Nov 27th, 2012 3:36 PM UTC
By Stuart McWilliam
You might have seen in news from Brussels last Friday that leaders from the 27 different EU countries were unable to come to an agreement on the next seven-year budget. Negotiations will now continue into next year.
The good news is we now have a chance to reverse devastating cuts proposed to EU aid spending. These cuts would have cost lives and decimated vital funds that could have a transformative effect on people – connecting up to 51 million people to clean drinking water, vaccinating 9 million children and helping 15 million kids get an education in just 7 years.
There is now a chance to go back to the drawing board, rebalance the debate and protect the tiny proportion of the EU budget spent on life saving aid.
ONE members helped to generate real momentum. Over 166,000 people signed the petition, with 50,000 in the last two weeks alone. We delivered ONE members’ voices to all 27 leaders in the days leading up to the negotiations, and the European Parliament’s President mentioned ONE explicitly in his opening remarks. And although the Summit didn’t take the step forward we hoped for, we did avoid a disastrous step back.
So the fight to protect lifesaving EU aid continues. As the key moments become clearer over the next few weeks we will let you know what actions you can take. We’ve built real pressure on this issue so far. By continuing to join forces we can help ensure the right results are achieved to help some of the world’s most vulnerable people escape extreme poverty.
Together we can win this fight.
Nov 23rd, 2012 11:51 AM UTC
By Erin Finucane
For campaigners targeting 27 EU Member States with diverse national priorities, sometimes it can seem as if we’re shouting into the wind. As poverty- fighters, we’re competing with lobbyists and special interest groups for the time, attention, and political will of decision-makers. So when a key leader takes notice at a critical moment and mentions our work on the global stage, it says something about the dedication, initiative, and political reach of our tremendous ONE members.
Last night, in his address to European presidents and prime ministers ahead of the EU budget negotiations, the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz said:
“At our last meeting, the singer with the band U2, Bono, urged me on behalf of the non-governmental organisation ONE to continue to campaign in favour of European development cooperation and to bring up this very topic with you, Prime Minister Cameron. Because you too, so Bono told me, are a proponent of European development cooperation. More than 110 000 Europeans have already signed a ONE petition calling for development cooperation spending to be safeguarded under the next MFF. As the umbrella organisation ‘Concord’ reminded me in a recent letter, European development cooperation costs only EUR 1.87 per EU citizen per month, but saves millions of lives. ‘Concord’ represents more than 1800 European NGOs and fears that in making disproportionate cuts in its budget the EU is seeking to evade its international responsibility for the poorest people on the planet.”
As our petition inches closer to 167,000 and ONE members continue to Tweet, write, and call European leaders, it is nice to know that on the day the budget negotiations were set to begin, the message was reinforced.
Keep up the fight!
Image of Martin Schulz courtesy of Mettmann
Nov 22nd, 2012 2:30 PM UTC
By Erin Finucane
Yesterday, just as European leaders began to descend on Brussels, ONE hit the streets with volunteers from across the globe and paid a visit to all 27 EU permanent representations.
As a creative response to President Van Rompuy’s statement that the EU budget summit could be the first “three shirter” under his watch, ONE delivered Lifesaver shirts to all European heads of government with special care instructions: When ironing out the details, remember to protect EU development aid. These special deliveries were made here in Brussels and in capitals across the continent.
What was reinforced repeatedly in our 27 deliveries and 13 bilateral meetings over the last few days is the critical role that ONE members continue to play in this budget negotiation process: Leaders need to know that there is a European constituency for development. In these final hours of the fight to save EU aid, please help us keep up the noise. Email President Van Rompuy; check out our Lifesaver campaign resource page; share the report on social media. Before leaders disappear into the negotiations conclave, make sure your voice is heard.
Nov 22nd, 2012 12:52 PM UTC
By Isabelle De Lichtervelde
In 2008, when food prices soared, donors looked for smart ideas to help vulnerable communities cope by boosting local food production and enabling them to earn enough money to buy food and save for when times are tight.
One such smart idea was in Kenya, where a EU and United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization funded radio show promoted better farming techniques amongst a dispersed rural population. The results simply changed lives.
Piloted across 14 districts in the Rift Valley Province in Kenya, a region with high potential for dairy farming, the four-month radio series shared techniques for improving dairy farming with as wide an audience as possible, including women with children and young people. The long term goal was to improve household incomes and living standards.
