Karusi Reconstruction Partnership Project, Burundi

The Karusi Province of Burundi was one of the most seriously conflict-affected areas during the 1993-96 crisis after the assassination of the first democratically elected President of Burundi in October 1993. This sparked the massacre of 250,000 Hutus and Tutsis and the massive displacement of the Burundian population into regroupment camps (mainly Hutus), displacement camps (mainly Tutsis), and refugee camps in neighboring Tanzania, Rwanda, and Democratic Republic of Congo through 1996. In 1997, the Burundian government disbanded all regroupment camps and the returning population had not much to return to.

In response to the shelter needs of the Karusi Province, an agreement with CIDA and World Vision Burundi (WVB) was signed in July 1998 to reconstruct 600 houses in the Karusi Province for the returning population of the Canzikiro Regroupment Camp. In partnership and with financial contribution from other international donors such as Habitat for Humanity International, UNHCR, and Irish Aid the Karusi Reconstruction Partnership Project was initiated in October 1998. In order to benefit from the construction material, it was imperative for the Hutu and Tutsi community to work together. The labour was in the form of volunteer time from community members who participated in the formulation of the project plans and created a community where the two groups would co-exist peacefully.

The Burundian Authorities identified 600 vulnerable families who would be in greatest need of shelter assistance and through this program, 2250 people were living in decent shelter within 9 months of the start of the project. Of the total beneficiaries, 48 were orphan-headed households and 365 widow and widower headed households. As a result of the efficient use of materials and staff, an additional 150 families could be added to the initial 600 in July 1999.

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Corvera de Asturias mix race council, Spain

Corvera de Asturias is a municipality with 17,000 inhabitants located in the Avilés region, a historic territory which acts as a background to five municipalities that assemble, in just 200 km?, more than 130,000 citizens. It is a highly industrialized area and is among the top ten in the country in which iron and steel and chemical companies predominate. Corvera de Asturias developed in the later 1950s with disorganized housing creating urban "ghettos" and urban ruins. The emigrant population in the 1960s increased from 5,000 to 20,000 without facilities and infrastructure. Later, the decline of the steel industry and other sectors made unemployment grow to limits unbearable for peaceful living in the community.

Corvera "Mix-Race Municipality" is a Local Initiative of Integral Action against racism and xenophobia that has been developed in the municipality since 1996. It is considered as a "work in progress" against social exclusion through the general improvement of the life conditions. For this purpose, there are several programmes that are in place that encourage interaction between different races and increases the participation of community members in Municipal affairs. It is a pioneering initiative that was institutionalized in an Act approved in a Town Council Plenum, in March1996. The anti-racist, anti-xenophobic agenda is propagated through street action and through a regular publication.

The various programmes including local development plans and rural development plans called for the cooperation and integration of all financial and human resources. Community members are involved in the decision making processes through the various existing associations. As a result of the initiative, the common outbursts of racial tension have ceased and courses arranged for the exchange of knowledge of different cultures have been well attended creating awareness and respect for other community members. The ethnic minority groups have received quality education, which was previously unattainable. Avilés, Langreo, and 25 other municipalities have adopted the Manifesto and declared themselves "Mix-Race Municipalities", following the Corveran example.

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Brent Council- Working in Partnership for Safer Community, United Kingdom

Prior to the formation of the Community Safety Sub-Committee in 1995, there was no clear local political lead for crime prevention. No specific budget for community safety existed. There was very little partnership action with the police and other agencies and there was no GIS crime mapping and no community website.

The priorities of the initiative were to secure top level political and chief officer support for crime prevention, write a crime prevention strategy and action plan, secure significant budget, and bid for external funding and to consult and involve Brent's ethnically diverse community.

Brent's Crime Prevention and Community Safety partnership brings together different public agencies to tackle crime and disorder. The objective is to make Brent a safer community and to improve people's quality of life. Brent Council recognises that crime is so complex that no single agency can tackle it successfully alone. Brent Council believes that local authorities have a responsibility to citizens to make communities safer and has led the partnership with the Police, Health Authority, Probation Service, Fire Service, NGO's and private sector. The Partnership objective is to provide a clear strategy and action plan across agencies to reduce crime and promote a safer community. Bringing agencies together adds value and targets resources more effectively. The partnership has improved public policy by demonstrating action that works.

Political support was secured for an annual anti-crime budget of ?250,000. Successful funding bids were made to various central government programmes for anti-racism, drugs prevention, CCTV, youth crime prevention, burglary reduction, crime analysis and community empowerment projects. There has been a very significant improvement in citywide co-ordination between partner agencies. Brent's crime prevention strategy has influenced local and regional policies as well as policies in cities in other countries. The initiative has successfully influenced institutional change. Crime prevention and community safety is now clearly recognized as a corporate responsibility for all Brent Council directorates and by the Police and partner agencies.

