nature, there is no security to be found, since “the very nature of relations among sovereign commonwealths leaves little room for choice as to whether a government will or will not engage in the general competition for power and advantage” (Cox 1960: 178). Hence, states are living in constant danger of conflict or war and the enjoyment of their perceived freedom at any time is also limited, as Margaret Spahr put it: “No civilized nation is free to do whatever it wants to [in the State of Nature] without regard to the rights of other nations” (Spahr 1945: 353). This notion of every nation enjoying certain rights, even in the State of Nature, refers back to the concept of the Law of Nature, governing this state of affairs. Moreover, as well as equipping states with certain rights, the Law of Nature – according to Locke – should also provide some form of justice and guidance within the State of Nature. However, Locke once again points out a defect inherent in the lack of a central, common government: “great robbers (…) are too big for the weak hands of justice in this world [a world in the State of Nature], and have the power in their own possession which should punish offenders” (Locke 1988: 386). In that sense, Locke very much follows in Thucydides’ footsteps, focusing on ‘Power Politics’ and acknowledging that without a common superior to enforce the law, the strong will overpower the weak in the State of Nature. Hence, to say it in the words of Margaret Spahr, it thus far seems like “liberty is more effectively enjoyed in a civil state and sovereignty in an international organization” (Spahr 1945: 354).

Up to now, it would seem like the creation of a ‘Global Commonwealth’ would be in the states’ interests, as this would alleviate the “Inconveniences of the State of Nature” (Locke 1988: 276) and thus make the relations between states more secure and predictable, since every state would be subject to the same supreme government, the same laws and a common judge enforcing these. However, some important sides to the argument have been left out and in what follows it will be shown that, if one takes into consideration all aspects to this discourse, a ‘Global Commonwealth’ is neither feasible nor necessarily desirable for all states. David Boucher suggests that the human condition is “necessarily social” (Boucher 1998: 170) – but does this hold true for states as well? Richard Cox seems to strongly disagree when he claims that states are “dissociated by nature” (Cox 1960: 139). One important incentive that Locke stresses again and again as to why individuals join to form a Civil Society is that of the feeling of commonality, he seems to suggest that individuals are drawn to form a society with people with whom they associate themselves. When applying this criterion of a “deeper moral and social reality that pre-exists and emphatically outlives the dissolution of any particular government” (Ward 2006: 698) to the idea of a ‘Global Commonwealth’, it becomes obvious that whilst this may hold true for parts of the world – the European Union being a case in point, where states that share certain interests have joined to form a Union – this is impossible to achieve on a global level. Moreover, Lee Ward claims that “Independent commonwealths […] are, and ever will be, the primary actors in the international arena” (Ward 2006: 694) and that they possess an “inherent right of self-government” (Ward 2006: 692) and can hence never be subjected to any superior form of authority, such as a ‘Global Commonwealth’.

Whilst these are two very strong arguments against the creation of a ‘Global Commonwealth’, one must not assume that Locke rejects the entire idea of cooperation or government beyond state level entirely. According to Lee Ward “he [Locke] envisions a basis for international norms derived from natural law and convention that regulates conflict and cooperation among independent societies in a broader international society” (Ward 2006: 692). Locke regards such Leagues and Alliances as a good means to settle affairs “by positive agreement” (Locke 1988: 299). They offer a way through which one might not be able to completely alleviate the dilemma of the State of Nature, but nevertheless significantly improve the states’ condition in it. There are numerous examples of such Leagues, Alliances and Treaties to be found nowadays. This seems to only prove the point that in a world of sovereign, self-governed states this represents an effective compromise between the extremes of a State of Nature of insecurity and fear on the one hand, and a ‘Global Commonwealth’ uniting all states under a ‘World Government’ on the other.

All in all, using the assumptions of John Locke regarding political philosophy, it has been shown that even though the possible rewards stemming from the creation of a ‘Global Commonwealth’ – namely the alleviation of the “Inconveniences of the State of Nature” (Locke 1988: 276) – would be desirable, its establishment is in fact impossible. The grounds on which to build this ‘Global Civil Society’ are simply not given, since essential commonalities in national interest and culture can never be achieved on a global level. However, it has also been argued that maybe we need to try and not see international relations as black and white – as either being in the State of Nature, a state of anarchy, or in complete harmony in a ‘Global Commonwealth’ – but that we should rather try and adopt a “multidimensional conception of international society” (Ward 2006: 692). Instead of trying to make it one or the other, Richard Cox suggests that we should ask ourselves: “what are the specific conditions under which those ends [improvement of conditions in the State of Nature] would be most effectively realized?” (Cox 1960: 111-112) and then try and gain a better understanding of international relations from there.

