Global south development_magazine_april_2012
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×
 

Global south development_magazine_april_2012

on

  • 1,302 views

 

Statistics

Views

Total Views
1,302
Views on SlideShare
1,302
Embed Views
0

Actions

Likes
0
Downloads
2
Comments
0

0 Embeds 0

No embeds

Accessibility

Upload Details

Uploaded via as Adobe PDF

Usage Rights

© All Rights Reserved

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Processing…
Post Comment
Edit your comment

Global south development_magazine_april_2012 Global south development_magazine_april_2012 Document Transcript

  • GLOBAL SOUTH Development Magazine#9, April 201 2, A development quarterly,ISSN: 1 799-0769, www.silcreation.org WAR & PEACE IN CONGO
  • Global South Development Magazine is a quarterly magazinepublished by Silver Lining Creation, Finland. The magazine coversa wide range of developmental issues primarily of the developingworld and is an initiative of freelance writers and developmentactivists from different parts of the world.Editor-in-ChiefManoj Kr Bhusalmanoj.bhusal@silcreation.orgAssistant EditorsIoulia FentonLawin Khalil Mustafa Marketing Manager Dinesh Poudel (dinesh.poudel@silcreation.org)Regional EditorsLingson Adam (East Africa) PromotersKhalid Hussain (South Asia) Saila Ohranen (saila.ohranen@silcreation.org)Noah Marwil (Latin America) Sudip Joshi (sudip.joshi@silcreation.org)Catriona Knapman (The Middle East) Suraj Chand (suraj.chand@silcreation.org)Special Correspondents Published ByCarolynn Look (Country Profiles) Silver Lining Creation RY-FinlandMary Namusoke (Women’s issues in Africa) Email: globalsouth@silcreatioin.orgRoxanne Irani (Global environmental issues) info@silcreation.orgSandeep Srivastava (Climate change) http://www.silcreation.orgAliza Amlani (Global Health) ISSN 1799-0769Deanna Morris (Livelihood & Global Economic Affairs) Subscribe free to Global South DevelopmentAparna S Patankar (Global Education) Magazine at www.silcreation.orgScott Ruddick (Development Aid & Conflict States)Hriday Sarma (South-to-South Development Cooperation) Read GSDM BlogIrene Nyambura Mwangi (Development & Democracy in Africa) http://globalsouthdevelopment.wordpress.com/Country CorrespondentsVictoria Lucy Peel Yates (Argentina)Tithe Farhana (Bangladesh)Dr. Lykke E. Andersen (Bolivia)Marita Haug (Brazil)James Belgrave (Burundi)Gareth Mace (Cambodia)Meerim Shakirova (Central Asia)Fady Salah (Egypt)Emily Cavan Lynch (DR Congo)Dr.P.V.Ravichandiran (India)Alphonce Gari (Kenya)Samuel Adikpe (Nigeria)Ricardo Morel (Peru)Mohamud Hassan (Somalia) Follow us on FacebookMoses C Masami (Tanzania)Kimbowa Richard (Uganda) Facebook.com/GlobalSouthJasen Mphepo (Zimbabwe)Guest contributors for this issueAnnie BaconKaitlyn PhillipsZack WettsteinNarayan BhattaInnocent KazembeDavid Meagher
  • Technology will fixcorruption! Contents Global South Development Magazine, Founded in 2010Dear Editor, April 201 2 ISSUE 9 WWW.SILCREATION.ORG In the January issue of your magazine, I hadthe chance to read an article about anti-corruption campaigns in India. I think a lotneeds to be done in order to stamp outcorruption from the country, but we should notforget that the so called anti-corruptioncampaigns have thier own agendas too. Theyseem to be hungry of media limelight andattention, and do not digest criticisms easily.Corruption needs something more than massprotests and rallies. Without restructuring statemechanisms, the dream of eliminatingcorruption wont come true. Laws and moraleducation might be useful, but technology thatensures transparency is a must!Madhavi, Pune-India Having passed through decades of conflict, instability and political turmoil, has peace prevailed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo? A special report on the DRC. 4 South in the Frame 25 US Peace Corps A photo presentation of In The Northern Triangle – Pencils of Promise A shift from development 5 News Analysis to militarisation? Global South 27 Public Health: 7 Argentina Bangladeshs fight to the Latin American pioneer restore childhood sight in gender and sexual 29 Gender & equality 21 Health Development Doctor in your pocket – the Improving womens new era of mobile health! participation: A challenge for Nepal 23 Voluntarism 31 Global South in the Mutually Beneficial news: global south in Impacts of International global media Volunteers in Latin 32 Final remarks from America the editor: When things fall apartFailed states? By Which functioning states are labelled as that might be successful within theirMeasures? failed states, but what about the territories, but are largely reponsible states that export weapons and for making peoples life measurableDear Editor, orchestrate vicious wars overseas? abroad. This would make them a I read the January issue of Global What about the states that are crazy little more responsible, if at all.South Development Magazine with in their consumer habits and responsible for permanently Suvi, Helsinki- Finlandgreat interest. The cover story damaging the environment?apprently was very interesting.However, there could have been a twoI categoriesworld should have think the (Dear readers, please send your of failed states. The comments, suggestions and quiries bycritical remark on the idea of failed first catagory is alaredy available, email at globalsouth@silcreation. orgstates categorization. I am aware the second one should include states - Editor)that war trodden, poor, non-
  • South in the Frame Pencils of PromiseIn Laos, an entire school’s studentpopulation rushes outside at thenews and reception of new schoolsupplies and personal hygeineaccessories. From left to right: Little girl in Non Kihow, Laos, plants herself on the classroom floor with her new notepad; cheeky primary school student in Phayong, Laos, during a nutrition lesson on making healthy food snacks; girl at a construction planning meeting in Lizarco, outside of Matagalpa, Pencils of Promise is a New York-based NGO that aims to Nicaragua; bread feast after a empower youth by building classrooms, schools, and sustainable Community Engagement Workshop in education resources for communities without proper access to these Santa Catarina, Guatemala. Photo basic elements. www.pencilsofpromise.org courtesy: Pencils of Promise
  • News Analysis Global SouthPHILIPPINES: OMG! Eat-your-vegetables campaignBANGKOK, March 2012 measurement of chronicCelebrities are working with the malnutrition.Philippines government in a The Philippines’ producerecently launched nationwide consumption of 60kg per personmedia campaign to lift the per year in 2007 was one of theconsumption of fresh produce lowest in Asia, according to theand fight malnutrition among World Health Organizationyoung people. (WHO). The name of the project, ‘Oh WHO recommends a dailyMy Gulay!’ (OMG!) (‘oh my intake of 400g of vegetables andvegetables’ in the local Tagalog fruits per person (150kg perlanguage) plays off the year) to help prevent vitamin andshorthand exclamation mineral deficiencies as well ascommonly interspersed in text heart disease, some cancers,messages sent via mobile phones diabetes and obesity. An- ‘OMG’ for ‘oh my god’ - and estimated 1.7 million (2.8resonates widely in a country percent) of deaths every yearwhere more than one billion text worldwide are linked tomessages are sent daily. insufficient vegetable and fruit Local celebrities in dance, consumption, according to themusic and television are featured health agency.in print and on television, posing The celebrity advocacy ofwith their favourite vegetables. OMG! follows a 2011 “Role models are efficient for government programme to set upchildren, and targeting children produce gardens in all 42,000is both boosting immediate schools by providing tools, seedsconsumption and initiating a and training.mindset change about vegetables “There is no space too little toand fruits,” explained the farm. Space-friendly techniquesfounder of the campaign, Ed allow communities and families YANGON, Myanmar- Aung San Suu Kyi, theAngara, a parliamentarian from to produce a lot, even on a tiny democracy advocate silenced for two decades bythe capital region of Metro piece of concrete,” said Holmer. Myanmar’s generals with house arrests and overturnedManila. Container vegetable and fruit elections, assumed a new role in her country’s political “We want to make vegetables production - for example, transition on 2 April 2012, winning a seat in Parliamentand fruits sexy - too many growing a plant in a plastic water to make the remarkable shift from dissident toFilipinos prefer to buy meat bottle - is widely used in cities lawmaker.rather than vegetables and fruits throughout the Philippines andto complement their rice-based other countries.diet,” said Robert Holmer, “Vegetables and fruits can beregional director for East and more expensive than fish in theSoutheast Asia of the World Philippines, and their pricesVegetable Centre (AVRDC), a fluctuate a lot,” said Sheila AcloTaiwan-headquartered NGO de Lima, a training officer withpreviously known as the Asian AVRDC. “Thanks to theseVegetable Research [space-friendly] methods,Development Centre, which is underprivileged families cansupporting the campaign. produce for themselves, and According to the most recent their vegetable and fruitgovernment national nutrition consumption is resilient tosurvey in 2008, chronic weather and food crises.” Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, a 1991 Nobel Peace laureatemalnutrition (a shortage of Increasing produce consumption and the face of Myanmar’s democracy movement, willintake of vitamins and nutrients) is key to reducing the hold a public office for the first time. But despite heramong children is directly malnutrition-related illnesses global prominence, she will be joining a Parliament thatrelated to the country’s low that affect some 200 million is still overwhelmingly controlled by the military-vegetable and fruit consumption. children worldwide according to backed ruling party. An estimated 29 percent of the Paris-based French A nominally civilian government took power onechildren under five years old and Agricultural Research for year ago after years of oppressive military rule and33 percent of children younger Development Centre (CIRAD). introduced political changes it hoped would persuadethan 10 years were too short for (News coutesy IRIN) Western nations to end economic sanctions. (withtheir age groups, which is one agencies)
  • News Analysis Global South Number of executions around ISRAEL: the world soared last year, with Deportation countries such as Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia resorting to looms for South the death penalty more often than in the past Sudan migrants TEL AVIV, March 2012 - Asylum- China executed more people seekers from South Sudan living in than the rest of the world put Israel have until 31 March to return together “home” or face deportation, but some have asked to stay, saying conditions are The United States was the only not yet conducive for their safe return. According to Israeli Interior Minister country in the Americas and Sabine Haddad, South Sudan nationals the only member of the Group living in Israel will no longer be given of Eight leading economies to protected status after the deadline. Until execute prisoners in 2011, then, he added, they will be offeredDeath penalty something Shetty described as "very shameful." voluntary deportation and around US$1,300.2011: Alarming But Natalina, a 46-year-old single mother of three who arrived in Israel sixlevels of Belarus was the only country in Europe to carry out years ago after spending 12 years is Cairo, said she would find it difficult to leave. "I dont want to take [the children]executions executions in 2011 told the Reuters news agency, adding back because I know their lives will change dramatically," she told IRIN. "I have no one in Sudan, I know no oneAmnesty International says executions that the downside was that "a few there - no family, nothing. I havent beenrose by 78 per cent worldwide and by countries continue to practice it in large there in 18 years, I am a single Mum and50 per cent in the Middle East last year. numbers." I cannot afford to pay for medical The number of executions around the At least 1,923 people are known to treatment and education in Southworld soared last year, with countries have been sentenced to death in 63 Sudan."such as Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia countries in 2011, down from 2,024 in Natalina, whose three children agedresorting to the death penalty more 2010, Amnestys report said. At least 7, 9 and 15 are enrolled in Israelioften than in the past, rights group 18,750 people were under sentence of schools, said she and some 700 otherAmnesty International has said in a new death worldwide at the end of 2011, South Sudanese asylum-seekers receivedreport. including 8,300 in Pakistan, it said. notice from the Ministry of Interior three The group said on Tuesday that at After China, most executions last year months ago, asking them to report forleast 676 people were executed in 20 were carried out in Iran, where at least repatriation by 31 March 2012 or becountries in 2011 compared with 527 360 people were put to death compared declared illegal aliens in Israel.executions in 23 countries in 2010, a 78 with at least 252 in 2010, Saudi Arabia "I do not wish to see my childrenper cent increase. (at least 82 executions in 2011 suffer. Weve had meetings with the Executions in the Middle East rose compared with at least 27 in 2010), and Israeli government but they will not giveby almost 50 per cent last year to 558, Iraq (at least 68 executions compared us answers. If they decide to do thisthe group said. with at least one), Amnesty said. (send asylum-seekers back) by 31 Methods of execution used around They were followed by the United March, I will disappear, I cannot gothe world included beheading, hanging, States, with 43 executions in 2011 down back," said Natalina, a prominent leaderlethal injection and shooting. from 46 a year earlier, and Yemen, at of the small community of SouthHowever, Amnesty said China executed least 41 executions in 2011 down from Sudanese in Israel.more people than the rest of the world 62 officially reported in 2010. The Israeli authorities, in a Januaryput together. Data on the death penalty The United States was the only letter circulated among the Southin China is a state secret, and Amnesty country in the Americas and the only Sudanese community, said the new stateInternational no longer publishes a member of the Group of Eight leading was safe.figure for Chinese executions, but it economies to execute prisoners in 2011, "We are not asking to stay forever, but tosaid they were in the thousands. something Shetty described as "very be given enough time until the new stateSalil Shetty, Amnestys secretary- shameful." recovers somewhat," Simon,a Southgeneral, said that when Amnesty was Belarus was the only country in Sudanese community leader who left hislaunched in 1961 only nine countries Europe to carry out executions in 2011 country 17 years ago, explained. "I knowhad abolished the death penalty for all when it put two people to death. No of many repatriated communitycrimes, whereas last year only 20 executions were recorded in Japan last members who were forced to flee againcountries carried out executions. year, for the first time in 19 years. to the north, to Kenya or Uganda. South"Its a very important success story," he (Source Amnesty International and Sudan is only seven months old and still Agencies) a failed state." (Source IRIN)
  • LGBT Latin AmericaArgentina: the LatinAmerican pioneer in genderand sexual equality B Y VICTORIA PEEL YATES In ArgentinaFor a country synonymous with a equality.culture of machismo, gauchos Argentina was the first (and to date reported in Chile and Brazil. Despite(cowboys) and a dance deeply rooted in the only) Latin American country to the growing acceptance for LGBTtraditional male-female dominant- legalise gay marriage and adoptions, public officials in countries such assubmissive roles, the tango, Argentina with a law that was passed in 2010, Colombia (where the appointment ofis surprisingly leading the way for joining just a handful of countries that Tatiana Pineros, a transgender woman,gender and sexual equality in Latin recognise gay marriage. It has some of to head of Bogota’s social welfareAmerica. the most progressive laws promoting agency was received with little Amid the recent drama unfolding in gender and sexual rights in the entire opposition from the public), others,the Argentinean political arena, namely region. In Chile, Bolivia, Peru, such as Bolivia, do not even have lawsthe dispute with Britain over the Paraguay and Venezuela there are no in place to prevent discrimination basedFalklands/Malvinas (among other laws that recognise or grant rights to on sexuality. The continent seems to bethings), two bills have been quietly same sex couples. Brazil, Uruguay, divided, with conservative religious andmaking their way through Congress, Ecuador and Colombia have followed political views clashing with supportersalmost unnoticed. The first was passed in Argentina’s footsteps by passing laws of LGBT civil rights.on 14th March 2012, and marked a that recognise and grant rights to samehuge breakthrough for women’s rights sex couples. However, despite strongin Latin America. The bill legalised lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgenderabortions for all victims of rape, a (LGBT) civil rights movements, "Argentina was the first (and tomodification to an existing law that homophobia is rife across the continent, date the only) Latin Americanallowed abortion only if the rape victim even in those countries where same sex country to legalise gay marriagewas mentally disabled. The second bill couples are recognised. and adoptions, with a law thatis the ‘Ley de Identidad de Géneros’ This is manifested in violent attacks was passed in 2010, joining just a(Gender Identity Law), which if passed and murders of LGBT people; the most handful of countries thatwill allow Argentinean citizens to extreme example is in Ecuador, where recognise gay marriage. It haschange their name and gender on their young women are sent to horrific some of the most progressive lawsnational identity cards. If passed, it will “clinics” to be “cured” of being promoting gender and sexualreaffirm Argentina’s status as the Latin lesbians. High numbers of homophobic rights in the entire region."American leader in gender and sexual attacks and homicides have also been