As a result the initiative has raised the awareness of decision-makers in different local organisations and central government about key issues influencing crime and community safety. The initiative demonstrates to Brent's ethnically diverse community a "joined up" approach between agencies to make Brent a safer community. Brent has won numerous awards and secured considerable external funding from government and Europe. Brent's crime prevention strategy has been described as a "model" not only for London but also for the UK and as "leading community safety in London". Brent Council is an Executive Committee member of the European Forum for Urban Safety and has presented its partnership work and achievements at conferences in Canada, South Africa and Europe.

Brent has emphasized sustainability by actively involving the community and developing "local solutions to local neighbourhood crime problems". Efforts have been targeted at gender equity (women's safety and domestic violence), equalities (racial harassment and crime against ethnic minorities), excluded young people, elders and unemployed.

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Human Rights Activists Against Discrimination, Badia Polesine, Italy

Before this initiative began it was very difficult for foreigners to rent houses and apartments. Women also faced discrimination, as they could not find employment once they are married or pregnant.

The organization administers human rights act against racism and sexual discrimination. The Commission promotes principles of equality, seeks to eliminate discriminatory practices and contributes to more equitable, productive and inclusive environments in which to work, learn and live, by enforcing the Act and educating the public about human rights and responsibilities. This is a non-governmental association, which promotes projects for human rights development through monitoring and public education, advocating law reforms, addressing complaints and networking with others who share the same concern on human rights against racism and gender imbalance.

Financial resources in the beginning came from the organization itself. The municipality also contributed financial and human resources for the organization. The initiative is against any form of racist jokes, slurs and insults. There is promotion of activities such as inter-cultural music or film festivals where various guests are invited to speak on racism, human rights and gender equality. In addition, they sponsor posters or essay contests, show films on prejudice, stereotyping, discrimination, segregation, and racism and equality. The contents of television, film, radio and newspapers are scrutinized before release for stereotypes. Schools are encouraged to develop policy and social statement against all forms of racial and gender imbalance.

As a result of this initiative foreigners were able to rent flats improving their way of life. Public meetings also resulted in sensitizing people on gender issues enabling women to get employment opportunities regardless of their marital status. One of the main lessons learnt was racial joke and gender imbalances leave the victims to be fearful and helpless. It also affects productivity of the workers. The other lessons was that women face gender discrimination in Europe and not only in the third world. The program benefited a large society across the country as it was designed to bring conflict resolution training to elementary school levels to end violence, isolation, solitude and sexual discrimination.

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Actions for Co-existence, Colombia

Actions for Coexistence is a public contest of the City Hall of Bogota done through its Administrative Department of Community and Citizen Participation (D.A.A.C.D.) where the public and private sector converge with community organizations. The purpose of the initiative is to promote citizen participation and community organizational processes, creating cohesiveness among neighbours and a sense of belonging to build together a better city where people can coexist despite different racial backgrounds and improve living conditions in their neighborhoods.

This programme encourages alliances among Base Line Community Organizations, but also between these organisations and local authorities in order to implement the decentralisation process. This process allows neighbours to plan, decide, execute and supervise those strategies designed to improve their living conditions in a responsible and transparent way and is open to any neighbourhood community organization. The prize at the end of the contest is the financing needed to develop the project.

Nine lines of action are developed through the programme: Arts and Culture, Arborization and Gardening, Security and Coexistence, Neighborhood Development, Public Space Maintenance, Community Communication, Recreation and Sports, Preventive Health, and Emergency Prevention. In order to develop these lines, several local authorities provide their support such as the Tourism and Culture Institute of Bogota, the Botanic Garden, the Secretary of State of Bogota and the Secretary of Education of the city.

Actions for Coexistence offers during its first phase training and advise so participants can propose a solution to a particular problem in their environment. The proposal should become a viable project ready to be executed, with a high degree of people participation and according to the Development Plan of the city. If the project is selected, Actions for Coexistence searches for a partner for the organization in order to finance the proposal, awarding US$ 3,500 on average. The community provides no less than 15% of the cost, through economic resources, materials or labour. In addition, Actions for Coexistence supervises the execution and investment of resources along with the community. The programme is a channel of communication between community organizations and public entities interested in working on each line of action.

As a result, there are better recreational areas, more environment training and awareness programs, community libraries, waste management campaigns, art activities and sports camps organized by communities in more than 900 neighborhoods throughout the city.

