Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The people’s voice: CGNet Swara community radio on mobile phone


Every citizen in this country has a right to be heard. But what happens when you live in an area where no mainstream media organisation bothers to penetrate, and when you speak a language no media organisation knows or understands? CGNet Swara uses mobile telephony to break through the wall of silence in tribal areas of Chhattisgarh.

The trendy young may see the mobile phone as a fashion accessory and use it as a means to yammer endlessly with friends, but in the tribal belt of Chhattisgarh, the technology is being put to a very different and infinitely more meaningful use.

One of the main problems with getting news from or to the many remote areas of the country is that mainstream media has little interest in these areas and, as in the case of tribal areas of Chhattisgarh, there is no publication, TV channel or radio in the local language (All India Radio does not broadcast in any tribal language including Gondi which is spoken by 2.7 million inhabitants of the area). All of this makes it difficult to get news from, about, or to the local population.

CGNet Swara came up with an obvious but novel way around this problem. Get local people – citizen-journalists basically -- to speak about their problems and issues, and to listen to what others have to say, via the mobile phone, which has a 50-60% penetration in the country.

Started in February 2010, CGNet Swara could be described as community radio on mobile phone. “It works on the principle that journalism is everybody’s business and every citizen should also be a citizen journalist. Though we trained 33 tribals in a three-day training session in February to use Swara, we do not know who the reporters are now (most of them are not trained by us),”
says Shubhranshu Choudahry who set up CGNet Swara with technical help from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as part of a fellowship project supported by Knight International.

As a reporter himself and a native of Chhattisgarh, Choudahry was familiar with–and concerned about-- the lack of news in and out of the region. “A majority of the people in this area are illiterate and very poor so they cannot buy a newspaper (there is no newspaper in their language anyway) and a majority do not have electricity at home so they cannot have TV. All India Radio talks about Obama and Manmohan Singh in Hindi whereas people want to hear what is happening around them in their own language, which CGnet Swara is doing.”

The modus operandi is quite simple. A citizen journalist – which basically means anyone who has a story to share – gives a missed call to the mobile number 080-41137280 and the server will call back for the caller to listen to or record her message or story in any language/dialect. The information is verified and translated by moderators to check for authenticity and disseminated via SMSes and www.cgnetswara.org

The CGNet website shows that when the voice of the people is heard, there is an impact. Teachers of a school in Dantewada got their salaries after a report was circulated about tardiness in payment of salaries; government officials took note of complaints on pollution of a sponge iron factory in Bastar; a liquor shop that opened in front of a school in Bijapur town was shifted out on the orders of the Collector who heard the complaint over Swara. Earlier attempts to shift the shop had ended with the school being ordered to move.

In fact, a sampling of small news items on the website looks pretty much like the city page of any mainstream newspaper, highlighting the acts of omission and commission of the authorities: Irregularity in the PDS in Toynar Bijapur, NREGA workers not paid for six months, the only teacher in a village being used for census duty, rice meant for the poor being captured by middlemen, 236 schools closed in Bijapur district for four years, an interview with a person beaten up by drunken policemen.

Bhan Sahu, one of the most active women reporters, reported on children employed and underpaid in tendu leaf collection (Unicef has that report), and a live report from a public hearing for SKS power plant in Kharsia, Raigarh, noted pertinently that 1,500 policemen were present at what was supposed to be a jan sunwai or people’s hearing.

“The reason authorities have reacted positively in some cases is because after the stories are sent out on CGnet Swara we put a link of the story on our CGnet discussion forum with the number and other details of the concerned authorities and people start calling those officers from all over India. But at the same time we have got reactions like ‘We cannot afford a loose cannon like this service in a state which is at war with insurgents,’ coming from a senior police officer in the state capital, Raipur,” says Choudahry.

The war zone is CGNet Swara’s backyard but it is largely off-limits to most news media that has, perforce, to accept government sources of information. CGNet is an alternative source (even though Choudahry says only 5% of the reporting has anything to do with the insurgency), and as grassroots as you can get as it is the people themselves who tell their stories. Journalists who dare not venture into the Red Corridor might benefit by putting CGNet Swara on speed dial.

Prakash Korram, an activist with Ekta Parishad, was picked up by the police and charged for possessing a gun and being a Maoist, and severely beaten up several times while in police custody. The police denied to his wife and colleagues that he had been arrested and charged. His version of what happened to him only became public when his colleague Agnu Sahu and others persisted with their search for him and finally met him in Kanker jail and put his story up on CGNet Swara. If there’s scepticism of his side of the story, at least it has been told.

In the same way, Gujjo Bai, sarpanch of Gumiapal, informed anyone who wanted to listen, through a reporter from CGNet Swara, that the two Maoists police claimed to have killed in an ‘encounter’ in her village were actually innocent villagers who were taken from their homes which were later burnt. The police officers who did the killing were later among those ambushed by Maoists while travelling in a bus and 31 people were killed in the incident including 15 civilians. Maoists issued a statement saying the killing was in revenge for the killing of two innocents. Because it became a big story, journalists visited the village and met the sarpanch to hear her side of the story.

Knowledge is power and a well-informed tribal population is not exactly what the police or government want to see in a population it has long exploited.
Many mainstream publications carried the story of Lingamram Kodopi who police claim was behind the “July 6 Maoist attack on Congress leader Avdesh Singh Gautam’s house and the Kuakonda Police Station in Bastar and had undergone militant training in Gujarat and New Delhi, and is currently doing a media-related course in the Capital” (Indiaexpress.com, July 12, 2010).