  • LGBT Latin America parties has had a profound impact on preventing the passing of laws that would recognise gay marriage. This has Global hunger most notably taken place in Chile, where the Christian Democrat party has fight depends on blocked several bills to recognise same sex couples. In Argentina, such parties better water use- do not exist, limiting the power of the Church within Congress. says U.N. chief Another reason may be Argentina’s high level of transnational legalism, referring to the ease with which Argentina imports international norms and adopts them domestically. While this is high throughout Latin America, Argentina is undoubtedly the regional leader (incidentally, the US has a very low level of transnational legalism). This means that proponents of LGBT Two transgender partygoers pose for photos at the civil rights have borrowed heavily from The world will only be able to feed a Gay Pride March in Buenos Aires. On the LGBT rights activists around the world, rapidly growing population if it previous page the authors friends posing with a often replicating their arguments improves the use of water, the "most reveler at the Gay Pride March in Buenos Aires verbatim. This is not to say that the critical finite resource", the head of LGBT rights movement in Argentina the United Nations said on the WorldThis is no less true in Argentina. lacks domestic resources. The agenda Water Day.However, the difference in Argentina is of the LGBT movement was cast as part "Unless we increase our capacitythat, despite the obstacles faced, LGBT of the country’s broader agenda on to use water wisely in agriculture, wecivil rights are advancing, seemingly behalf of feminism, gender, will fail to end hunger and we willwith support from the wider public. So reproduction, health, and sexuality, open the door to a range of other ills,why, despite the dominance of which have been part ofArgentina’s including drought, famine andrelatively progressive leftist legislative agenda for decades. They political instability," U.N. Secretarygovernments dominating the Latin used innovative strategies, such as General Ban Ki-moon said in aAmerican political arena, is Argentina encouraging gay couples to request statement.unique in its efforts to improve gender marriage licences, and when these Global food output must doubleand sexual equality? The strong LGBT requests are refused, to challenge the from 2005-2007 levels in developingcivil rights movement and high levels refusal on constitutional grounds. countries and rise 70 percent inof urbanisation and education only go Popular support for the cause was developed nations to feed a worldso far in explaining the phenomenon, probably also won due to the actions of population expected to rise to 9since these are also found in other Latin the Church, whose polarizing rhetoric billion in 2050 from about 7 billionAmerican countries. became increasingly and openly now, according to U.N. estimates. There are several possible factors discriminatory towards the LGBT While an average human drinks 2that may contribute to Argentina’s avant population. to 4 litres of water every day, it takesgarde approach to gender and sexual Ultimately, the final say lies with 2,000 to 5,000 litres of water toequality. The first is that, despite being President Fernandez, who took the risk produce one persons daily food, thea predominantly Catholic country, of confronting the Church and passing U.N. Food and Agricultureattendance within the Catholic Church, the controversial law. There are a Organization (FAO) reports.In manyat roughly 22%, is relatively low myriad of reasons that she may have parts of the world, the pace ofcompared with its Latin American chosen to do so, both domestic and agricultural production growth hascounterparts, as well as with the US. foreign, ranging from further splitting been slowing while water scarcity isThis is significant because the Catholic an already fragmented opposition to increasing and climate change isChurch, in Argentina as elsewhere in advancing Argentina’s position as the exacerbating risk and unpredictabilityLatin America, has been strongly Latin American vanguard of gender and for farmers, especially poor ones, Banopposed to the legalisation of gay sexual rights. said.marriage. Moreover, the Evangelical It is impossible to pinpoint one Two-thirds of the worldspopulation, at just 2%, is tiny, reason that distinguishes Argentina population could be living undercompared to a growing number of from other countries in the region; water stressed conditions by 2025, thefollowers in Mexico and Brazil and a many have similar histories of military FAO said.huge following in the US. This means dictatorships, and financial and political To ensure sustainable food andthat despite fierce opposition to gay crises. But in Argentina, a particular set water security for everyone, the worldmarriage, the Evangelical Church has of socio-political factors seems to have must boost investments in people,very little influence. combined to make it the regional leader infrastructure, production and A second key factor may be the in progressive social policies. The rest education as well as improve waterseparation of church and party; most of the region may have some way to go, management, FAOs Director Generalcountries in the region separate church but it is likely that sooner or later they Jose Graziano da Silva said. (Byand state, but this may not be enough. will follow suit. Svetlana Kovalyova for Alertnet)Strong opposition from Christian
  • Cover Story GSDM April 201 2WAR& PEACEIN TheDemocratic Republicof the Congo The Democratic Republic of the Congo is rebel movements threatened to overtake parts genocide of the civilian Tutsi minority in not officially at war, but for decades the of the country in 1964 and in 1977–78, Rwanda. According to some estimates, ordinary Congolese havent experienced Western powers intervened with military around 800,000 people were killed in a few an essence of peace either. After years of support. Even during the last months of months . bloodshed and devastation, the DRC is Mobutu’s reign in 1997, France allegedly The RPA and its leader Major Colonel staggering towards normalcy, but after organized the hiring of foreign mercenaries in Paul Kagame managed to conquer Kigali and order to avoid the dictator’s fall from power. oust the Hutu government. Fearing Tutsi brief intervals the country finds itself In the 1970s, Mobutu and his cronies revenge, around 1.2 million Hutu, including rebound into violent conflicts again and seriously started to lay their hands on the some 40,000 of the militia responsible for again. This edition of Global South country’s wealth. In a process called the genocide, fled to the North and South Development Magazine tries to analyse ‘Zairianization’, key economic sectors were Kivu provinces in neighboring Zaire. At this some of the issues that have been put under direct state control Mobutu’s point, Mobutu saw an opportunity to regain responsible for prolonging conflict and kleptocratic regime was coupled with poor the initiative. He agreed to host the refugees unrest in the DRC. The first section will growth rates and a mounting public external on Congolese soil and thereby became a give a historical timeline of the DRC debt. International donor pressure and the end partner to international aid organizations. The followed by an account of our DRC of the Cold War finally forced Mobutu to move also allowed him to regain some correspondent from the field. This abandon one-party rule in 1990. He also respectability, at least in the eyes of the became more marginalized as the government French, who once again embraced him. editions interview section and the in Kinshasa assumed some of his former At the same time, Mobutu used the inflow editors column have been dedicated to powers. But Mobutu would make an of Hutu to instigate hostilities towards the the DRC issue as well. unexpected comeback on the world scene. Banyamulenge, a people ofTutsi origin who had lived in eastern Congo for generations. The DRC: A The Rwanda Genocide and the War Against Mobutu: 1994–97 To understand the insurgency against The parliament even decided that the Banyamulenge should lose their citizenship. In October 1996, the governor of South Kivu historical Timeline earlier developmentstwo neighboring groups, Mobutu in 1996, it is necessary to recount in Rwanda. Rwanda’s major ethnic ordered the Banyamulenge to leave their homes within a few days. In desperation, they turned to their Tutsi cousins in Rwanda for Congo gained independence from Belgium the Hutu and the Tutsi, had fought a help. in 1960 but immediately fell into a state of smallscale civil war since 1990 when an army The new rulers in Rwanda had an even chaos and disintegration. In 1965, Colonel ofTutsi rebels (RPA), hosted and supported greater grievance on their hands. The Hutu Joseph Mobutu seized power through a coup by Uganda, invaded the country. The militia used the refugee camps in Kivu as a quietly approved by the Western powers, and dramatic turning point happened in 1994 base for attacks against the Tutsi-dominated changed the country’s name to Zaire and his when Rwanda’s Hutu president Habyarimana regime in Rwanda. Helped by Mobutu, they own to Mobutu Sese Seko. Zaire became an was killed along with Burundi’s president became a serious threat to the new important pawn in the Cold War as an after their plane was shot down. Although it government’s security. In September 1996, African bastion of anti-communism. This is still not clear who was responsible for this the RPA joined the Banyamulenge and helped Mobutu to hold his gigantic and attack, extremist Hutu groups drew their own attacked the Hutu refugee camps on ethnically divided country together. When conclusions and soon started a systematic Congolese soil.
  • Cover Story War & Peace in DR CongoThey were soon joined by several anti- which in turn led Kabila to marginalize export of natural resources. This phaseMobutu rebel groups and engaged in the Tutsi and Banyamulenge members of involved both foreign and Congolesebattles against government forces. his administration. A more plausible actors. Both phases were greatlyAmong the groups that joined the explanation for this action could be that facilitated by the strong transportationrebellion was a small one called PRP led that Kabila, perhaps inspired by the networks put in place during the firstby Laurent Kabila. Kabila belonged to actions of Mobutu before him, was war.Lumumba’s socialist faction in the desirous of keeping the financial gain Economic data collected by the UN1960s, but after Mobutu’s consolidation from Congo’s resources for himself. illustrate the trends in mineral exports inof power, Kabila and his men withdrew Whatever the explanation, Kabila Uganda and Rwanda for the years 1994to the South Kivu mountains where they dismissed a Rwandan military officer of to 2000 and the trends in mineralformed something of a mini-state. Not Tutsi ethnicity as chief of staff for the production in Rwanda for the years 1995much is known of his activities from Congolese armed forces in July 1998. He to 2000. Uganda had no reported coltanthen on, except that during long periods then went one step further, sending the or niobium production after 1995, whilehe made a living as a gold smuggler. commander and his Tutsi Rwandan exports increased steadily between 1997 From late 1996 he suddenly appeared comrades-in arms back to Rwanda on 27 and 1999. Finally, neither Uganda noras the leader of the newly formed July 1998. This move was an apparent Rwanda has any known diamondAlliance of the Democratic Forces for attempt to pre-empt a coup, and was a production.the Liberation of Congo (ADFL). It was direct cause of the rebellions that took In the case of Zimbabwe, however,therefore suspected that Kabila was place in both Goma and Kinshasa six there is evidence of extensivesomething of a puppet, at least initially – days later. commercial activity in the form of jointsuspicions that were later confirmed in After the failure of these rebellions, ventures and mining concessions.interviews with Rwanda’s strongman troops from Rwanda and Uganda entered Natural resource extraction, particularlyPaul Kagame. The ADFL and their Tutsi Congo in August 1998. Both countries mineral extraction, fuelled thecomrades immediately remarkably stated security reasons for the continuation of the conflict in Congo.successful. Mobutu’s unpaid army, which deployment. The crisis escalated when Rwanda’s military benefited directlyhe had kept weak and divided so that it Rwandan troops, with some support from the war in various ways. The mostwould not pose a threat to himself, from Uganda, attempted to seize significant of these has been themelted away as the Tutsi veterans Kinshasa. At this point, Zimbabwe and extraction of coltan, the price of whichapproached. During their march Angola intervened on behalf of the rose phenomenally between late 1999westwards, some 200,000 Hutu refugees Kabila government, saving it from and late 2000. The UN estimates that thewere allegedly killed, and conquered collapse. Namibia, Chad, and Sudan Rwandan military could have beenmines were looted. would later join Kabila’s allies, although selling coltan for as much as $20 million The old Cold War allies Belgium and Chad and Sudan withdrew relatively per month.This allowed Rwanda tothe United States declared that they early. continue its presence in Congo,would no longer come to Mobutu’s Angola entered the war in Congo protecting individuals and companiesrescue. Only France, frightened by the primarily for security reasons; UNITA who provided minerals. In some cases,prospect of an English-speaking new rebels had been using Congo to launch the Rwandan army went so far as toregime, remained Mobutu’s friend to the attacks on Angola. Namibia had no attack rebel groups in order tobitter end. On 17 May 1997, Kinshasa immediate security concerns, but rather appropriate their coltan supplies. Whilesurrendered to Kabila’s troops and the supported Kabila based on a decision by the Ugandan government was notold dictator fled the country. President Nujoma, which was mostly directly involved in the extraction of symbolic in nature. Zimbabwe does not natural resources, it did not take actionThe Great African War: 1998– share a border with Congo, and did not against military and businessmen whoEarly in his presidency, Kabila showed face any security threats. The reasons for participated in this activity.signs of moving towards one-man rule. its involvement seem to be related to However, several events have improvedHis control over state resources was investments made in Congo by the the chances of ending the conflict inhighly personalized, and public government and Zimbabwean Congo. The first is Joseph Kabila’s riseenterprises were not managed in any businesses. to power after the assassination of hislong-term sense of the word but rather Economic gain appears to have been a father in early 2001. The younger Kabilaused to rapidly generate finances through powerful motivator in this war, and there seems to have shown interest in finding aindiscriminate concession granting is a general consensus that Rwanda’s and solution to the conflict and reinstatingCorruption, patronage, and lack of Uganda’s armies quickly began to shift democracy in Congo. Agreementsaccountability came to characterize their attention to commercial enterprise focusing on the transition of theKabila’s presidency, rather than the and exploitation. The gains from these Congolese government towardshoped for democracy and national activities were used to enrich the democracy have been signed, and foreigndevelopment. governments involved, finance the troops have withdrawn from Congolese Kabila’s alliance with Rwanda and continuation of the war, and pay soil. However, optimism must beUganda was strong immediately individual soldiers. tempered given the persistent fightingfollowing his rise to power. His The plunder of Congo’s natural between rebel groups in the northeasterngovernment contained many Tutsi (both resources took place in two phases. The part of Congo. This has led the UN toRwandan and Congolese) and first involved the wholesale looting of adopt Resolution 1493, which authorizesBanyamulenge in top political and existing stockpiles and took place in the the deployment of UN peacekeepers.military positions. This placed a strain on occupied regions of Congo during the (Timeline text source: Congo: The PrizeKabila’s legitimacy, as most Congolese first year of the second war. The second of Predation by Ola Olsson & Heatherregarded them as foreign occupiers, phase involved systematic extraction and Congdon Forse )