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Instrumental Group and Chorus Andes Music Embassy, Argentina

The Embajada Musical Andina (EMA) is an instrumental group and chorus formed by children and youth from Antofagasta (Chile), Tilcara y San Salvador de Jujuy (Argentina) and Cochabamba (Bolivia) that has been working for cultural integration through music since 1993.

The Director selects the repertoire that should be practiced throughout the year in each local workshop, together with the musical co-ordinator. This repertoire is assembled in bi-annual get-togethers in Tilcara. This get-together awakens and models the huge range of feelings particular to adolescents, accentuated by the different cultures.

The EMA has presented its message of peace and integration in the most prestigious concert halls of Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Venezuela and France. Besides these presentations, the EMA never abandons the task of taking the music where it cannot reach, institutions such as prisons, hospitals and homes for the elderly.

The EMA was named by the UNESCO in 1998: "Embajadora de paz ante la juventud" (Peace Ambassador to the Youth) and in 2001, it was chosen as the only South-American chorus member of the EU International Federation of Choruses, and was named "Cultural Ambassador".

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Building up a Native Indian-Oriented School Education, Brazil

Sao Gabriel da Cachoeira is located in the region of Alto Rio Negro in the northwestern part of the State of Amazonas, along the borders with Colombia and Venezuela. Its territory of 112,255 square kilometres represents 7.8% of Amazonas' total area. 25,000 native Indians with origins from 19 ethnical groups (classified in two large linguistic families: Tukano and Aruak) live within this space. The native population is distributed over 406 communities, 4 district-centers and the Municipal Government Seat, with a 90% native Indian population.

One of the main objectives of the initiative is to contribute to the implementation of a native Indian-oriented school education in the region, in accordance with the legitimate aspirations of communities and granted by the Federal Constitution and by Law No. 9394/96 - Guidelines and Basis of National Education. Another objective is to make possible, for the native Indian schools, to develop their own curriculum and rules, effectively assuming their role in adding solutions for problems faced by the communities, acting as constructive centers of the different aspects of knowledge: academic, popular and traditional.
Some objectives proposed have already been achieved, such as: the introduction of bilingualism in classrooms, which reduced the high flunking and evasion rates; the continuity and frequency of qualification courses for Indian teachers and the First Municipal Conference on Education.

The Indian peoples of this region are becoming increasingly aware of their history appointing their representatives with appropriate skills and are actively involved in the issues that concern them. With the new awareness of traditional knowledge, it is imperative to understand the dynamics of society and master new fields of knowledge, to assist the direction given to new situations.

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Life in Jacksonville: Quality Indicators for Progress, USA

The Jacksonville Community Council Inc., private, non-profit, non-partisan citizens' organization was established to improve the quality of life in Northeast Florida by positive changes resulting from the informed participation of citizens in community life, through open dialogue, impartial research, and consensus building. With an open membership of 750 citizen volunteers, and a twenty-year track record of citizen studies and community improvement, JCCI is known for consensus in decision making and the thoroughness, fairness, and accuracy of its research and community planning. Thus, JCCI was well equipped to undertake this quality-of-life project.

The Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, a powerful and respected voice of business and economic development, funded the project. Chamber members were involved in the committee work, and the Chamber itself has used the annual report as an economic development tool in formulating its annual work plan. The partnership of JCCI and the Chamber has worked well. In recent years, the City of Jacksonville has provided primary funding, in recognition of the value of the project. Corporate sponsors have donated printing costs and the cost of the annual telephone survey.

The Jacksonville Community Council Inc. (JCCI) convened a diverse group of residents from all sectors of Jacksonville to define progress and to develop a model to measure, monitor, and improve the quality of life for both current and future generations. The model consists of nine parts: education, the economy, public safety, health, the natural environment, the social environment, government/politics, recreation/culture, and mobility. Participants came from and brought with them perspectives from many community institutions, such as the Florida Community College at Jacksonville, the University of North Florida, the Northeast Florida Manufacturers' Association, local government, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), health and human services organizations, many private corporations, and neighborhood associations. Committee members received assistance from JCCI's professional staff and suggestions from experts, but the residents, made the final decisions by consensus.

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Women Spirit, Inc Circles of Hope, USA

Woman spirit, Inc. is a non-profit, faith-based community development organization led by a self-governing board of grassroots women facilitating women's empowerment through circles of hope peer-directed support, education and action groups. The circles of hope process were developed by a group of low- to moderate income African-American women to build economic self-sufficiency and promote alternatives to violence.

Woman spirit fosters grassroots women's leadership in the St. Louis area by claiming safe community space for women's mutual support and training, gaining access to government funds for women's economic development, and achieving positions in local, regional and national decision-making bodies.

