Some months ago, a call was sent to CIVICUS members inviting them to apply to attend the European Commission’s partnership forum to be held on 25th and 26th June 2018. In order to ensure fruitful discussions during the forum, we needed members who understand cross-sectoral collaboration, the dynamics of professional networks and knowledge-sharing, and members who were able to envision future collective actions as CIVICUS members after the forum.
We received over 160 expressions of interest from 75+ countries and we were very much impressed by the depth of the insights! We are delighted to introduce the five members who will attend the forum as the CIVICUS delegation.
The CIVICUS delegation will be a rich blend of actors from the civil society: members from different regions of the world (including Francophone and Spanish speaking representation), working at different levels from local to regional, and ensuring gender and youth representation. The five members also deal with very different aspects which are key when it comes to multi-stakeholder partnerships, North-South collaborations, tackling key global challenges (e.g around migration and employment) and using diverse channels and means of communication (e.g. arts, media, high-level discussions etc).
Jorge Luis Vallejo Castello is a young Peruvian. He is a member of the Executive Board of the Latin American Youth Network for Democracy and currently working in the Citizen Participation Direction of the Ministerio del Interior of Perú. He trusts that the forum will enable us to establish better integration and cooperation networks between countries and organizations, together with the European Commission. “One challenge is to ensure that the Sustainable Development Goals can be taken from the international level to the local and community space of each of our countries, and this is where the work of civil society organizations requires new work strategies.”, he says. Follow Jorge on Twitter: @DonJorgeVallejo , Facebook: Jorge Luis Vallejo Castello and Instagram: Jorge.vallejo9
Ekaterina Porras Sivolobova founded Project 189 an organization in the Middle East, based in Kuwait, dedicated to serve domestic workers, particularly those affected by human trafficking and modern slavery. “I fearlessly promote justice, inclusion and innovation. (…) As part of the CIVICUS Delegation, I would like to share, from our experience, the importance of resilience of so many organizations working in restricted civic space, overcoming obstacles, organizing and succeeding. After my participation, I am looking forward to share new knowledge among my region and MENA Hub, the Innovation for Change Platform, to continue to promote effective collaboration – across regions and sectors.”, Ekaterina said. Follow Ekaterina and her organisation on Twitter: @ekposi and Facebook
Lusanda Magwape is the CEO and co-founder of Dream Factory Foundation, a youth-led and grass-roots organisation, involving over 70% women that empowers youth (13-25 years) from marginalized and underprivileged backgrounds to transition successfully into adulthood and make a full contribution to active society, in South Africa. Lusanda has a massive multi-stakeholder experience as a Youth Leader, with the government, other NGOs, community leaders, media and the private sector alike, on local to global levels. “I would like to echo that Africa is no longer the “broken child needing aid”. The child has grown up. She is an equal and engaging partner who has so much wisdom to offer. I truly believe that the likes of the EU should no longer provide aid to Africa from the historically guilty viewpoint of former colonizers. (…) Africa is genuinely seeking partners in the true sense of the word (…) Partnership is accountable, it engages, it is intimate and seeks to move together for a common purpose.”
Siok Sian Pek-Dorji is the founder-director of the Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy, the first civil society organisation to be formally registered in Bhutan. “As a member of an evolving civil society space in a democracy that's just 10 years old, I've been curious about how civil society organizations grow and thrive in other parts of the world. My organisation, the Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy, was the first CSO to spearhead a CSO strengthening and networking project that has helped develop a small network of CSOs representing the overall interests of civil society in Bhutan. Our citizens are just learning to evolve from being subjects of a monarchy to also being responsible citizens in a democracy. We look forward to an opportunity to learn from CSOs globally and to understand better our role in a globalized and often polarised world and as countries come together to create a more sustainable development.”
Gaius Kowene is from DRC and part of Yole!Africa, a grassroots organization for Artistic Creativity and Cultural Exchange. Two key questions Gaius would like to bring to the forum are: “What Mechanism is needed to make sure EU Member states funded projects don't undermine the reactivity of the local civil society and encourage African government to remain responsible when it comes to root causes of issues faced by the continent?” “How do we ensure the representation and inclusion of the youth from both urban and rural areas in the decision making process?” Gaius also has a number of ideas to share the outcomes of the forum and discuss practical implementation ideas with CIVICUS members, online and on the ground.
The forum will bring different stakeholders together: Civil Society Organisations, local authorities, other development and Human Rights actors, European Institutions and Member States, and engage them in dynamic dialogues and experience-sharing to help the EU institutions develop stronger partnerships with these different entities. The CIVICUS delegations key role and contribution will be invaluable to bring different perspectives from civil society as well as a common voice to support stronger joint efforts between civil society and other political and development actors! Stay tuned for the outcomes of the discussions and more!