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July 2011 Vol. 29 Issue 7

MonDAy DeveLoPMents MAgAzine

the Latest issues and trends in international Development and Humanitarian Assistance

Japans Emergency Planning

Beyond Beneficiaries
can UsAiD Lead on

Local civil society:

Female Genital Mutilation/ Cutting


Country-led Development?

Stakeholders Influence
on ngo Performance

InterAction 1400 16th Street NW, Suite 210 Washington, DC 20036

MonDAy DeveLoPMents MAgAzine

July 2011

19 Abandoning Female genital Mutilation/ cutting

4 reflections from the President 5 infobytes 25 best Practices 27 Projects 30 job opportunities
[Also visit our online job board at]

Vol. 29 No. 7

Key steps to bring the practice to a quicker end. By Nafissatou Diop

21 A Major challenge for a new nation: south sudans returnees

Providing the right support now to ensure a promising future. By Erol Yayboke

22 strengthening Accountability to communities


A new framework highlights just how much stakeholders can influence NGO performance. By Niaz Murtaza

24 getting Data right

Whats wrong with current practices in gender-based violence data collection and sharing? By Kristy Crabtree

8 beyond beneficiaries

13 japans emergency Planning

The changing landscape of local civil society development efforts. By Lisa Schirch

The reality of Japans disaster has challenged old assumptions and demanded new approaches. By C. Kenneth Quinones

19 15

10 Paradigm Whiplash or genuine reform?

Using donor leverage to create effective, broad-based participation. By Paul R. Miller

15 Afghanistans MiniMobile childrens circus

Finally, a feel-good story from Afghanistan. By Gretchen Bloom

11 getting the House in order

17 Millennium Development rights

Changes at USAID that can strengthen local civil society. By Allison Grossman and Jennifer Rigg

One reason the MDGs remain out of reach. By Ellen Dorsey, Mayra Gmez, Bret Thiele and Paul Nelson

22 24

Reflections from the President

MonDAy DeveLoPMents MAgAzine

Integrating Country Ownership Into Practice

Country ownership: two words in the development jargon with a wide variety of meanings, but whose connotations, if correctly applied, can
lead to a lasting, positive impact on the worlds poor. Born out of the 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, the definition of country ownership vacillates between government-owned processes and more inclusive society-owned approaches. The narrow definition, government ownership, constrains the positive outcomes envisioned for this principle by limiting the democratic space and resources for civil society to operate. This has major implications for development assistance in practice, including where aid resources flow. To realize the positive implications of this Paris Declaration principle, true country ownership entails the full and effective participation of a countrys population through legislative bodies, civil society groups, the private sector, and local, regional and national governments in conceptualizing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating development policies, programs and processes. When correctly applied, country ownership enables a broad range of stakeholders to participate in an ongoing and meaningful way in development processes and to see their contributions reflected in the decisions and actions that shape national and local aid agendas. What does this mean in practice? Timely and accessible information distributed in ways that can be easily accessed by a broad range of stakeholders with sufficient time to contribute input to decision-making processes. Consultations to engage affected stakeholders and ensure initiatives achieve their intended outcomes. Participation that enables local organizations, community leaders and individuals to have a decision-making role in programs that are intended to benefit them and to build their capacity to engage in the accountability and transparency of aid programs. As the development landscape becomes more complex for all actors international NGOs, local civil society, multilaterals, armed forces and governmentcountry ownership becomes an even more important tool for societies to take charge of their own development. Take, for example, Afghanistan. As U.S. troops slowly pull out, a security, political and development gap will be created. Effective country ownership will help limit the negative impacts of this gap by empowering not just the Afghan central government but also local governments and Afghan civil society leaders. International and Afghan NGOs are integral to this process as their work helps vulnerable populations and builds the capacity of Afghan institutions and people. In Afghanistan as in all other areas, civil society is a critical component of country ownership. Local organizations provide a platform for people to engage in political processes, holding their governments accountable for everything from service delivery to protection of civil rights. These organizations can also be important means for vulnerable and marginalized communities to influence political processes. As major providers of private development to local civil society, international NGOs work to align their efforts with official donor and host country governments. Their input and active participation is essential for effective and sustainable development. Development assistance based on efforts that reflect the priorities of a community and involve its citizens is more likely to be supported and maintained. Country ownership also builds societal capacity to help ensure long-term development even after some funding resources have disappeared. Significant steps should be taken towards integrating country ownership principles into practice by all development actors, including international NGOs and U.S. government agencies. I hope you will join InterAction in this endeavor both within your own organizations and in our advocacy to the U.S. government. MD

Managing Editor/Creative Director Chad Brobst Advertising/Subscriptions Zoe Plaugher Copy Editor Kathy Ward Executive Editor Sue Pleming News Editor Tawana Jacobs Proofreader Margaret Christoph Monday Developments Magazine is published by: InterAction 1400 16th Street, NW, Suite 210 Washington, DC 20036 Tel: 202.667.8227 ISSN 1043-8157

Assistance based on efforts that reflect the priorities of a community ... is more likely to be supported and maintained.

Monday Developments Magazine is published 11 times a year by InterAction, the largest alliance of U.S.-based international development and humanitarian nongovernmental organizations. With more than 190 members operating in every developing country, InterAction works to overcome poverty, exclusion and suffering by advancing social justice and basic dignity for all. InterAction welcomes submissions of news articles, opinions and announcements. Article submission does not guarantee inclusion in Monday Developments. We reserve the right to reject submissions for any reason. It is at the discretion of our editorial team as to which articles are published in individual issues. All statements in articles are the sole opinion and responsibility of the authors. Articles may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution. Letters to the editor are encouraged. A limited number of subscriptions are made available to InterAction member agencies as part of their dues. Individual subscriptions cost $40 a year (add $15 for airmail delivery outside the U.S.) Samples are $5, including postage. Additional discounts are available for bulk orders. Please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery. Advertising rates are available on request.

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Gleitsman International Activist Award

the center for Public Leadership requests nominations for the 2011 Gleitsman International Activist Award. Nominate individuals you believe have initiated great social change in their communities or countries. the award will be given in fall 2011 and includes a $125,000 prize and a specially commissioned sculpture designed by Maya Lin, the creator of the Vietnam War memorial. For more information see the deadline for nominations is June 30.

Upcoming conference on blindness

Access Africa, the fifth Africa Forum, July 3-8, in Accra, Ghana, is the only global conference on blindness in Africa. Organizational

leaders, government ministers, experts, manufacturers and consumers share their experiences, strategies and best practices while raising awareness across Africa about the rights and potential of persons with impaired vision. Institutional Development program (IDp) will coordinate with Perkins international, Ghana Blind union, Sightsavers, World Blind union and Norges Blindeforbund. With the uKs royal National Institute of Blind people, Africa Forum will launch techshare Africa, a global brand aiming to provide technology to Africans who are blind or partially sighted. Visit for more information.

Lack of info in drug resistance mapping

Limited information that is available

to map drug resistance across the globe indicates how little the global community knows about this issue. Currently, the center for global Development has mapped what information there is about HIV, pneumonia, shigella, mDr-tB, malaria and mrSA. As the CGD states, Drug resistance moves invisibly through communities and clinics as microbes adapt to survive in the presence of drug therapy. the information is only based on estimates and small scale studies. therefore, combating drug resistance will require a better understanding of where resistance is prevalent and how it is spreading. In an effort to improve transparency of drug resistance, the CGD calls on pharmaceutical companies, governments, donors, global health institutions, health providers

and patients to share information across disease networks, secure the drug supply chain, strengthen national drug regulatory authorities in developing countries and catalyze research to speed the development of resistance-fighting technologies. For more information, see www.

Cookstoves and charcoal

At a meeting last year in Cancun, mexico, world leaders agreed that deep cuts were needed to limit the rise in global temperature to 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels. However, according to the ieAs estimate, worldwide CO2 emissions from the energy sector reached a record 30.6 gigatons in 2010. rising global temperatures are putting an increased strain on food production as well. On one



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H E A LT H & L I F E

S P E C I A LT Y & H I G H R I S K I N S U R A N C E



hand, reducing CO2 emissions means keeping forests intact. However people in poor agricultural countries, like tanzania, rely on the charcoal produced from clearing forests as a cooking fuel. oxfam predicts that by 2030, the average cost of key crops could increase between 120 to 180 percent. In order to meet food distribution needs among a growing world population affected by dwindling land, water and energy resources, the food system has to be overhauled. Oxfam predicts that half of the rise will be due to climate change. the worlds poorest people now spend up to 80 percent of their incomes on food and rising food prices will push millions more into hunger. Deborah zabarenko from reuters notes that simply paying tanzania not to cut its forests is not the solution because people who depend on charcoal may end up worse off. Instead, brendan Fisher of Princeton University

recommends a climate program with efficient cookstoves that use less charcoal and better quality crop seeds for greater yields. the smart-reDD (reducing emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) program calculates how much crop yields and fuel efficiency would have to increase to compensate for the costs of forest preservation. the program estimates it would cost $6.50 per ton of carbon dioxide saved, almost double the $3.90 needed to compensate forest users for the loss of charcoal and farmland in tanzania. $6.50 is still far less than the current price of carbon, $24 per ton in the european trading Scheme. even a doubling of crop yields in tanzania could be possible with a carbon price of $12 a ton. tanzania is an example of where increased food production and carbon conservation can both be achieved, all through relatively low-cost measures.

Pittsburgh: first to pass conflict-free resolution

On April 19, the city of pittsburgh passed the first ever conflictFree city resolution. It calls on companies in the city to favor verifiably conflict-free products, calls on electronic companies to remove conflict minerals from their supply chain, and calls on u.S. executive leadership to establish an international certification system for minerals coming from Central Africa to ensure they are not contributing to conflict.

According to the organization raise Hope for congo, pittsburgh has sent a powerful message to companies supplying products that use conflict minerals to reevaluate their supply chains and ensure that their products are not fueling the deadliest conflict since World War II. tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold sourced from Congos mines can be found in common consumer electronics such as cell phones, laptops and televisions. Armed groups earn hundreds of millions of

Disappointing outcome at G8 meeting in Deauville

InterAction attended the G8 summit last month in Deauville, a pretty seaside town in northern France. members World vision, save the children, oxfam, ActionAid, and the global Health council, also joined throngs of reporters in a massive tent overlooking the local racecourse. the goal of NGOs during the may 26-27 meetings was to highlight core development issuesincluding food security and maternal healththat were not on the official agenda. the outcome of the summit was disappointing from a development perspective. Final statements were short on specifics and offered vague timelines, without the needed accountability and transparency when it comes to meeting either past or new commitments. Oxfam summed it up in their headline: the G8s YesNoVille Summit, a meeting where few decisions were reported. the agenda, which was set by host France, included the Internet and its impact on economic growth; new funding for Arab Spring countries tunisia and egypt; the Libya conflict; a partnership arrangement with Africa; the global economic crisis; and how to improve nuclear safety after the Japan disaster. In the corridors, there was also discussion over which candidate should take over as managing Director of the International monetary Fund following the resignation of Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Just before the summit, the g8 Accountability Working group released the Deauville Accountability report, a scorecard of health and food security commitments made by the Group of eight nations at previous meetings. the report underscored how the worlds most powerful nations need to do a better job in meeting pledging commitments. Of major concern is the slow disbursement of funds for food and agriculture programs, part of a $22 billion, three year pledge made at a G8 summit in LAquila, Italy, in 2009. So far, only 22 percent of the funds have actually been distributed. the united States is particularly slow in getting funds out the door, with just $73.4 million disbursed in the 2010 fiscal year even though Washingtons commitment was for $1.385 billion. the statements released at the end of the summit included an announcement of $20 billion in aid via multilateral institutions to help Arab Spring nations egypt and tunisia. the hope is that this infusion of funds will encourage these new governments to continue on a path to democracy rather than revert to the status quo. However, details of the new aid package were sketchy in the final communiqu. Look out for NGO attendance in November at the G20 summit in Cannes, Frances movie capital.



dollars from the mineral trade and use systematic rape and torture in the process. mafia-like cartels control most of the mining operations and almost 6 billion lives have been lost to the ongoing violence. the direct link consumers have with the product and the war in Congo gives consumers remarkable power to put pressure on companies to stop using conflict minerals. to get involved in the campaign, visit action.

