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

Alternatives International Project Briefing – August 2011

Tuesday 2 August 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 landscape of Niger, like its neighbours in the Sahel, is dominated by desert. The country’s dependence on locally produced food and livestock means its food stores fluctuate according to seasonal rain levels. On Alternative Info, one of Radio Alternative FM’s programs, food security was discussed in depth in an interview with Mahamane Nouri, president of the Association of Defense of the Rights of Consumers (ADDC-Wadata). In June 2011, the government of Niger agreed to effectuate the free distribution of foodstuffs and to moderate the prices of staple foods such as rice and sorghum in response to a smaller agricultural output. It was believed that the June ruling would improve food security during the soudure, the period of time between the exhaustion of food supplies from the previous year and the next harvest. However, to effectively make food more accessible, the food distribution programs must be delocalized. To that effect, points of sale for staple foods under price controlled legislation must be set up in close proximity to the localities of Nigeriens who are most at risk. The ideal aim of the ruling is for the product to reach the consumer-in-need, either free of charge or at a reduced affordable price. Listen here…

Alternative Information Center - Jerusalem, Israel

Held in the West Bank at the beginning of July, the Alternatives Information Center’s (AIC) Culture is Resistance! Week brought photographers, painters, musicians, writers and cinematographers together to demonstrate the connection between culture and resistance to Israeli colonialism. The Director of the Palestinian Ministry of Culture in Bethlehem, Mohammed Deirieh, spoke at the opening ceremony on July 5. One of the photographers featured at events throughout the week, Shareef Sarhan, stated in a photo description that “the space around us is limited, the ideas in us are unlimited.” This was a fundamental motto of the week. As he is a Palestinian living in Gaza, he could not attend the exhibition of his work at the AIC but sees his photography as a way of “break[ing] out from [the Gaza Strip] and reach[ing] the outside” – a way of resisting. Many others brought their art to Culture is Resistance! Week to emphasize the potential of creativity as an activist strategy. Read more...

Bethlehem-area group Awlad Al-Balad thrilled the audience with poetry reading and oud music (photo: Sergio Yahni, Alternative Information Center)

Alternatives Asia – New Delhi, India

March 8, 2011 was the one hundredth anniversary of International Women’s Day. In recognition of this milestone, Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samithi (BGVS) and members of Alternatives Asia reflected on the achievements of women in development over the past century. A campaign of studies and dialogues was held for the length of the centennial year in order to determine the advancements women in India have experienced. Within individual villages, BGVS’s campaign staff across twenty-two Indian states conducted dialogues with women on their involvement in science and technology, health, education, environment, violence, livelihoods and microfinance. In order to evaluate changes over time, studies were conducted to determine the status of women prior to and immediately following India’s independence and in the last 10 years. Another aspect of the campaign was to train 1,200 women across the country in jobs that were traditionally held by men such as auto repair and coconut tree climbing. BGVS’s campaign for one hundred years of International Women’s Day was not only a celebration of the achievements of Indian women but also helped to spread awareness of the equality that many women are still fighting for. Read more...

Forum des Alternatives Maroc – Rabat, Morocco

Through their Youth Action division, the Forum des Alternatives Maroc (FMAS) recruited fifteen Moroccan youth from diverse backgrounds to participate in a new cultural initiative entitled “Intercultural Theatre, for Dialogue and Mutual Understanding.” The youth participants in the project were charged with the creation, direction and acting of three theatrical productions on the subject of intercultural dialogue and the problems of migration facing youth today. Moroccan participants were joined by youth from both France and Italy in this initiative co-financed by the European Union and carried out in collaboration with cultural organizations in all three countries. The aim of the project is to raise awareness among youth of the power of theatre as an outlet for intercultural dialogue. Ultimately, this will bridge the gap between youth on both sides of the Mediterranean. The process began in March and a first round of performances was held on July 9, 2011 at one of Rabat’s centres for the arts and culture. Read more...

Initiative pour un autre monde – Paris, France

From August 25 to 28, the Initiative pour un autre monde (IPAM) network will take part in a gathering of “Citizen Convergence for an Energy Transition” in Lézan in the region of Cévennes. The series of roundtables, workshops, and personal accounts will hold a particular focus on the state of shale gas and oil, bringing together perspectives from across the field of the environmental protection. A grassroots movement at heart, the fight against shale gas is truly driven by citizens who have a desire to change their daily routine which heavily consumes fossil fuel energies. Through the exchange of knowledge and ideas, the gathering in Cévennes aims to develop a democratic respect for the environment and its health, of both the world and its inhabitants. The event, organized by France’s National Coordination of Collectives and a number of associations for environmental protection (including but not limited to ATTAC, Amis de la Terre, Greenpeace and Stop nucléaire), will evaluate the current climate of fossil fuel energy use in France and take a look at the existing movements for an energy transition at the international level. Read more...

Alternatives Montreal - Montreal, Quebec

The seventeenth annual Alternatives’ Days will be held this month between August 19 and 21. Over fifteen distinguished speakers from international non-governmental organizations, universities, activist groups and citizens’ organizations will attend the event to initiate and lead discussion. This year’s four main panels will focus on the revolutions in Maghreb and the Middle East, neo-liberalism in the Americas, Quebec’s Plan Nord, and Canada’s “conservative” government. The event, held in the natural setting of Camp Papillon in the Lanaudière region near Montreal, will feature workshops, kiosks, music and open-air activities. The participation of knowledgeable panelists, as well as the involvement of members and employees of Alternatives International and hundreds of concerned citizens should allow for extremely informed and productive discussions throughout Alternatives’ Days. For more information or to register, visit the Alternatives Montreal website.

Teacher Creativity Center - Ramallah, Palestine

After the success of the first Educational Days in 2010, the Teacher Creativity Center prepared for this year’s Educational Enlightening Days an event entitled “We Care: All for Educational reform in Palestine.” The event was held on July 25 and 26, and shed some light on the creative Palestinian educational initiatives by individuals and institutions. After presenting the creative projects, discussions ensued on how these initiatives can be encouraged, developed and mainstreamed in a manner that contributes to the educational reform in Palestine. The Educational Days included two main themes of discussion; namely, Educational Partnerships and Investing in Social Capital. In addition, a selection of the best and most creative educational initiatives that succeeded to make a difference on the educational and social levels were presented and discussed. Read more....

Associação Civil Alternativa Terrazul

Preceding the Rio + 20 Conference, the International Planet Under Pressure conference will be held in London from March 26 to 29, 2012. It will provide scientific leadership to the UN climate conference through establishing a comprehensive update of the pressure planet Earth is now under by compiling and presenting scientific papers. Throughout the four days, the conference is meant to inform delegates and policy makers of the current pressures on the planet, opportunities for implementing changes for a sustainable future, challenges and hindrances to progress, and finally of a vision for 2050. Based on the scientific results they present, Planet Under Pressure encourages changes in governance and technology to be carried out on local, national and global scales.

Photo: AIC Website,
Alternatives Terrazul Website