Woman spirit created a cross-cultural circle called women think tank with a long-term commitment to building relationships of trust among diverse women. It includes women of different religions, races, ethnicity and classes. Many of the members are partners with woman spirit. Women think tank expresses the principle of women's unity in its ongoing work to dismantle racism, sexism, homophobia and other oppressions. Woman spirit's local, national and international activities also bring marginalized women into positions of decision making within the mainstream women's movement.

From 1997 to 1999, circles of hope members gained economic and financial education; increased personal income; achieved formal education goals; established over 20 new women-led businesses; expanded existing businesses; developed marketable computer skills; acquired two properties for women-owned businesses; and provided self-employment training, including welfare-to-work.

The Circles of Hope group process provides a framework for ongoing analysis, evaluation, and updating of strategies. Members of one group have become leaders of others and have replicated and sustained this process throughout the region. The women have written training manuals and established a computer information network to share circles of hope initiatives with women throughout the world.

The sustainability of the program was insured through property ownership and planned income-generating activities with minimal outside funding. Increases in skills and income among our participants enrich the community through increased tax revenues and improved land use as well as improving their families' quality of life. Woman spirit is a participant in the St. Louis area sustainable neighborhood project and a member of sustainable America.

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Centre for Municipal - Aboriginal Relations (CMAR), Ottawa, Canada

Numerous initiatives - comprehensive claims, treaty and self government negotiations, treaty land entitlement, sectoral governance, program policy renewal, fiscal restraint and downsizing and the rapid growth of a young aboriginal population in municipalities represent significant challenges to relationships between municipal, national governments and aboriginal communities. Yet, in many instances, mechanisms were not clearly in place for municipal involvement in the policy initiatives and practical dialogue was not well established.

In this context, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) focussed on the municipal interests arising from Aboriginal policy issues. A working group on municipal - aboriginal relations was transformed into a Board Standing Committee on Municipal - Aboriginal Relations that addressed the following issues; harmonisation of laws and regulatory regimes between jurisdictions, tax loss compensation between governments, achieving appropriate economies of scale for services through intergovernmental agreements, designing sensitive programming for aboriginal citizens as well as creating avenues for aboriginal political participation in municipal governments. Too frequently municipal and aboriginal communities have grappled with these complex issues in isolation.

To address these issues, the FCM and the Indian Taxation Advisory Board (ITAB), with the support of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, have joined forces to establish the Centre for Municipal - Aboriginal Relations. The Centre has three broad functions: serve as a national clearing house on effective municipal - aboriginal relations (based on mutual recognition and responsibility, respect and sharing); conduct research to document best practices; and facilitate dialogue between municipal and aboriginal leaders. A national database has been developed that contains a number of research reports, documented best practices and a web site has been developed to ease inquiries, access to, and dissemination of information. The Centre adds a new, institutional capacity to the municipal and Aboriginal sectors by introducing a national overview and greatly improves the relation between the two.

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Pedagogia Del Afecto, Colombia.

Colombia is a country of significant natural resources, and has a diverse culture reflecting the indigenous Indian, Spanish and African origins of its people. But it has also been ravaged by a decades-long violent conflict, involving guerrilla insurgencies, drug cartels and gross violations of human rights. The fourth largest country in South America and one of the continent’s most populous nations, Colombia is endowed with substantial oil reserves and is a major producer of gold, silver, emeralds, platinum and coal. The country has a population of 44.2 million (UN, 2003) and a Gross National Income per capita of US$ 1,820 (World Bank, 2002). Cali (population 2.3 million) is a city in southwestern Colombia, located on the Cali River. 70% of Cali's population (estimated as two million inhabitants according to the last national census) does not receive income of more than two minimum salaries (minimum salary is only £90 a month. Economists estimate that four minimum salaries are required to allow a family to afford all basic needs). According to the figures of the Education Secretary for Cali Council 200,000 children do not have access to the education system.

This initiative aims to eradicate violence against children especially within their families. It acknowledges that mistreatment of children - 47 % of children are victims of various forms of violence in Colombia - is the leading cause of school drop out cases. It emphasizes a caring approach ("pedagogia del afecto") based on the needs of children by parents, teachers, formal or informal educators. It began in 1994 through a pilot programme in Cali, which adapted progressively the lessons learnt from related international experiences. The pilot programme involves FAMI (Family Women and Infancy programme of the Colombian Institute for Family Welfare ICBF) in partnership with Dutch Government. The programme is based on careful analysis of educational process within Colombian families and on the specific needs of children. It elaborates an appropriate thematic focus whose contents are transmitted, mainly through workshops, to parents or educators. The project trains selected persons from government agencies who interact with communities and have the opportunity to meet with parents. Since 1996, close to 720 trainers and 6,300 mothers have been involved in the programme.