Federal FY2012 budget

Now that the FY2011 budget has been passed, InterAction and the NGO community are working to ensure that the FY2012 budget escapes more drastic cuts. the month of may started with talk among House leaders to cut aid to pakistan. While the Obama administration argued that

foreign aid funding to pakistan is vital to national security, some members of Congress like rep. Kay granger (r-tX), proposed some or all cuts to pakistani aid. Deliberations still continue on this sensitive topic. FY2012 subcommittee allocations continued a downward spiral. In mid-may House Appropriations Chair Hal rogers (r-KY) released his discretionary funding allocations for the appropriations subcommittees for FY2012, which included cuts to the State, Foreign Operations Subcommittee (SFOps). the allocation for the SFOps was $39.569 billion as well as $7.6 billion for the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), or what the House calls Global War on terrorism (GWOt) funds. even though the SFOps funding is only a 2 percent cut from FY2011, the FY2011 alloca-

tion was already a significant cut. Compared to FY2010, the cut is a drastic 17-22 percent. Senate Budget Chairman Kent conrad (D-SD) announced on may 19 that he was further delaying a markup of the prospective FY2012 budget resolution, until after the high-level bipartisan deficit reduction talks currently led by Vice president joseph biden. If the debt ceiling increases, there will be increases in discretionary spending cuts (which will affect SFOps). Senator Conrad expected to mark up the bill during the week of may 9, but now believes that any results from the Biden-led negotiations, which may take weeks to complete, will have to be incorporated into the future FY2012 Senate budget resolution. Both Democrats and republicans await the result of the deficit reduction talks. the Senate also took four largely

symbolic votes on whether to begin debate on competing FY2012 budget plans. First, rep. Paul ryans (r-WI) budget proposal, FY2012 House budget resolution, did not pass in the Senate with a 40-57 vote. His 10-year plan included incremental cuts to different parts of the budget. Second, Senator Patrick toomeys (r-pA) plan that proposed to balance the budget within nine years through spending cuts and reductions received the most votes, but was still defeated by a 42-55 margin. third, Senator rand Pauls (r-KY) proposal to balance the budget within five years by, among other things, drastically reducing non-war funding at the pentagon was rejected by a 7-90 vote. Finally, the chamber also rejected consideration of the House FY2012 budget request put forth by president Obama with a 0-97 vote. MD

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Jumu, pictured here, is a member of the Zulu Youth Group in Nairobis Kibera slum. The group is one of 16 youth organizations assisted by the Slums Information Development and Resource Centres (SIDAREC). The Zulu Youth Group is made up of 28 young men, some of whom came together as children to form the club as an alternative to the crime and drug environment that surrounds them in the slum. Through the provision of start-up capital and business management training, SIDAREC has helped the group launch several sustainable small enterprises including a car wash, a local recycling center, and a charcoal briquette manufacturing facility.

Beyond Beneficiaries
The changing landscape of local civil society development efforts.
Photo: Morgana Wingard, ONE

By Lisa Schirch, Director, 3D Security Initiative and Professor of Peacebuilding, Eastern Mennonite University

coUntry-LeD DeveLoPMent

gROwINg NUMBER Of INTERnational NgOs, donors, civilian government agencies and military stabilization programs laud the concept of local ownership and leadership while at the same time harmonizing on a chorus lamenting the lack of local capacity. yet listening to the voices of local civil society organizations in places like Afghanistan, Haiti and Iraq paints a different picture. The landscape of locally-led development is more varied and rich than many in the international development community acknowledge. local development actors include far more than NgOs. Civil society organizations (CSOs) are groups of citizens not in government that organize themselves on behalf of some public interest. Many local CSOs work to develop their own communities. The explosive growth of locally-led development is

coming from community development councils, universities, journalists, labor unions, traditional and tribal structures, womens organizations and other local civil society organizations through which people are leading efforts to improve their own lives. The language of development is rife with reference to local beneficiaries. But this terminology conveys a categorical passivity not truly reflective of diverse, locally-led development efforts where there is no division between those who implement and those who benefit from development efforts. Roles of local civil society differ from the roles of international NGOs The international development community needs a more robust understanding of local civil society. An active local civil society is an indicator of a functioning and democratic state. Civil

society both works in partnership with the state to complement and supplement its capacity and holds the state to account for meeting its responsibilities and providing transparent governance. yet donors often see local CSOs only as project implementers rather than also including them as important participants in assessing and planning appropriate, sustainable development efforts. when donors do this they undermine the important roles of local civil society in putting forth their own development agendas and doing policy advocacy to hold their own governments to account. Afghan CSOs, for example, note that the international community wrote the development plan for their country in English, did not offer versions in Pashto or Dari and drew on little to no consultations with Afghan government or CSO development experts. Civil society-military relations Current coordination and communication structures such as the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) focus on communication between military personnel and large, international humanitarian NgOs. Current civil-military guidelines focus on humanitarian space and humanitarian principles of independence for organizations to do their own assessment, set their own goals and to relieve suffering regardless of beneficiarys ethnic, political or other identity. Some large international NgOs prefer to keep local CSO leaders out of these discussions, claiming they lack experience and sophistication in civilmilitary matters. But many local NgOs in Afghanistan share international NgO concerns and are equally articulate in their complaints about how some military personnel treat them like contractors rather than part of an independent civil society.
continued on page 29


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Paradigm Whiplash or
Using donor leverage to create effective, broad-based participation.

genuine reform?
By Paul R. Miller, foreign Aid Advisor, Catholic Relief Services

OUNTry OWNErShIP IS A hOT concept in international assistance. And donors, including the U.S. government, are widely proclaiming their support especially in the run-up to the next big aid summit: the Fourth high-level Meeting on Aid Effectiveness to take place in Busan, South Korea in November. But what exactly is country ownership? Does it just mean developing country governments need to play a central role in developing and implementing aid programs? Or does it entail the broader involvement of voices from across society? And what does donor support for country ownership mean in practice? In particular, how should those who believe in the concept of broader involvement address the political and structural obstacles that inhibit societal ownership? how do we prevent pernicious aid that reduces projects to top-down government initiatives divorced from citizen needs and input? Challenges to the inclusion of civil society while not insuperableare considerable. And the risk if efforts fail is considerable: with the possibility of nongovernmental actors suffering a form of paradigm whiplash as donors return to the practice of bypassing local systems or consider development aid as a bilateral affair between governments with little need for ownership by society as a whole. The results of that would mean reduced sustainability and less positive impact for the poorest people. The Obama administration has espoused a strong commitment to country ownership. And high-level statements to that effect have been welcomed by champions of broader representation at the decision-making tables that determine the path of foreign assistance. These supporters argue that placing the onusof aid planning and implementation on the people most concerned should surely improve outcomes, sustainability and ownership of the development process.

But others are more skeptical, pointing to previous efforts in which capacity-building for government ministries produced limited results. Some bluntly call country ownership a back-to-the-future retrofit of existing programs with a patina of local legitimacy. Such critics note that without much more transparency, consultation and social accountability, donor funding of developing country plans will never produce inclusive development. For instance, the new donor emphasis on food security is welcome in a time of rising food prices and climate change. But in an era also characterized by land-grabbing and conflict over land tenure, this well-intentioned effort may fail without the participation of those whose land, animals and farming systems will be developed. Clearly, if country ownership is to succeed in producing the long-term, broad-based results desired, it will need to truly involve voices from across civil society. Most NGOs would agree. But while applauding the new country ownership approach and other elements of aid reform under way, NGOs also point to a dilemma: Designing development programs locally is much preferred to topdown, Washington-dictated plans; but if developing country governments are unwilling or unable to include other actors in their plans, how can our local partners get to the table and offer their experience and knowledge? If they do not, the resulting projects will suffer and are much less likely to be sustainable.

continued on page 29

Illustration: iconspro

To this end, the U.S. government can take steps that could have a catalytic effect and move us all closer to the goal of real country ownership that produces sustainable development. here are a few measures that could get the ball rolling: Encourage civil society participation with an open enabling environment. The Arab Spring has reminded U.S. policymakers that choosing stability over democracy may risk both of these U.S. interests. yet a number of developing countriesincluding some receiving significant U.S. aidhave passed stringent laws that limit civil societys ability to speak out, contribute to development planning or hold governments accountable. These include legal restrictions on NGO activities as well as harassment and imprisonment of activists or worse. The U.S. should use its influence to resist such narrowing of space and be less selective with its pressure. The U.S. delegation to the November conference in Busan on aid effectiveness should strongly support an open and welcoming enabling environment for civil society actors and endorse the Istanbul Principles, which these actors have drafted to improve their own development effectiveness. Support social accountability mechanisms for development planning and implementation. NGOs should help USAID and other government agencies adopt a more participatory and consultative approach that encourages the participation of civil society organizations in designing, implementing and overseeing U.S.-funded development activities. A number of positive examples could be adapted and improved upon. For example, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria requires governments seeking funding to develop and implement their proposed programs using a Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM). The CCM is to include representatives from both the public and private sectorsincluding government bodies, multilateral or bilateral agencies, nongovernmental organizations, academic institutions, the private sector and people living with the diseases. While the robustness of the participation in CCMs has been uneven, it has generally proven effective in increasing the role of civil society. For example, in the Democratic republic of the Congo, the CCM is having new elections and 42 percent of its members will be from civil society. At a foreign aid panel discussion hosted by the heritage Foundati on

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getting the House in order

Changes at USAID can strengthen local civil society.
By Allison Grossman, Aid Effectiveness Specialist, and Jennifer Rigg, Director for Development Policy and AdvocacyAid Effectiveness, Save the Children