By Mareike Oldemeinen, This content was written by a student and assessed as part of a university degree, republished from E-IR who publishes student essays & dissertations to allow readers to broaden their understanding of what is possible when answering similar questions in their own studies. December 2, 2011


Boucher, David; Political Theories of International Relations: from Thucydides to the present; Oxford University Press (1998)
Chappell, Vera (editor); The Cambridge Companion to Locke; Cambridge University Press (1994)
Cox, Richard H.; Locke on war and peace; Clarendon Press (1960)
Locke, John; Two Treatises of Government, edited by Peter Laslett; Cambridge University Press (1988)
Locke, John; An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690)
Savonious-Wroth, S.-J.; Schuurmann, Paul; Walmsley, Jonathan; The Continuum Companion to Locke; Continuum (2010)

Leyden, van, W.; “John Locke and Natural Law”; Philosophy; Vol. 31, No. 116 (Jan. 1956), pp. 23-35
Spahr, Margaret; “International Affairs: Sovereignty Under Law: A Possible Redefinition of Sovereignty in the Light of Locke’s Theory of Liberty”; The American Political Science Review; Vol. 39, No. 2 (Apr., 1945), pp. 350-355
Ward, Lee; “ Locke on the Moral Basis of International Relations”; American Journal of Political Science; Vol. 50, No. 3 (Jul., 2006), pp. 691-705

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Amish Bishop asks Native Americans for Reconciliation

Reconciliation among Peaceful Nations

Amish ask for forgiveness from Native Americans

An Amish bishop recently met with representatives of a twelve American Indian tribes (13 parties). He and other Amish apologized for the way their ancestors treated Native Americans and their land in early America. In an emotional session, both groups shed tears.

Native American Longhouse located in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
“Please forgive us for the wrong we did,” the bishop asked Native Americans gathered at a meeting place in Witmer, Pennsylvania. “We ask forgiveness, and we’ll forgive you, and God bless your land and your people.

One of the Amish men there said, “If this would have been done years ago, how much more healing would have been brought. But here we are. There’s no time too late.”

The Amish apology follows a series of reconciliation meetings in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania between various Christian groups and American Indians. A group of Lancaster Mennonites began the process more than a decade ago.

Melvin Lapp, of New Holland, Pennsylvania organized the event. MaryAnn Robins, president of Circle Legacy, a Native American advocacy group in Lancaster, helped with planning. Lapp was raised in an Amish family. Robins is a member of the Onondaga tribe.

As pacifists, the Amish did not fight American Indians, but they did take their land for their farms. They asked forgiveness for that passivity in the face of Native American deprivation.

“The Lord told me to honor the Native Americans because they’re the gatekeepers of the land,” Lapp said following the ceremony in Witmer. Lapp and Ron Burhoff, an Ohioan (from Ohio) who works with American Indians throughout the country, helped to facilitate the meeting of the two groups.
Creating Unity

“There are a lot of similarities between the cultures,” Lapp said. “Living on the land, caring for the land.”

“Respect of elders, caring for children,” added Robins. “Like the Amish,” she said, “we cling to our own people.”

Robins said American Indians plan to hold another meeting with the Amish this autumn to acknowledge their apology and to bless and honor them.

Shelia Hansen, a Shawnee from Virginia, formally accepted the Amish bishop’s apology during the ceremony.

Native American Meeting House (Longhouse) Photo: Facebook

“You raised the bar for this country, for all humanity, for forgiveness,” she told the Amish. She referred to those Amish who immediately forgave the shooter and supported his family following the massacre at Nickel Mines Amish school in Bart Township nearly a decade ago.

“As we came in here, the wind blew really hard, and it came through the trees,” Hansen said. “And I believe that the spirits of our old ones came by the wind, and they spoke, and this is a good day.”

The American Indians and the Amish exchanged gifts at the reunion.

In addition to the Amish reconciliation effort, some Native Americans apologized to other tribes for mistreating them. This effort was as significant to meeting participants as the Amish apology.

Anne Richardson, chief of the Rappahannock Tribe in Virginia, told Barbara Andrews Christy, a Seneca Indian who lives in Lancaster, that she forgives the Seneca for coming to Virginia and seizing a Rappahannock fort. She called for reconciliation between the tribes.

In turn, Christy asked for forgiveness for fighting over land.

Richardson also asked Tina Marks, a representative of Lancaster County’s Conoy tribe, to forgive her people for fighting.

Several Native Americans expressed concern that the U.S. government has never apologized for seizing American Indian land. But Richardson said, “We are prisoners of hope. We never give up. Atrocity after atrocity, we’re still here. This is the hour of restoration of our people.”

Mennonites held the first reconciliation meeting with American Indians here in 2003. In 2010, regional Presbyterians, Mennonites and Quakers apologized for the 1763 massacre of Conestoga Indians. And last month, Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Methodists acknowledged their church’s role in oppressing American Indians during a repentance ceremony held in Lancaster.