Mr. Isaac Ngetich, a farmer from Koibatek District explains, “Our region has a high potential for dairy farming which is not being fully exploited. The radio programmes have helped us.” He continues, “Through the programme I won a prize for best farmer as I moved from getting 3 litres of milk to 4, 5, 7 and 10. I have established 2 acres of pasture and have learnt the value of keeping good records to monitor performance and identify areas for improvement in animal management.”
The programmes also offered practical tips such as how to produce silage to feed livestock. After listening to the radio programme and later seeing a demonstration of a chaff cutter (a device for cutting straw and hay), Isaac decided to make his own. “Now I am able to cut enough grass for my animals and sell what is left.”
The series was a great success, with up to 1.2 million listeners each week. “When the radio programme started, I bought a radio and followed the programmes wherever I was. I would take notes and try to follow the guidelines given on the radio. My milk production moved from 15 litres to 36 litres,” Isaac Rotich, Chairperson of Muserechi Young Farmers says. “I am not employed anywhere else but I am able to pay fees for my children comfortably.”
Paul Cheruiyot, Chairperson of Torongo Farmers’ Cooperative (Dairy) observes, “Since our establishment, our main challenge has been how to reduce milk rejection which has been rising over the years and in 2009 peaked at 2000 litres per day. Through the programme, our members now engage in clean milk production and at long last have reduced rejection from 2000 litres to 100 litres.”
In the internet age, the programme shows how radio still has the power to change lives on a huge scale. “The radio programme can reach the owner, the workers and the family all at the same time,” says Cheruiyot. “As a result of this reduction in rejected milk, our members are better off.”
The improved levels of dairy production and reduced levels of rejection have meant more money in the pockets of rural farmers including women. This has led to the establishment of a Savings and Credit Society which will help rural farmers put money aside and protects themselves better from future food price hikes.
With this pilot being such a success, another radio programme has been set up and is now running in 10 other districts across Kenya . Similar types of radio programmes are also currently being set up in arid and semi-arid areas under the EU-funded Kenya Rural Development Programme and the Kenyan government is supporting similar initiatives.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Achieving food security for all is at the heart of the FAO’s efforts – to make sure people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives. Visit the FAO website.
Nov 13th, 2012 11:49 AM UTC
By Erin Finucane
Today, President Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, is expected to make another proposal for cuts to the seven-year EU budget and lifesaving development aid is on the chopping block.
As campaigners, we’re used to thinking creatively. In times of urgency, we pull out all the stops. That’s how we landed on our most recent member action: send a haiku to Herman Van Rompuy, asking him to protect EU Aid.
President Van Rompuy is a fan of poetry; in fact, he’s published a volume of his own haikus. A self-described “politician haiku-poet”, we’ve decided to send our critical message – protect the Commission’s proposal for Heading 4 and leave the EDF untouched – through poetry.
So please send your message to him on twitter at @euHvR
Here’s one to get you started:
T.S. Eliot said that poetry can communicate before it’s understood. We’re hoping he’s right.
Nov 8th, 2012 4:17 PM UTC
By Isabelle De Lichtervelde
The International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) was launched in 2008 and is a voluntary, multi-stakeholder initiative, involving donors, partner country governments and civil society organisations. Organisations that sign up to the initiative publish information about their aid to a registry which can then be accessed by all. Publish What You Fund has been measuring the state of aid transparency and whether donors are living up to their commitments. The 2012 Index covers 72 organisations ranging from bilateral and multilateral agencies to climate finance funds and private foundations. These organisations were rated against 43 indicators of aid transparency and ranked accordingly. Based on the Index findings, the European Commission’s aid to developing countries is among the most transparent but with a mixed picture across departments. DG Development and Cooperation – EuropeAid that manages the large majority of EU aid comes top of the pack with an impressive 5th place.
Today, Publish What You Fund (PWYF) and ONE held an event together with British Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Fiona Hall. The Parliamentary briefing presented the main findings of Publish What You Fund’s 2012 Aid Transparency Index and focused specifically on the importance of transparency to deliver smart and effective development assistance to the poorest countries in the EU Budget 2014-2020.
Panellists included MEP Fiona Hall, ONE Brussels Director Eloise Todd, as well as Liz Steele, EU Representative and Andrew Clarke, Advocacy Manager from Publish What You Fund. The event was attended by around 50 representatives from the EU institutions, African representatives, EU governments and civil society.