Diplomacy and Development review and a series of reforms at USAID (including USAID FOrWArD) seem to be moving in the right direction. This should increase U.S. government use of local knowledge and participatory approaches to formulate, implement and evaluate its development programs, and an enhanced emphasis on host country ownership to create policies and programs that work. Encompassed in this broader theme is the need to cultivate local organizations like NAPhAM. Putting these pieces in place will mean real changes to how the U.S. implements its development programs. The current prioritization of rapid, large-scale outputs can conflict with the realities of working with local CSOs. Instead, the U.S. government must take a long-term approach to reducing poverty by partnering with local institutions and strengthening their capacity. The following recommendations, based on field research and experience working with CSOs, can help USAID as it strives to put the concept of local ownership into practice. committing to work with local partners Starting at the most basic, USAID and other government entities must recognize the importance of local CSOs as partners in poverty reduction efforts and commit to building local capacity. Working with local partners is not always easy. Despite challenges, by supporting local CSO capacity building, USAID can and has already begun empowering meaningful partners who will one day sustain poverty reduction work and advocacy in their communities. This recognition must be supported by specific guidelines with a real commitment to local partnership. USAIDs main policy document on working with NGOs, The USAIDPVO Partnership (2002), dedicates only a few paragraphs to supporting local CSOs, thus leaving USAID missions and headquarter bureaus to carve out ad hoc approaches. USAID should articulate and mainstream a new policy and field guidelines to direct engagement with local CSOs, while allowing flexibility for local needs. Fortunately, under USAID FOrWArD, the agency is integrating principles of aid effectiveness as outlined in its Operational and Procurement Improvement Plan. This includes a commitment to increased partnership with local civil society and a pledge to improve transparency by tracking sub-grants and sub-contracts to local organizations as well as direct funding. These innovations are exciting and we urge USAID

hEN FOUr hIV-POSITIVE Malawians met in 1995, they had few expectationsonly a desire to stick together. Gathering courage, they began speaking out about the problems they and others affected by hIV/AIDS faced, forming an organization that later became the National Association of People Living with hIV/AIDS in Malawi (NAPhAM). In 1999, USAID and four international NGOs established the Umoyo Network to provide technical assistance and sub-grants to 15 Malawian civil society organizations (CSOs). The USAID funding helped strengthen the CSOs governance structures and increase their abilities to respond to donors and better influence policies related to the rights and needs of people living with hIV/AIDS. NAPhAM, a member of the Umoyo Network, grew to more than 20,000 members (70 percent of whom are women) and became a formidable player in hIV/AIDS activities in Malawi. Organizations like NAPhAM, supported

by the Umoyo Network, ensure that assistance from the U.S. and other donors contributes to sustainable poverty reduction and responds directly to needs expressed by local voices. The work of USAID and its partners is critical to building the technical, financial and human resources capacities of local organizations that fill important roles by holding the government and donors accountable, providing cost-effective services and influencing national policies. Unfortunately, successful cases supported by USAID are still rare. UsAiD: changing course? Now is the time for the U.S. government to build on these experiences and reframe the way it approaches development, including meaningful partnerships with local institutions, sustained capacity building and a longterm, strategic approach to engaging with local CSOs. Fortunately, high-level policy documents such as the Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development and Quadrennial

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to fully implement these commitments, publish this new budget information on the Foreign Assistance Dashboard and develop a broader strategy to create strong partnerships with local CSOs at every level of USAIDs work. rebuilding UsAiD staff capacity To work, this will require sufficient USAID staff who have the training and flexibility to help build capacity in the long term and recognize the value of working with local organizations. One motivation for using large contracting mechanisms has been the erosion of USAID staff capacity. Between 1975 and 2007, the number of employees at USAID fell from 4,300 to 2,417, while its budget doubled between just 1992 and 2007. rebuilding internal USAID capacity is key to ensuring local organizations have the support they need. This includes hiring additional procurement officers, a need already recognized in USAID FOrWArD. To build partnerships with CSOs and support local capacity building, we recommend that USAID: Place civil society engagement officers in local USAID missions and regional offices; Include capacity building and CSO partnership topics in pre-deployment training for all field staff and in continuing education for current field staff; and Coordinate with local government and

other donors to jointly fund local capacity building. In the current tough budget environment, funding these reforms and the overall development and humanitarian accounts is exceedingly critical. It is imperative that Congress fund the administrations fiscal year 2012 budget request for USAID FOrWArD reforms, USAID Operating Expenses and a Working Capital Fund to strengthen and streamline the way USAID does business. USAIDs rather modest Operating Expenses account supports aspects of the USAID FOrWArD agenda, including implementation and procurement reform and the Development Leadership Initiative (DLI), USAIDs effort to increase its staff capacity and build internal expertise. These new DLI hires will bring savings to the agency as well, reducing by 12-15 percent the overhead costs of using contractors. Funding these reforms and strengthening USAID capacity is crucial to achieve lasting poverty reduction. Leveling the playing field: smaller grants, streamlined rules As USAID staffs up, it must also level the playing field so local CSOs can partner directly with the U.S. government. The staff time and complexity of applying for U.S. government

contracts, grants or cooperative agreements is astounding. Applications can take two fulltime staff over 30 days, with proposals running more than 60 pages, regardless of whether the request is for $250,000 or $25 million. It can also be expensive. To be competitive, consultants must be hired and field assessments and baselines completed. Local CSOs often cannot afford additional steps like these. These challenges can be addressed in part by creating a simplified application process for projects beneath $100,000 per year. This should be accompanied by building on the work already underway at USAID to increase the number of smaller grants and to move away from channeling large volumes of resources through indefinite quantity contracts that are out of reach for many local CSOs. Looking forward As USAID works to increase partnership with local organizations, the U.S. government must be prepared to invest in these efforts over the long term. While many programs today look to quickly measure outputs, investments in local organizations must be sustained, encouraging innovation and creativity, in order to create truly sustainable efforts to reduce poverty. A donor agency employee in Bangladesh explained, What we really need to do here is a lot less sexy than setting up a few clinics. What we need to do is a lot longer term and the U.S. government needs the courage to invest in activities that may not yield quick and viable results. The important results that will emerge from such courageous work, however, will be long lasting, sustainable and wholly owned by the community itself. Programs to create local capacity and support local organizations may not seem exciting or yield the quickest results; but they work, and USAID has the experience to prove it. A long-term investment in the Umoyo Network resulted in a network of successful local CSOs that continue to address the health needs of thousands of citizens. By recognizing the importance of building strong CSOs, partnering with civil society, ensuring sufficient USAID staff capacity to support these reforms and leveling the playing field for local organizations looking to engage with the U.S., the U.S. government can replicate the success of the Umoyo Network and other models, helping to create vibrant civil societies leading the poverty reduction efforts in their own communities. MD

Key ADvocAcy recoMMenDAtions we can all promote with the U.s. government
call on UsAiD to: 1. create and implement new guidelines directing uSAID missions engagement with local and international CSOs, which should apply to uSAID efforts from strategic planning to program design, implementation and evaluation. the new Country Development Cooperation Strategy engagement and participation is an ideal opportunity to do this. 2. Place civil society engagement officers in local uSAID missions and regional offices. 3. ensure that capacity building and CSO partnership topics are included in pre-deployment training for all field staff, as well as continuing education for current field staff. 4. coordinate with local government and other donors to jointly fund local capacity building. 5. simplify the application process for u.S. government grants and contracts to allow local CSOs to engage further, and deliver on uSAIDs pledges to increase the number of smaller grants and move away from indefinite quantity contracts. call on congress to: Fund the administrations fiscal year 2012 budget request for uSAID Operating expenses and a Working Capital Fund to strengthen, optimize, and streamline the way uSAID does business to achieve high-impact development and humanitarian response.





emergency Planning
Photo: Reuters/Carlos Barria, courtesy - AlertNet

The reality of Japans disaster has challenged old assumptions and demanded new approaches.

By C. Kenneth Quinones, Dean of faculty Research Evaluation and Professor of global Studies, Akita International University, Akita, Japan
hE GrEAT TOhOKU EArThquake on March 11 was the first time in Japans history that the government sought international assistance. Japans Self Defense Forces (JSDF), the equivalent of armed forces, and the U.S. military in Japan responded with Operation Tomodachi to rescue and assist victims. The international community also promptly reacted with offers of humanitarian assistance. But the string of disastersa magnitude 9.0 earthquake, several towering tsunami and the venting of highly radioactive debris from four nuclear reactorsrevealed serious shortcomings in Japans readiness to respond quickly and effectively to natural disasters. Also apparent were government restraints on Japans NPO (nonprofit organizations) communitys capacity to assist. The earthquake rattled Japan from Tokyo to Tohoku, the northern half of Japans main island of honshu. Aftershocks rocked the area 52 times with magnitudes between 6 and 9 (the 2009 earthquake in haiti registered magnitude 6.1). Shortly after the first tremor, several tsunamis 10 meters (30 feet) and higher devastated Tohokus northeast coast. One tsunami slammed into several nuclear power plants on the coast midway between Tokyo and Sendai city. The Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) are still struggling with the aftermath. Explosions at four of the damaged power plants spread radiation across Fukushima Prefecture and into the Pacific Ocean, halting farming and fishing and forcing tens of thousands of people to abandon their homes. The final death toll could reach 25,000 lives. The Japanese peoples confidence in their government and technology has also been shaken. Economically, upwards of 20 percent of Japans manufacturing, agriculture and fish production has been disrupted and some 15 percent of the nations electricity generating capacity was lost. technologys vulnerability Preparations to deal with natural disasters were based on faulty assumptions. The first was that Japans technology would minimize the impact of earthquakes and tsunamis. This was translated into the implementation of rig-

orous building codes designed to minimize the effects of strong earthquakes. Similarly, massive breakwaters, sea walls and tidal gates line Japans coast to block tsunamis. A sophisticated, nationwide earthquake and tsunami warning system was established. Sensors in the ground and on the ocean floor detect even slight tremors. These pre-quake warnings automatically stop speeding bullet trains, local trains and subways, and shut off natural gas distribution and power stations. Alarms sound on mobile telephones, radios and televisions to inform people of a tremors location and magnitude. On March 11, the system worked flawlessly, but still so many died. The building codes saved people from the earthquake but not the tsunami. Absent were zoning laws to position municipal office buildings, schools and hospitals outside areas vulnerable to tsunamis. These sturdy structures were also designated evacuation centers. When the tsunami struck, many local emergency workers died at their posts in these centers. Sadly, many hospitals and homes for the elderly were similarly vulnerable. A preliminary study suggests that almost 66 percent of the known dead were age 60 years or older. emergency planning and response Emergency planning is divided between local municipalities (clusters of towns and villages that formed a single administrative unit) and the prefectural and central governments. Municipalities create and implement emergency plans. Prefectural governments channel information from localities to the central government about a disasters severity and local requests for assistance. Tokyo allocates assistance. Local fire and police, which are administratively linked to Tokyo, must await central government directives before reacting, except for local fire departments, which can begin putting out fires as needed. The only nationally available disaster assistance resource is the Self Defense Forces (SDF), i.e., the army, air force and coast guard. The central government determines when and where it is to be deployed. There is no prefectural government equivalent of the U.S. states National Guard. Only local fire departments maintain some rescue equipment and a few teams of three or four specially trained and equipped firemen who can quickly respond to a disaster. Police do not have any special training or equipment, nor does the SDF except for the coast guard, which has some helicopters