“Linga is one of the tribal boys we helped get admission in a media school in Noida. He could be the first trained tribal journalist from that part of the world who could have written stories about his own home/community which could have helped us understand the problem and maybe even solve it,” says Shubhranshu Choudahry. The police have backed down a little and Linga has resumed his studies, but the content of the FIR against him is still unknown.

Songs and poems, too, are broadcast, something rare for indigenous people whose language and culture is generally ignored. CGNet has broadcast traditional Bastar music, Adivasi songs, a Gondi song by an anti-displacement activist in Kanha national park, a song by a child, Sudip Kumar, on the anti-liquor campaign, and Budhan Mehsram, a dalit Pandvani singer, who is changing Pandvani from its traditional form of singing about the Mahabharat to singing songs on local contemporary issues.

The CGNet Swara method is not expensive so can it be easily replicated? “It can be replicated in any part of the world where the situation is similar,” says Choudahry. “The software was developed in open source which is already on the internet. So anybody who wants to use it can do so. We have got many requests to duplicate it. The State Department in the US wants to use it in Afghanistan. UNDP is looking at it to see if they can use it to monitor the Millennium Development Goals (as this technology is two-way unlike radio which is just one way). We have got many requests from India and Africa. We ourselves want to take this experiment all over central India soon. Then the service will be called Central Gondwana Network Swara (instead of Chhattisgarh NetSwara).”

Source: http://infochangeindia.org/201008248475/Technology/Stories-of-change/The-people-s-voice.html


Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

India has an NGO for every 400 people

A recent study commissioned by the Government of India reveals that India possibly has the largest number of active non-government, not-for-profit voluntary organisations in the world. The number of such entities, accounted for till 2009, stood at 3.3 million, which is one NGO for less than 400 Indians, and many times the number of primary schools and primary health centres in India.

According to the survey, the largest number of NGOs are registered in Maharashtra (4.8 lakh), followed by Andhra Pradesh (4.6 lakh), Uttar Pradesh (4.3 lakh), Kerala (3.3 lakh), Karnataka (1.9 lakh), Gujarat (1.7 lakh), West Bengal (1.7 lakh), Tamil Nadu (1.4 lakh), Orissa (1.3 lakh) and Rajasthan (1 lakh). Over 80% of registrations come from these 10 states.

Even these staggering numbers may be less than the actual number of NGOs active in all states and union territories of the country. That’s because the study, commissioned in 2008, took into consideration only those entities which were registered under the Societies Registration Act or the Mumbai Public Trust Act and its variants in other states.

Such organisations can be registered under a plethora of Acts such as the Societies’ Act, 1860, Indian Trust Act, 1882, Public Trust Act, 1950, Indian Companies Act, 1956 (Section 25), Religious Endowment Act, 1863, The Charitable and Religious Trust Act, 1920, the Mussalman Wakf Act, 1923, the Wakf Act, 1954, and Public Wakfs (Extension of Limitation Act) Act, 1959, etc.

“These are all broad estimates. Nobody really knows the ground reality because this sector has grown very fast in the past many years. Besides, there have been no efforts to maintain an official database or even to encourage such entities to be transparent about their activities as well as funding,” says Soumitro Ghosh, Founder CEO, CSO Partners, a Chennai-based organisation set up to encourage transparency in the functioning of the sector.

While the government will begin studying the finances of the sector in the second phase of the survey, estimates from within the sector suggest that NGOs, or NPIs, raise anywhere between Rs 40,000 crore and Rs 80,000 crore in funding annually.

The government is the biggest donor -- Rs 18,000 crore was set aside for the social sector in the Eleventh Plan -- followed by foreign contributors (according to the latest figures available, around Rs 9,700 crore was raised in 2007-08). Around Rs 1,600-2,000 crore was donated to established religious bodies such as the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams.

Individual donors are emerging as the biggest and most lucrative source of funds. According to an internal study by a leading foreign NGO headquartered in the UK, donations by individuals are expected to have grown from around Rs 2,200 crore in 2005 to Rs 8,100 crore by a conservative estimate, and to around Rs 21,000 crore by more liberal estimates.

The increase in the number of donors coincides with a sharp increase in the number of new NGOs in the past decade. According to the government study, there were only 1.44 lakh registered societies till 1970. In the following three decades, the number rose to 1.79 lakh, 5.52 lakh, and 11.22 lakh. The maximum increase in the number of registrations happened after 2000.

Private sector companies, one of the biggest donors in the developed world, are, however, yet to wake up to the phenomenon of charity and philanthropy in India. Indian companies spend less than 1% of their annual profits on such activities, against 1.5% to over 2% spent by their UK- and US-based counterparts, says the study by CSO Partners.

The international NGO is of the opinion that since government is the biggest donor to many NGOs, transparency and disclosure norms are especially important. As Vice-President Hamid Ansari recently stressed, many NGOs now work with unprecedented levels of public funding because of their role in implementing giant centrally-sponsored welfare schemes, but are not audited by the CAG.

Source: http://infochangeindia.org/201007098383/Governance/News/India-has-an-NGO-for-every-400-people.html


Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Friday, August 13, 2010

From Darkness To Light: Night School A Ray Of Hope For The Underprivileged

First night school in Mumbai was opened in 1885 by noted social reformer Mahatma Jyotiba Phule. The journey since then has reached to more than 150 schools. While others were just commenting about the infrastructure 39-year-old Nikita Ketkar an Indian Civil Services decided to change the things herself. After resigning from government services, she founded MASOOM an NGO and took up job of city’s night schools. Help started pouring and she now aims to adopt all night schools of the state.