  • Country profile The Democratic Republic of the Congo Official language: French(official), Lingala,Kingwana,Kikongo, Tshiluba Ethnic groups: Over 200 ethnic groups,the majority are Bantu; the four largest tribes – Mongo, Luba, Kongo (all Bantu), and the Mangbetu-Azande (Hamitic) make up about 45 % of the population. By CAROLYNN LOOK Religion: Roman Catholic 50%, Protestant 20%, Kimbanguist 10%, Muslim 10%, other (includes syncreticUntamed jungles, breathtaking nature, and the Congolese to fill with their own people. sects and indigenous beliefs) 10%abundant mineral resources aren’t all that However, a crisis developed that same Human Development Index: 0.286;make up this fierce ‘heart of darkness’. year between the two leaders, when rank 187 out of 187 (last)Whether for its six name changes in the Kasavubu kicked Lumumba out of office. EDUCATIONcourse of a little more than a century, its The appointed chief of staff of the new -Literacy 67.2% (male 80%, femaleimportant role in African relations, or its army, Joseph Mobuto, used the moment of 54.1%)“God-forsaken wilderness” described by tension and the financial support from the ROLE OF WOMENJoseph Conrad, we have all heard of this U.S. and Belgium to stage a coup in 1965, -Widespread rape and other forms ofAfrican giant in one way or another. under the pretext of wanting to maintain sexual violence, often by government Pre-colonial Congo was well known for order. He renamed the nation ‘Democratic security officialsits iron and copper technology, but was Republic of the Congo’, and later, in 1971, -Almost no representation inheavily disrupted by slave trading in its to ‘Republic of Zaire’, where he became governmentEastern regions around the 16th century. By famous for the relative stability he created CHILDRENthe time King Leopold II of Belgium and his promotion ofAfrican nationalism in -Child soldiers recruited by LRAofficially claimed ‘Congo Free State’ at the renaming the cities and rivers. However, he (Ugandan), FDLR (Rwandan), and1885 Conference of Berlin, he had a clear was also known for his extensive violationidea about how much he would gain due to of human rights and corruption, which was FARDC (Congolese)the region’s mineral wealth, and was ready aided by receivingfinancial support from -28.2% under age of 5 are underweightto exploit the local people at all costs. He the U.S. government for his opposition to -Low quality education limits futureestablished intricate infrastructure projects communism in the heat of the Cold War. FREEDOMand a high-yielding rubber industry, whose Inner tensions bubbled up and ended up -Abuses by armed groupshigh output quotas he managed to maintain forcing Mobuto out of the country in 1997, -Unlawful killingsby threatening the local population with after he failed to reform his corrupt -High number of internally displacedbrutal displays of limb chopping. Many policies, and the country took back its people and refugeesdied due to extensive exploitation and name of ‘Democratic Republic of the -Torture and other ill-treatmentdisease, but the King’s actions were soon Congo’. At the same time, the Rwandan -Prevalence of death penaltymet by international protests and led to the conflict spilled over to its big neighbour, -Poor administration of justicehanding over of power to the Belgian with Rwandan and Ugandan militia joining ECONOMYgovernment in 1908. The situation in the the unsuccessful local rebels in their -GDP per capita: $300 (2011 est.)newly named ‘Belgian Congo’ improved overthrow of Mobuto. This strong coalition -Much economic activity still occurs ingreatly, but despite its social and economic of armies was led by Laurence-Désiré the informal sector, and is not reflectedadvancements, the region’s people still Kabila, who, after their successful coup, in GDP datasuffered under the patronizing eye of the hoped the foreign armies would leave due -Mining is the source of most exportwhite man. to his suspicion of their true intentions. income In 1960, the parliament implemented by They, however, began to fight their former -An uncertain legal framework,the Belgian government was for the first ally. The conlfict transformed into a large-time overtaken by the growing nationalist scale war involving nine African nations, corruption, and a lack of transparencymovement led by Patrice Lumumba, known 5.4 million deaths, and five years of in government policy are long-termas the Mouvement National Congolais. He horrific scale violence dubbed as the problems for the mining sector and forwas appointed Prime Minister next to ‘African world war’. Due to efforts of the the economy as a wholeJoseph Kasavubu as the elected President. international community, the conflict ENVIRONMENTThe ‘République de Congo’ achieved its ‘officially’ ended in 2003, but government -Deforestation (overuse of wood forindependence soon thereafter, and it was instability, conflict, and human rights fuel)then that most of the left over Europeans abuses continue to this day, resulting in -Increases in urban populationfled the country, leaving empty one of the worst humanitarian catastrophes -Issues in protection of wildlifeadministrative and military positions for ever seen. -air pollution from vehicles and water pollution from sewage
  • Cover Story War & Peace in DR CongoDRC Diary: A reflection fromthe field! By EMILY LYNCH Emily Cavan Lynch, Global South Development Magazines country correspondent for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, also works for an international relief organization as a public health consultant. In this article Emily shares her everyday experience in the DRCongo and presents a holistic picture of a war troddon society that is struggling to overcome decades long trauma of bloodshed and killings, yet finds it caught up in new forms of unrest and conflict everyday.Since 2009 Eastern Congo has gained conversation from one that ought to bea certain reputation. Through the well- focused on a much broader scope ofintentioned efforts of caring individuals, needs and causing, in some cases, farthe relief of organizations searching for more harm than good (offer a woman The donors of the currenta convenient way to define the muddle who lives on less than $1 a day $60, or a system of international aid areof armed groups and ongoing conflict, $100 sewing machine, to testify that she not think-tanks, philosophersand the perpetual funders need to be was raped and see what you do for theable to measure progress, Congo is these perceived credibility of anyone else who or academics. They aredays known to most in the developed has been raped). program managers, lobbyists,world as the “rape capital of the world.”Last spring the American Journal of The history and instability of Eastern Congo is generally framed as impossibly bureaucrats and politiciansPublic Health dropped the media bomb complicated; and in the need to address with constituencies. Theythat the number of rapes per day in it, international actors are caught need a hat stand. They need aCongo had been grossly underestimatedand was 26 times higher than a previous unprepared. hook. They need it to be a The donors of the current system of sound clip, for goodness sake!UN report had estimated, with at least international aid are not think-tanks,1,152 women raped every day (equal to philosophers or academics. They are48 per hour). program managers, lobbyists, This phrase and associated imagery bureaucrats and politicians withhas been the inspiration behind constituencies. They need a hat stand.international advocacy and fund-raising They need a hook. They need it to be aefforts, documentaries and news sound clip, for goodness sake. into an already devastated country afterfeatures, the allocation of monies for bi- Stretched taught between the last a 50 year absence. Developmentlateral donors, and the program civil war and something currently organizations, on the other hand, comestrategies thus dictated to any number of resembling stability, Eastern Congo is a in when people are no longer fleeing forNGOs funded by them. funders dilemma. their lives, when schools are again open Yet it is an identity neither chosen In the system of international aid, and kids can be given uniforms and(nor in most cases even known) by the implementers usually specialize in one books, when there is some sort ofmajority of people implicated in its of two categories: humanitarian government or civil society frameworkreach. It has also become something that organizations are called for when to enable foreign organizations to docertain organizations have grown to tsunamis wipe out an entire coastline, their work, and when their teams are notdetest, watching it grow from one when 120,000 people flow into a being hijacked, their bases are not beingimportant voice in the dialogue to an refugee camp built for 40,000, when stormed by armed men, and there are nooverfed red herring of the system, hospitals overflow with people starving longer deadly skirmishes between armeddistracting, in their view, the or wounded, and when cholera floods groups.
  • Cover Story War & Peace in DR Congo These two categories of organizations phrases, beginning with “general have entirely different cultures, rules, population.” People said: beneficiary, Unfortunately, political capacities, funding limitations and displaced, sick or ill, vulnerable, victim. resolutions do not always paradigms. They may partner with each other, and though they are often Then I asked for their associations with the word incivique, which means filter down to daily reality, indistinguishable by those not working something like “criminal” or “civil and in this changeable in the sector, they are in no way disturber”. They responded quickly: world a resolution today interchangeable, without inviting disastrous implications (see: Haiti after immoral, delinquent, rapist, assassin, bandit. The first group of words are does not dictate peace the earthquake or Indonesia after the those with which we associate sympathy tomorrow. Eastern Congo is tsunami). and empathy; we usually want to help no longer considered to be Following the political end to the the vulnerable. The second group of in a state war. Rather, it has most recent large-scale conflict in DRC words are about actions and are framed in 2009, the world of international aid in terms of blame and contradiction to a been in a state of low-to- (e.g. the funders) decided that it was norm, encouraging the feeling that moderate level conflict and time to transition from an emergency whereas the first group deserves our instability , with a handful intervention to a framework of long-term development, feeling that Congo was sympathy and help, the second group can be ostracized and blamed. After the of villages pillaged every close enough to a kind of peace that the exercise I raised these points and asked month, consistent waves of priority could change from flying in food the group, but does this mean that the hundreds to thousands of rations and UN helicopters to supporting school fees, funding economic “inciviques” are not part of the population? Because of the diversified people fleeing into the development programs and sorting out nature of the conflict in this region they bush out of fear of attack, whatever residual trauma remained most definitely are, and everyone regular targeted killings or through piece-meal psychosocial immediately pointed that out, laughing skirmishes between armed programs. as they did so at the obvious Unfortunately, political resolutions do contradiction. groups, and one or two not always filter down to daily reality, However it was a good reminder (and incidents of mass rapes and in this changeable world a resolution intended as such) that what we call (and yes, ongoing and today does not dictate peace tomorrow. Eastern Congo is no longer considered to someone influences how we feel towards them, and how we feel towards someone pervasive sexual violence) be in a state of full-out war. Rather, it influences how we act, how far we go to every half year or so. has been in a state of low-to-moderate help them and how much we do to hurt level conflict and instability , with a them. handful of villages pillaged every month, In the Kivu region of Congo – where consistent waves of hundreds to the majority of the conflict and thousands of people fleeing into the instability is concentrated – it is in these bush out of fear of attack, regular names and underlying associations that targeted killings or skirmishes between we get lost. There are so many armed armed groups, and one or two incidents groups and their alliances, histories and of mass rapes (and yes, ongoing and loyalties so complicated that in general pervasive sexual violence) every half conversation we just call them this, year or so. “armed groups,” rather than trying to With informed analysis and an ear to name them all. What we actually mean the ground, there is a certain amount of can range from members of the official predictability. Where there are schools, Congolese army to a successful most are still open. Some branches of the shopkeeper in some village who gives government function a bit. Most of the guns to a group of 19 year olds and tells time you are not hijacked on the road. them to rob a truck on its way to market. Outbreaks of preventable epidemics One of the hindrances of the remain inexcusably frequent but people traditional vocabulary of war is that we are used to their cyclical nature and take talk about civilians and soldiers or armed them in some amount of stride, keening actors as if they are clearly separated for and burying their dead out of sight of groups. The distinction is important (and most who can help, and out of mind of considered a very useful thing) in terms most who should be held accountable. of international humanitarian law; it allows the international community to who suffers the most? agree on (and, more importantly, have a The other day I conducted a focus group basis for prosecution based on) with representatives from various ethnic principles such as that of limiting groups in North Kivu. We started off collateral damage, meaning that a with an exercise about perceptions called military strategy should avoid “quick thinking,” where I asked them to implicating civilians (e.g. if you must tell me the first words that popped into attack a village as part of an offensive their head when I mentioned several strategy, you should not rape, pillage and murder civilians as well, but rather
  • Cover Story War & Peace in DR Congoconcentrate on the destruction ofmilitary targets or armed actors). One of the hindrances of the As a humanitarian it is hard for me toaccept that even this kind of dialogue is traditional vocabulary ofultimately encouraging broad-scale war is that we talk aboutrespect of human rights but of course I civilians and soldiers orcan acknowledge that, within a limitedviewpoint, the intention is there. armed actors as if they are And yet, even with this benefit of the clearly separated groups.doubt, how do you apply such a preciseframework to the definition of conflict Much of Congo is coveredin much of the modern world? In EasternDRC, in addition to formal armies, you with lush, fertile, productivehave a grassroots patchwork of what land; there is no reason thatstarted as well-organized community anyone should go withoutmilitias who are not separate from thecommunities in which they live. They food in this country, noare not just “integrated,” in the common reason that there should beparlance; they are from the community. stunting and micronutrientAnd perhaps they originally organizedthemselves according to ethnicity or deficiencies andplace of origin or mother tongue, so now © Ian Steele/MONUC malnutrition commonall who share that definition (whetherbearing arms or not) are implicated by enough that you can walk things that benefit the population, like through a village and pointthe consequences of their actions. infrastructure. A community who “hosts” (whether The instability in Eastern Congo out all the children sufferingor not they have ever been asked for affects everyone. Access to crops from it.their consent or opinion to do so) an ensures the link to a fundamental levelopposition group is thus often of caloric intake and nutrition that isconsidered a collaborator and may be snapped like sugarcane the moment So who suffers the most? Itfree game for an attack. So in this way people feel forced to flee their villages. is easy to say that it isthe armed groups ping-pong over the netof the population, moving into and out of Even for places stable enough to harvest, children, women and the the presence and passage of armed elderly. Yet in a landscapea community and then taking turns groups often means ongoing forcedattacking the community for hosting the labor, unjust detention or bribery, where fear is endemic,opposition group. frequent violence, and pillaging of goods suffering is also endemic; Of course it is true that in some and food. It may be that the armed trying to live with aplaces in the region people are living in conflict involves the participation ofrelative stability. I do not say comfort or much of the general population (when mentality where violence,health, though this is of course also true there is no clear leader, how can there be hatred and domination arein some areas, but stability. This means, confidence in the scattered leaders the only understood formsfirst of all, that they can get to their around?), but it also demands thefields when they need to in order to plant suffering of nearly the entire population. of survival is no way to liveand to cultivate crops, and that they are So who suffers the most? It is easy to at all.able to stay in one place long enough to say that it is children, women and theharvest them. elderly. Yet in a landscape where fear is Much of Congo is covered with lush, endemic, suffering is also endemic;fertile, productive land; there is no trying to live with a mentality wherereason that anyone should go without violence, hatred and domination are thefood in this country, no reason that there only understood forms of survival is noshould be stunting and micronutrient way to live at all.deficiencies and malnutrition commonenough that you can walk through a Ongoing conflicts and futurevillage and point out all the children prospectssuffering from it. Around the time of the presidential This is not a given condition of life; elections in November, rumors ofthis is a direct result of the choices made crackling instability in DRC flew aroundby those in power. Why should there be the world. The end of all hesitant peacefood insecurity in this region of Congo? was predicted; civil war said to be rightFor the same reason that people are around the corner.dying from diseases like measles, At that time I was part of a ruralmalaria and upper respiratory infections. vaccination campaign in the southernFor the same reason that maternal and province of the country and during theinfant mortality in DRC is among the week leading up to the vote itself a smallhighest in the world: lack of access, lack team of us were progressing slowly upof basic healthcare, lack of investment in