Japans Prime Minister Kan speaks to members of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force as he visits J-village in Fukushima Prefecture

for rescue at sea. The central government maintains a few specialized and well-equipped emergency response teams, but their role is to deploy to foreign disasters. There are no NGOs. Instead Japans socalled NPOs (non-profit organizations) are government managed and funded. Even the Japanese red Cross is a government-managed NPO. Tax laws do not offer inducements to donate money to NPOs, compelling them to rely on government support. This limits NPOs to maintaining small paid staffs. When disaster strikes, NPOs turn to volunteers, but government officials decide if, when and where

they can be deployed. Once authorized, NPOs can enter a disaster area to assist as assigned by local governments. NPOs do not maintain human and/or material resources for quick response to domestic disasters. The system is rational, but it collapsed in this situation. Everything hinged on local officials prompt response in guiding people to evacuation shelters and informing higher levels of government about local needs. But many emergency workerslocal officials, fire and police personnel, teachers, doctors and nurseswere among the tsunamis early victims. Prefectural and central government authorities were forced to turn to the mass media for reliable information. Communication and transportation infrastructure was destroyed, preventing emergency crews in nearby communities from reaching devastated areas. Also destroyed were emer-

gency vehicles needed for evacuation. helicopters were urgently required, but no plan had anticipated this. Only the SDF had a few to begin rescue operations. U.S. helicopters and naval vessels were scattered and needed time to gather along Tohokus northeast coast. no emergency supplies Disaster plans also assumed that the impact of an earthquake or typhoon would be brief. Evacuation centers were not stocked with food, medicine, blankets, tents, fuel for cooking, heaters or even water. Emergency planners assumed that private corporations would promptly supply local governments at regular prices everything needed for an evacuation center, but this proved impossible on March 11 and for at least two weeks afterward. Survivors gathered in dark, cold shelters with nothing more than the clothing they wore. Injured and elderly people soon began to die from exposure to cold and their injuries. healthy survivors ventured into the cold, snow or rain to stand for hours in long lines for drinking water and to occasion-



Photo: Reuters/Prime Ministers Office of Japan/Handout, courtesy - AlertNet

cHiLDrens circUs

ally buy small amounts of food available in some grocery stores. Some victims built fires from scrap wood outside evacuation centers to warm themselves and to melt snow for drinking water. Those who had cars could not use them because the lack of electricity shut down gasoline stations, not to mention the fact that most roads were blocked with debris and bridges had been washed away. The SDF quickly deployed 100,000 members to the devastated areas but they had little to offer victims. Several days passed before they could bring in more food, water and tents than they needed for themselves. The SDFs meager medical supplies were slowly augmented by foreign medical teams. Only the U.S. military had limited stocks of food to rush to Tohoku. Japans NPOs could do little more than collect donations of money and used clothing and recruit volunteers. Almost one month passed before volunteers were allowed to enter evacuation centers where they cooked, distributed donated goods and cleaned toilets. When the Japan red Cross began distributing cash to some victims, the beneficiaries looked confused. The money was too little to help rebuild lives and virtually useless for buying daily necessities since there were few stores accessible for shopping. The situation in the devastated areas continues to improve slowly. After six weeks, most basic daily needs were being provided. But still people in the centers have had to sleep on unheated floors, eat instant noodles and use cardboard boxes to get some privacy. Most must wait until August or later to be assigned temporary housing. American ngos and japans long-term need Americas NGOs have much to offer beyond compassion and material support. They can share with their Japanese counterparts their decades of extensive, worldwide experience on how to prepare for and respond to natural disasters. They couldwith USAIDs assistanceconsider organizing an international conference that would review Japans past emergency planning and recent experience, and seek ways to better prepare for the next, inevitable natural disaster in Japan. Japanese experts are predicting with a 90 percent degree of confidence that a major 7+ magnitude earthquake will strike south of Tokyo within the next 30 years, if not sooner. It too will most likely be accompanied by a tsunami. MD


Mini-Mobile childrens circus

Finally, a feel-good story from Afghanistan.
By Gretchen Bloom, gender Consultant and former Head of Programme, wfP/Afghanistan

ATE LAST yEAr, ThE AFGhAN Mini-Mobile Childrens Circus (MMCC) stunned packed tent houses nightly during the Christmas holidays in Bagnacavallo, a small town of 18,000 near ravenna in central Italy. Nightly at 9:00 p.m., the 10 young performers, aged 9 to 15, backed up by two adult musicians and other staff, excited audiences with 23 acts, including acrobatics, singing, juggling, slapstick clowning and building blocks of peace. What was especially magical was to see the incredible confidence and skills amongst a group of young Afghans, who, by all expectations, should be intimidated by their countrys political situation and rendered shy by their lack of exposure to the world. Not at all! And this was not the first time that MMCC had performed abroad. Theyve previously been to Germany, Denmark and Japan. The girls in particular impressed me with their confidence, poise and joy, especially Faria from Bamyan, who, at 9 years of age, had no trouble shouting out, Ciao tutti! to the aston-

ished audience. The girls explained that they had joined MMCC to make friends, learn skills and have fun. They will be able to use their circus skills later to earn pocket money, they told me. The childrens aspirations for their adult careers are impressive: One wants to be a pilot, another a journalist, a third an engineer and two others plan to become doctors. The boys have been with the circus longer than the girlsone for seven years. All come from a variety of backgrounds. When the MMCC first began, most were street orphans, but now more come from middle-class families. One child has a university professor as a dad, a doctor as a mom. Anothers father works as the painter at the circus. Some of them may stay on with MMCC as trainers. The MMCC ( is an Afghan-Danish foundation created to bring hope and joy to Afghan children through educational activities. It was founded in 2002 by David Mason, an Iranian refugee who had fled his country and been given refugee status in

Photo: Gretchen Bloom

cHiLDrens circUs

Denmark. After the events of September 2001, he went to Afghanistan where he met a Danish woman, Berit Muhlhausen, who had come to the country with a bag of toys to help kids. Together they launched the MMCC. I learned about this fledgling circus in 2003, when I was working in Afghanistan on humanitarian food aid with the World Food Programme. I was stunned, as I usually saw only the poor and hungrythose who were suffering from the aftermath of many years of drought and war. here was something different, just beginning. While my husband Peter and I were in Kabul, David learned of our own circus connectionour son Seth is a trained clown, a graduate of ringling Brothers Clown College. Soon the Blooms became very involved in the MMCC and David was eager to tap Seth, whom he hoped might be able to help fix their stilts. Three months later, I stood in a salwarkameez on the tarmac at Kabul Airport to greet Seth with a group of MMCC kidsone dressed as a monkey, another as an elephant and still others on stilts.

the circus provides tools for children to express themselves and develop lifelong skills.
Seth worked with the troupe of MMCC kids, helping to rebuild stilts, training them in acrobatic and juggling skills, and creating stories that could teach Afghan kids, their relatives and community members lessons about illness prevention, malaria, landmines and conflict resolution. The following year he was asked to return as MMCCs artistic director and commit to spending one month each year in Afghanistan working with the circus. Seth also had the good fortune in 2004 to meet another American circus clown, Christina Gelsone, who was in Afghanistan through the auspices of New york Citys Bond Street Theater to work with Afghan actors. After their wedding in 2007, they honeymooned in the Wakhan Corridor in far northern Afghanistan. They have visited Afghanistan annually as a

team since then. (See Today MMCC has branched out considerably from its humble beginnings. There are now three circus schoolsone in Kabul, herat and Bamyan, and a Childrens Cultural house in Kabul, with activities for around 350 children each year. MMCC is currently expanding even further, setting up centers in leftover shipping containers in Ghor, Badakhshan and Jalalabad. The circus provides tools for children to express themselves and develop lifelong skills, self-respect and a sense of identity. Circus arts and performances and childrens workshops are MMCCs main activities at the Childrens Cultural house. But painting, calligraphy, cooking, Koranic reading, math, childrens rights, journalism and English classes are also offered. MMCC differs from other educational organizations because children are taught to laugh and have fun while gaining knowledge and skills. MMCC and its local partner, Afghan Educational Childrens Circus (AECC), will soon have performed before 2 million people. After
continued on page 28

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HUMAn rigHts

Millennium Development rights

One reason the MDGs remain out of reach.
By Ellen Dorsey, Executive Director, wallace global fund; Mayra Gmez and Bret Thiele, Co-Executive Directors, global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; and Paul Nelson, Associate Professor, University of Pittsburgh graduate School of Public and International Affairs

N A FEBrUAry 2010 rEPOrT, UNITED Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that: With five years to go to the target date of 2015, the prospect of falling short of achieving the [Millennium Development] Goals because of a lack of commitment is very real. While some in the international community have tried to redouble efforts to meet the goals on time, critics in the human rights world maintain that the framework itself is seriously flawed. The Millennium Development Goals represent the largest and most ambitious development program ever envisioned. They seek to make measurable progress in critical areas facing the world today: extreme poverty and hunger; universal primary education; gender equality and womens empowerment; child mortality; maternal health; hIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; and environmental sustainability. We know that such ambition for breaking the chains of poverty is desperately needed. yet while some blame the global food crisis or the global financial downturn for slow progress, the reality is that the obstacles to ending global poverty are not primarily related to the shortage of resources. rather, a big piece of the problem has been that the MDGs have

almost entirely neglected to substantively incorporate a human rights-based approach to development. The rights-based approach to development (or rBA) represents a framework for development made up of five general criteria: (1) linking development to concrete international human rights standards like the Universal Declaration of human rights; (2) accountability of powerful actors (e.g., governments and international financial actors) for meeting those standards; (3) empowering development beneficiaries, for example through rights awareness; (4) beneficiary participation in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of development programs; and (5) nondiscrimination and prioritization of the marginalized and vulnerable groups that comprise the poorest of the poor (e.g., women, indigenous peoples, children and the elderly). The application of the rBA to development is nothing new. In fact, in 2003 the UN Development Group, comprised of agencies like the UN Development Programme, the UN Childrens Fund (UNICEF), and the World health Organization, adopted a common understanding entitled The human rights Based Approach to Development Cooperation. Practical examples of the positive ben-

efits of the human rights-based approach to development are also not hard to come by. For instance, in South Africa hundreds of poor families were to be forcibly evicted from their homes to make way for upscale, urban development in Johannesburg. Forced eviction is considered a gross violation of human rights under international human rights law. While their housing conditions were poor and perhaps even uninhabitable, the eviction plan was even worse: The families were to be forcibly displaced to the periphery of the city and thereby cut off from access to schools, health care facilities and livelihood opportunities on which they relied. In other words, this urban development effort would further impoverish the poorest of the poor. Using the human rights framework, however, these families ultimately gained empowering knowledge of their rights and held powerful authorities accountable to human rights standards, including the right to adequate housing. And in 2008, the Constitutional Court of South Africa enforced their rights, including not only the right to adequate housing, but also to benefit from development schemes and to participate meaningfully in all relevant decisions. In this case, the human rights-based approach to development equalized power dynamics between poor families facing forced eviction and governmental authorities so that the families could be the architects of their own development solutions. Today, these families live in improved housing near the same schools, health care facilities and the livelihood opportunities they came very near to losing.