Education has always had been a neglected sector in India, while the government has given only lip sympathy and has never given importance to the younger generation. Even the budgets allocated towards the all round development of the students and teaching fraternity is negligible.

The site of a government school whether it is Delhi, Mumbai or a small town of Asansol it is the same – old rickety building with leaked roofs, dull classrooms, emitting foul smell, which not only makes children dull and sick, but also the teachers and the school staff to stay away from the educational institution.

Even the night schools are same like the government schools; even then students flock to these schools, as they do not have any options and with more awareness that without education future is bleak.

Most of the night school students – boys or girls earn their livelihood during the day time by slogging for around 10 to 12 hours. While in the evening they come to the school and attend classes.

Thus to make the night school students more comfortable and environment friendly, a former Indian Civil servant Nikita Ketkar has took up the cause of these neglected lot who work and study and earn to fill the stomachs of their family members.

The 39-year-old former civil servant left her lucrative job, after seeing the problem of the students studying in night schools.

“I was shocked to see during my first ever visit to a night school, the condition of the classroom was horrible with plasters peeling out, the building was not painted for years, with poor lighting and students had to strain their eyes to read the notes written on the blackboard,” According to Nikita.

“I was moved by the pathetic scene and thus I thought that something has to be done for this neglected lot and thus I got involved in doing my little bit for this fraternity in my own way after leaving my lucrative job,” she said.

Nikita who had tried her hand as a journalist and was also a lecturer before joining the civil service, says “I always wanted to do something for the neglected lot and this was one of the best ways to motivate and guide the students who are keen to do something in life.”

Recalling her association with an NGO ‘Pukar’, in 2006 while doing a research work on the ‘night school and its students’, where she learnt the plight of these students and their family. Most of the girls used to slog whole day with the household chores and also used to paltry amount by working in unorganized sector and would supplement the family income.

The 1998 batch officer of Armed Forces, Civil Services says, it was not an easy task to leave the government job (She worked at DRDO, All India Radio and NCC Directorate in different capacity) and work for the welfare of students from night schools. However, her husband supported, she claims proudly.

Night schools students never had science and computer laboratory, but with her initiative through her NGO ‘Masoom’ which adopted two night schools in 1997 at Parel in Mumbai - Milind Night School and Maratha Mandir Night School at Worli, Mumbaim she has setup the labs, due to which students who were deprived, had been thronging to the lab and many students have started attending schools regularly, Nikita claims.

‘Masoom’ has added four more schools and with innovative methods, Nikita has managed to provide library, mobile lab and computers. Students are also enjoying learning English and life skills too, so that they can compete with their counterparts from convent and other well established schools, a beaming Nikita said.

To involve the students and their parents regular workshops are organised where the parents and teachers come together thus the bridge is being narrowed by such meets, she said.

Also as a social responsibility and to create awareness amongst the students of the ill affects of tobaccos, smoking and liquor, “We organize lectures and seminars on smoking and nutrition,” she said.

One of the students has topped with 85 per cent in SSC exams this year and many more students have done excellently well, she says, adding that the topper will be given scholarship, Nikita has a team of six young teaching staff, and all of them are night school products. The ‘Masoom’ team has secured a future and now they are shaping the destiny of many more from the night schools of Mumbai and aiming to spread its wings across Maharashtra.

By S Mani
The author is a Correspondent with The Verdict Weekly published from Mumbai, Maharashtra and can be contacted at verdictweekly@gmail.com



Source: From Darkness To Light: Night School A Ray Of Hope For The Underprivileged


Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

How Green Revolution Played Havoc With Mexican Agriculture By Devinder Sharma

Mexico is the land of origin of the Green Revolution. It is here that the so called miracle seeds of dwarf wheat were first evolved. Norman Borlaug's wheat magic did cast a spell in far away India, which spread like a wild fire across the developing world. It literally sowed the seeds of what was later dubbed as the Green Revolution.

While the 2nd generation-environmental impacts of Green Revolution have played havoc with the natural resource base across continents, the destruction of the farm lands, and the plight of the dying farmers, is being hastily buried under the aggressive launch of the Second Green Revolution. To avoid the finger of suspicion pointing towards them, the international scientific community in collaboration with the agribusiness industry and the policy makers, are in a desperate hurry to create a smokescreen that hides the great tragedy.

Four decades after Green Revolution was launched, the world is still to come to grips with the devastation it wrought to the farm lands -- the fertile and verdant lands gasping for breath; chemical pesticides not only disrupting the insect equilibrium, but resulting in more savage pest attack besides contaminating the food chain; and the relentless mining of groundwater drying up the hemisphere. Intensive agriculture has already brought the world to a boiling point.


Added to the destruction of farm lands, the growing emphasis on corporatisation of agriculture which includes futures trading, free trade in agriculture and the strengthening of big box food retail has already brought the food chain into the hands of a few food giants/agribusiness companies. Farming communities wordwide have been marginalised in the process, and I am sure the day is not far away when farmers will disappear from the face of the Earth.

The extinction of the farm communities is actually a process that began more or less with the advent of Green Revolution. Those who promoted Green Revolution, it is now becoming clear, were not aware of the hidden design. The complete take over of agricultural research and education across the globe by the US land grant system came in handy to programme the scientific mindset. The USAID has to be admired the way it helped change the scientific brains to the virtues of the intensive farming systems as the only way forward.