  • Cover Story War & Peace in DR Congo One surprising benefit to a country with such high levels of instability and under-development is that you do see, in precarious measure, a slight protective effect on the ecosystem. Congos burden is its wealth; its wealth is its burden. In its purgatorial state – not at war, yet hardly at peace - the non-profit world still leans towards a the lower Congo river in boats, hats, and step up to the plates of their humanitarian inclination; vaccinating hundreds of children during promises. But, in truth, none of these hopes have few others are willing to, or the day in churches and shaded courtyards and camping each night in the materialized. have the capacity to deal mud yards of tiny health centers. Traveling throughout North and South with the still frequent That week we also shared the river Kivu these days you get the most profound sense - not that it is being used reality of armed robberies with puttering boats transporting voting boxes, election officials and the same as a proxy battlefield for competing and violent attacks on their gentian violet dye that we used to mark interests (as might be presumed from the houses, vehicles and the pinkie fingers of all of the children press) but rather that it has been largely abandoned. Controlled, oppressed, stifled projects. who had been vaccinated already. and forgotten. In the North, baboons play Exhausted in my tent at night I had on the roofs of the abandoned buildings multiple confused dreams about putting This is not a poor country; used needles into the ballot boxes instead at what used to be the entrance and it is a country where a very of election papers, and of accusations of stopover to Virunga National Park. Guards still lift the gate for vehicles to few people in power refuse fraud by election observers accusing us of marking the fingers of babies who pass through but now, as you drive past to direct the wealth of the were not even eligible for school, let them and wave, it is not with the country to those who by alone for voting. expectation of seeing mountain gorillas; it is instead with worry about seeing their birthright own it. In the end, the elections passed by armed guerillas. with a sort of peace truce, if not actually But these sentiments have all been a set of comprehensive results. Since that negative. What else of Congo these days? time the international community has One surprising benefit to a country with mumbled and grumbled and even such high levels of instability and under- published various official objections to development is that you do see, in dissociate themselves from what precarious measure, a slight protective everyone generally now agrees was, at effect on the ecosystem. Of course you best, an inadequate electoral process. also see total destruction of ecosystems But for a time afterwards it felt that if but at least where there no roads, the Congo did not have the 100% democracy accompanying human chaos is also that the Western observers were looking limited. Caught in mud up to our hubcaps for, it might at least have avoided one day, I bent down to the shock of disintegrating again into civil chaos. And grasses that our guide had just cut for those who live here, that was not an through with his machete. In this random inconsequential result. spot on a hillside in South Kivu, and Unfortunately, in Eastern Congo at without even searching, I saw more than least, that feeling has now been replaced ten insects crawling about and I heard a with a sense of apprehension. The cacophony of others. Crunching, elections provided a possibility that munching, crawling. It was an things might change; the disputes of the astonishing experience. results maintained that sense of hope, leading some to think that perhaps, with all the international criticism the old Role of international players political status quo might change; Congos burden is its wealth; its wealth is perhaps the politicians would put on new its burden.I live on the Rwandan
  • Cover Story War & Peace in DR Congo /Congolese border, on the shores of the “right-holders”) in the system oflimnic Lake Kivu, in Goma, a town that international aid? To whom is the aidgrew on the substrate of the Rwandan community accountable? If we have beengenocide as passageway for tens of acting in the place of the governmentthousands of refugees. Settled at the base then why should the population not beginof a still-active volcano, Goma is now a to ask us to be more accountable as adusty base for NGOs, UN deployments, government? If we did not want the role,miners and business people profiting then why did we take it? And can wefrom cross-border trade, as well as an reject it now, while still wanting toongoing mixture of floating expatriates maintain our invested presence?who fit no clear category. What is primarily fascinating to me is In its purgatorial state – not at war, yet that in this region of Congo thehardly at peace - the non-profit world government has been for so long sostill leans towards a humanitarian ineffective and seemingly uninterested in Today, as I write this, weinclination; few others are willing to, or providing its most basic match to the received news of a newhave the capacity to deal with the stillfrequent reality of armed robberies and social contract that the international community has felt obligated to invest in group of 20,000 peopleviolent attacks on their houses, vehicles the long-term. It has saved lives, displaced in the southand projects. There is a sprinkling of certainly; for all extents and purposes the because of attacks on theirsmaller development NGOs as well whohave tried to break into a range of longer- people of Congo seem to be an expendable resource for their towns and villages, andterm goals. But donors are trigger shy. government. another 3-5,000 displacedWho wants to invest in a place where any In fact, the longer you stay in the across the border in theday the city might be threatened by rebel country the more unbelievable it north, as well as variousgroups, the smoldering volcano might becomes that people here are living in villages pillaged and emptiedrumble over again as it did in 2002, or abject poverty.the methane-floored lake might erupt, This is not a poor country; it is a in the center of the country.with earthquakes and mythical tsunamis? country where a very few people in Surrounding the aid community arethe various branches of the UN, with power refuse to direct the wealth of the country to those who by their birthright We are often trained, in theMONUSCO (the so-called peace-keeping own it. West, to view poverty andmission in DRC) lumbering or hovering In Eastern DRC the aid community the suffering of people livingby at all times in Goma, and throughout has been present for decades, during in conditions of conflict asthe region. They have a staff which time the government has been very sad and inevitablephotographer who takes beautiful largely absent (in terms of providingphotographs, run a radio station known anything for the people) and international things.for decent journalistic standards and actors have been invited in for their ownotherwise maintain a mission whose benefit. The aid communitys investmentsilence speaks loudly to those in search in this area of the world has begun toof transparency. They are a “peace- strike those who live here as shallow.keeping” mission but what peace, in fact, Those of us in the aid community like toare they keeping? And whose peace? distinguish between ourselves and theThey are questions for which I do not, UN forces. But for the population I dobut I imagine that someone does, have not believe there is any such clearthe answer. distinction. In spite of whatever efforts, What is interesting about being in most people are still living withoutDRC at this time in history is that civil employment, without access to basicgroups (students, representative of healthcare, without access to educationgrassroots NGOs, womens groups) have and with an unreasonably high level ofalso begun to ask why, when the aid insecurity that often enough turns tocommunity has now been here for terror and fleeing.decades, and the UN semi-occupies their Today, as I write this, we receivedtowns, the situation is still so bad for the news of a new group of 20,000 peoplepopulation. displaced in the south because of attacks This questioning may take the form of on their towns and villages, and anotherthreats to NGOs for what are seen as 3-5,000 displaced across the border inbiased recruitment practices, or the north, as well as various villagesdemonstrations against the aid pillaged and emptied in the center of thecommunity in general. I work for an country. These numbers are difficult toNGO, so this kind of response is perhaps care about. Perhaps that sounds cold butprofessionally concerning but I find it is it not true for most of us, much of thepersonally fascinating, and cannot quite time? Life is complicated and busy; whatavoid a sense of pride when I see it. In does it mean that 20,000 people werethe last 25-30 years, where have been the displaced? They were not killed, orvoices of these “beneficiaries” (or, as a drowned, or burned, or dying from carfriend of a friend once called them, these crashes. They just had to move.
  • Cover Story War & Peace in DR Congo In our garden on the edge of Lake works” to a new expat. He tossed his suffering does as well.Kivu, the morning sun distributes itself hands around, trying to illustrate the We are often trained, in the West, toas if committed to a black and white mess of armed groups and economic view poverty and the suffering of peoplespectrum: the qualities of brightness and power players - mining and living in conditions of conflict as verysaturation (flower stalks between the technological and pharmaceutical sad and inevitable things. I certainlylava rock walls, grass blades rolling into companies - the way they are all grew up thinking this: how sad that therethe ripples on the shimmering and subsidiaries of the other, who is loyalist are poor people who cannot eat and areoceanic surface of the lake) somehow to, and who is enemy of whom, what caught in war; we must take them food,carry more meaning than the color. The Rwanda wants, what the government we must bring them to a place of peace.color is so saturated (fuscia, orange, wants, what China and Europe want, andwhite-green new leaves) that it almost also how to recognize the heart of aoutdoes itself, and leaves room in the soldier by the shape of his nose. It is themind only for form. pride of the foreigner here to be able to Congo is a riot of color, and the color recite these things; but their reports areso cinematic, and so real, that there is given with such gusto that it makes merarely a struggle to define its quality, or wonder how genuinely we would wantto pin down a moment in its transience, to remove the cause of such excellentand so somewhere in the experience of entertainment.these extremes the mind becomes oddly What is it, this quality of stability,free to see what is otherwise so often that allows us to live our lives? Wedisguised by beauty. speak about instability as the root causeForm. Depth. Movement. of so much suffering in eastern Congo, Today we will leave the city of Goma assuming or stating, that what we would I did not grow up thinking, “it is myto go 3-4 hours north to one of our wish for the country is for it to be stable responsibility to research theprojects, driving straight towards and the people to have this thing, pharmaceutical and technologicaltowering Nyirongongo. Yesterday I stability, otherwise defined as: countries that make the items I want towatched the steam trail of this hulking constancy, steadiness, firmness, fixity, buy because it is the market demand forvolcano pouring to the west, only 10km permanence. their products that is continuing thisfrom the city and for once free from But stability is not a goal in and of conflict a million human-paradigm yearshaze or clouds. As we drive north we itself; it is a consequence. away.”will see other volcanoes – baby ones, Yesterday we drove through a town I did not grow up thinking, “nobodygrandfather ones – one long chain of that seemed like a town. It was not in Congo should actually be living inseismic gasps in the earth’s surface. deserted or pillaged; it was full of poverty and the fact that they are is not a We are like Pompeii; our human normal life. Market women called out fatalistic sad fact of life. No. The facthistory ripe for repetition. greetings to passer-bys, or sat with that they are is a direct result of our (and The helicopters have begun again. It sleepy eyes next to piles of avocados. I speak of the world) choices.”is a measure throughout the world, or at Men repaired motorcycles next to shops. It is not an oversight of Motherleast throughout the UN-occupied Children gossiped in school uniforms. Nature that people in Congo are living inworld, that the number of helicopters Life seemed calm and, yes, stable. poverty and dying of preventableyou hear corresponds directly to the Just north of this town in the past diseases and violence; it is our ongoingstate of security of the country. Here, the month several thousands of people have investment in political and economichelicopters and the planes and the run from their homes across the border systems whose implementation, if notarmored vehicles and the egg-carton UN to Uganda, seeking refuge. Life in war is intent, is criminal: criminal because wetrucks with their legions of homesick like this; alternately calm and terrifying are making specific choices that allowsoldiers are omni-present and have and, often, simply surreal. these systems to continue, and we arebegun to multiply like bacteria in a petri Driving through North Kivu passing off the costs to those who cannotdish: exponential, overnight. We wish yesterday it occurred to me to remind object.they wouldn’t. We know that myself that I am living in a country at This is an abuse of power, and nopeacekeeping is only useful when there war. We prefer now – and it is probably matter how diffused we render theis war-making. We know that carrying officially classified this way – to say that responsibility, no matter how well weguns makes things worse, even when the Kivus are in a state of ongoing hide the links between death on theyou hope to make things better. instability and conflict. Ok, fine. ground and a product in the store, no I spent more than two years living in Then what, I wonder, is war? matter how many millions of dollars weRwanda. And although Rwanda is a Something well-defined? One group spend on conciliatory peacekeeping andworld and culture of its own, returning versus another? The groups micro-economic development efforts,to Congo last September still felt like internationally powerful and the cause we are still in the wrong. Quite simply.coming home; the film-set quality of considered admirable? We are in the wrong.central African light, the forehead knob Or is “war” simply a definition that is Human history is always ripe forgreetings, the petites aubergines: these useful for clarifying when and how and repetition, true, but we are the oneswere things I knew, and had already where another government is obligated choosing what it is that we will repeat.grown to love. to break the autonomy of a nation state (Photos used in the article: source UN, But Congo, or at least the region of and intervene, on an international level? under creative commons license. Emilythe Kivus, where I now live, is already But what autonomy, I ask? Our can be reached by email atloved by too many. Last night I heard worlds and our economies are inter- emilycavan@gmail.com and follow hersomeone try to explain the “way it all linked. Our minerals and our natural DRC experience on her blog resources cross all borders. Our human www.emilycavan.blogspot.com)
  • I n te rvi e w War & Peace in DR Congo A dream for DRCongo Laurette Kaniki-Muley left her homeland, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in 1994 as an 11-year old kid. Amid political unrest and myriads of conflicts sprouting in the DRC, her father decided to leave the country with his two daughters and settled in Germany. While growing up in a foreign land, Laurette, kept herself acquainted with the situation back home- getting updates through her friends and relatives, but also extensively following the international media. After finishing her high school, she decided to study international social work so that the degree could be used in helping her native land. Now in her final year of her degree in international social work, she has visited the DRCongo twice in recent years and, once her degree is finished, plans to go back in order to permanently work there. People like Laurette, with their skills, dedication and passion, are emblems of hope for the war trodden DRCongo. GSDMs Editor-in-Chief Manoj Kr Bhusal recently caught up with her and talked about her future plans, experiences and got a diasporic reflection on the recent situation in eastern DRC. An excerpt: When did you leave the DRC and The DRCongo is going through a post results given by the CENI and Mrwhy? electoral conflict. On the 28th of Tshisekedi has proclaimed himselfWe left somewhere in 1994. My father November last year there was a president even though the Supreme Courtused to be a member of the known presidential election in the country. The in the capital Kinshasa has declaredopposition party UDPS – Union pour la whole election period was a tough one. Kabila as the official president.Democratie et le Progès Social (Union Fights between different groups of Tshisekedi has been put under housefor Democracy and Social Progess). The people supporting the one side and arrest. Still today, he cannot go outsame opposition party whose Leader groups supporting the other side of the except the government or the presidentEtienne Tshisekedi Wa Mulumba claims parties were rife. There were three allows.to have won the last presidential canditates who had a real winning The legislative elections also tookelections last November 2011 in the possibility. Mr Etienne Tshisekedi Wa place and were as troublesome as theDemocratic Republic of Congo. Till 1996 Mulumba (who is a historical Opposition presidental but still the country has newthe Democratic Republic of Congo was leader of the party UDPS), Joseph Kabila deputies who have been recognized bycontrolled by a dictator named Mobutu Kabange (who has been president since the Supreme Court and have been calledSese Seko Nkuku Ngbendu wa Za the assassination of Laurent Desirée to start their work in the NationalBanga. He had been president for more Kabila, his father) and Vital Kamehre Assembly. Tshisekedi has forbidden allthan 30 years. Our lives were in danger (who was the former president of the opposition members to be part of theso we left. National Assembly and the president of National Assembly but not all of them How often do you visit the DRC? the UNC party). Different organisations have agreed and they have accepted toDo you have your relatives there? were present to observe the election work in the National Assembly.I came to Germany when I was 11. And I procedures in different parts of thewas 23 the first time I returned to the country. The observers were national asDRCongo. The issues with staypermission here in Germany made it as well as international. Their Opposition leaderimpossible for us to go to the DRCongo observations were summarized in reports and made public. And in those reports, Tshisekedi has been putas we would have wanted to. My firsttime of going to the DRCongo was in the observers mentioned that a lot of under house arrest. Still2006, then again in 2010 and this year irregularities had happened during the elections. today, he cannot go out2012 I will be going again. I have Ever since the results of the elections except the governmentprecious relatives and dear friends there. were made public and Mr Joseph Kabila or the president allows.When it comes to the DRCongo, Kabange was declared winner, there hasjournalists and development workers been a lot of protest from the oppositionsay that there is no full-fledge war and also from the Diaspora. Thegoing on , but there is no peace either. historical opposition represented by MrWhat is exactling happening there? Tshisekedi has refused to accept the