We can end poverty. but ending poverty requires transforming the structures that make and keep people poor.
Such successes have been recognized by the development sector and many development organizations have adopted the rBA within their programmatic work. For example, ActionAid in a 2008 paper on its use of the rBA recognized that poverty eradication starts with the connection between poverty and human rights, from the perspective of people living in poverty. A learning project

Photo: vicspacewalker /

HUMAn rigHts

on the rBA coordinated by Oxfam and CArE has also demonstrated the merits of following a rights-based approach. In another study, CArE International, the U.K. Department for International Development and Save the Children published a review of projects that didor did notincorporate a rights-based approach to development. The evaluation revealed that, Working with rBAs to development adds value and demonstrates a greater range and depth of positive impacts, which are more likely to be sustained over time, than does working with non-rBAs. Working with rBAs enhances the possibility of achieving improved governance, which includes the voice and concerns of poor people and can reach out to the poorest and most marginalized. On the MDGs, the report highlights that the MDGs are only representative of relative achievement. It would be possible to reach the MDGs while still ignoring the worst 20 percent of poor people in the world, that is, the poorest and most marginalized (around 500 million people). This is not acceptable in RBAs, which work to increase equity and improve justice, for all people, without discrimination. UN agencies and nongovernmental development agencies are deepening their knowledge of how to employ human rights-based approaches to programs. This makes it all the more striking that the MDGs have not kept pace with the latest trends in the development sector. What would a human rights approach mean to the MDGs? It would not only tie the MDGs to well-defined human rights standards, it would

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enforce processes that require nondiscrimination and equality, the prioritization of the most vulnerable and marginalized communities, and the meaningful involvement of those communities in designing, implementing and monitoring development strategies. Scholars such as Malcolm Langford have suggested that using a human rights lens would mean fundamentally reenvisioning the MDGs in major ways, including ensuring that the MDG framework itself is constructed with the participation of those living in poverty, and that development programs place a higher premium on equality. Lets take the example of Brazil. In numerical terms, Brazil has already met its targets with respect to Goal 1 on eradicating extreme hunger and poverty. Goal 1 has three sub-targets and several indicators. yet without a rights-based approach, Brazil falls into the trap warned of above: failing to uplift the lives of the poorest and more marginalized. As helen Mendes and Nathalie Beghin have highlighted, in Brazil 45 million people still live in poverty and Afro-Brazilians and indigenous peoples, particularly in the Amazon basin, continue to be disproportionately represented amongst the poorest of the poor. Brazilian NGOs have noted that progress on Goal 1 has been largely concentrated in the already richer non-Amazonian states of the South East, in effect only leaving the Amazonian states further and further behind. Were an rBA applied, ensuring that the poorest of the poor in Brazil actually benefit from the development dollars for MDG initiatives would be a vital priority, not an inconvenient option. Not only would this mean looking for improvements in the aggregate, it would also mean transforming the very social structures that make and keep people poor. For development to be truly transformative and eradicate poverty, as the MDGs set out to do, it must explicitly target those marginalized populations that would otherwise be neglected, even if they are more difficult to reach; and these groups must be able to meaningfully participate in all facets of development programs that affect them. These are the qualities of a development approach that would deliver higher quality outcomes for the poor and more durable results over time. What is needed right now is a concerted and targeted effort by all engaged organizations and human rights and development advocates to ensure that the MDGs clearly do incorporate the human rights framework. The clock is ticking. We must also begin charting the course for the second stage of this development enterprise; and for that we must look ahead to 2015, the deadline for achieving the MDGs. Importantly, this process needs to apply a rights-based approach by ensuring that the process for developing any post-2015 follow-on to the MDGs is itself participatory and nondiscriminatory. To really end poverty, any post-2015 global framework on human development must be built by and centered on the notion of Millennium Development Rights. The motto for the MDGs is true: We can end poverty. But ending poverty requires transforming the structures that make and keep people poor. And that transformation requires a development framework that invokes, embodies and prioritizes the full body of internationally recognized human rights. This crucial understanding has been missing from the MDGs and the omission stands in the way of fulfilling their promise. MD Questions and comments can be sent to the authors at,, and pjnelson@





Female genital Mutilation/ cutting

Key steps to bring the practice to a quicker end.
By Nafissatou Diop, Coordinator, UNfPA-UNICEf Joint Programme on fgM/C

EMALE GENITAL MUTILATION or cutting (FGM/C) predates Christianity and Islam, and is thought to have originated in the time of the pharaohs. An estimated 100 million to 140 million girls and women worldwide have undergone the practice, which consists of the removal of all or part of the female genitalia. In Africa alone, more than 3 million girls each year remain at risk for cutting. Typically, traditional excisors carry out the procedure on girls between ages 4 and 12, although it is practiced in some cultures as early as a few days after birth or as late as just before marriage. Despite more than 30 years of national and global efforts to abandon it, FGM/C is still practiced in at least 28 countries in Africa and some others in Asia and the Middle East. The practice is deeply rooted in tradition and persists because it is a social convention upheld by underlying gender structures and power relations. It exists at all educational levels and in all social classes and among many religious

FgM/c prevalence varies significantly from one country to anotherfrom as low as 5 percent in niger to as high as 99 percent in guinea.
groups, including Muslims, Christians and animists, although no religion mandates it. UNFPA (The UN Population Fund) has long been at the forefront of efforts to end to this practice. In 2007, it worked closely with UNICEF, the World health Organization and other UN agencies on a UN interagency statement on eliminating FGM/C. As a result, UNFPA and UNICEF now lead a joint program to end FGM/C in one generation, particularly in 17 priority countries.

Prevalence and consequences FGM/C poses serious physical and mental health risks for young girls and women, especially for those who undergo extreme forms of the procedure. It is linked to increased complications in childbirth and even maternal deaths. Other side effects include infertility, severe pain, bleeding, infection, cysts and abscesses, urinary incontinence, as well as psychological and sexual problems. FGM/C prevalence varies significantly from one country to anotherfrom as low as 5 percent in Niger to as high as 99 percent in Guinea. When countries are grouped by region, patterns of FGM/C prevalence emerge. In northeast Africa (Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan), the prevalence ranges from 80 to 97 percent, while in East Africa (Kenya and Tanzania) it is markedly lower, ranging from 18 to 32 percent. These figures, however, represent national averages and do not reflect the often marked variations in different parts of a country. There has been a marked decrease in prevalence among younger people (15 to 25 years of age) in countries such as in Burkina Faso, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Kenya. New survey results from Egypt show that among women

Photo: Hector Conesa


aged 15 to 19, that rate has dropped to 81 percent, from 96 percent in 2005. Since the age of circumcision in Egypt is generally below 15 and that the government has banned the practice, these findings are encouraging and give hope to those working to eliminate the practice. In other countries, however, such as Guinea, Mali and Mauritania, prevalence rates have remained basically unchanged for all age groups. At the community level, there has been some remarkable success, with more than 6,000 communities in several countries already abandoning the practice. Social mobilization campaigns have also led to public commitments of FGM/C abandonment in thousands of additional communities. In Senegal, the number of commitments has significantly increased from over 2,000 villages in 2008 to about 4,600 in 2010 (out of 5,000 estimated to practice FGM/C). Such declarations not only encourage neighboring communities to also give up the practice, they also affirm that community-led, rapid social change does happen and can be effectively promoted. Governments in many countries are advocating against FGM/C through official declarations and by adopting national or strategic plans and establishing effective coordination mechanisms to respond to FGM/C concerns. These efforts have spurred legal reforms. For example, in 2009, Uganda passed a bill criminalizing FGM/C. Likewise, Guinea-Bissau and Kenya have draft bills that criminalize the practice. In Djibouti, parliament adopted amendments to the penal code addressing FGM/C in the context of gender-based violence. Key elements to FgM/c abandonment FGM/C remains on the forefront of the UN agenda. Specific targets of the Millennium Development Goals promoting gender equality, improving maternal health and reducing child death relate directly to the persistence of the practice. In the last decade, an increasingly concerted effort to address FGM/C among key stakeholdersgovernments, international institutions, NGOs and local religious and community leadershas led to some significant, positive changes. In particular, the increased availability of data has provided a macro-level snapshot of prevalence and FGM/C trends, providing a useful framework for refining programmatic strategies. Identifying socio-demographic factors associated with FGM/C has also improved

studies have shown that level of education is an important variable, with the least educated women more likely to have undergone the procedure and to have had their daughters do so.

understanding of influences on the persistence and change in the practice and in creating effective interventions. For instance, studies have shown that level of education is an important variable, with the least educated women more likely to have undergone the procedure and to have had their daughters do so. On the other hand, milieu and wealth are less indicative, although it is more likely to occur among poorer and rural populations. Experience on the ground has shown that a number of key and mutually reinforcing factors taken together are critical to accelerating the abandonment of FGM/C. Any effort to end the practice should take the following into account: Change starts from within: Empowered communities can make a collective choice to abandon FGM/C The global movement for positive, lasting change starts at the community level. Since no one family can select to end the practice on its own (it would ruin the chance for marriage and status of that familys daughters), it is necessary to coordinate abandonment by the whole intra-marrying community. A relatively small initial core groupa critical mass can initially agree to abandon the practice. This group can then recruit others, until a tipping point is reached for stable

abandonment when the social convention of not cutting becomes self-enforcing and continues swiftly and spontaneously. The decision must be collective, widespread and explicit. Without feeling that their cultural traditions are being violated or that they are coerced or judged, community members put into place a new social norm that does not harm girls or violate their human rights. Public commitment to abandon FGM/C is a powerful means to persuade others to halt the practice It is necessary, but not sufficient, that many members of a community favor FGM/C abandonment. A successful shift requires that they manifest as a community the will to halt the practice through an explicit public affirmation of their collective commitment. A public expression creates the confidence needed by individuals who intend to stop the practice to actually do so. The commitment may take various forms, including a joint public pledge in a large public gathering or a publically posted written statement signed by those who have decided to abandon the practice. Some communities collect signatures on traditional colorful cloth; others give certificates of recognition to families choosing not to cut their daughters; and others mount festivities celebrating uncut girls, including public weddings. These celebrations are a form of public social recognition and a show of respect for the personal transformation each individual has undergone during the process of abandoning the practice. Enforcing laws would greatly contribute to ending FGM/C It is essential that governments create a protective environment for women and children and actively support FGM/C abandonment. Introducing national laws that ban the practice can speed up change most effectively, particularly when a process of societal change is already under way and citizens are sensitized to the issue. The purpose of legislation is to make explicit the governments disapproval of the practice. It also acts as a deterrent by sending a clear message of support to those who have renounced or would wish to renounce the practice. Engaging traditional and religious
continued on page 30

soUtH sUDAn Diversity

A Major challenge for a new nation:

