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Home > English > Alternatives International Journal > 2011 > July 2011 > Alternatives International Project Briefing - July 2011

Alternatives International Project Briefing - July 2011

Friday 1 July 2011, by Isabelle Reford, Melissa Wils-Owens

Each of the nine member organizations of the Alternatives International federation is constantly at work on a variety of projects to improve social, economic and environmental justice in their respective countries and to create international solidarity. Every month, the AIJ publishes the Project Briefing which features a summary of an interesting project from each of the members. Read on to learn how Alternatives International is changing the world.

Alternatives Espaces Citoyens – Niamey, Niger

Radio Alternative FM (99.4 FM) is an outlet for independent information and discussion in French and local languages in Niger’s two largest cities, Niamey and Zinder. A selection of broadcasts is also available online (http://www.alternativefm.org/#). The radio was created by Alternatives Espaces Citoyens in 2003. After surviving a brief period of censorship in 2005, Radio Alternative FM continues to broadcast on a daily basis. Environmental conservation, gender equality, human rights, youth culture, current events and democracy are the major themes that Alternatives FM develops. Most recently, in conjunction with Niger Women’s Day in May, several on-air shows featured discussions on women’s role in politics through both popular participation and direct involvement as parliamentarians. Today there are fourteen women in Nigerien parliament, a significant improvement since the first Niger Women’s Day in 1991when women marched to protest their exclusion from the committee forming the country’s new government. A recent law passed in Senegal which moves from a quota of women in politics to gender equality was also discussed as an option for Niger. Listen here...

Alternative Information Center - Jerusalem, Israel

On June 19, 2011 the Alternative Information Center (AIC) received a letter from a group of activists entitled “Ruh Jedidia,” or “A New Spirit for 2011.” The AIC published a video on their website which explains the context of the letter: the plight of Mizrahi Jews in Israel. Unable to go back to their home countries which are considered enemy nations by Israeli judgement, Mizrahis are also denied the education needed for upward social mobility. The letter expresses Mizrahi status in Israel as being an illusion of freedom because, unlike Palestinians in Israel, they are considered Israeli and hold Israeli citizenship. Ultimately, the signatories of the letter are calling out to Mizrahi peers in Israel and Northern Africa to take action towards improving the quality of life and access to education in the coming year. Read more...

Alternatives Asia – New Delhi, India

A number of members of Alternatives Asia are on the Board of Directors of Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samithi(BGVS), a non-profit organization that works to promote literacy in twenty-two of India’s provinces. BGVS believes that reducing illiteracy in India is the starting point for social transformation. Its projects are in place to fill the existing demand for literacy and to increase this demand by reaching underprivileged children and adults throughout the country. As part of its campaign to promote literacy, BVGS held a national script writing workshop in August 2010. Twenty writers from across the country convened in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh for the eight day workshop, the focus of which was to create scripts for songs and theatrical plays centred on the Right to Education Act. The scripts were developed in both local and national languages. This creative approach to literacy is only one of the ways BGVS is educating the Indian people. Read more...

Forum des Alternatives Maroc – Rabat, Morocco

Through the e-joussour internet portal, Forum des Alternatives Maroc (FMAS) is developing a new project entitled “Medias Communautaires, pour une information citoyenne.” In May 2011, members of FMAS met to evaluate the wants and needs of various actors in civil society in terms of information and communication. The goal of the meeting was to propose reforms for the communications sector in order to uphold the freedom of speech. Ultimately, the group called for the implementation of a legislative framework that guarantees the existence of community media. By developing the field of community media, FMAS will contribute to the strengthening of the foundations of democracy and enlarge the spectrum of civil liberties, in particular freedom of expression in Morocco and in the region. The project is currently in its first stages and will be ongoing until late 2013. Read more...

Initiative pour un autre monde – Paris, France

On June 22 and 23, the Ministers of Agriculture of the G20 countries met for the first time in Paris to discuss the global agriculture market. The meeting’s main focus was the volatility of food prices and supplies, an issue that has been at the forefront of debate in agricultural circles for the past few years. It has been brought to the attention of world leaders following widespread protest in 2008 against the average rise in food prices which further impoverished many of the world’s poor, particularly in the global South. The Initiative pour un autre monde (IPAM) network gathered with its member organizations and other stakeholders in global agriculture (peasant farmers, consumers and citizens alike) in Paris’ Jardin des Tuileries for a “festive, alternative and active picnic.” The goal was to speak up on behalf of those who were not represented by the G20 leaders at the June meeting. Activists consider the solutions agreed upon by the G20 countries to be insufficient in preventing future food crises, nor do they support subsistence farming practices, which are believed to be the only way to support the world’s starving population. Read more...

Alternatives Montreal — Montreal, Canada

Since 1994, Alternatives Montreal has focused Canadian interest in social and political activism through an annual event called Alternatives’ Days. Both an opportunity for Canadian camaraderie and strategy development, Alternatives’ Days is a weekend of activities related to current social, economic, political and environmental concerns. Activists and artists from within and outside Quebec, as well as international partners, official guests and members of Alternatives come together to share analyses, reflections, music and good will. Activities include panel discussions with well-known public figures, a variety of practical workshops, cultural activities, kiosques for community organizations and local produce, evenings around the bonfire and open air activities for the whole family. This year’s theme is Revolutions Facing Neo-liberalism, referring particularly to the Arab Spring. Alternatives’ Days exposes concerns, entices discussion and illuminates the need for global solidarity, making it a pivotal occasion. It will be held from August 19-21 at Camp Papillon de St-Alphonse de Rodriguez in the Lanaudière region. Read more...

Teacher Creativity Center - Ramallah, Palestine

This June, The Palestinian Teacher Creativity Center conducted a training session for mothers in the Silwan region of Jerusalem. The objective of this eight day program was to educate and empower women by addressing common issues faced by educational systems in Silwan. Funded by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UNIFEM), the training dealt with educational student counseling, the presence of violence in schools, methods for educating children with learning difficulties, and a range of other issues directly pertinent to the women’s families. The women in attendance hope redirect their knowledge of education towards improving the local school environment. This program was successful despite an area of Silwan’s occupation by Israel, and the strict traditional roles that women hold in the community. Read more...

Associação Civil Alternativa Terrazul - Fortaleza, Brazil

As the UN Conference on Sustainable Development approaches, organizations worldwide have begun mobilizing activists, academics and researchers to place pressure on the countries attending the Earth Summit 2012. However, Associação Civil Alternativa Terrazul has also begun educating and prompting local youth to fight for social, economic and environmental justice. Youth have the gumption, wherewithal and creativity to provoke transformative change, as was seen at the 1992 UN Earth Summit where Severn Cullis-Suzuk spoke about the plagues of climate change. Cullis-Suzuk was 13-years-old. Her speech explained the grave health risks due to climate change and the plagues of environmental injustice on future generations. The astute environmental consciousness of her speech exemplifies the jolting impact youth can have on sustainability. Nearly half of the globe’s population is under 25-years-old, and thus their mobilization in the next year is a critical step to launching new international policies towards climate justice. Read more...