  • I n te rvi e w War & Peace in DR Congo women to further their education or toTill now there are still work, especially when the man himself isdifferent groups of militia working. If a woman lives alone, her reputation in most cases is bad, even if itand rebels going around is not true. A woman is not supposed todevastating and destroying live all by herself without a man, if shevillages, destroying human does she can be labelled as a prostitute, meaning a woman that does not respectlives in many ways and herself and chooses to live her lifeforcing villagers to leave anyhow. But a man or a young man can have an appartment of his own and ittheir homes and migrate the sicknesses, the pains, the lack of wouldn´t be a problem at all. He is calledelsewhere. Those militia serious medical support. responsable because he has startedgroups are not only from the How does it differ to be a woman in Europe and in the DRC? learning of how to be independent and responsable. Women are not expected toDRC, but some of them also In so many ways. It is important to know leave their family´s house untill they getcome from the neighbouring that even inside the DRCongo it is not married. This is the conception and mentality of a large number of thecountries like Uganda, the same. In some regions women are very much independent and in other Congolese society in the DRCongo tillRwanda or Burundi. regions a woman depends fully on her today. husband or her family. But let me tell you one of the biggestFrequent conflicts in the eastern part I am a Congolese. Born in Kinshasa, differences or challenge for me because Iof the country have received the capital of the DRCongo, lived my am an independent woman. There is thissignificant media attention lately. sweetest and most wonderful childhood unwritten law in the DRCongo that saysWhat is happening there? there. Was taught about some important that the true value of a woman is only in I don´t know if we can call it a war values of life which I kept and will her husband´s house. No matter who shebut the eastern part of the DRC is always do and share with those I meet on is in the society. In Germany or inaffected by war conditions. Till now my path, like respect, family, sharing, Europe I learned that I have rights. As athere are still different groups of militia enjoying, laughing, responsibilty, men child, as a young girl, as a woman. Iand rebels going around devastating and and women, their roles and their duties, became very independent. I focuseddestroying villages, destroying human how to deal with the death of loved ones more on my education than gettinglives in many ways and forcing villagers and many more . married and giving birth. And since I hadto leave their homes and migrate The main difference I can recall is most of my educational time here, Ielsewhere. Those militia groups are not that when I was a child, in the DRC, I learned more about questioning andonly from the DRC, but some of them had to learn how to take care of the reflecting things and issues about myselfalso come from the neighbouring household and the children in the family. and the society I find myself in and stuffcountries like Uganda, Rwanda or I grew up in Germany. I spent this very like that, so I don´t just say Yes toBurundi. This is the situation till today. important stage of my life (11 to 23) in everything my congolese culture offersMany different organisations try to help Europe. Till I was 19, my sister and I me and this is a reality I confrontthose people but some of those lived only with our father as our mother everytime I am there.organisations are the big cities and not in was not in Germany. For us, our father Are you planning to go back tothe villages directly so its complicated was the man and the woman at the same DRC after your studies? If so, why?and very challenging. Till now. time. The new environment changed so Yes I will be going back to the What means to be a young woman we tried to adapt to it as good as we DRCongo. Why? That s simple, first ofin a DRC village at the moment? could. Our father used to do everything all there is no place on earth where I feelI do not have my own firsthand our mother or women do in the more comfortable and at home than inexperience of living in a DRC village, DRCongo. He cooked for us, I was 11 the DRCongo. This is not to say that I dobut the only thing I can say is that it and my sister was 6. He washed our not like Germany or Europe but thedepends on where the village is situated. clothes, cleaned the house, went DRCongo is my mother and my father, itIf it is somewhere where those rebels are shopping and everything and he taught is the love of my life. I have no powermoving, it is very dangerous. The rebels us also how to cook and take care of the over life and death but it is one of myuse women to satisfy their sexual lust. house. We helped him as good as we innermost heart desires and a prayer toThey rape and kill them anyhow, young could. Because of the role he took, my be able to live, work and die there.and old they don´t care. Women suffer picture of a man and a woman got I see myself to be a bridge thatfrom many things, the trauma of being another dimension. connects people. A bridge thatbrutally raped by so many different Whenever I am in the DRCongo I see contributes to more understanding andrebels, some of them have different kind that there is still this notion about sharing between my two most importantof sicknesses and diseases and they women being responsable for the house cultures, the Congolese and the Germantransmit it to the women. Lots of women and the children and their husband first or western culture. I carry so much ofget pregant afterwards and they are before anything, before work especially. Germany inside of me it would be a pityrejected by their communities and family Even if she is working, because many not sharing it with the Congolese in themembers. Many of them do not have the women work in the DRCongo, she has to DRCongo. I want to work with that inchance of getting proffessional see that her children and her husband are the DRCongo, though, I will always staytherapeutic help and many also die from well taken care of. in contact with Germany in different Till today some men can forbid their ways.
  • Cover Story War & Peace in DR Congo People say that mineral greed is not Blood restricted only among the neighboring countries, even the UN peacekeepers who were sent there to Minerals bring order and peace seem to be eying the countrys minerals. of Eastern DRC Mugunga I and II and Bulengo camps of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Democratic By INNOCENT KAZEMBE Republic of the Congo. Photo: UN MultimediaWhen it comes to the DRC , people The instability in the nearby countries she hasnt enrolled her 2 seem to have affected the eastern DRC.easily think of vast mineral reserves,ongoing conflict and perpetual misery. People say that the rebels from children into school simplyFor this edition of Global South neighboring countries enter the because she is not sure if theyDevelopment Magazine, I interviewed a DRCongo, confiscate food and grains, rape their women and kill children, and will even last a week in thatfew people in the eastern part of the as there is no meaningful presence of the school, so the children arecountry where a number of violent government, people have nobody to turn involved in mining already atconflicts are going on for years. People said that the eastern part of the to, they are helpless. the age of 9 and 13Congo has a lot of gold and other The conflict has greatly affectedminerals, not as much as in Katanga, but human development in the region. There Who are the mineral buyers?enough to attract greedy foreign eyes. are no proper schools and health centres, I asked the people that who wereAccording to the locals, the trend is that and because the region has been unstable buying minerals from the area and howmilitia groups from Rwanda, Uganda for such a long time that there is no did the pricing mechanism worked. Theyand Burundi come in and kill the aspiration for development left. People said that there are big bosses who getinnocent people in order to claim small say that wars are like seasons, they come the biggest share, come and live nearbyparts of the land which has gold and and go within short period of time, the mining areas. These guys take theother minerals. Reportedly, the militia within months. minerals into Uganda where you find thegroups claim that the minerals belong to One of the people I talked to told me unnamed people with much money tothem as well. that especially around 1995-96, as it was buy from them, and the locals say, from People say that mineral greed is not the time Laurent Kabila was there who knows what happens next.restricted only among the neighboring overthrowing the dictator Mobutu, the So this is what happens in easterncountries, even the UN peacekeepers soldiers from Rwanda and Uganda were DRC everyday. The locals are forced towho were sent there to bring order and helping Kabila. They entered the country mine for petty sums, even very youngpeace seem to be eying the countrys in the name of help and peace, but upto people, some of them ex-child soldiers,precious minerals. now they claim their ownership. The have to mine consistently in the militias One person I talked to said that the other woman told me that life is so presence. The mined minerals arepeople couldn’t understand why the uncertain in their area because you are transported into Uganda where bigCongolese government cannot move in not sure if tomorrow there will be peace mineral transactions take place under theand stabilize the eastern part because in or then you might be attacked and roofs of big Western companies and theirother parts of the same country there is instantly dead. In addition, she said that influence. Ultimately, the Congoleseno war at all. she hasnt enrolled her 2 children into gold, cobalt and diamond hit the People of the DRCongo do mine the school simply because she is not sure if American and European markets,minerals but very little ends in their own they will even last a week in that school, whereas, the ordinary people in easternpockets be it money or the minerals. so the children are involved in mining Congo are living in misery, terror, already at the age of 9 and 13. destitution and powerlessness.
  • Feature Health Doctor in your pocket – the new era of mobile health! In recent years, the field of mobile health, or mHealth, has exploded. The power of cell phones and other mobile devices is being harnessed to improve health delivery systems worldwide. In Malawi, community health workers (CHWs) have been using text messages to improve drug adherence among HIV- positive patients. The messages remind patients of their appointments and allow experts to collect information during disease outbreaks. By KAITLYN PHILLIPS & ZACK WETTSTEIN Text and photosWhat can a cell phone do? It makes it solve global health care problemspossible to call your mom from half would be so high?way across the world; to check your Where is mHealth now?email while standing in line at the Numerous mobile health efforts in thegrocery store; and to snap a picture and United States have focused oninstantaneously let your cyber facilitating doctor-patient interactionfollowing know what you are up to. But outside the exam room. Newdid you also know that cell phones can opportunities have opened up to helprecord and share life-saving medical improve patient education and behaviorinformation to and from rural areas in change by, quite literally, deliveringthe developing world? Indeed, add this essential information directly intoto the list of what a cell phone can do. people’s hands. For example, the In recent years, the field of mobile Text4baby program provides freehealth, or mHealth, has exploded. The health-related information to expectingpower of cell phones and other mobile mothers via text messages throughoutdevices is being harnessed to improve her pregnancy and first year of thehealth delivery systems worldwide. We child’s life2. But mHealth extendswonder if Martin Cooper (credited with beyond supplementing existing healthinventing the cell phone) could have systems in high-resourced areas. Mostever dreamed that it would one day be recently, mHelath initiatives are being A trainer teaching a community health worker how to use the phoneused to increase access to health used in settings where health deliveryservices amongst hard to reach systems are significantly lacking orpopulations; that it would lower the virtually non-existent. patients of their appointments and allowcosts of basic health services; that it Mobile health solutions in under- experts to collect information duringwould improve our abilities to resourced areas are hot topics and have disease outbreaks3 . CHWs in Karachi,diagnose, track, and treat diseases; and been tested by a vast number of pilot Pakistan are using cell phones tothat it would increase access to health projects in recent years. In Malawi, improve the treatment of childhoodinformation among health workers and community health workers (CHWs) pneumonia, the greatest killer ofthe general population? 1 Who ever have been using text messages to children under five.could have dreamed that with now over improve drug adherence among HIV- The cell phones provide an avenue4.6 billion phones in use worldwide, the positive patients. The messages remind of instant communication between theopportunity for this technology to help CHWs and local health centers,
  • Feature Healthallowing for early detection and from hospitals and clinics around saving care at the time of birth. Thetreatment of sick children in the Managua. In turn, this limited wait times overall idea is to target behavior changecommunities, helping avoid potentially and improved delivery of care during the amongst the men who have expectantdeadly complications4. epidemics. partners, attempting to override a Finally, a potentially disastrous Most recently, PATH and CARE machismo mentality that puts soon-to-becholera outbreak was avoided during a International have begun working with mother at risk. The CHWs in thesereligious festival in 2001 in Prayag, India MINSA to improve communication of communities negotiate a behavior changewith the help of mobile tools5. CHWs medical emergencies in rural areas plan with the men, such as committing topresent at the event isolated the sick surrounding Matagalpa. This region has cut firewood and carry water thusfestival participants when they received the highest rates of maternal and child reducing the burden on the women, usingthe results of the lab tests via the mobile mortality in Nicaragua. Imagine, if you cell phones to track and follow-up withtelephony system, preventing the disease will, a once expectant mother is now the men and their families. The hope isfrom spreading. Crises averted. dangerously close to losing the life of that the cell phone application used byNicaragua and mHealth her unborn child. She is isolated in a the CHWs can help improve the In Nicaragua, the fruit of mHealth rural village and there is insufficient information flow and cost effectivenessopportunity is ripe for the picking. As the access to the necessary health care. of the outreach efforts.second-poorest country in the Western PATH and CARE are working to These examples are only the tip of theHemisphere, Nicaragua is home to some establish communication through cell iceberg—in Nicaragua and theof the highest rates of cervical cancer, phones for emergencies exactly like this developing world in general, mHealthchronic kidney disease, and childhood one. Instead of traveling three hours into solutions offer a chance to improvepneumonia in the region. Already efforts town to receive help, a CHW can use a health care in the most challenging ofhave been undertaken to tackle some of cell phone to call an ambulance within settings.these challenges via mobile tools. seconds. For instance, during the most recent Most recently, Catholic Relief 1Anta, Rafael, Shireen El-Wahab, and Antonino Giuffrida. Mobile Health: The Potential for Mobile Telephony to Bring Health Care toH1N1 influenza and dengue fever Services and the Sustainable Sciences the Majority. Inter-American Development Bank, 2009.outbreaks in 2009, PATH, an NGO that Institute have partnered with MINSA in 2National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalitionseeks to improve access to essential Matagalpa to reduce the risks associated 3Mahmud, Nadim, Joce Rodriguez, and Josh Nesbit. “A Text Message-based Intervention to Bridge the Healthcaretechnologies for health, and the with complicated pregnancies. They plan Communication Gap in the Rural Developing World.” TechnologyNicaraguan Ministry of Health (MINSA) on doing this by addressing gender and Health Care 18.2 (2010): 137-144 4Marcus, A. et al. “Using NFC-Enabled Mobile Phones for Publicdeveloped a text message norms that limit autonomy and prevent Health in Developing Countries.” First International Workshop on Near Field Communication, 2009.communication system. This system women from practicing healthy 5Ayyagari, A. et al. “Use ofTelemedicine in Evading Choleracollected up-to-the-minute information behaviors or seeking and receiving life- Outbreak in Mahakumbh Mela, Prayag, UP, India: An Encouraging Experience.” Telemedicine Journal and e-Health 9.1 (2003): 89–94. Apply Today Application deadline 31 May 2012 A distance learning/online course Course duration 15.06- 15.09.2012 Introduction to Media, Development & Community Participation The course is free of charge for selected students and is most suited for university students, humanitarian aid/relief workers, community, NGO and advocacy workers, environmental activists, community media workers, independent filmmakers and script writers. You can obtain a full description of the programme on request. For further information contact the SilDistance team at sildistance@silcreation.org Further information available at: www.silcreation.org/distancelearning