Providing the right support now to ensure a promising future.
By Erol Yayboke, Country Director for South Sudan, CHf International

south sudans returnees

hE rETUrN OF FOrMEr rEFUGEES AND OThEr displaced persons to South Sudan in anticipation of the historic birth of a nation is both exciting and worrisome. They return to their ancestral motherland full of hope, expecting everything will be better once they are home. Southern by heritage, blood and tribe, hundreds of thousands have already returned after decades of bloodshed and displacement caused by a long, debilitating civil war that ended with a Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005. Now that the Southvia referendumhas chosen to secede from the rest of Sudan to become the worlds newest country in July, many that stayed away because of the violence have returned only to find another set of tough challenges standing in the way of their dreams of a prosperous new nation. challenges ahead The number of people who have returned in such a short period of time puts significant strain on the ability of families to provide for themselves and the degree to which host communities can absorb them. While the prospects for successful integration are positive, the UN estimated that as of late April, nearly 300,000 had returned, with more on the way. More importantly, according to a recent assessment conducted by ChF International with funding from the USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, successfully accommodating the needs of returnees while minimizing conflict is going to be a serious challenge that needs thoughtful intervention. South Sudan has long been considered to be home to some of the most underdeveloped areas in Africa. The government and informal agriculture provide the vast majority of employment opportunities, but jobs are scarce. In the urban areas, such as the capital Juba, nearly 200 NGOs employ a significant number of workers, who will hopefully transition into productive government or private sector positions; yet in rural areas, where there is often little government and/or NGO presence, the story is very different. With jobs hard to come by, rising prices are the last thing the largely food-insecure returnees need. Due to a drastic increase in demand, the price of commodities usually imported from neighboring countries has risen sharply. While this creates strains on household income, it also generates opportunities for local farmers to capitalize by producing more to fill the gaps between supply and demand. Unfortunately, farmers cannot produce more just yet. Even in the southern parts of the new country, which is known as greenbelt and was in the past a net exporter of food in the region, subsistence agriculture today barely staves off famine. Even if farmers have the appropriate skills, they often lack the necessary tools and quality seeds to produce on a scale that meets more than the subsistence needs of their families. In the cases where farmers do produce more than they can consume, limited access to markets beyond their immediate communities and a severe lack of appropriate seed and crop surplus storage facilities mean that a significant amountas much as 50 percent according to managers of the USAID FArM Sudan programwill spoil before being consumed or replanted. the forgotten hosts With all the focus on returnees, it is easy to ignore the plight of host communities, those that have opened their doors to returnees and share what little they have, asking little or nothing in return. For media, governments and even some in the development community, stories of former refugees returning to the land of their forefathers after decades of exile are compelling, awe-inspiring and tangible. But they are also only half of the story.
continued on page 26

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to communities
A new framework highlights just how much stakeholders can influence NGO performance.
By Niaz Murtaza, Research Associate, Mack Center for Non-Profit Management, University of California, Berkeley

OST NGOS STrONGLy PrOFESS accountability to communities in their work. however, using a comprehensive analytical framework to measure the nature and strength of their accountability to different stakeholders, research finds that current NGO approaches provide very weak accountability to communities. Stronger community-oriented accountability mechanisms can best be developed through NGO coordination bodies and there is a framework that can provide a strong analytical base for developing such community-focused and peer-driven mechanisms. Accountability aims to increase the influence of relevant stakeholders on the performance of organizations that possess substantial authority and resources. Thus, NGO accountability can be defined as the involvement of relevant stakeholders in the performance management cycle of NGOs. The relevant stakeholders for NGO accountability are those that delegate authority or resources to them and those that use their services. Most of these stakeholders manage their own specific processes for exercising accountability over NGOs. The nature and extent of accountability that they exercise over NGOs depends on specific criteria provided under the how much and What for sections of the framework shown in Figure 1. For example, the nature and extent of accountability depends on the number of phases of the NGO performance management cycle that a stakeholder participates in and its frequency, influence and formality of participation.

Ultimately the strongest strategic-level ngo accountability is to ngo boards and the weakest to ngo coordination bodies.
Boards, home governments and peer bodies generally engage in NGO accountability at the strategic/global level. Board-led NGO accountability processes include strategy development and review and ongoing governance. Boards generally enjoy high scores on almost all of the criteria used here. For example, board participation in the accountability process is legally required. They have the ability to set standards for, undertake evaluations of and take punitive action against NGOs.

Home government processes include initial NGO registration and subsequent reporting. The main motivation for home governments is the protection of public funds collected by NGOs. Because of this, they tend to focus mainly on financial and legal mattersnot program quality or community participation and develop limited international monitoring capacities. however, they can set standards, undertake evaluations and take punitive action against NGOs. They score high on several but not all of the criteria used here. NGO coordination-body processes include accreditation mechanisms and codes of conduct. While their voluntary nature limits their influence, reputational factors do encourage most large NGOs to enroll in them. Such mechanisms generally focus on adherence to industry standards. Most depend on selfreporting and few require third party assessment. Due to these limitations, they score high on very few of the criteria used here. Donors, host governments and communities generally engage with NGO accountability at the functional level, often with respect to specific projects and activities. Donor-led NGO accountability processes include project approval and evaluation. Their participation in the accountability process is legally required. They have the ability to set standards for, undertake evaluations of and take punitive action against NGOs. Most donors rely on information submitted by NGOs, supplemented occasionally by their own field visits. As such, donors score high on almost all of the criteria used in the framework. Host government processes include NGO registration and reporting requirements. Their participation is legally required and they can set standards, undertake evaluations and take punitive action against NGOs. Few governments undertake independent evaluations of NGO programs or place heavy emphasis on community participation or program excellence. Overall, home governments score high on most of the criteria used in the framework. Unlike other stakeholders, communities generally do not themselves manage a formal NGO accountability process and usually participate at the discretion of other stakeholders in the formal processes they manage, where community perspectives and program quality are not necessarily the most important consideration. For example, NGOs do undertake many processes to increase their own accountability to communities. Such

Photo: Corazon C. Lagamayo, LWR


Figure 1: ngo Accountability

the process of involving relevant stakeholders in the performance management cycle of NGOs

NGO-managed accountability processes include needs assessments, project design and monitoring and evaluation. The internal policies of some NGOs require project staff to ensure the participation of communities in NGO-managed accountability processes rather than leaving it at their discretion. Even then, communities generally have no punitive authority, unlike most other stakeholders, in case they are dissatisfied with the quality of NGO work. As such, communities score low on almost all of the criteria used here. The rigor of these processes also varies significantly and there is sometimes a bias for positive results. NGO staff prefer positive evaluations that impress internal and external stakeholders, while communities are afraid to be critical and external evaluators have an eye on future work. Since NGO-managed processes also heavily inform the processes of most other stakeholders, NGOs enjoy a high degree of control over their own accountability processes.

Ultimately the strongest strategic-level NGO accountability is to NGO boards and the weakest to NGO coordination bodies, with home governments falling in between. The strongest functional-level accountability is to donors and host governments and the weakest to communities. In fact, communities are the overall weakest stakeholders. Communities have significantly less power when compared with other stakeholders; and the fact that the most important motivation for those stakeholders is not necessarily program quality combines with the weakness of community power to reduce the quality of NGO programs. Not surprisingly, several meta-studies have found achievements but also major problems with the quality of NGO evaluation processes and programs. It is advisable then that NGOs develop stronger community accountability mechanisms. It will help to enhance program quality and community empowerment and reduce the criticisms of external stakeholders regarding the

lack of accountability and representativeness. NGOs can strengthen their own accountability to communities by using the eight criteria proposed in Figure 1. For example, NGOs can help community-based organizations join together at the regional and national levels and mandate their participation in or even management of project design and evaluation processes. It is also advisable for NGOs to develop stronger community accountability mechanisms through peer-led accountability processes as that will ensure more widespread acceptance among donors and other stakeholders. Such community-focused and peer-driven mechanisms can help NGOs follow robert Chambers inspiring call to put the last first. MD This article is based on the authors longer article that recently appeared in Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations. Please email the author at if you would like a copy.

genDer-bAseD vioLence

getting Data right

Whats wrong with current practices in gender-based violence data collection and sharing?
By Kristy Crabtree, Information Manager, International Rescue Committee
if their information is leaked. This practice also breaches the most basic safety and ethical standards upheld in the social work and health fields about protecting client data. how information is shared is not the only way the humanitarian community fails survivors. It also fails to use survivor information in a way that, while protecting survivors, utilizes their data to inform the humanitarian response to GBV. This data has the potential to inform service provision, prevention efforts, aid allocation and advocacy. As it stands now, the statistics generated from survivor data are usually unreliable, not comparable and difficult to compile and analyze. The way GBV data is classified makes analysis almost impossible, especially as it is based on manual calculation that is prone to error. Without the ability to collect quality data, the information shared is often unreliable and not comparable across agencies or contexts. It could just be sitting in that case file on top of a desk, not protected but also not utilized. In place of the current poor practices in data collection and sharing, gender-based violence service providers and coordinating agencies could meet industry standards for safe and ethical data collection and sharing by adhering to a few core principles. First, services for survivors should be available before survivors are asked to share information about violent incidents. Data collection should not be the sole purpose of interaction with GBV survivors. It should be collected only with, and conditional upon, service delivery. The data should be used first and foremost to inform the services provided to individual clients. Second, survivors should maintain control of their information. To assist in this process, clients should be consulted about sharing their information in the case of a referral for services and in sharing their anonymous information for the purpose of data sharing with local actors. It is only with their informed consent that their information should be shared. Case files, incident reports and intake forms should only be shared with the informed consent of the client and then only in the case of a referral for services. This practice is vital because it allows survivors to maintain control of their information and because sharing case files in the context of a referral can help avoid the need to restate their experiences multiple times. Third, survivors personal information or information about the incident that is shared beyond a referral must be anonymous or deidentified. Survivor confidentiality cannot be compromised as it breaches ethical standards and puts them at risk. To ensure survivor protection, shared data is safest and most useful when anonymous and in aggregate form. Fourth, data should only be shared after an agreement is established between service providers and coordinating agencies or other local actors that details how data will be shared, protected and used. This will serve to ensure that data sharing on the local level is safe and well-coordinated. The demand for data is great and with good reason: It has the power to attract aid, fuel advocacy and influence programming. In many humanitarian contexts now, survivors rights are compromised as their data is shared; this must change. In pursuit of quality data, our commitment must be to respect survivors rights by upholding safety and ethical standards. MD This article was written with the assistance of Karin Wachter, Senior Technical Advisor, International Rescue Committee. For more information please visit

ATA PLAyS A POWErFUL rOLE in quantifying an emergency, an epidemic or an inequality. It helps tell the story of injustice, violence or crisis and can determine the level of aid, attract advocates for a cause or structure program design according to a documented need. For this reason, data is constantly in demand: especially in humanitarian settings. yet producing data in a safe and ethical manner is often difficult, particularly when it concerns survivors of gender-based violence (GBV). For these survivors, the decision to take action and seek services following violence is a courageous one, often requiring them to overcome great trepidation. While their acts of courage should be met by service providers that protect them and their information, that is not always the reality. The information they sharethe most sensitive information about the incident, the alleged perpetrator and their personal informationis not always handled in a safe or ethical manner. In some cases, survivors information is shared with local actors without their consent. In other cases, the details of a very personal experience of violence may be left in a case file on top of a deskno lock or key, no protection at all. This can put clients at risk of retribution

Photo: Francis Wong Chee Yen; photo illustration, Chad Brobst

best Practices
Best Practices and Innovations Initiative
third round Winners
INTERACTION IS PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE the winners of the third round of our Best Practices & Innovations (BPI) Initiative focused on agriculture and rural livelihoods. The BPI Initiative was launched in September 2009 with support from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to promote information sharing on effective program approaches and improve practice standards. All submissions were reviewed by a committee of experts and evaluated according to five criteria: evidence of effectiveness/success, efficiency/cost-effectiveness, equitable outcomes for women and men, sustainability and replicability/adaptability. The winners were recently recognized at an event at InterAction. For more information on these interventions and the BPI Initiative visit www.interaction. org/best-practices-innovations.

Have you gathered lessons learned from your work in the field that could benefit others? Send your summary of less than 1,000 words to and share your expertise with the entire NGO community.

and the implementation of an integrated community approach to malnourished children. Using hands-on activities, parents, students, teachers, community leaders and government officials were trained on how to produce organic crops, fish and

strengthening the social and economic status of women and their families so they can become active members of civil society in Mali. working in the Timbuktu region, the project achieves food and livelihood security by increasing food production,

vegetables. Parents then pool the produce from the food gardens to feed their malnourished children and improve their health and nutrition.