MEP Fiona Hall made opening remarks on the importance of transparency in aid and on the crucial need to protect development assistance against cuts in the next 7-year EU Budget. Then Liz Steele and Andrew Clarke from PWYF presented the main findings of the 2012 Index and recommended that the EU keeps up the momentum on aid transparency and keeps making progress on IATI implementation. Secondly the Commission should build on DG DEVCO’s success internationally and internally. Finally the international transparency commitments made at Busan should be enshrined in the EU’s legislative and financial framework.
Based on ONE’s 2012 DATA Report main findings, ONE’s Brussels Director Eloise Todd talked about the crucial need to protect the funds for the fight against extreme poverty under the European Development Fund and Heading 4 of the EU budget that are under serious threat of cuts by Member States. The EU leaders’ special summit on the EU Budget 2014-2020 being held on 22-23 November, Eloise reminded participants that just over two weeks are left to save life-saving EU aid.
These interventions were followed by questions and remarks from the floor.
Do you want to protect European aid to the poorest countries? Sign our petition here!
Nov 7th, 2012 9:40 AM UTC
By David Cole
As regular readers of the ONE blog will know Europe’s leaders are right now in the midst of crucial budget negotiations, which will have a massive impact on those living in extreme poverty around the world.
Some leaders are proposing cuts to the EU’s lifesaving programs. But what would these cuts actually mean in practice?
Here’s a new infographic that shows what’s at stake:
Please share this with your friends, family and co-workers and ask them to join you in taking action to protect this lifesaving work.
Oct 26th, 2012 2:58 PM UTC
By Isabelle De Lichtervelde
For decades, farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa have been struggling to produce enough food from the land they have. But in Eastern Kenya, more than 50,000 farmers are now using a clever new technique that prevents pests and weeds from destroying crops. The results are pretty amazing. The system, called ‘Push-Pull’, is now being redeveloped to tackle the additional pressures on food security brought about by climate change.
The ‘Push-Pull’ system, originally developed over 20 years ago by the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) works by mixing plants that ‘push’ pests and weeds away from the crop and others that ‘pull’ pests to border areas to lay their eggs where they cause less harm.
It’s a simple but revolutionary idea that can almost double the amount of food farmers can produce from their available land. What’s more it’s cheap enough and doesn’t require complex technology that would put it out of reach of smallholder farmers. The system uses locally-available plants and fits well with traditional African mixed cropping systems.
“I have experienced tremendous improvement,” boasts Emai Ikapolok David, a farmer from the North Teso District in Kenya. “Before, I used to get 50 kg from a 0.4-acre plot, but now with push-pull I get 540 kg of maize from the same plot. My soil fertility level has also improved and there is a clear decrease in striga (a type of weed) and stemborer (a pest) in the garden.”
The community has also benefitted from a feeling of greater security. “Theft cases have reduced because everybody has enough to feed on,” says Eric Odhiambo, Sub-chief of Ginga Sub- Location in Siaya District.
But farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa, and around the world are facing a new threat from global climate change. The rising uncertainties in the region’s rain-fed agriculture have created more demand for ‘push-pull’, and its further development to help crops withstand the increasingly adverse and changeable weather conditions.
In March 2011, ICIPE launched a project called ADOPT (Adaptation and Dissemination of the Push-Pull Technology to Climate Change). The €2.9 million, EU-funded project aims to create a drought-tolerant form of Push-Pull. The aim is to reach one million farming households by 2020.
“Thanks to the funding we have received from the EU, we have been able to do further research and to reach more farmers and more countries,” Zeyaur Khan, ICIPE project coordinator of ADOPT says. “Through our research, we found [push-pull] plants that are better than previous used plants,” says Khan. “They can survive a very long period of drought.”
The ADOPT project will directly benefit 50,000 smallholder cereal and livestock farmers. It will also improve food availability for half a million people living in areas that are dry and vulnerable to climate change in Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia.
The results are impressive. “The deployment and adoption of a drought-adapted Push-Pull has increased yields by three times,” Khan says. “In the long term it will also improve the soil fertility. Farmers won’t have to use fertilizers anymore.”
Without EU funding, Khan says ICIPE wouldn’t have been able to adapt the Push-Pull technique to climate change. “Other donors are funding only the standard push pull,” he says, “so this funding is very very important for us, for the countries we are working in, and for smallholder famers facing long drought and who cannot produce enough food for themselves.”