Anyway, I came across this interesting insight into Mexican agriculture, which I feel I must draw your attention to. Jill Richardson, author of Recipe for America: Why Our Food System is Broken and What Can we do it to Fix it, travelled to 'see the Green Revolution first hand'. Here is her report.
The US Ploy to Promote Genetically Engineered Seeds and Pesticides to Poor Mexican Farmers Is Impoverishing Their Communities.
By Jill Richardson : http://www.alternet.org/story/147764/the_u.s._ploy_to_promote_genetically_engineered_seeds_and_pesticides_to_poor_mexican_farmers_is_impoverishing_their_communities?page=entire


By Devinder Sharma

Source:
How Green Revolution Played Havoc With Mexican Agriculture By Devinder Sharma

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Kashmir: Winning Hearts And Minds By Rekha Chowdhary

It can not be said as a paradigm shift, but there is certainly a change in the emphasis in the way New Delhi is responding to the problems in Kashmir. After almost a two months’ cycle of violence and upsurge in the streets all over Kashmir, there is a definite shift in the tone and tenor of the Government of India – as reflected in the statement made by the Home Minister, PC Chidambaram in the upper House of the Parliament Friday last. Rather than offering the ‘conspiracy theory’ and putting all the blame on the external elements like LeT, the Home Minister has sought to look within and own up the responsibility of Indian State in the muddled situation of Kashmir.

Three related points emerge from his statement. First, the acknowledgement that Kashmir is a political problem needing a political solution – the emphasis therefore is on resumption of dialogue and the readiness of the Government to engage the separatists including the hardliners. Second, there is the reference to the ‘uniqueness’ of Kashmir problem, needing the ‘unique’ solution. By reminding the nation that Kashmir had acceded to India under special circumstances, the Home Minister has invoked the historical elements of the problem as well as its specificity. This is a pointer towards the need for ‘out of box’ thinking towards Kashmir. Indicating the complexity of the problem, Chidambaram has stated the need of serious thinking - ‘we have to put our heads together and find a solution to this unique problem. Thirdly, there is an unambiguous allusion to ‘people’ and the need to bring them on board. As per Chidambaram’s statement, it is important to win the hearts and minds of people of Jammu & Kashmir. There is also an acknowledgment that as for as the Kashmiris are concerned, there is a trust-deficit. Emphasising the need to restore the confidence of Kashmiris in the Indian State, the Home Minister has referred to the promises made by the Government of India and the importance of delivering on those promises.

It is not difficult to speculate the response of Kashmiris to this changed tone of the Home Minister. Already the indications have come from the separatists who have rejected the offer of dialogue. In the background of the situation as it has developed in Kashmir during past two months or so, it is not expected that a changed stance of Government of India would make an impact in Kashmir, at least, not immediately. For one reason, this is not the first time that New Delhi is adopting this tone. Earlier also there have been occasions when such responses have come from Delhi. One such oft-quoted response in Kashmir is that of offer of ‘anything under the sun’. That nothing came out of these is very much ingrained in the popular psyche. It is the crisis situation like the present one when such pronouncements are made by the Centre, however, when the situation ‘normalises’ or comes to the ‘manageable level’, the approach also changes. In mid-nineties, in a situation of total political vacuum in the mainstream politics, the National Conference was lured to contest election on the promise of ‘Autonomy’. What happened to the Autonomy Report and the Autonomy Resolution – is still fresh in the minds of people. More recently, Vajpayee had walked extra miles to approach Kashmiris. He had acknowledged that India had made mistakes in Kashmir and had offered to give them healing touch and to engage them. The process had aroused great expectations in the minds of Kashmiris and they had put their confidence in the peace process initiated by Vajpayee. The separatists, going by the mood of people, had also brought in flexibility in their political strategies. However, one can see to how the situation stands now – the hopes of people in the peace process are totally shattered and not only the separatists who entered into dialogue but the very dialogue process stand discredited.

In a situation where the sincerity on the part of the Government of India to address Kashmir is seriously doubted, the statement of the Home Minister, howsoever politically correct, will not be trusted. The responsibility of changing the response in Kashmir purely lies with the Centre. It has to prove its credibility by taking concrete steps in that direction. The minimum that is required is, in the words of the Home Minister himself – to deliver on the promises that the Government has made. The Government of India need not wait for a positive response from the separatists. Given the hurt-feeling during the last two months and the consequent political aggressiveness on the streets, the response of the separatists may not come for some time. What it can do, meanwhile, is to look at its own records, for instance, the reports of the Working Groups constituted by the Prime Minister of India and start the process of healing by implementing on these reports. Already the Home Minister has referred the need to address the issues like AFSPA and reduction of security personnel in the state. There are many other measures which the Government of India can take up on its own, without needing any nudging from the separatists. If the unilateral process on its part is sincerely pursued, there is no issue as to why a congenial environment would not be created for pursing the process of finding resolution to the ‘unique problem’. With every political measure taken up by the Government in Delhi, the level of anger in Kashmir will come down.

It is important at this moment for New Delhi to understand the level of discontent, anger, disillusionment and mistrust in Kashmir. Winning ‘hearts and minds of people’ in this situation is not very easy. It needs to create a minimum level of trust. But even for that, it will have to make extra efforts.