  • Voluntarism Latin America BY ANNIE BACON Text and photosFrom mid-west youth groups their life in the US, have returned, one can fit the experience into, andtraveling to El Salvador to build a retired, and completely changed the because they genuinely believe thatchurch and feed hungry children to focus of their lives from one of other people have it all backwards,the rustic agro-eco backpack- material accumulation to one of wrong and need someone to showcarrying tourist traveling to the philanthropy and art. them the error of their ways.mountains of Northern Nicaragua to I don’t mean to under-value the Whatever the reason for thishelp harvest coffee, international contributions of the volunteers and attitude, I strongly recommend thatvolunteers have increasingly been international NGO’s with whom it be reflected on and whentraveling to Central America on they are working. Often, as a result appropriate, adjusted. Not only canservice-oriented trips even since the of the service trip, schools are built, it be paternalistic, but also it can1980’s. There are dozens if not houses constructed, water systems easily become ineffective andhundreds of organizations offering established, solar panels installed, disempowering to a community’svolunteer opportunities in the region and the infrastructure of entire own development. Although ideastoday. communities transformed. However, from the outside can be helpful, While the volunteers can and arguably this all could also be they should be incorporated into avery often do have a positive impact accomplished with the financial dialogue and they should alwayson the community and people with donations from those same come after one has spent time in,whom they are working, I volunteers, without actually listened to, and ideally becomeconsistently have observed and traveling to participate in the invested in a community. Travelingbelieve that the bulk of the impact is project. somewhere to work or volunteer forgained by international volunteers After all of my experience ten days, and pronouncingthemselves, as the seed of learning working with international statements of how to do somethingis planted within them during the volunteers, I have come to realize better, without humility, listening,experience. They are the ones who that there are a few key principles and observing first can bereturn with an eye-opening, often that are important to keep in mind if presumptuous at best and insultinglife-changing experience, that can the impact on the community with and damaging at worst.inspire them to work towards social whom the volunteer works is to I am reminded of a quote fromjustice, international conflict remain positive, empowering, and an Australian Aboriginal woman,resolution, or simply become more mutually beneficial. who Jim Wallis writes about in hiscivically engaged in their local, The Help Concept - One of the book, The Soul of Politics. I refer tonational or international most important areas that I believe a this often when orienting newcommunities. I have worked with volunteer needs to examine and volunteers. She said: “If you aresixteen year olds who return to reflect upon before traveling to coming to help me, you are wastingNicaragua or El Salvador year after work in another country, is the idea your time. But if you have comeyear, until they graduate from that “I’m going to help”. Even the because your liberation is bound upcollege, and find a job abroad with most well-intentioned volunteers at in mine, then let us work together.”service organizations. Or, with times have displayed a belief that Whether from a secular or spiritualadults, who, struck by the they are helping those who cannot point of view, the importantexperience of living for ten days help themselves. Often this is the message is that both party’s needswith relatively so little compared to case because it’s the only context can and should be fulfilled by
  • Voluntarism Latin Americaby working together. experience. Time and Investment - Second, Considering Impact on athe importance of spending time in Community - It’s also verya community, being with people and important to examine the impactlistening, listening, listening, is international volunteers have onparamount to any successful communities, from the community’scollaborative project. It is always perspective. While I cannot speaksurprising how much more can be first hand, what I have observed islearned by just spending time, going that a spirit of collaboration andabout the daily chores in a solidarity is always welcome, andcommunity, before you realize how where this exists, there can be Local community member youth speaking with foreign volunteer during school constructionmuch more to the picture there is mutual success for all partiesthan what first meets the eye. involved. The first time I told Confronting Privilege - Third, in community members from Lasorder for the volunteer to truly Minas, El Salvador in 1999 thatconnect to community members, to volunteers were going to be comingmove past the barriers of material from the US, and paying money todifferences, and to really work side come to work with them to build theby side, it’s important to recognize school, and how much it cost, theyand confront their own privilege. thought I was lying. They asked me,The fact that most (but not all) why would anyone leave the US,international volunteers are coming with all the comfort that you have Nicaraguan community members working withfrom middle class, wage earning, there, and come to work in the hot foreign volunteers to construct school wallfamilies, perhaps with a house, cars, Salvadoran sun, to sweat, eat beans,access to education, etc. sets us get bitten by mosquitos, and be "the importance of spending timeapart materially from the majority here? But after six months of laying in a community, being with peopleof the people with whom we work. bricks, mixing concrete, tying rebar, and listening, listening, listening,If the volunteer gets hurt, bit by a playing soccer, organizing is paramount to any successfulspider, breaks a leg, gets too welcoming and goodbye parties, collaborative project"uncomfortable, or any other and receiving and hosting over 150emergency, he/she can often be back volunteers, the community of Lasin the US within 24 hours; back to a Minas was left with much more "Part of confronting privilege ishouse with a carpet, heater, than a new 6-classroom school; also learning about the longcupboards full of food, etc. This Friendships had been formed, history of wars, inequalities, anddifference and privilege is important stories had been shared and imperialism that often existsto remember and to own when prejudices had been changed. between the countries sending theseeking to build peer based True success can occur when volunteers and those receivingrelationships. people from different countries, them" Part of confronting privilege is different cultures, work side by sidealso learning about the long history on the same project, but notof wars, inequalities, and necessarily in the way we may thinkimperialism that often exists it does. A deep connection betweenbetween the countries sending the people can be achieved that canvolunteers and those receiving become the seed for more questionsthem. People to people solidarity, if about privilege, history, life, culture,it translates into civic engagement customs. Deeply personalcan actually help change these relationships take precedence overrelationships and create more past and present affects ofmutually beneficial partnerships for government and business practicessustainability and peace. and policies. Shovels mix concrete Nicaraguan community members and foreign Keeping these things in mind together, people carry water up from volunteers retrieving well water for construction projectwith an attitude of humility will the river side by side, pass bricks,help the volunteer navigate their and are engrossed in the immediate or the community members withdesire to control and stay open to task at hand of building a school whom the volunteer works isthe experience, allowing them to together. Food, laughter, and stories difficult, but I think it suffices to saymore fully absorb and immerse are shared, and no one’s agenda is that often the benefit is mutual,themselves in their surroundings dominating, except to see the school perhaps even benefiting theand allowing for the partner built and a teacher and students in a international volunteer slightlycommunity with whom they work classroom. To gauge whether the more.to also be empowered from the impact is greater for the volunteer
  • Analysis US Peace CorpsUS Peace Corps in TheNorthern Triangle – A shiftfrom development tomilitarisation? By IOULIA FENTON The “Northern Triangle” Central are being consolidated into ‘safe’ areas, American countries of El Salvador, whilst the central teams review travel, Honduras and Guatemala have taken a hiring and other policies that affect the serious bashing in the media, policy and safety and security of the volunteers. travel arenas of late. According to an So what does all this mean at the US October 2011 report by the Geneva foreign policy level? Declaration on Armed Violence and The truth is, the US has been pretty Development, El Salvador is more quite in the region in the last two dangerous than Iraq. The rate of killing decades. Perhaps its tail is still between in El Salvador and Guatemala now Corps Volunteer Protection Act on 21st its legs, since the public light has been exceeds that of their respective civil of November 2011 that promises “to shone on its immoral, illegal and wars, said the Economist. Whilst the protect Peace Corps whistleblowers and sometimes despicable covert regime German Foreign Affairs office warns its improve the treatment of victims of change actions during the armed citizens to stay away from Honduras violence and sexual assault”. conflicts in the region. Perhaps it is because of the risk of theft, violence and Although, in reality, serious simply because it has little more to gain murder. incidences involving sexual assault and from the already exploited countries. Or This kind of press is not altogether physical violence are actually fairly perhaps the US has been too busy in unwarranted, given that all three rare, they do happen. In fact, the Peace other parts of the world, whilst dealing countries did make it into the top 10 Corps’ decision to pull out of Honduras with its own economic crisis. murder rates map of the world and, in and the subsequent freezing and But the fact that drug related crime the April edition of the Christian withdrawal of operation in the other two and violence is spilling out of control Science Monitor, the region was dubbed triangle countries were possibly and forcing floods of illegal migrants “the deadliest zone in the world outside triggered by an incident involving PCV across the Mexican border hits a little of active war zones”. Lauren Robert, 27, although Peace closer to home. “The reason Central These reports mirror the intelligence Corps denies this connection. On America is on the US radar at all is gathered by other nations and have December 3rd, Ms. Robert was caught because of the violence levels”, says understandably made people nervous. in a cross fire and shot in the leg during Vicki Gass, Senior Associate for Rights When Carlos Torres took over as the a bus robbery in the crime-saturated and Development of the Washington regional director of US Peace Corps, a Honduran city of San Pedro Sula. Three Office of Latin America (WOLA). $440mn annual operation that places US weeks later, on December 21st, the “The Obama administration, as much volunteers in developing countries, the announcements of pending reviews and as it is paying attention to Latin America US congress at Washington DC put it to their immediate consequences came: at all, is concerned with the violence in him bluntly: “What are we doing in the first in Honduras, then for Guatemala Central America in particular”, she Northern Triangle?” and El Salvador. continues. “It is trying to be allies with Carlos Torres was promoted to the As things stand, all of Honduras’ the Funis government, it tried to boost Regional Director post after his role as volunteers have been evacuated and Pepe Lobo, but the conditions are one of the original members of the new groups are not being lined up in a beyond the US’ control”. assessment team that conducted an hurry. In Guatemala and El Salvador, This is why most of the regional organization-wide Comprehensive the actions have been a little less initiatives have been focused on the Agency Assessment following 20/20’s drastic. In March of 2011 and February military and security action. In 2010, public shaming of the Peace Corps. The 2012 in both El Salvador and Central America became an add-on to American broadcaster, ABC, ran an Guatemala, respectively, Peace Corp the Mérida initiative, originally enacted expose of the inadequacies in Peace assessment teams conducted an analysis to set aside funds for military training, Corps safety procedures and of the risk facing PCVs. The results of equipment and intelligence to help battle institutional cover ups; blaming such these assessments are still pending, drugs and violence in Mexico. incompetence for the death of PCV Kate however, new groups of volunteers are Eventually, this assistance was then Puzey in Benin, Africa, in March 2009. not being invited to serve in either spun off into the Central American Eventually, the report put out by the country. Meanwhile, large numbers of Regional Security Initiative (CARSI), assessment team led President Obama to PCVs have been asked to take an early an entity of its own. sign into law the Kate Puzey Peace Close of Service and those remaining
  • Analysis US Peace Corps It is clear that the drug and violence Morocco to raise solidarity problem will not be solved by The truth is, the US has militarisation. As GSDM discussed at been pretty quite in the length in the January 2012 issue, it takes region in the last two decades. Perhaps its tail serious, peaceful development efforts to build functional states and democracy, with education taking centre stage. The US drug policy of supply side tax to help poor is still between its legs, crackdowns and increasing border since the public light has securitization with its neighbours is not working at home or abroad. Earlier this been shone on its year, Taylor Dibbert, a returned PCV immoral, illegal and and a political observer, commented that “pulling Peace Corps volunteers out of sometimes despicable violent Central American countries is an covert regime change inappropriate policy response to a much larger, more complex dilemma. It is actions during the armed disaster mitigation”. conflicts in the region. He was referring particularly to the fact that the violence is not a one-sided Perhaps it is simply problem caused by incompetent because it has little more developing country governments unable to get their drug problems under control. to gain from the already “Something else is irrefutable”, he RABAT, April 2012 - Moroccos government has agreed to amendments exploited countries. Or wrote, “ifWashington refuses to pay more attention to Central American from parliament to widen the imposition perhaps the US has been violence, continues to view US drug of a new tax on firms to help it develop poor areas and help quash grumbling too busy in other parts of policy as a matter of criminality (as opposed to public health) and promotes discontent over social inequalities, the world, whilst dealing what is at best an incoherent strategy as officials said. Plans for the so-called solidarity fund with its own economic it relates to security in the Western Hemisphere, the effects of such a tax were announced in the midst of mass crisis. “strategy” will be devastating and will protests last year in Morocco that were inspired by the Arab Spring revolts. take, at least, decades to overcome”. Proceeds from the new tax will help When it comes to the volunteers, no raise 2 billion dirhams ($235 million) for one summed up the apparent hypocrisy a social solidarity fund to develop poor of the situation better than Elisabeth areas in a country that has one of the Reed, a Guatemala based PCV working widest wealth inequalities in the region on educational projects: and where protesters still take to theSo is there a direct connection between “Part of me recognizes the dangers - I streets over poverty, joblessness andscaling up regional militaristic forces am putting my life at risk by serving in corruption.and the decision to all but withdraw Guatemala in the border region”, she The fund is also expected to pave thePeace Corps from Honduras, Guatemala wrote in her reactionary blog post, “Yet way for a reform of food and energyand El Salvador? None of the policy part of me instantly feels indignant as subsidies - which even the governmentexperts I spoke to, both from left and this thought passes. I am a college says benefit mostly those who need themright factions, thought it was quite so graduate who willingly accepted these the least.simple. Kevin Cassas-Zamora ofThe risks to serve my country, my fellow The 2012 budget now provides forBrookings Institution, for example, sees humans and to learn about the realities the imposition in 2012 of a tax equal toit as a rational reaction to an objectively of the world I live in. What is more 1.5 percent of the net profit for firms thatdangerous situation. tragic, then: a premature death that make between 50 million and 100 However, others postulate indirect befalls a Peace Corps volunteer who million dirhams in net annual gains,links. The US is on some level trying to willingly serves and has carte blanche to Finance Ministry and parliamentbuild relations with the region, but these leave at any time, or an 18-year old kid officials said.are not directed at development. For who joined the Army because he Firms with annual net profits aboveLaura Carlsen, Director of the Mexico couldnt pay for college, cannot leave his 100 million dirhams will be subject to aCity-based Americas Policy Program of service honorably if he chooses, and gets 2.5 percent tax on their net profit inthe Center for International Policy, it is killed in Afghanistan? One is justified 2012, they added. The government alsoprecisely because the focus of US because our country willingly accepts agreed to raise tax on beer and spirits inforeign policy has been on militarisation the sacrifice of a life dedicated towards 2012 by 12.5 and 43 percentand securitisation and not development the paradoxical killing of others in the respectively, the first increase sincethat the Peace Corps would even be name of safety and peace, and not the 2010, the officials said.considered for withdrawal. There is other for dedicating their life to Official data shows that 24 percent ofsimply no room for peace and peacefully improving the lives of others Moroccos near-34 million populationdevelopment. The loss of Peace Corps in the name of creating a world without lives in poverty. (By Souhail Karam/from the region is, thus, “sadly conflict to begin with?” Reuters)symbolic”.