The International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) is an international scientific research institute headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya. ICIPE’s mission is to help alleviate poverty, ensure food security and improve the overall health status of peoples in the tropics by developing and extending management tools and strategies for harmful and useful arthropods, while preserving the natural resource base through research and capacity building.
For more information about ICIPE, visit: http://www.icipe.org
For more information about push-pull technology, visit: http://www.push-pull.net
Oct 24th, 2012 11:56 AM UTC
By Stuart McWilliam
European leaders are facing increasing pressure to cut the overall EU budget and there is a real danger the axe will fall on smart, lifesaving aid. This would have a devastating impact on the world’s most vulnerable people.
Right now Cyprus, which currently holds the rotating Presidency of the EU, is writing proposals, for all EU governments to negotiate, on how the overall EU budget could be cut.
Send an email to the Deputy Minister of European Affairs Andreas D. Mavroyiannis to make sure that Cyprus protects lifesaving aid to the world’s poorest people:
Last year ONE members successfully campaigned to ensure the proposal for the next seven year EU aid budget was a strong as possible. As is stands it would help achieve some amazing results, such as connecting 51 million people to drinking water, putting 15 million children in school and vaccinating 9 million kids against measles by 2020.
President Christofias of Cyprus has said he believes “the daily struggles for survival and the basic needs of the disadvantaged and vulnerable fellow human beings should be our first priority.”
Please send an email now and ask that Cyprus turns these words into action by protecting the existing proposal for EU aid to the poorest. Cuts must not cost lives.
If enough of us take action we can make sure Deputy Minister Mavroyiannis helps to protect the lifesaving aid that all EU citizens can rightly be proud of.
Oct 22nd, 2012 3:40 PM UTC
By Guest Blogger
The following is a guest blog is by Diana Shuma, Advocacy officer, DSW Tanzania.
Thanks to an EU-funded programme that promotes community healthcare, 36 staff have been deployed to a region of Tanzania where health workers were once virtually non-existent.
The village of Kware in the Hai District of Tanzania has long faced an acute shortage of health personnel. As a result, local health services have suffered.
Fifteen years ago, Kware’s only midwife passed away. Since then, the area – with a population of some 11,000 people – has been covered by just one doctor.
The situation was grave, as Manka Kway from the development and advocacy organisation DSW Tanzania explains: “Women, sometimes in urgent need of medical care, had to wait for the doctor to come back the next day or travel to another health facility. This costs money and is time-consuming and it endangers lives, especially of pregnant women and young children. We have been told that early this year a woman lost twins on her way to the district hospital. This could have been prevented had there been a full-time doctor or nurse at the dispensary.”
Masama South Ward Councillor Issa Kisanga tried to bring the situation to the attention of district health authorities. “We sent letters to the district medical officer asking for a new midwife for the village and were promised this would happen if we could just provide accommodation for her. Because of the urgent need for a midwife, we built a house for a midwife using our own money. But when it was finished, we did not get a new midwife and the house remained empty for more than 15 years.”
Thankfully help is at hand from an EU-funded project called Healthy Action. Since 2010, DSW has run the project in Tanzania, which empowers communities to advocate effectively on health issues. This includes holding their leaders and governments responsible and accountable for decisions that affect their lives.
In March 2012, the project brought together 32 community representatives from three villages, including Kware, to discuss the state of reproductive health services with district health officials. The result: new funds to recruit additional health workers to the district.
“For this financial year we have planned to employ an additional 36 health staff, including midwives. Priority will be given to health facilities at the community level and at the district hospital when allocating the new health staff,” says Dr Paul Chaote, Hai District Medical Officer, who took part in the consultation.
Healthy Action has shown ordinary Tanzanians that they can – and should – have a say in decisions affecting their health and well-being, and hold decision-makers accountable. By doing this, the project will contribute to better health for community members in the years to come.
DSW (Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevoelkerung) is an international development and advocacy organisation. It empowers young people and communities in low- and middle-income countries by addressing the issue of population dynamics and by improving health as key to sustainable development. Find out more at www.dsw-online.org.
The International ONE Blog is a daily log of the anti-poverty movement. The site is operated by ONE staff, with guest contributions from ONE volunteers, members and allies.
The content of each post and each comment represents the views of that author and does not necessarily reflect the views of ONE. ONE does not support or oppose any candidate for elected office, and any post expressing support or opposition for a candidate is not endorsed by ONE.