(Published in Greater Kashmir, 10th August, 2010)



Kashmir: Winning Hearts And Minds By Rekha Chowdhary


Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

10 Common Sense Principles For A New Economy By David Korten

It’s time we the people declare our independence from the money-favoring Wall Street economy

I find hope in the fact that millions of people the world over are seeing through the moral and practical fallacies underlying the Wall Street economy and—by contributing to the creation of a New Economy—are taking charge of their economic lives.

Here are ten common sense principles to frame the New Economy that we the people must now bring forth:

1. The proper purpose of an economy is to secure just, sustainable, and joyful livelihoods for all. This may come as something of a shock to Wall Street financiers who profit from financial bubbles, securities fraud, low wages, unemployment, foreign sweatshops, tax evasion, public subsidies, and monopoly pricing.

2. GDP is a measure of the economic cost of producing a given level of human well-being and happiness. In the economy, as in any well-run business, the goal should be to minimize cost, not maximize it.

3. A rational reallocation of real resources can reduce the human burden on the Earth’s biosphere and simultaneously improve the health and happiness of all. The Wall Street economy wastes enormous resources on things that actually reduce the quality of our lives—war, automobile dependence, suburban sprawl, energy-inefficient buildings, financial speculation, advertising, incarceration for minor, victimless crimes. The most important step toward bringing ourselves into balance with the biosphere is to eliminate the things that are bad for our health and happiness.

4. Markets allocate efficiently only within a framework of appropriate rules to maintain competition, cost internalization, balanced trade, domestic investment, and equality. These are essential conditions for efficient market function. Without rules, a market economy quickly morphs into a system of corporate monopolies engaged in suppressing wages, exporting jobs, collecting public subsidies, poisoning air, land, and water, expropriating resources, corrupting democracy, and a host of other activities that represent an egregiously inefficient and unjust distribution of resources.

5. A proper money system roots the power to create and allocate money in people and communities in order to facilitate the creation of livelihoods and ecologically balanced community wealth. Money properly serves life, not the reverse. Wall Street uses money to consolidate its power to expropriate the real wealth of the rest of the society. Main Street uses money to connect underutilized resources with unmet needs. Public policy properly favors Main Street.

6. Money, which is easily created with a simple accounting entry, should never be the deciding constraint in making public resource allocation decisions. This is particularly obvious in the case of economic recessions or depressions, which occur when money fails to flow to where it is needed to put people to work producing essential goods and services. If money is the only lack, then make the accounting entry and get on with it.

7. Speculation, the inflation of financial bubbles, risk externalization, the extraction of usury, and the use of creative accounting to create money from nothing, unrelated to the creation of anything of real value, serve no valid social purpose. The Wall Street corporations that engage in these activities are not in the business of contributing to the creation of real community wealth. They are in the business of expropriating it, a polite term for theft. They should be regulated or taxed out of existence.

8. Greed is not a virtue; sharing is not a sin. If your primary business purpose is not to serve the community, you have no business being in business.

9. The only legitimate reason for government to issue a corporate charter extending special privileges favoring a particular enterprise is to serve a clearly defined public purpose. That purpose should be clearly stated in the corporate charter and be subject to periodic review.

10. Public policy properly favors local investors and businesses dedicated to creating community wealth over investors and businesses that come only to extract it. The former are most likely to be investors and businesses with strong roots in the communities in which they do business. We properly favor them.


David Korten is co-founder and board chair of YES! Magazine, co-chair of the New Economy Working Group, president of the People-Centered Development Forum, and a founding board member of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE). His books include Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth, The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community, and the international best seller When Corporations Rule the World.

The arguments presented here are developed in greater detail in Agenda for a New Economy available from the YES! Magazine web store.




10 Common Sense Principles For A New Economy By David Korten

Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Mumbai Marathon 2011- Run & Support Silver Inning Foundation


Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2011 : 16th Jan 2011 – Silver Inning Foundation is participating First Time as NGO , support us for the cause of our Elderly.

We have taken pledge to collect Fund of Rs.5 Lakh (Five Lakh India Rupee) to support our ‘ Silver Innings Active Ageing Center’ a Day center for Senior Citizens who are 50+ at Mira Road, near Mumbai ,India.

At Silver Innings we are working towards creating Elder Friendly World where Ageing becomes a Positive and Rewarding Experience.

Silver Inning Foundation was establish to uphold and secure the rights of elderly and actively works towards improving their quality of life by networking, advocating and researching elderly issues and providing a wide range of services. Working for Dementia and Alzheimer’s is one of the focus areas.

Silver Innings Active Ageing Center is a center where Senior Citizens come together for services and an activity that reflects their experience and skills, respond to their diverse needs and interests, enhance their dignity, support their independence, and encourage involvement with the community. As part of Comprehensive community strategy to meet the needs of our elderly, center offers services and activities within the center and link participants with resources offered by other agencies. Center programme includes variety of individual and group services and activities. The center provides our Elderly opportunities to interact with others in the community, and their mental, physical and emotional stimulation through social activities.

If you love and care for your parents and grandparents & also want to invest for your future when we all grow old then support us to make this world elder friendly.

Would you like to be a part of this movement called ‘Silver Innings’ working for Elderly Friendly world....
...If yes, Support Silver Inning Foundation in upcoming Mumbai Marathon 2011....


Run for a Cause of our Elderly, Run in Mumbai Marathon 2011 ... Support Silver Inning Foundation

To know more about us visit:www.silverinnings.com ; www.silverinningfoundation.org

Email: silverinnings@gmail.com
Call us for further details: 9819819145 / 9987104233/ 9029000091


Register here:
http://www.procamrunning.in/scmm/ ; http://www.unitedwaymumbai.org/

PLEASE HURRY as the registration in on full swing and we want more and more people to run for Silver Inning Foundation.Please tell your friends to register and support Silver Inning Foundation through this Marathon.