The results, which are regularly evaluated, have shown a significant (70%) change in attitude of the parents. The evaluations have also necessitated the programme to review specific cultural practices in order to eradicate practices, which do not respond to children needs. In that sense this initiative, implemented in partnership at national and international level, is a permanent, rigorous and creative learning process.

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Human Security and the Urban Poor: a holistic approach to social exclusion and Violence, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

The regional context of armed violence in MERCOSUR countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay) includes the following general characteristics: an emphasis on urban violence and criminal activities; increasing privatisation of security agencies and a lack of effective control over their operations; an increase in armed violence related to drug trafficking; problems with corruption in security and justice institutions; legislative loopholes and lack of operational mechanisms to enforce compliance. Rio de Janeiro, with a population of 6.2 million, has been grappling with these realities for some time.

This practice demonstrates a holistic approach to combating urban insecurity in a country and city affected by high crime rate and insecurity. It aims at developing a culture of peace, reducing stigmatization of poor people and indiscriminate repression, while promoting social inclusion of groups at risk and inhabitants of marginalized neighbourhoods.

A set of different and coordinated activities have been initiated to include poor neighbourhoods in the wider society. Among them are: job creation; vocational training; access to micro credit; education and sports for children and youth; community support to youth at risk; community policing; design and implementation of city-wide plans. Viva Rio works in partnership educational institutions, three spheres of government, multi-lateral agencies and the private sector. More than 700 local partners offer infrastructure, personnel and knowledge of local conditions. Viva Rio is involved in project planning, implementation, technical assistance and monitoring. Through TV, radio, newspapers and training material, the communication strategy of Viva Rio, is a model to give voice to people, to reach out to decision makers, and to eliminate prejudices against poor and people at risk.

Since 2001, this initiative has been combining community development and security at local, state and national level with social inclusion of children and youth at risk, weapons control and criminal justice system reform. A set of multi-sectoral projects has been launched in partnership with all stakeholders. They include more than 20,000 persons in income generation initiatives, around 100,000 young people in vocational training. In addition, more than 110,000 small arms were publicly destroyed. Around 5,000 policemen have participated and benefited from community policing training. People receive legal assistance through "Citizens’ Counters". The projects promoted by Viva Rio are considered as "prototypes" that could be replicated by local communities.

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Circo Volador (Flying Circus): Youth & Popular Culture in Mexico City, Mexico

Mexico is home to a diverse mix of people and landscapes. It is also a nation where affluence, poverty, natural splendour and urban blight rub shoulders. In 1987, Mexico City was bombarded by the media on youth violence and gangs. "Drug addicts, assassins, pickpockets, rapists, alcoholics, vagrants and gang members" were some of the terms used by both government and the media to describe youth in working-class districts. Mexico has approximately 25 million young people ages 12 to 24, at least half of whom live in poverty or extreme poverty, and no social policy has been designed to deal with their problems. Mexico’s population is over 104 million and the youth represent a quarter of its population. Mexico’s gross national income per capita is US$ 5,920 (World Bank, 2002).

In 1987, Action-Research began working to assess the situation of working-class youth identified as "gangs". Their aim was to curb the growing violence and find mechanisms that would enable them to be reincorporated into a society that regarded them as adversaries. The name ‘Flying Circus’, is derived from meetings held on the streets between the initiators of the programme and the youth. Majority of the latter group had animal nicknames: The Cat, The Flea, The Dark Animal etc. and they would contend that: "We are a bunch of animals, as though we were a circus…but with nowhere to land, …….we are a Flying Circus" (sic).

As a result, the initiators mobilized members to locate premises to "bring their proposal down to earth". The group managed to obtain a lease from the municipal government to occupy an abandoned cinema hall in exchange for restoring and maintaining it through the collective work of the young people involved. Flying circus is an innovative approach aiming at youth at risk and offering space for the promotion of their cultural and social values. Circo Volador Cultural Centers afforded youth at risk the opportunity to express themselves through rock concerts, radio Programmes, graffiti’s websites and to allow them to reconstruct the social fabric between youths between different social sectors. Some of the results of the intervention include: 50 training workshops (over the past 3 years); 350 radio programs focusing on youth-based themes; and 250 concert and musical performances

This cultural expression helped to reinforce identities, gender empowerment, and direct tackling of social exclusion. The creation of youth observatories, monitoring and actively proposing public policies, provides sustainable means for youth’s social development. The programme has realised tangible results through the creation of Youths Nets sharing new opportunities which are more effective because arise from youths own interests and values.

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