  • Feature Public HealthBangladesh’sfight to restorechildhood sight By TITHE FARHANA & DAVID MEAGHER In Bangladesh Some 40,000 children are blind in Bangladesh, 13,000 have cataracts, a treatable condition, with remarkable success rates results from a simply A blind child plays with sand. Photo: performed operation. the Childrens TrustImagine a heavy mist, a white blanket disability, University of London formed Worst of all teachers say they can’t teachwith the sun hazily shining through, you the organisation to work nationally blind children and are not allowed in thewave your hand just in from your eyes, covering the most isolated communities classroom. Sufferers with impairedonly a shadow appears , in the thick fog, as well as major cities like Mymensingh vision are kept away from vitalfaint ghostly silhouettes move back and and Dhaka. education. Blind children are deprivedforth in the distance. You have cataracts Congenital cataracts are a major of social skills and are unable to buildor this is how it is for thousands of cause of blindness from birth, and yet, strategies to help them overcomechildren in Bangladesh with this form of parents know very little about that the barriers to communication. And in someblindness. Some 40,000 children are disease is treatable. Resigned to having parents’ eyes, unable to see, blindblind in Bangladesh, 13,000 have a child blind and a drain on the children are useless in the house as theycataracts, a treatable condition, with household income, fathers have run can’t help with the family chores. Blindremarkable success rates results from a away leaving the family to fend for children suffer abuse from resentfulsimply performed operation. The impact themselves. family members, are neglected and findon children’s lives is truly amazing. For their way onto the streets as orphans.the first time they are able to see a rich Blind from birth Parents unable to find enough money totapestry of colours with vibrancy that Blind from birth, children know no look after them, force their children outthey have never witnessed before. difference when growing up with a onto the streets to join the army of childChildren consigned to a life of poverty condition they accept as normal as they beggars. However every cloud has aand misery now have hope. They will have never experienced what it is like to silver lining, KIM is changing all this.have a life in front of them that offerssee. The parents often know no No, KIM this is not the name of aopportunity of education, work and be difference either. Many impoverished philanthropist concerned for theable to contribute fully in family life.and uneducated Bangladeshi parents wellbeing of others, it is a friendly believe that blindness is incurable, acronym for the ‘Key InformantElimination of avoidable blindness believing it is a curse from God when Method’ (KIM). The altruism comesThousands of children in Bangladesh are they discover a child is blind, or it is from the local community. These areunnecessarily blind but now local simply bad luck. Some parents think it is respected members of society, friendscommunities are playing their part in a condition that the child will grow out and relatives willing to give their time topreventing the disease through a of, others like Ameena Begum help the disabled. Local peoplecommunity self-help programme and reconciles her son Mamum’s blindness mobilized into action to help theirrestoring the sight of the nation’s by saying it is from God as sign that she fellow citizens. The Key Informantoffspring. The Child Sight Foundation needs to repent from her sins. Method is not a new concept, having(CSF) is a response to VISION 2020’s Blindness in children often remains been used by the medical profession butglobal initiative working towards ‘the undetected until the age of two or three. here it is unique as KIM hasn’t beenelimination of avoidable blindness, a Blind babies go unchecked and then used before in the world ofjoint programme of the World Health when parents realise their child is not Ophthalmology.Organization (WHO) and the normal, immense sadness sets in which Pioneered, by Dr Muhit, KIM isInternational Agency for the Prevention leads to a feeling of great shame. The responsible for multitudes of child beingof Blindness (IAPB)’ A group of parents make their blind child stay home diagnosed with an eye condition, manyophthalmologists, eye care workers, so they won’t be bullied and be made of them treatable and to date thousandssocial workers, led by Dr M A Muhit, fun of. Parents fear the gossip that their of children lacking in vision have theirConsultant in Childhood blindness and unfortunate child inevitably brings. sight restored.
  • Feature Public HealthUnpaid Volunteers join the fight it, and as he grew up his sight got worse,KIM volunteers are identified by their he couldn’t even see the blackboard.’ Helocal knowledge. These are upstanding heard through the village school teacher, Congenital cataracts are avillagers who are known by their who was trained as a KI by CSF, that major cause of blindnesscommunity, able to obtain insideinformation knowing who of their there was going to be an eye screening camp in a nearby region, a doctor from birth, and yet, parentsneighbours are harbouring blind children examined his eyes and it was discovered know very little about thatbehind closed doors, too embarrassed that he Nazim was suffering from the disease is treatable.for their child to be part of village life. bilateral congenital cataracts, in otherKIM workers are unpaid, and come froma cross section of society; some are words he had cataracts in both eyes since he was born. Nazim was subsequently Many impoverished andgovernment workers, and others from operated on and has since returned to uneducated BangladeshiNGOs already working in the area, the school. Subsequent to KIM’s success, parents believe that blindnessinformers are made up of social workers,community leaders, Imams, school ambitious claims eliminating preventable child blindness in Bangladesh have been is incurable, believing it is ateachers, college students and the regions made. curse from God when theyjournalists. discover a child is blind, or it In each of the 64 districts of Still work to do as babies continue to is simply bad luck.Bangladesh a field worker is appointed be born blind.to co-ordinate the volunteer informants. In Dr Muhit’s own words ‘Using thisA CSF day’s training is attended where innovative approach has resulted in one Using this innovativeKey Informants (KIs) assemble to learn of the largest outreach projects to approach has resulted in onehow to recognise the symptoms ofblindness. At the end of the training they children with impaired vision to date. of the largest outreachare able to ascertain, in most cases, if a KIs can recruit large numbers of children quickly, from the community’. Dr Muhit projects to children withchild has cataracts and refer the in a presentation went on to say that it impaired vision to dateinformation to their district field officer was expected that ‘all children will bewhi in turn will refer the sufferer for identified and cataract blindness will be the goal for Bangladesh is totreatment. At the end of the training KIs eliminated’. The causes of congenitalare able to measure the vision of school blindness are not fully understood which wipe out avoidable blindnesschildren using the simple test of holding means that there will always be new by the year 2020. Theup their fingers and asking a child tocount how many from a set distance of 6 cases. Each year another 2000 cataract Ministry for Health, national children are born. CSF identified over and international NGOs andmetres. The key informer will be able to 10,000 cataracts in young people anddetect other ailments as well as babies, have operated an enormous professional organisationsidentifying cataracts. The Key informant Method is a backlog generated by a mammoth list of and social groups aremassive advancement in detecting eye sufferers and completing a marathon 20,000 surgical tasks. KIM has made this working together to achieveproblems in Bangladesh because it relies possible. the target.on the naturel propensity for people to Paediatricians are trained to‘gossip. KIs are encouraged to spread recognise cataracts in babies, but theretheir existence by word of mouth, are always some children that fallinformation passes from person to person through the net. There is a need to bethat there is a clinic being held in the vigilant, Mr. Muhit says,‘by building thearea and where it is. The news gets capacity of local volunteers, healthround that the Key Informants are workers and medics in detection andvisiting areas to examine children’s eyes. referral of childhood cataract in veryFollowing a day’s training by CSF and young children and also by supportingsacrificing three to four weeks of their hospitals to operate on them on-goingtime KIs are able to penetrate the programs are needed to identify thoseremotest areas. Field officers are able to children and operate on them so that adraw up long lists of children suspected new backlog of childhood cataractof being blind, followed up by blindness is not created again’.specialised treatment by eye doctors andsurgeons. To date 800 field workers By 2020 avoidable blindness to be vision for all people, thereby improvinghave been trained. KIM has proved so wiped out their quality of life. This goal should besuccessful it has now been adopted in In line with Vision 2020, WHO and achieved through the establishment of aChina, Korea and the Philippines. IAPB, the goal for Bangladesh is to wipe sustainable, comprehensive eye-care out avoidable blindness by the year system as an integral part of everyTestimony to KIM’s success 2020. The Ministry for Health, national national health system.’ CSF hasAzim Uddin, a simple labourer, is and international NGOs and professional contributed enormously to Vision 2020testimony to the KIM’s success, talking organisations and social groups are and its fight to give everyone possibleabout his son, he says, ‘I didn’t know working together to achieve the target. the right to sight.anything about cataracts, I noticed that The Vision 2020 web site states ‘Vision Note: Dr. Mahut is also the Honoraryhe looked white when he was 2 years of 2020 seeks to ensure the best possible Executive Director of CSF.and the Childage, but I thought he would grow out of Sight Foundation in established in 2007.
  • Opinion Gender & Development Improving womens participation: A challenge for Nepal If we forget about the painful miserable destruction caused byBy NARAYAN BHATTA the armed conflict, the other side of the Maoist movement is that it contributed a lot to make people aware of their rights and strengths.Nepal, as a land of ancient Hindu and exclusion of women in Nepal. One Then Nepal faced a decade longcivilization has the history of a good of the very remarkable reforms was armed revolution led by ‘Communistsocial status and proper participation of carried out by the Rana prime-minister party of Nepal-Maoists(CPN-Maoists),women as major stakeholders, mainly Chandra Shamser by abolishing the Sati mainly raising the same issues andduring the very ancient ‘Vedic’ period, ( system (a practice of immolating women demanding more equality, social justice150-500 B.C.) Hindu religious and when their husbands die) in 1920 and and proportionate inclusive participationphilosophical books, such as the Vedas, slavery in 1924. These were the very of all ethnic groups, languages, religionthe Bhagwat Gita and many other have early days of intensive debate and and gender in all state mechanisms. Ifclearly explained this. Many other discussion going on in British- India we forget about the painful miserableWestern travelers and writers have also about implementing inclusive social destruction caused by the armed conflict,noticed that frequently. policies. B. R. Ambedkar’s the other side of the Maoist movement is The due respect and equality among commendable initiation and movement that it contributed a lot to make peoplethe male and female was seen even on this made both British rulers in India aware of their rights and strengths.during the Anglo-Nepalese war of 1814- and almost a British protectorate Rana Participation of women in local decision1816 AD. Protection of the sovereignty government in Nepal to introduce a making increased. The involvement ofof the nation had become possible with a number of other such reforms in both female cadres and gorillas in Maoistremarkable contribution of women. Nepal and India. ‘rebellion fighters’ made the national Afterwards, the Nepali society shifted The new constitution introduced after army obliged to accept and recruitto patriarchy and exclusion and the restoration of democracy in 1990 female soldiers in their troops.discrimination to women started in their granted the right to property and divorce The new interim constitution writtenworst forms. Misinterpretations and false along with many other inclusive after the April Revolution of 2006explanation of religious statements in- reforms. However, there were still many transformed the nation into a federalcreased along with deprivation of direct and indirect discrimination and democratic republic. The constitutioneducation and lack of opportunities and exclusionary practices prevalent in has reserved 33% seats for women inproperty rights to women. That practice. Access to education was still every sector of the sytate, including thecontinued for centuries, almost around very rare for women. Right to property Constitution Assembly, the cabinet andfrom the 13th century to late 18th/early was never implemented. Child so forth.19th century. Hindu monarchical marriages, polygamy and the dowry With more than 90 ethnic and castekingship of the modern age made it system were prevalent as usual. The groups, Nepal is deeply hierarchical.even more problematic with various condition of the women belonging to so Despite the abolition of formaldiscriminatory state policies against called Dalit families and remote villages hierarchies in 1963 and an affirmation ofwomen. was even more miserable. All in all, equality of different groups before the Even though, as a silver lining on the discriminative and exclusionary cultural law in the new Interim Constitution,dark cloud, some effort was made by the and religious practices against women discrimination based on ethnicity,rulers against extreme discrimination were still going on. gender and caste persists.