Dates to remember:
1. Registration for 21 and 42kms has already begun! So hurry if you are interested as this registration gets filled very quickly.
2. If you want to run for the Dream Run (7 kms) register on the 1st of September itself.

Once registered for the run, please forward your registration details to silverinnings@gmail.com , this will help us to print T shirts .


List of Registered NGO’s – pg 9 Silver Inning Foundation
http://www.unitedwaymumbai.org/downloads/List%20of%20Registered%20NGOs%20-%20SCMM%202011.pdf



Thanks.
Warm Regards,
Sailesh Mishra
Silver Inning Foundation




Why RUN FOR CHARITY:
World over marathons have been gaining immense importance as fund raising platforms, and the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon is no exception. Ever since its inception, charity has been a key pillar of the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon. In its 7-year journey, the Event has been ideally used as a platform to help generate Rs 42.84 crores benefitting various causes, making it the largest charity generating platform in India.

An event like this is the perfect opportunity to do your bit for charity - it symbolizes community spirit, melts all barriers and provides a unique platform for fund raising.

The Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2011, through various charity raising models, presents an ideal opportunity and platform to bring together the development sector and those who want to support it.


5 reasons why you should support and contribute:
• YOU can choose to support a cause and the NGO closest to heart.
• The Charity Partner will ensure that funds raised by you go to your chosen NGO.
• Running for charity can help raise awareness on the cause it works for.
• The public exposure you will lend by supporting your chosen NGO will help it build a good reputation and encourage people to donate.
• Whatever may be the amount raised by you, your contribution will make a marked difference to your charity and the cause it helps.


If you'd like to get involved and run for charity, here's how:

Charity running places
NGO's who have registered themselves with United Way of Mumbai, Event's official Charity Partner, have taken up set number of running places in the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon, which they will allocate to runners on the basis that such runners will raise an agreed amount of money for them.

The Dream Team:
This is a special category meant for those highly motivated individuals who feel passionately about a cause and commit to raise a substantial sum of funds towards their charity. http://www.procamrunning.in/scmm/charity/dreamteam.php

The Corporate Challenge:
The Corporate Challenge is a category specially designed for companies who wish to sponsor employee teams to participate in the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2011 and raise funds for charity. http://www.unitedwaymumbai.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=77&Itemid=136 ; http://www.procamrunning.in/scmm/charity/corporatechallenge.php

Dream Champion: This category has been created for a select group of Individuals who commit to raise more than Rs. 10 lacs in pledges for a charity of his/her choice. http://www.unitedwaymumbai.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=78&Itemid=139

Dream Wizard : The Dream Wizard is an individual who commits to raise a minimum of Rs. 5 lacs up to Rs. 10 lacs in pledges, for a chosen charity of his/her choice. A Dream Wizard raising amounts in excess of Rs.10 lacs will automatically fall in the category of Dream Champions. http://www.unitedwaymumbai.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=80&Itemid=140

Dream Maker : The Dream Maker is an individual who commits to raise a minimum of Rs. 1 lac upto Rs. 5 lacs in pledges, for a chosen charity of his/her choice. A Dream Maker raising amounts in excess of Rs.5/10 lacs will automatically fall in the category of Dream Wizard/Dream Champion as per the amount raised. http://www.unitedwaymumbai.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=79&Itemid=141


Pledge Raising:
Fund raising through the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon, is encouraged through pledges. Pledges are donations/contributions received from friends, family, and colleagues in support of the charity/cause chosen by the fund raiser. http://www.procamrunning.in/scmm/charity/pledgeraising.php



Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

International Year of Youth: their year, their voice

The International Year of Youth, commencing on the United Nations annual Day of Youth, 12 August 2010, celebrates and focuses on the importance of youth around the world. The contributions of youth to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are fundamental for success and Youth Conferences with the United Nations reflect the role youth play in achieving development. Youth are the future of the UN, and the future of all development. Events surrounding this year aim to make young people more visible in the international development agenda.

In efforts to capture the energy, imagination and initiative of the world’s youth in overcoming the challenges facing humankind, from enhancing peace to boosting economic development, the United Nations proclaimed the International Year of Youth, which will commence on the 2010 International Day of Youth on 12 August under the theme “Dialogue and Mutual Understanding,”. The theme was chosen by the General Assembly out of appreciation for the value of dialogue among youth from different cultures as well as among different generations.

“Young people are the most important capital in the world’s history to change the future of humanity,” emphasize International Year of Youth campaign workers.


“On International Youth Day, let us renew our pledge to support young people in their development,” urged Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon at the 2009 Youth Day Celebration. “They deserve our full commitment -- full access to education, adequate healthcare, employment opportunities, financial services and full participation in public life,” he said.

The year is designed to encourage young people to dedicate themselves to fostering progress, including the attainment of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which seek to improve the livelihoods of all humanity by slashing extreme poverty and hunger, decreasing maternal and infant mortality, improving access to education and health care, along with other more specific goals, by 2015.
Youth and the MDGs

Population statistics indicate that currently, 1.7 billion people — more than one-fourth of the world's six billion people — are between the ages of 10 and 24, making this group of young people the largest ever to be entering adulthood and the largest underrepresented segment of the world’s population.