Winrock International
Best Practice Award for Access to Markets and Entrepreneurial Literacy boosting rural incomes, improving health and nutrition, increasing gender equity and strategically managing natural resources. In addition, women are becoming more active participants in rice production. They are also now able to contribute to the overall household income and are seen as active contributors to the wellbeing of the family. The USAID-funded Education for Income Generation (EIG) Program in Nepal is facilitating social change within households by combining income generation with entrepreneurial literacy. EIg provides training in market-linked agriculture production, homebased enterprises and vocational training along with an integrated entrepreneurial literacy class that teaches numeracy, business

ADRA International
Best Practice Award for Extension Services/Farmer Training and Gender Integration/ Womens Empowerment Improving Livelihoods through Women Empowerment introduced social and economic changes in the lives of thousands of women in the Mymensingh district in Bangladesh. The program has given voice to illiterate women whose status is among the lowest in the world. ADRAs

empowerment model provided an opportunity for 5,400 women to become influential members of civil society. Eighty percent of participating women have achieved the ability to read, write, participate in shared decision-making and manage healthy homes. Seventy percent of participants have increased their income by 19 percent and new agriculture technologies have been adopted to make this empowerment model a success.

Save the Children

Innovation Award for Gender Integration/Womens Participation and Nutrition The Working Collectively Mitigates Hunger and Malnutrition in the Philippines project addresses hunger and malnutrition by building the capacity of beneficiaries through two key activities: organic food production in schools, homes and communities;

Best Practice Award for Natural Resources Management and Adaptation to Climate Change Africares System of Rice Intensification (SRI) project aims to alleviate poverty by

planning, credit, life skills, governance, nutrition and basic health care. young women, often marginalized in their husbands homes, are gaining confidence that comes from knowledge and also respect from their husbands
continued on page 28



south sudan
continued from page 21

Despite the many challenges they face, these host communities have thrown open the doors, ready to welcome their brethren home. We are building a new nation, says a tribal leader in Morobo. Those coming back are our brothers and sisters. But they have welcomed their brethren despite many challenges; many were already food insecure, living in basic and often inadequate shelters, with little access to education and health services. One cannot help but wonder how soon this sense of welcome will wear off. Just a few months from the January referendum, the supply of food provided by the World Food Programme to returnees is all but gone. Jobs are few, prices are rising as supplies diminish and there are stories of hundreds of thousands of more people waiting to return after July 9. Anything but homogenous South Sudanese returning from Khartoum are generally accepted to be returning with skillsbusiness experience, literacy and higher standards of health/hygieneon which the country can build. Largely Arabic-speaking and having lived in and around Sudans northern cities, they return with very little in terms of assets to mostly urban or peri-urban environments in the South. In theory at least, these are the former traders and business-owners who can help develop South InsideNGOAd:Layout 1 copy 1 12/16/10 4:22 PM Page 1 Sudans nascent private sector. They may need some start-up capital

or in-kind assistance, but at least the skills are there. Although many make the mistake of grouping them together with returnees from the North, a sizeable number of people have returned from Uganda, Kenya, Democratic republic of the Congo and Ethiopia. These former refugees (including many youth and women) often wish to return to their ancestral villages in rural areas after having spent years, sometimes decades, in refugee camps. They have varying levels of literacy, business experience, agricultural or manual labor skills (learned mostly from NGOs operating in their camps), but little experience turning those skills into income. Even within this group of people, there are vastly differing skill levels, often dependent on the location of their camp and the amount support they received from NGOs. What the returnees lack in skill, they make up for in enthusiasm and drive to succeed. In Morobo, despite little or no support from the government or NGOs, returnees from Uganda and the Democratic republic of the Congo in Morobo cannot wait to get to work. The land is available, a young man says with a mix of optimism and frustration in Arabic sprinkled with French. We just dont have the skills, seeds and tools to be able to cultivate it. We have the energy. We just need some help to get started. yet some see the situation differentlyproving there are holes in every generalization and reminding us that programmatic flexibility is the key. For example, in a permanent returnee settlement on the outskirts of Juba, a local tribal leader laments the lack of skills of the returnees from the North. In his eyes, it is the people from Ugandan refugee camps that have the real skills and who have to support the uneducated returnees from the North. Addressing the challenges Short-term humanitarian interventions are often the primary focus in refugee and returnee situations. These are crucial and necessary pieces of the solution that should not be discounted, but they must be followed immediately by medium- to long-term programs that are critical for stability, successful reintegration and sustainable development. A potential gap in initial assistance in a fragile environment such as South Sudan can lead to future conflict, which must be avoided at all costs. If we, the international community, and our South Sudanese brethren want to achieve sustainability and ensure continued peace, we need to make our interventions more sophisticated with a longer-term focus. This means implementing a wide array of self-sustaining programs that involve business and vocational skills training; providing access to startup capital; creating the infrastructure needed to be a foundation for long-term economic progress; and keeping people healthy so that they can be productive members of society. These are by no means the only solutions to a complex problem, but they are a start. Ultimately, the needs of returnees vary and so the projects that aim to address those needs must be varied and flexible as well. Moreover, our interventions must be designed and implemented through a development lens, and not just a humanitarian one. And our focus should be on creating a space where returnees and host communities can provide for themselves sooner rather than later. The returnees have been welcomed with open arms by their ancestral brethren. Through innovation, drive, government support and some assistance from the international community, they will succeed. There is hope for the future. hope just needs a little help along the way. MD

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Mama: together for safe births in crises

Does your organization implement unique projects or programs? Share them with the Monday Developments community. Send your projects name, implementing organization, location and funder(s) along with a brief description of 400 words or less to

Womens refugee commission


crisis-affected countries worldwide


MacArthur Foundation The Project

More than 1,000 women and girls die every day from pregnancy- or childbirthrelated complications. The majority are in countries that are in the middle of war or its aftermath. Access to reproductive health services can be particularly challenging for women displaced by conflict and natural disasters. To bring greater attention and support for the maternal health needs of women and girls in crisis-affected settings, the womens Refugee Commission, working with M4ID (Marketing for International Development), a finnish communications firm, has created Mama: Together for Safe Births in Crises, a communications initiative designed to help practitioners help one another. Mama uses social networking to connect frontline maternal health workers in crisisaffected areas by building a professional community of practice. It is the first initiative to master the technical linkage between facebook and SMS texting, which is critical for practitioners based in the deep field who do not have regular Internet access. Mama recognizes and supports clinical practitioners working on maternal health issues by helping them to give one another information about and encouragement to use proven standards and tools; a community where they can support one another; and ways to increase their skills level and receive recognition for their work.

The elements of Mama include: a preMISP (Minimum Initial Service Package for Reproductive Health in Crises) quiz to assess members knowledge of the MISP, an international standard of care; a share your practices survey that highlights a practitioners areas of need; a best practices and lessons learned corner for members to showcase good practices; Mama SMS (text messaging), which allows members to participate by cell phone, even when they do not have access to the Internet; a lives saved counter to see the collective impact of saving maternal and newborn lives; and Mama Mentors, field experts who visit the community on a monthly basis to provide technical information, professional development advice and words of recognition and encouragement to the community. Mama demonstrates the power and possibility of using social media and new technology to create networks and support systems where they are needed most. To become a member of Mama, go to or for more information contact Jennifer Schlecht, Program Officer, Reproductive Health, Womens Refugee Commission, tel. 212.551.3029 or email JennS@

right start early childhood Development initiative


American near east refugees Aid (AnerA)


West bank

Private donations The Project

Palestinian children suffer from multiple risk factors and disadvantages that impede

their growth and development. Most children live in poverty. Six out of 10 families in the west Bank and gaza live below the U.N.s poverty line. Malnutrition and ill health are serious problems. These factors are compounded by high levels of stress and anxiety that further hamper peoples lives and future prospects. And yet, research has proven that early childhood (0-8 years) is the most critical period for developing a childs cognitive, social, emotional and physical skills. Depriving children of stimulation, good health and nutrition, education and quality care in those early years compromises the future of Palestinian children. Only one-third of Palestinian children have access to essential early childhood programs and services. The few preschools that do exist are inadequate for the care and education of children. They lack essential resources and equipment appropriate for youngsters under five. Most preschool teachers are unqualified and poorly paid. Children are subjected to traditional teaching methodologies that hamper the kind of creativity and inquisitiveness essential for developing young minds. with private donations and grants, ANERA has launched a multi-year program in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and key stakeholders in the west Bank to improve the quality of early childhood development and to help map out a national strategy for early childhood education. The key to its success is close collaboration and the commitment of teachers, parents and the community. The unique initiative has a four-pronged approach to improving the quality and value of preschool education: training and mentoring preschool teachers with a specific focus on early childhood development; upgrading preschools to make them child-safe learning environments; developing vital childhood resources for children, teachers and parents; and building a national early


Best Practices

childhood development strategy to address the needs of all children. Two intensive training sessions have already taken place and four preschools have been revamped to incorporate brightly colored classrooms and child-friendly play areas. Summer activities have been organized to promote creativity, develop motor skills and strengthen self-esteem. Preschoolers, their teachers and parents at the ANERA preschools in Nablus, Ramallah, Bethlehem and East Jerusalem will participate in sessions of music, drama, dance, photography, fine art, storytelling and handicrafts. ANERA also plans to incorporate arts education and the creation and production of child-appropriate reading materials into the program.

Linking nature conservation with community Development


well as challenges for protecting the regions fragile ecology. with a network of more than 270 trained Tibetan village volunteers known as pendebas, the Pendeba Society prepares local people to manage tourism so that it minimizes harm to the environment and benefits communities. In 2010, the Pendeba Society began a new eco-tourism training program for pendebas, 80 percent of whom are women. Training includes hands-on skills in comprehensive Tibetan-style hospitality such as food preparation and guesthouse design, and involves site visits to learn from successes and challenges in yunnan Province. Pendebas learn skills to: Promote conservation concepts and minimize the harm of tourism; Improve health, hygiene and sanitation; and Develop and manage eco-tourism businesses, including nature guide services, guest houses, restaurants, tea-houses and handicrafts. New pendeba-run eco-tourism businesses aim to create a sustainable income base for pendeba volunteers and their villages. The Pendeba Society, founded by Tsering Norbu, an alumnus of the future generations graduate School (, is the first nonprofit organization to be registered in Shigatse Prefecture and the second non-profit organization ever to be registered outside of lhasa. Norbu initiated the Pendeba Society as part of his community practicum project while enrolled in future generations masters degree program in applied community change and conservation. The Pendeba Society ( is the local adaptation of a program begun in 1994 by future generations, which addressed the growing need for local participation in the Everest protected area. Early training programs began meeting a local demand for basic skills in primary health. Today, this model for local stewardship also spreads throughout the 46 million acre four great Rivers region in southeastern Tibet, where new, local pendeba societies are being formed with support from future generations China ( MD

continued from page 25

and mothers-in-law because they are earning income. Consequently, these empowered women play a greater role in decisions: changing customs revolving around nutrition, health and childrens education.