Authored by Jack Brubaker, Jack writes "The Scribbler'' a local column for Lancaster Online in Southeastern Pennsylvania, USA. Any editions made are developed for international perspective and to provide supplemental links to our members. See the original article here.
The Amish and the twelve Native American tribes will be surprised to learn that they are being recognized for a peace and reconciliation award from Globcal International and the International Indigenous Unity Flag from our new offices in Vienna, Austria this fall as a result of the following action described in this article. The Amish may be humble, but we learned they will be glad to be acknowledged together with the Native Americans in their great effort as God's people and people of peace in this jubilation year to make an example for others to do the same. The award will be delivered this year on Indigenous People's Day formerly known as Columbus Day during the revolutionary and industrial age. We should all hold great respect for all the parties involved they are today's ambassadors of peace and goodwill.

Friday, July 29, 2016

New Jobs being created by the SDGs

How the SDGs have Changed Global Development Jobs

In a recent blog, FHI 360 CEO Patrick Fine observed: “It is time to recognize that human development challenges will exist as long as there are humans … Building resilience is a long-term endeavor that requires ongoing commitment. It is not an end state.”

Girls skipping at a primary school participating in Plan's menstrual health management program. Photo by: Nyani Quarmyne

He was pushing back on that old adage in our international development industry that our organizations are (or should be) working themselves out of a job. As he concluded, there will always be a job for “strong, capable civil society actors.”

I agree with Patrick. There will always be a job. But is it the job we are currently configured to do?

The Sustainable Development Goals have changed that job in profound ways, and most development organizations have not recognized it and are not ready. Recall that the SDGs, in contrast to the Millennium Development Goals, are not just targets designed and agreed to by experts (mostly in the “developed” world) and handed to “poor” and “developing” countries. They are 17 sets of goals that apply universally to every country. And in large part they have come from, have been consulted with and agreed to, by a broad range of stakeholders in almost every country.

If the SDGs are not someone else’s agenda but an agenda vetted and embraced by local actors, the role of international civil society entities like Plan is not — or not just — to provide solutions, sage advice and expertise, but to strengthen the social accountability fabric.

Doing this well means we need to get out of the business of leading and doing and into the business of empowering, capacity building, informing, and connecting.

It means humility, because the voice and the brand that counts is not ours.

It means giving up control. Our job is to create safe and brave spaces for the voices of the vulnerable, the invisible, to ensure the marginalized are heard and to strengthen social accountability structures so their rights are served.

Let’s take Sustainable Development Goal 5, on gender equality, with which Plan International, the organization I represent, is deeply involved. Over the past five years Plan has been leading its Because I am a Girl campaign, focused on getting girls to go and stay in school. In the context of this campaign we did many things — from building infrastructure such as classrooms, wells and separate toilet facilities for girls to providing key products and services including menstrual hygiene management products, teacher training and technology.

In the course of the campaign we learned that the most impactful initiatives we could undertake to support this aim was to empower women and the girls themselves — building their awareness, developing their capacity and self-confidence, expanding their network of peers and mentors, so that they could effectively advocate for their own rights to go and stay in school. In other words, we learned that the most effective agents for energizing and mobilizing governments and communities to invest in girls are the girls themselves.

We are also learning that to be effective in empowering girls and youth we very much need to transform ourselves. We cannot be an organization that is seeking to empower the voice to children and girls if we were not first willing to give a voice to children and youth within our organization. And this has been challenging. Adults are not predisposed to listen to children and young people; we do not like giving up control. But empowering children and youth means being willing to give up control and being willing to open the space for children and youth to influence your own and your organization’s thinking about program design and execution.

At Plan we have changed our structures and staffing from top to bottom to make sure we are not crowding out the voice of children, youth and girls. We have made space in our board rooms for youth. We have invested in staff with expertise in youth engagement and we have trained our staff and board to work and engage with youth in non-tokenistic ways. We involve our youth in the design and evaluation of our programs. We have developed protocols and procedures to help ensure the safety of children and youth advocates when they speak out.

Bottom line: International civil society entities like Plan have an important role to play in in the SDG journey, here in the U.S. and elsewhere. But the SDGs changed the game for all of us.

Remaining relevant requires we give up control so that we may effectively empower others. Remaining relevant requires we transform ourselves so that we can support social transformation. The old paradigm was about external actors pushing harder to increase the short-term results. In the new paradigm, in order to yield more, we actually have to yield more control, responsibility and resources to local leadership.

Reposted from Devex Blog. Join the Devex community and access more in-depth analysis, breaking news and business advice — and a host of other services — on international development, humanitarian aid and global health.

By Tessie San-Martin, president and CEO of Plan International USA. She is a seasoned executive with more than 25 years’ experience helping to address gaps in education, economic growth, capacity-building, corporate governance, political reform and labor policy globally.