In an on-line consultation with more than 350 youth about development, most of the respondents said that they knew little or nothing about the MDGs. They also stressed that they do not have access to adequate resources for implementation and requested tools including internet access, access and training to information communication technologies (ICTs), business training and civic education, information sharing, and especially encouragement, funding and resources from government and institutions.

The International Year of Youth, and the theme to promote dialogue among youth and with the world, draws attention towards these needs. With only five years before the deadline set by the international community to achieve the development goals agreed in the year 2000, and such a large global young people population, it is recognized that a youth-oriented focus on these goals is required and essential for the efforts to be effective and progressive on a long term basis. Youth are the future.


Celebrations at the United Nations and around the world

The 2010 International Youth Day on 12 August will be celebrated at United Nations headquarters in New York with the global launch event of the International Year of Youth, where a photo exhibit entitled “Visual Voices – Youth perspectives on Global Issues” will be inaugurated in the UN visitors lobby, to be opened to the public in early September 2010.

The UN Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development is coordinating the activities for the Year, with DESA’s UN Programme on Youth leading this effort, striving to increase the effectiveness by strengthening collaboration and exchange among all UN entities working on youth. The UN Framework Approach for the International Year of Youth was adopted in February 2010 to provide a concrete framework for the efforts and to set strategic objectives. The Framework identifies the need to create awareness by increasing commitment and investment in youth; mobilizing and engaging youth by increasing youth participation and partnerships; and connecting and building bridges to increase intercultural understanding among youth.

The UN Programme on Youth is also providing activities for young people to get involved, including consultations on Facebook, where young people already contributed nearly 500 suggestions for the Year’s slogan “Our Year. Our Voice”. Each month, online consultations on topics related to the Year are held and contributions are included in the UN Programme on Youth’s monthly electronic newsletter “Youth Flash”.

Around the world, celebrations will continue to take place, including the 5th World Youth Congress in Turkey, the first Youth Olympic Games in Singapore and the World Youth Conference in Mexico. Local and regional level events are also being organized by young people as an opportunity for discussion and reflections regarding the role young people play in achieving development with special emphasis on the MDGs.

The International Year is about advancing the full and effective participation of youth in all aspects of society. All sectors of society are encouraged to work in partnership with youth and youth organizations to better understand their needs and concerns and to recognize the contributions that they can make to society.

The progress achieved during this year will lay the foundation for further work in youth development, including the implementation of the World Programme of Action for Youth and the achievement of the MDGs.

For more information:

Year of Youth website: http://social.un.org/youthyear/

To subscribe to the free e-newsletter “Youth Flash”, please visit: www.un.org/esa/socdev/unyin/flash.htm

To become a Facebook friend of the UN Programme on Youth, please visit: www.facebook.com/UNyouth

A calendar of youth events is available at: http://social.un.org/youthyear/

Research paper: http://www.equip123.net/equip3/docs/YAC/YouthandMDGs.pdf


Source: Feature articles DESA News August 2010 - United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs

Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Open letter to NPOP Review Committee Chairman and Government of India for welfare and benefit of Senior Citizens


Date: 23rd July 2010

To,
The Chairperson,
NPOP Review Committee,
New Delhi

Dear Smt. Mohini Giri,

We take this opportunity to congratulate you and government of India for taking initiative after 11 years to review/implement NPOP.


But it’s also sad to note that NPOP was formulated in 1999, but till date it has not been implemented by Central Govt. / Pan India, due to various reasons including lack of political will. Various NGO's and activist have been advocating its implementation and review. In this regards a ‘National Protest Day ‘is observed by all NGO’s, Senior Citizen associations/federation and Senior Citizens to press their demands on 16th August 2010.

During these 11 years the world has changed, there has been significant demography change in India's population due globalization and improved medical facility and lifestyle. The fall of joint family system and rise in nuclear family system has brought new dimension to the care and welfare of Elderly. Population of people above 60 years of age is estimated to be 96 million in 2010.The Life span has increased by 60% in 60 yrs. India has today second largest population of Senior Citizens. There is sharp increase in population of Young Old 60yrs to 69 yrs and Old old 80+. Due to this demand and needs of various age groups have changed. Now it is time for civil society and government to rethink their strategy to address the needs of Senior Citizens.

After 63 years of Independence and democracy experiment there are segments of people who are not treated at par with others, there is injustice and discrimination towards them. One of the most neglected and ignored segment is of Senior Citizens. Elders are not considered as part of mainstream, there is unjust treatment to those who gain 60 years of age, and they are suddenly considered ‘Retired’, good for nothing. Government and Civil Society are not bothered of this experienced and skill group of people.

The Indian subcontinent boasts of our ‘Great Joint Family’ ‘The Traditional Family’ System where we used to respect, care and love our elders, our parents. Due to Globalization and New lifestyle there is increasing number of Abuse, Neglect and Abandon case with regards to Senior Citizens. The gradual Urbanization of Rural India is also a new trend to worry.

Over and above a Step Motherly treatment by Federal and State Government is making situation worse for our Elderly. There is ministry for Women, Children, Youth, Environment; there is National Commission for Minority, Women and Human Right etc but the 8% of Elderly are represented by the congested and overloaded Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MSJE) .Senior Citizens is only part of NICE in NISD of MSJE.


In a reply to one of the RTI application it was shocking to note that most of the ministry like Finance, Transport, Health, Education were not aware of NPOP, nor there was any concert plan. It is sad to note that still today there is NO uniformity of age for classification of senior citizens between different ministry and state government.

