Don’t Get Disempowered!

Don't Get Disempowered!How a Human Rights Movement gets disempowered?
By Sunil Babu Pant, Blue Diamond Society

Activists from the ‘global south’ hear, far too often, from our donors that we should ‘Learn how to become professional, make your NGO management efficient’.

Let’s decode what “becoming professional” means and what “efficient management means”:

1) Professional means a person engaged or qualified in a profession. ‘Profession’ is the key word here, and donors would like to make sure that you become a ‘professional’ activist, and want to see you taking it (human rights work) as a profession.

2) Efficient management means performing or functioning in the best possible manner with the least waste of time and effort. For conventional NGOs this means achieving targets, writing professional reports and submitting it in a timely manner. To really understand the “danger” of becoming efficient, you must compare it with effectiveness. Being effective is about doing the right things, while being efficient is about doing things right (no matter how far you have moved away from human rights ‘activism’ to be part of an efficient management team).

As soon as a well-meaning group of activists start the process of becoming a NGO, the problem begins. No matter what is said at the outset about the ‘NGOs being free to act the way they have envisioned’, the truth is that the NGOs are deeply indebted by donors, well-funded NGOs are even worse. This is start of a ‘professional’ submission to a system that repeatedly dis-empowers and controls the movement, denies the freedom of a human rights movement to do what it is supposed to do, all slogans of ‘grassroots-led and empowerment’ not-upheld.

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Democratising Global Health

Democratising Global HealthLast month we posted a blog, Chance to Engage with France, to introduce a series of excellent articles, France: nation and world,  that were published in The Lancet in May 2016. Aside from appreciating the series and its relevance now,  we wrote of our personal connection with France and of our involvement with global health as a French registered NGO. Now, we continue to repost a few of these articles with a title that caught our keen attention: Democratising the global health agenda: why we need France.
Its author, Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS, is one of the very few at the ‘top’ of global health institutions that fully understands the needs of those at the ‘bottom’, and acts accordingly.

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Democratising the global health agenda: why we need France
By Michel Sidibé

Against a backdrop of crisis—climate change, violent extremism, and the greatest inequalities ever endured by society—the world has committed to Agenda 2030 and its 17 visionary Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Together, they implicitly recognise that health is an essential global good, of which all people must share equitably. Let us seize the momentum generated by the SDGs to set our new global health agenda—with France leading.

The SDGs, interconnected and transformative, represent much of what France has achieved in global health for a long time—inclusive partnerships, working across sectors, addressing inequalities, and empowering communities. Achievement of the health-related targets of the SDGs requires leaders with the skills and credibility to deploy so-called soft power to reach agreements on priorities and strategies. In short, it needs France’s strong focus on solidarity, shared responsibility, and multisectoral cooperation.

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