World Vision
Best Practice Award for Post-Harvest Storage and Value Chain Development More than 3 million farm families live in the major cowpea producing regions of west and Central Africa. These farmers need a safe, simple and effective cowpea storage

Pendeba society

Qomolangma (everest) national nature Preserve, shigatse Prefecture, tibet Autonomous region of china

technology. Hermetic, triple-layer bag storage for cowpea has been recognized as an effective technique for nearly twenty years. Triple-layer bag storage is a flexible technique that adapts to any scale: from women who grow a few kilograms for home use to farmers who may have a large quantity to sell in exceptionally good crop years. It is a locally produced technology that is low-cost, effective and easy to use. MD

childrens circus
continued from page 16

canada Fund for Local initiatives (ciDA) Future generations Mulago Foundation The Project
Across the Qomolangma (Everest) National Nature Preserve in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China (TAR), more than 80,000 ethnic Tibetans live in widely scattered villages and make their living from the land. These families are also the stewards of the preserve, taking action to stop the killing of wild animals, planting tree nurseries and operating a trash service for the Everest base camp. Community stewardship has decreased deforestation by 80 percent and revived the populations of endangered species such as the snow leopard and blue sheep. Today, increasing numbers of tourists create opportunities for income generation as

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eight years of capacity building, AECC is now in the process of taking over more and more of the responsibilities. With its 40 national staff, including two mobile teams of professional adult artists, AECC tours and performs throughout the country during the school year. In addition to its traditional circus training, MMCCs activities now include a childrens radio show, a new magazine called Zange Tafrih (Entertainment Time), a national juggling contest (with 94 participants in 2010) and a shura process, the Islamic tradition of gathering to exchange ideas and make decisions. And MMCC has big plans for its futureover the next 10 years, it plans to add a circus ambulance to travel to regions affected by natural catastrophes, building on its success in working with traumatized children. MMCC/AECC are impressively on the move! MD The views expressed in this article are the personal views of the author and not that of WFP.

beyond beneficieries
continued from page 9

With the expansion of military-led, quick impact programs that view development as a means to stabilization, local and international NGOs assert that these programs undermine both their development efforts and their staff security. They also argue that the short-term payoff of NGOs receiving cash for work undermines the longer-term payoff of fostering an active civil society that is independent from government. They argue that the international community would benefit more from protecting civil society space where they can work independently and hold their government to account on issues of corruption and governance. Local civil society organizations value their independence and ability to serve populations impartially, without regard to political affiliations. But there are no guidelines or communication mechanisms for how military personnel or offices to relate with local civil society organizations doing development. inadvertently undermining local capacity In many countries, local NGOs express dismay and growing tensions with international NGOs who hire away their local staff during crisis periods. Local NGOs make investments to send their staff off for training only to find them wooed away to international NGOs with higher salaries. International NGOs may be running programs at such a large scale that they may not even recognize these impacts on local NGOs, which tend to be smaller. In Iraq, local NGOs confided that while they welcomed partnerships with international NGOs, more often they felt undermined by the influx of outsiders who did not make an effort to reach out to local civil society leaders. A number of country directors from large international NGOs in Afghanistan told me that while they knew other international NGO leaders well, even after 10 years of working in the country they had not met key Afghan civil society leaders. They also were not aware that some Afghan NGOs had more than 100 staff and field offices around the country working on development, democracy, governance and other programs. While outside partners and funds for development efforts are usually still welcome and necessary, the way outsiders relate to insiders requires new approaches. recommendations USAID has a host of new structures, programs and funding mechanisms to help foster greater local ownership and capacity. International NGOs may need to also revamp the way they think about local civil societys growing role in development. The following steps can help: Beware of referring to a lack of local capacity. Vague references to a lack of local capacity are made too often without knowledge of a comparative scale. Lack of capacity compared to what? For example, Afghan civil society is rich compared to other countries of comparative GDP. By whom and by what measure is capacity judged? Measure different forms of capacity (knowledge of local context). International NGOs and for-profit contractors may have more staff with advanced degrees who can develop complex programs and manage finances. And their staff may bring the benefit of having worked in multiple contexts, thus enabling them to see multiple ways of addressing problems of water shortage or disease. But all that may not matter if a program does not sync with the local context. Local development

actors have the benefit of knowing the history, languages, cultures, religious beliefs and political, economic and social nuances that are invisible to internationals. Donors and international NGOs should place more value on these forms of capacity. Listen to diverse local voices. Needs assessment and conflict assessment processes both suffer from time pressures and overconfidence that interviewing key local informants can substitute for a longer, more thorough process of listening to diverse local voices. But studies by CDA Collaborative Learning Project and by the Feinstein International Center, for example, conclude that locals end up resenting internationals for spending funds and running programs that are out of sync with local priorities and needs. Map diverse local development efforts. International NGOs can do better at identifying development efforts already underway. These local development efforts may have a wealth of insight to share about what has and has not been tried or what might not work in the local context. Leaders of these local efforts often have important insights but no channel to share them with international development efforts in their country. MD

country-led development
continued from page 10

in April, Sheila herrling, the vice president for policy at the U.S. governments Millennium Challenge Corporation, opined that her group could do a better job involving civil society by extending consultation and oversight from the design to the implementation period as well. But why just the MCC? Why couldnt the U.S. government, including USAID, adapt such a mechanism for its bilateral aid activities and use it as a way to promote accountability and steadily improve local government systems? Unfortunately, at a recent meeting with InterAction members, USAID officials made it clear that formal consultation with civil society was not mandatory for the country development cooperation strategies now being drafted and would not be audited. Create a real policy dialogue with U.S. civil society about country ownership. As a recent review panel for the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD/DAC) noted, there does not appear to be any specific U.S. government policy framework for dialogue with U.S. NGOs. This is remarkable given these organizations long involvement in implementing the governments humanitarian and development programs, including valuable experience in country ownership and institutional development approaches. In addition, these groups bring hundreds of millions of dollars of additional resources in private donations (over $12 billion in 2009 according to the hudson Institutes latest report) and many of them have important grassroots constituencies committed to political support for a strong U.S. foreign aid budget. Two potential fora for such a dialogue come to mind: the Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid and the Global Development Council, the latter announced in the administrations Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development. Unfortunately, the former is moribund and the latter still on the drawing board. Whatever the mechanism, why not engage in a real dialogue with U.S.-based NGO partners focusing on country ownership, the enabling environment and the best approaches to institutional development for both developing governments and local civil society organizations? This might go a long way in addressing the obstacles to country ownership and promote better results for the poor we seek to help in our aid programs. MD

Country Directors*
The Peace Corps is looking for senior-level executives with exceptional leadership skills, international development experience (including working overseas), administrative and financial management expertise, and strong cross-cultural experience to serve as Country Directors. CDs are the senior Peace Corps representative in a country and are responsible for the leadership and direction of all aspects of the Peace Corps program: administration, Volunteer support, representation, programming and training, and safety and security. Candidates should have experience managing a program or business of comparable size to a Peace Corps country program (15 to 50 staff, 50 to 250 Volunteers, and an operating budget of $900,000 to $4 million), as well as experience managing/ supporting staff and/or volunteers. The salary range for these positions is $96,064 to $150,913.

Are you looking to hire experienced development and humanitarian professionals? The candidates youre looking for read Monday Developments! Send your classified position announcements to Zoe Plaugher at or visit us online at

Director of Program and Training*

The Peace Corps is looking for senior-level managers with exceptional skills to supervise staff and design and manage international development programs in a variety of fields such as health, education, small business development, and agriculture/environment. International cross-cultural and supervisory experience are required (including 1 year working overseas). DPTs manage, advise, and develop professional program and training staff to support Peace Corps Volunteers. DPTs oversee the planning, analysis, implementation, and monitoring of programs and training activities, as well as support staff and Volunteers to meet the expectations of project partners. Candidates should have work experience managing an international development program or business and managing/supporting staff, including one year of performing supervisory functions. The salary range for these positions is $61,759 to $138,137.

Administrative Officers*
The Peace Corps is looking for mid to senior-level managers with extensive administrative and financial experience, international and crosscultural experience, and exceptional management and leadership skills to serve overseas as Administrative Officers. International cross-cultural and supervisory experience are required (including 1 year working overseas). AOs ensure the effective management of country operations in support of 15 to 50 staff and 50 to 250 Volunteers. Critical services which the AO provides include direction of the administrative unit, as well as financial analysis and policy implementation. Candidates should have work experience managing a program or business and managing/ supporting staff, including one year of performing supervisory functions. The salary range for these positions is $61,759 to $138,137.

All CDs, DPTs and AOs must be U.S. citizens and must not have been associated with intelligence activities. Peace Corps seeks candidates that are reflective of the diversity of Peace Corps and its Volunteers. Employees are appointed for a 30-month tour and may be granted a second tour for a maximum of five years (60 months) with the agency. Peace Corps accepts applications for these positions throughout the year. You may apply on-line through the website, You must complete the on-line application in order to be considered for a position; resumes are supplemental. If you have any questions, please e-mail for AO and DPT positions and for CD positions.

continued from page 20

leaders would bolster FGM/C abandonment Traditional and religious leaders play a critical role in FGM/C abandonment because they can influence decisions within families and build consensus within communities. When they oppose the practice, it lends credibility to ending it, especially since many of their followers erroneously believe that FGM/C is a religious obligation. In many places, clarifying that the practice has no religious basis has been a significant step in opening minds and fostering long-term behavioral change. Banning medical acceptance of FGM/C To avoid the high risks of unskilled traditional operations, families increasingly ask doctors and other trained health professionals to conduct the procedures. This medical acceptance of FGM/C wrongly legitimizes the practice as medically sound, safe and beneficial for girls and womens health, even though it willfully damages healthy

organs for non-therapeutic reasons and does not reduce or address related long-term complications, including sexual, psychological and obstetrical complicationseven when done by physicians. Effective media campaigns can be powerful deterrents to FGM/C practice Ending the practice of FGM/C requires confronting cultural traditions, which, in some countries, can be more powerful than governments in shaping peoples identities, their perceived role in society and their sense of dignity. Just as culture can be more powerful than the state, public opinion can sometimes be more powerful than laws. hence, the role of the media is critical in accelerating change and eliminating FGM/C. Sources such as television, radio, Internet, print publications, billboard messages, soap operas and talk shows are effective means to stimulate interest and public dialogue on the issue. Strategic media campaigns can lead communities and individuals to abandon the practice by helping them become fully aware of their rights and understand that FGM/C is harmful to the health of women and children. MD

Investing in Common Solutions

FORUM 201 1

Wal te Con r E. Wa s v Was ention C hington hing ton, enter D.C .


ust 1


Forum sessions feature current and emerging international issues, compelling speakers and interactive workshops.

planned topics include:

Operating in a new political and financial environment private and public funding landscape Impact of the 2011 & 2012 u.S. foreign aid budget the professionalization of humanitarian work relief to development transition Security and staff care the impact of social media NGO accountability/transparency Data sharing & NGO coordination Communications on a shoestring

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To learn more, please contact: Landon Tucker Aid and Development Fleet Sales Account Manager Ford Export and Global Growth Operations

Based on RDA Groups GQRS cumulative survey at three months of service in three surveys of 2009 Ford and competitive owners conducted 9/08-5/09. Based on analysis of data published by EPA (11/09). 3Star ratings are part of the U.S. Department of Transportations program (