With regards to protection from Law and Social Security there has been no tough initiative. In December 2007 Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act was passed by central government but still it has been not implement by many states and also those state who have implement the act, the local government has not made serious effort to make Tribunals and address the problems. There is need for pan-India political and social will.

A Private and Public partnership can be one way to provide innovation services and products. Psycho and social problems of the elderly needs to be attended urgently.

World over the Concept of Community base services and Ageing in Place is now promoted. The Welfare State concept is loosing its grip as government around the World can’t afford the expense. UN has now accepted the fact the Traditional Family is the best place to Age and best place to provide Care for Aged.

The 13% huge, powerful and unrecognized segment of Senior Citizens voters can’t be left alone, they can’t be ignored. Political Parties has to include projects and programmes for the benefits of Elderly in their respective Manifesto. Government has to address the issues and problem of ever growing population of Elderly.

We once again request you to involve all stake holders including NGO’s, Academicians, Institutions and Senior Citizens themselves in formulation , review , implementation , plan of action of any policy and act with regards to ageing in India. The approach should be holistic and inclusive.

Following are the Recommendation and Demand we have received for last two years from common Senior Citizens for their welfare and benefit:

1. A separate and dedicated Ministry for Elderly
2. Every state should have independent depart for Senior Citizens headed by Undersecretary level officer
3. Review and immediate implementation of NPOP and make it ‘National Senior Citizens Act’
4. Immediate implementation of Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act
5. To make enough allocation/budgetary/increase provision for implementation of NPOP in state and central level as per the population of elderly
6. To ask state government to Immediately form district level tribunals which should include local NGO’s, Academicians, Institutions and Senior Citizens associations
7. National Commission for Senior Citizens to be established immediately
8. To immediately establish National Ageing Research Center at different part of country
9. Uniform Age to be declared for classification of Senior Citizens, which should be 60 Years
10. Four Digit National Helpline
11. To have different plan/policy for Oldest Old, people who are 80yreas plus
12. Comprehensive Medical Insurance plan
13. Comprehensive Social Security/Protection Plan, like tax when young
14. National pension plan of minimum Rs.1000/- to al Elderly
15. To have Intra ministerial coordination among central and state government
16. Promotion of Multi-service community Gero-Care Centre
17. Promotion of Intergeneration Solidarity / project and course in High Schools and Colleges
18. Specialization of Geriatrics in Medical ( MMBS /MD) and Gerontology in MSW and Diploma level
19. Geriatric Wards in Municipal and Private Hospitals
20. Professional Training for bureaucrats , police , legal profession
21. To make Elder abuse non bailable offence
22. To address psycho social aspect in Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act
23. Comprehensive Law to protect interest of Senior Citizens
24. Promotion of CSR and NGO for Elderly cause
25. Promotion of R & D for various aspects of Geriatrics and Gerontology
26. Promotion of R & D for products and services
27. Promotion of Private sector in Product manufacturing and Services
28. To have National Nodal agency for Elder Abuse
29. To promote Community services
30. To promote Ageing at place
31. To appoint Welfare officer or special cell in each Police Station for Elder Abuse, similar to Child welfare officer / Women cell
32. Special Training and Awareness campaign for Empowerment of Elderly
33. Promotion for Micro Credit facility
34. Promotion of Life Long Learning and Recreation centers
35. Promotion of organisation for Second career opportunity
36. Promotion of programmes for Social Inclusion and Mainstreaming
37. Promotion of Equal Opportunity and Non Discrimination
38. To mark World Elders Day as National Event in all government department, private sectors and Educational institutions
39. Promotion of Universal Design and WHO elder friendly concept: Elder Friendly Infrastructure / City / Designs
40. Monitoring and Guidelines for Old Age Homes, Care centers and service providers, to protect rights of Elderly
41. National Dementia Policy
42. Promotion of Old Age homes only for needy, it’s should be criminal offense if Elders are pushed into Old Age Homes
43. To adopt Rights of Elderly like Child Rights
44. To have guidelines of Ethics for media when they report and show Senior Citizens
45. Guidelines for Police Station with regards to Senior Citizens
46. Guideline for Jail/Prison authorities with regards to Senior Citizens
47. Subsidy for Health care , Long Term Care and Medicine for those who can’t afford
48. Promotion of ICT and Technology
49. Promotion of Health and Fitness from young age and concept of Healthy Ageing
50. Promotion of Alternative and Indian Medicine for benefits of aged and all
51. Promotion of Private sector in medical Service, Insurance and Care with protection of interest for Elders
52. To have old age homes in every Taluka
53. To have Day care center and Dementia Day care center at every Taluka and municipal ward level
54. To classify Dementia and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson as disability and offer all the benefits available for care taking family members
55. To include plan of action in NPOP to address issues related to Dementia and Alzheimer’s
56. To promote and implement Pre retirement Training in Government and corporate level
57. To have National Council of Older Person
58. To have State level Council of Older Person
59. To address need of Recreation facility
60. Promotion of Intergenerational programme at Secondary school level
61. To have national uniform module for training of care giving / geriatric care / dementia care
62. To establish fast track court
63. To make process of ‘Integrated Programme for older person’ easier such as single window policy


As India is Signatory to UN ‘Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing 2002’ we hereby demand to implement/adopt all the principals of Madrid plan in NPOP.

Please remember that “Ageing is not 'lost youth ‘but a new stage of opportunity and strength”.

We are confident that government of India will work with positive and proactive approach to safeguard of our elderly and give them peace, security and dignified life.


Your Sincerely,


Sailesh Mishra
Founder President





Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.