  • Opinion Gender & Development The notion that progress Sexual violence is restricted by caste, forcing girls out ethnicity and religious affiliation is prevalent in of school the academic and public debate in Nepal. PORT MORESBY, April 2012 - In the Pacific nation of Papua New Guinea Where are the changes then? (PNG) sexual violence against young Severe violation of basic Primarily, the ongoing political (structural and policy) changes have girls, and the shame and stigma that follows, is forcing many out of school human rights of contributed to promote progressive and others into early marriage. thousands of Nepali social changes. Unlike before, now, citizenship is issued after a mothers A recent study by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), one of the country’s women working as testimony or on the basis of her main providers of medical and domestic workers in the citizenship. In the recent years there have been psychological assistance to survivors of family and sexual violence, showed that Gulf Countries, including changes towards inclusive policies such from 2008 to 2011, a significant Israel, has been another as positive discrimination and reserved proportion of patients who received quotas in almost all fields including in treatment as a result of violence were challenging problem for the parliament, education structures, the children, some under the age of five. Nepal. judiciary and the bureaucracy. In the rural settlement ofTari, 31 Womens participation in the judicial percent of those who reported violence system and the civil service is still were between five and 12 years old. In negligible. Inclusive proportionate Lae, the second biggest city after the participation of all ethnic groups and capital, Port Moresby, 26 percent were Dalits is not yet a reality in practice. between the ages of 13 and 17. On the other hand, Nepali women Almost half of those reporting sexualThe notion that progress is restricted by suffer more in the Middle East than in violence In Lae from January 2008 tocaste, ethnicity and religious affiliation is their own country. Severe violation of June 2010 - some 520 people - wereprevalent in the academic and public basic human rights of thousands of under 18 years old. In Tari, 248 weredebate in Nepal. Nepali women working as domestic minors, said Patrick Almeida, MSF’s Many poor and vulnerable people workers in the Gulf Countries, including medical coordinator.specially women and low cast people Israel, has been another challenging “In both places, in over 70 percent ofand ethnic minorities are always either problem for Nepal. As a new form of the cases, the perpetrators were knownexcluded from the mainstream politics or slavery they are seen as a commodity to by the survivors,” he added.underestimated and ignored in many be sold in different ways. Sexual “It’s really bad,” said Ume Wainetti,cases. Lack of access to opportunities harassment, obligation to work more head of the NGO, Family Sexualespecially to education and employment, than agreed working hours, low Violence Action Centre (FSVAC), basedas well as lacke of participation in payment, deprivation of right to in Port Moresby.decision making has been the core information are major challenges they Young girls are already disadvantagedreason for increasing exclusion. face everyday. The government has when it comes to education, and theOwnership to capital resources, mainly failed to address these issues with better threat of rape and sexual abuseto the land, is another debated and very regulation of the so called ‘man power aggravates these inequalities. As it is,complex issue in the field of inclusive companies’ in Nepal and by establishing parents generally hesitate to send theirsocial policies. strong diplomatic relation and effective daughters to school because they will Nevertheless, different surveys have trade and labor agreement with the just get married and have babies. Boysshown that gradual social change is involved parties. will carry on the family name andgoing on, though discriminatory and Nepals case once again proves that just continue to work,” Wainetti said.exclusionary practices based on constitutional and policy arrangements The remote locations of schools haveethnicity, caste, religion and regional are not enough to ensure a better reality. even greater implication for girls, notedprevalence still do exist. People in the Perhaps reforms in bureaucracy and UNICEF. “Some kids have to walk forsouthern plain (having roots in India), awareness campaigns are needed against hours to get to school and the journey onand people from the far-west and upper discriminatory practices deeply rooted in the way to school makes themHimalayan region are deprived of their culture and in the social system. Self vulnerable to attack, especially forrights and welfare services offered by the centeredness and luxurious romanticism girls,” said Joseph Logha, Department ofstate. Religious minorities such as the among a few high class educated women Education assistant secretary. “TheMuslims and Dalits (so called and within some indigenous groups is experience of sexual violence definitelyuntouchables) are the most also a matter of worry. Last but not the affects a girl’s education in terms ofunderprivileged. The ever debated most least, like in many other developing being able to stay in school and schoolchallenging problem of landlessness countries, Nepals journey to ensuring performance,” said Ruth Kauffman,among agricultural workers that includes womens participation should start with MSF project coordinator at a Familymajority of women is not yet solved. poverty reduction, specially among Support Centre in Lae. (Source: IRIN) women.
  • Global South I n th e N ewsA kidney for an iPad! Value of OECD aid drops Thailand has moved in a positive health for first time in 15 years policy direction. As ofApril 1st 2012, eligible citizens will be entitled for free,Five people in southern China have beencharged with intentional injury in the case unconditional emergency care inof a Chinese teenager who sold a kidney hospitals, reported the Bangkok Post onso he could buy an iPhone and an iPad, the 14th March. Free emergencythe government-run Xinhua News treatment will be offered to all patientsAgency has said. listed under the civil services medical benefits scheme (CSMBS), social security scheme (SSS), and universal healthcare coverage (UC). Famous Hollywood actor George Clooney was arrested for civil disobedience when demonstrating in The five included a surgeon who Despite an increase in cash terms, aid front of Sudan’s Embassy in Washington,removed a kidney from a 17-year-old boy from the worlds richest countries was reported the Washington Post on Marchin April last year. The boy, identified only worth less in 2011 as inflation reduced 16th. The actor, an avid activist, wasby his surname Wang, now suffers from the purchasing power of their attempting to bring attention to therenal deficiency, Xinhua quoted currencies. humanitarian crisis facing the borderprosecutors in Chenzhou city, Hunan Aid from the worlds richest region of Sudan and South Sudan. Heprovince, as saying on Friday. countries was worth 3% less last year was later released. According to the Xinhua account, one compared with 2010, as inflation ate Honduras took the spotlight after theof the defendants paid an estimated away at what their currencies could Camayagua prison fire killed over 380$35,000 to arrange the transplant. He paid buy. Disregarding years of exceptional inmates in February, reported the internetWang approximately $3,500 and split the debt relief, this was the first drop since based news provider Honduras News.rest with the surgeon, the three other 1997, taking inflation into account, The incident is but the latest of the seriesdefendants and other medical staff. according to figures from the OECD of negative press facing the country. In The teen was from Anhui, one of club of rich countries. October 2011 it was revealed as one ofChinas poorest provinces, where In 2011, aid from the Development the most murderous places on the planetinhabitants frequently leave to find work Assistance Committee (DAC) of the by the UN’s first global homicide reportand a better life elsewhere. He bought an OECD came to $133.5bn, or 0.31% of and November saw the evacuation of alliPhone and iPad, and when asked by his their combined gross national income US Peace Corps volunteers, leavingmother where he got the money, admitted (GNI). In absolute numbers this was behind vital development projects.selling a kidney. more than the 2010 figure of $128.5bn The entire world of media had Apple products are hugely popular in – the year net official development reported in some way on the KONYChina, but are priced beyond the reach of assistance (ODA) reached its peak. 2012 campaign started by the NGOmany Chinese. Apples ubiquitious However, adjusted for inflation and Invisible Children. The campaign videosmartphone -iPhone - starts at $633, weaker currencies, last years figure went viral and in a matter of days scoredwhile iPads begin at $474. actually represents a 2.7% drop. This over 75mn views early in March. It’s aim Wang was recruited from an online does not necessarily mean is to convince the US government tochatroom and is now suffering from governments have cut their aid commit troops and other support to thekidney failure and is in deteriorating budgets, but that the money is worth Ugandan Military in order to capture thehealth, the Xinhua news agency said. less because of inflation. rebel leader Joseph Kony who has over the last 25 years abducted over 30,000 Kony 2012 activist group releases new video children into sexual and military slavery. It was not all good news, however, as the video prompted outrage in Uganda, as which has kidnapped thousands of Kony has not been heard from for sixUS activist group Invisible Children has children, forcing girls to become sex years, was no longer in Uganda andreleased a sequel to its video slaves and boys to fight as child soldiers. could possibly already dead, reported thehighlighting the activities of Ugandan Some criticised the video for Huffington Post. One YouTube videorebel leader Joseph Kony.The first 30- oversimplifying a complex issue. accuses the whole campaign of being aminute film attracted some 100 million Ugandas Prime Minister Amama false pretence to involve US militarily inviews online, but was criticised for Mbabazi said that the video wrongly a country that has recently discovered oilsimplifying the issue. gave the impression that the country was fields said to rival those of Saudi Arabia. The follow-up has been made still at war. Guatemala made national history andwithout input from the groups co- Titled Kony 2012: Beyond Famous, set a real precedent in March when an exfounder, who suffered a mental the new release begins with the huge military man was convicted for thebreakdown following publicity media reaction to the initial release, murder of 201 people in the village ofgenerated by the film. highlighting the mainstream media Dos Erres during the country’s 36 year The film-makers pledged to include coverage the video gained across the long Civil War that ended in mid-more context in the latest video. US. But it quickly switches focus to ninetees. Pedro Pimentel Rios, 54, was The first film profiled Kony and his Africa, with more voices from Uganda jailed for 6000 years, reported WorldLords Resistance Army, a militia than were featured in the emotive first News On-line.operating in several African countries release.
  • Final Remarks From the EditorWhen ThingsFall Apart By MANOJ BHUSALWhen we were working on the cover The answer is quite the opposite. As ourstory on the DRCongo for this edition GSDM correspondent for the DRCongo, An internally displaced girl inof Global South Development Emily Lynch, who also works as a the DRC. Photo: UN MultimediaMagazine, we came across an internet health consultant for the reliefpost that said: ‘A few African countries organization Doctors Without Borders, When you read about theare doing really good, many of themstill do have conflicts and their own writes in her feature, ‘Congos burden is its wealth; its wealth is its burden.’ DRCongo, you instantly getissues, but the DRCongo is a bit The DRCongo has almost everything two images circling arounddifferent. Here, things, really, have that a country needs for a sound your mind. The first image isfallen apart.’ economic development. The country of imagination, of possibility By now we have finished the cover covers 2,344,858 square km of land inpiece, the magazine is being designed the centre ofAfrica, making it the 12th that tells that with all itsfor final publication, during these recentfew days I managed to talk with a largest country in the world, roughly the size ofWestern Europe. Given the size potential and natural wealth,number of people who are familiar with of the country, its population of a country like the DRCongothe DRCongo, went through many 70million is not excessively high either. should have been the mostarticles and internet posts, read reports Most importantly, the DRCongo has prosperous nation on theof NGOs and relief organizations, and vast reserves of the natural resourcesmy one sentence summary would be that the world needs. It has cobalt, planet, while the secondsimilar to the above mentioned internetpost, ‘yes, in the DRCongo, things have copper and gold mines, it has diamond ores and other precious gems, the most image is of reality, the bitter,really fallen apart.’ notable fact being that the country has desperate reality, that gives When you read about the DRCongo, 70% of the globe’s coltan reserve, you a gruesome image of theyou instantly get two images circling something that is vital for mobile phone country, where lifearound your mind. The first image is of production.imagination, of possibility that tells that Home to the world’s second biggest expectancy of its people iswith all its potential and natural wealth,a country like the DRCongo should rainforest, DRCongo is immensely rich in renewable energy sources as well. mere 48 years, the averagehave been the most prosperous nation With 13% of the world’s hydropower income of its citizens $300 aon the planet, while the second image is potential, experts say, vast and year and the country isof reality, the bitter, desperate reality, networked rivers of the country could consistently at the bottom ofthat gives you a gruesome image of the power the entire African continent.country, where life expectancy of its Then again there is this bitter reality: at UN human developmentpeople is mere 48 years, the averageincome of its citizens $300 a year and the moment just 9% of the DRC population has access to electricity. index (187th out of 187) withthe country is consistently at the bottom The same goes with agriculture. 71% of its population livingof UN human development index Emily Lynch from the DRCongo writes, below the poverty line.(187th out of 187) with 71% of its ‘much of Congo is covered with lush,population living below the poverty fertile, productive land; there is noline. reason that anyone should go without The obvious question arises, what food in this country, no reason that thereare the reasons that have made the should be stunting and micronutrientDRCongo the poorest nation on the deficiencies and malnutrition commonplanet. Has the country been cursed by enough that you can walk through anature with no natural resources and village and point out all the childrenpossibilities of economic development? suffering from it.’
  • Final Remarks From the Editor After Mobutu’s departure, the country entered into series of other political conflicts that took 5.4 million lives between August 1998 and April 2007. It wasn’t a single conflict or a power struggle. There were wars within wars, conflicts within conflicts, involving armies of at least 7 nations, fighting and shedding blood in the 23-year old Kabibi Tabu lost both legs in a landmine explosion on the 02 August 2006 Congolese soil. in Bunia,DRC UN Photo/Martine Perret. Historically the DRCongo has gone Western stance on the DRCongo issue that violent clashes, killings, rapes andthrough a lot. By 1877, the Congo was has been quite a paradoxical one. As robberies are still going on in the easternoccupied by the forces of Belgium’s long as the minerals were coming out of part of the country. According to a UNKing Leopold II. For the brutal king, the country, nobody showed any report, some 14,200 rape cases werekillings and massacres were like child’s concerns about serious human rights registered in South Kivu alone betweenplay. While extracting huge quantities of violations carried out during Mobutu’s 2005 and 2007.rubber from the country, he made dictatorship and even afterwards. France The DRC example clearly shows thatviolence a basic tool for everyday affairs even supported the dictator till his last mere availability of resources is notin the Congolese society. The country moments. The rest of the Western enough for development, instead, howgot independence in 1960, but another countries took Belgian reference when it resources are used and who uses them isdark period instantly began when Patrice came to the DRCongo, and Belgium’s a crucial issue. For decades, foreignLumumba, only 35, the country’s first historical involvement in the country hands have just messed up many thingsprime minister and a popular hasn’t spared many happy stories to in the DRC and virtually robbed theindependence leader was deposed, share. country, it’s now time that the people ofimprisoned and killed only after twelve Even now things haven’t changed so DRCongo decide their fate themselvesweeks in power. Later it became clear much though a number of peace deals and use their mineral resources wiselythat Lumumba’s assassination was have been signed in recent years. Many for the benefit of all Congolese people.carried out with the assistance of instances show that foreign mineral There is no doubt that if the DRCongo isBelgium, for which the Belgian companies have, time and again, been to be stable, the recently-electedgovernment officially apologized in responsible for fuelling instability in the parliament and the new government2002. region. In 2004, the Australian company should make smart decisions in order to From 1965 to 1997, the country was Anvil Mining was found to be providing change the ways how mineral, oil andruthlessly governed by Joseph-Desire logistical support for a military siege forest resources are managed. The youngMobutu, who not only renamed the when the Congolese troops carried out a and newly reelected President, Josephcountry as Zaire, but got a new stylish mass murder and looting in the town of Kabila, said to be shy but smart andname for himself. He had to be called Kilwa. Forget about private reform oriented politician, should ensureSese Seko Kuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga, corporations, even the UN peacekeepers the constitutional right of Congolese tosomeone who is all powerful, goes from were linked to a gold smuggling fairly benefit from their natural wealth,conquest to conquest and his legacy is enterprise with local militias in Ituri in and stopping mineral trade in conflictnothing, but flames of fire. After 2005, and a UN internal report stricken areas of eastern Kivu provincesMobutu’s departure, the country entered concluded in 2004 that its troops were would give a lot of respite to the localsinto series of other political conflicts involved in sexual abuse and in the region.that took 5.4 million lives between exploitation of women and girls in the Things do have fallen apart in theAugust 1998 and April 2007. It wasn’t a region. DRC, but there is still an opportunity tosingle conflict or a power struggle. Players and perpetrators have assemble the things up and moveThere were wars within wars, conflicts changed overtime, but it is always towards a new direction of development,within conflicts, involving armies of at Congolese people who pay the price peace and prosperity. And for that aleast 7 nations, fighting and shedding when there is conflict and instability in strong political will and sheerblood in the Congolese soil. the region. Recent media reports show determination is a must. (Editor can be reached at manoj.bhusal@silcreation.org)
  • Each issue is a unique issueAn independent development reporting that you can confidently rely on!