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Home > English > Alternatives International Journal > 2011 > June 2011 > Alternatives International Project Briefing – June 2011

Alternatives International Project Briefing – June 2011

Wednesday 1 June 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 interesting projects from various members. Read on to learn how Alternatives International is changing the world.

Alternatives Espaces Citoyens – Niamey, Niger

The Forum on the Right to Food and Food Sovereignty was held in Niamey in October 2010. It was a thematic forum in preparation for the World Social Forum that followed in Dakar in February 2011. An active participant in the forum, Alternatives Espaces Citoyens continues to promote the right to food, an issue which is especially important in the Sahel where food insecurity is an ongoing obstacle faced by the Nigerien population. The inaccessibility of food was worsened by the 2008 global crisis. In partnership with four local civil society groups, Alternatives Espaces Citoyens effectively mobilised nearly one thousand individuals to march against hunger and demand the self-sufficiency of the Nigerien population and their right to food sovereignty. Peasants and farmers are fighting for the reform of Niger’s agricultural policies which is a major contributing factor to food insecurity. Read more...

Alternative Information Center - Jerusalem, Israel

In May, the Jerusalem member of Alternatives International held a screening of the documentary Memory of the Cactus, a film on the displacement of thousands of Palestinians from the Latroun enclave of the West Bank in the 1967 war. Produced by Al-Haq, the screening was part of the Alternative Information Center’s (AIC) peacemaking activity between Israel and Palestine. Expressing the viewpoints of several displaced Palestinians and contemporary Israeli citizens, the film portrays the forced evacuation of Palestinian villages as a result of the desire for a pure Jewish space. However, both sides acknowledge the impossibility of living with such discrimination. Recalling the Trail of Tears, the evacuation of Native North Americans upon the colonization of America, an Israeli soldier present in 1967 remembers thousands of Palestinians trudging silently to refugee camps in Palestine. Many who built new lives in these camps still live there and await their return home to Israel. An Israeli activist in the documentary expresses guilt for being an Israeli citizen because he sees the contradictions within his government. According to international law, the Palestinian people should be allowed to return home despite country boundaries, but Israel is not ready to reconcile for the injustices of 1967. Forty-eight thousand descendants of the Latrun residents still await their return home like thousands of other Palestinian refugees. Read more...

Alternatives Asia – New Delhi, India

The staff at Alternatives Asia has been lobbying for several years to achieve the right to education (RTE) for all Indian children. In 2002 the 86th amendment of the Constitution which added the free and compulsory right to education for all children aged six to fourteen years, and the provision of early childhood education for those under six years of age. As it is the duty of the state to provide free education, finding government finances has been the central obstacle to universal education in India. By 2009, the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Bill was passed. While passing the bill was a great step forward in the fight for RTE, there are limitations to the legislation, notably the restriction of age. The government has promised that the lack of available funds would not hamper the provision of compulsory and free education in the future. Read more...

Forum des Alternatives Maroc – Rabat, Morocco

Following the aims of the World Social Forum, the Maghreb Social Forum brought together social movements from all over North Africa, the Middle East and abroad for the first time in July 2008. Forum des Alternatives Maroc was an important agent in the mobilisation of various social movements and in the organization of the forum which took place in El Jadid, Morocco. The forum provided the space for the visibility and networking of various social movements leading to solidarity on economic, social and political issues in the Maghreb and Mashrek region. The March 2010 edition of the Maghreb Social Forum, this time in Bouznik, Morocco, was fundamental for the coordination of civil society groups from across the region in preparation for the WSF 2011 in Dakar. The Forum des Alternatives Maroc’s civil society internet portal, e-joussour, continues to disseminate information on social movements in the Maghreb and Mashrek. Read more...

Initiative pour un autre monde (IPAM) – Paris, France

This year’s G8 conference took place on May 26 and 27 in Deauville, Normandy, France. Armed forces were hired for the protection of the world leaders in attendance but were met with few violent protests. Instead, activists expressed their concerns through a self-organized nine day action camp in Le Havre, 40km from the G8 site. IPAM, along with thirty-three other civil society groups, unions and hundreds of individuals, was present from May 20-29. One objective of the action camp was to protest against the capitalist system propagated by G8 summits. The “Alternatives Forum” opened up the floor for a series of nine debates on topics covered at the G8 ranging from nuclear energy to the freedom of expression on the internet. Read more...

Alternatives Montreal — Montreal, Canada

The Rooftop Gardens Project aims to creatively make use of the otherwise empty roof space to improve urban ecology and reduce Montreal’s heat island, the bubble of smog which accumulates over urban areas. In collaboration with the Chez Soi senior housing complex, the NDG Community Council and Santropol Roulant, Alternatives has spread urban gardens throughout the Montreal community. In addition to the green spaces at the Rooftop Gardens Project’s partner organizations, the garden located at McGill University brings the importance of urban farming to Montreal’s youth. The use of soil-less cultivation and hydrophonic gardening systems allows for self-watering and, thus, the recycling of the plants’ own energy to grow. In 2008, the Rooftop Garden Project received the highest environment distinction in Quebec, the Phénix de l’environnement, and continues to make Montreal increasingly sustainable and verdant. Read more...

Teacher Creativity Center - Ramallah, Palestine

The Teacher Creativity Center (TCC) aims to engender a safe democratic learning environment to develop the knowledge, skills and education of teachers. The right to education in Palestine is guaranteed by all international conventions, however the conflict between Palestine and Israel has prevented Palestinians from organizing educational activities. Thus, ensuring the equal right to education for all Palestinian and Israeli teachers and students is a major focus of the TCC. It also participated in the World Education Forum in October of 2010, which aimed to strengthen the unity of the people in Palestine to underscore the breadth of resources and experiences which Palestine has to offer the world regarding education. Read more...

Terrazul - Fortaleza, Brazil

Nineteen years ago, the global community convened in Rio de Janeiro to acknowledge the urgency in rectifying the destruction of the ecological environment. Several institutional frameworks were designed for implementation in highly industrialized countries such as the United States, Japan, China and Brazil. One such framework policy included the Kyoto Protocol which aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions specifically. A sequel to the 1992 environmental summit will be held June 2012, again in Rio, and will discuss a strategy for sustainable development. It will be vital for the attendees of the summit, a board of world leaders, to acknowledge the successes and shortcomings of the environmental policies created in 1992, and assess new goals for atmospheric carbon levels and reduction of waste. While environmental specialists endorse the Rio+20 conference, many also recognize the inefficiency and lack of resolution of the environmental conferences in Copenhagen and Cancun. General Secretary of Alternatives International, Feroz Medhi, expressed that the conference will ideally conclude in a concrete and focused document outlining a plan for developing a green global economy in the context of poverty eradication and sustainable development. Terrazul as well as a spectrum of environmental organizations will be participating by spreading awareness of the environmental issues which must not be overlooked at the conference. Read more...