From Brass Bands to White Bands
by Celine van den Berg-Doet
Goal 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development
Make Poverty History white wristbands have proved popular with young people
|The Salvation Army in The Netherlands is looking to use its own members and the Movement’s international links to raise awareness, influence policy makers and make poverty history|
THE Salvation Army Netherlands Development Office is a department of The Salvation Army in The Netherlands but its influence goes way beyond the boundaries of our country. Our office is part of a global network of Salvation Army development offices committed to meeting human need in the developing world.
The eighth United Nations Millennium Development Goal (MDG) sets out targets to be met by developed countries in creating global partnerships. It is probably the most political of all the goals as its results are mainly dependent on the change of policies and structures. The targets cover efforts in important areas such as development aid, fair trade, debt relief, affordable essential drugs and foreign direct investment.
Here in The Netherlands we have a small and enthusiastic team which is responding to the global challenge to ‘make poverty history’ through our development efforts.
In the past, the Netherlands Development Office provided funding for development projects using money provided by the Dutch public but over the past year we have being doing some development to our own office, reviewing the way that we work.
We have come to the conclusion that development cooperation is about much more than giving money. We need to offer technical support to our partners, share best practices and develop the skills and abilities of project staff in the developing world. It is also about raising awareness within The Netherlands and influencing policy makers on different levels to address global issues. As a result our office is developing a more holistic approach to development work, building our commitment to a global partnership for development
|Adding some rhythm on a march against poverty|
The Netherlands Development Office is a member of the Make Poverty History platform, which forms part of the Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP). Together with 45 other development organisations in The Netherlands we are joining forces to lobby at political and strategic levels to keep the Dutch Government on target to fulfil its commitments and make maximum effort to achieve the MDGs.
We also work together to educate the Dutch public through public campaigns about the importance of the MDGs.
Up to now the Dutch Government is doing relatively well when it comes to supporting development work. It spends 0.8 per cent of its gross national income on official development assistance and therefore exceeds the United Nations target of 0.7 per cent. However doing well is not enough when we know it could be better. For that reason GCAP continues to involve itself in Make Poverty History activities such as White Band Days – where everyone is encouraged to wear a Make Poverty History wristband – and radio and television commercials as a way of spreading information. We also collaborate in writing many letters to politicians and participating in meetings with policy makers.
In the next two years the platform will continue its lobbying and public campaigns and we, The Salvation Army, will continue to contribute to them.
For the next White Band Day, 7 July 2007, we have come up with an idea to contribute to the Global Call for Action against Poverty by raising awareness of the MDGs and poverty in developing countries – as well as in developed countries – using the resources of The Salvation Army in The Netherlands.
Within The Netherlands The Salvation Army has more than 75 corps (church) buildings and more than 200 centres where welfare and health care services are offered. At these locations we meet people on a daily basis who experience poverty within the developed world. For the next White Band Day we would like to inform the visitors of the corps and our clients within the welfare and health care centres about the MDGs. This alone will get the message across to 40,000 people.
Then, to show solidarity with the poor in developing countries, we want to stimulate the Salvation Army members and welfare clients to make their own massive White Band for each location so that we can dress up the almost 300 Salvation Army buildings in The Netherlands with White Bands on 07.07.07. By informing the media, news of the campaign will then spread and we hope it will reach thousands of Dutch citizens.
Perhaps, all over the world Salvation Army locations can do the same on 07.07.07. That would be a true partnership for global development.
Celine van den Berg-Doef is Programme Manager in the Development Office of The Salvation Army’s The Netherlands and Czech Republic Territory