Southern Cone Governments Join Forces to Fight Transnational Crime

first_imgBy Patrícia Comunello/Diálogo January 04, 2017 The governments of Southern Cone nations formalized in Brasília a set of actions to reinforce security measures in the fight against transnational crime in the region. The Brasília Declaration was signed on November 16 during the Southern Cone Ministerial Meeting on Border Security, by ministers and authorities from the ministries of foreign affairs, defense, justice, security, and drug enforcement of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay. The document consolidated their commitment to expanding regional cooperation in the security sector. The initiative was preceded by two other meetings where Brazil’s role in Southern Cone defense activities was discussed. The first meeting took place in Brasília, hours before the Brasília Declaration was launched. Brazilian government ministers were present at the meeting, where they addressed the domestic grounds for regional cooperation. “A continental country like Brazil, with global aspirations, constantly needs to articulate its policies in the areas of foreign affairs and national defense. No country in the world that wants to be respected can fail to have these two policies synchronized and coordinated,” said Raul Jungmann, Brazil’s Minister of Defense after the event. He said that there is “cohesion and unity” in government and military circles on the goals of cooperation. One month prior to the signing of the Brasília Declaration, the topic of security was already discussed. The First Conference of Southern Cone Army Commanders was held October 11-13, 2016 in Foz do Iguaçu, in Paraná state, between representatives of the armies of Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Commanders from the five countries discussed ways of promoting joint exercises between the troops, stepping up land defense along their shared borders –with special emphasis on surveillance systems–, and exchanging knowledge and experience about peacekeeping operations. “Military cooperation and integration are important for maintaining regional stability,” stated General Eduardo Dias Costa Villas Bôas, commander of the Brazilian Army. The conference was considered a success and its second edition is scheduled for 2017 in Montevideo, Uruguay. The meetings The three meetings helped those involved to reach their ultimate, common goal of strengthening regional interagency cooperation on border security, control, and surveillance. They also encouraged efforts to hold frequent meetings with national authorities responsible for border security, so they can conduct coordinated operations and exchange experiences on fighting transnational crime. Integrated Border Monitoring System During the First Conference of Southern Cone Army Commanders, in addition to the meetings in Foz do Iguaçu, a simulated exercise was performed at the Regional Monitoring Center, which integrates the pilot project of the Integrated Border Monitoring System (SISFRON, per its Portuguese acronym), in Dourados, Matto Grosso do Sul state. SISFRON is one of the Brazilian Army’s strategic programs. “We are meeting to address issues that are becoming more common and that affect all countries, with varying degrees of responsibility. The major objective is to set the foundation for our own regional defense mindset,” explained Gen. Villas Bôas. The commanders learned about SISFRON architecture and functioning. Major General Guido Amin Naves, head of Project Development for the Brazilian Army, attached to the Chief of Staff of the Army in Brasília, presented the fundamentals, timeline, technologies, and capabilities of the system, confirming that, “border control is a must for any state,” adding that, “it has become clear that concern for this issue is common among all militaries, beyond the willingness to make exchanges with our Army.” Maj. Gen. Amin said that the effectiveness of the system would increase greatly if used on both sides of the border. “We are ready and able to exchange even the technology that we have here,” adding that to do so, agreements would be needed at the military and diplomatic levels. SISFRON’s pilot phase was implemented in 2012 and covers a 600-kilometer stretch of border between the municipality of Mundo Novo, in Matto Grosso do Sul, close to the Paraná state border, and Caracol, on the border with Paraguay. Land radars operating at a 20-kilometer range are already installed, in addition to mobile radars that can be manually deployed, and are able to detect human movement at a distance of up to 8 kilometers. “This system is designed to work in an interagency environment; that is, by those who are going to act against a threat that has been identified by radars or sensors, even if they are not military,” Maj. Gen. Amin concluded.last_img read more

On a Philippine island, indigenous groups take the fight to big palm oil

first_imgAgriculture, Environment, Featured, Forests, Green, Indigenous Communities, Indigenous Groups, Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Rights, Industrial Agriculture, Land Grabbing, Land Rights, Oil Palm, Palm Oil, Plantations Banner image: Larry Arcuyo, Chairman of the Aramaywan Farmer’s multi-purpose cooperative, holds up a handful of palm oil kernel. Photo by Rod Harbinson for Mongabay. Please contact the author if you’re interested in republishing any images in this story: [email protected]: Use this form to send a message to the editor of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Many Palawan indigenous communities say they have suffered unfair land acquisition or lease arrangements for oil palm plantations. The situation hit a peak around 2007, when palm oil company Agumil Philippines promoted palm oil around the island as a miracle get-rich-quick crop.Many tribal landowners leased or sold parcels of land to Agumil. Those who leased said they were provided loans from the government-run Land Bank of the Philippines, negotiated by Agumil, to clear the land and plant oil palm saplings. Title deeds to the leased land were lodged with the bank as collateral against the loans, where they remain.Today the plantations are producing plentiful bunches of oil palm fruit. Still, landowners say they have yet to see any financial returns on their leased land. The problem all cite is that the loans came with crippling 14 percent annual interest rates, which left the original loan amounts inflating out of control. The terms of the lease contracts also stipulate that ongoing operational and managements costs be subtracted from the loan and harvest income.Now tribal groups are fighting back on multiple fronts. A tribal representative in the municipality of Rizal recently won a mayoral election. The re-elected mayor of neighboring Brooke’s Point has also pledged a halt to more oil palm plantations. Three of the seven municipalities in southern Palawan have now placed limitations on oil palm cultivation. The sandy path from the village of bamboo houses winds down through the coconut palms, which gives way to mangroves growing along the muddy shoreline. The seven elders inspect their fishing boats. Hand-built using timber from their communal forest, the small craft have bamboo outriggers to keep them stable in the open sea.The Sarong community on the island of Palawan in the Philippines has for generations been living a similar way of life from the forest, cultivated fields, stands of coconut and fishing. But a few years ago, in 2012, their lives were turned upside down when they noticed that their communal forest was being logged and cleared without any consultation, let alone their permission.“A contractor coming from another barangay [village] was clearing the land,” says Romeo L. Japson, who grew up in the community.Community members say the company responsible then went on to plant oil palm saplings on 200 hectares (500 acres) of their ancestral land. They add that now, every time they pass by the plantation, they’re reminded of how their community forest was razed. To this day they are bitter that the situation persists and they have no redress.Sarong community members chatting on the porch of a village house, in Southern Palawan. Photo by Rod Harbinson/ are not alone, as many other Palawan indigenous communities have also suffered what they see as unfair land acquisition or lease arrangements for oil palm plantations. The situation hit a peak around 2007, when palm oil company Agumil Philippines promoted palm oil around the island as a miracle get-rich-quick crop. Twenty-five percent Filipino- and 75 percent Malaysian-owned, Agumil is a subsidiary of Agusan Plantations (API) and operates the only palm oil processing plant on Palawan.Now tribal groups are fighting back on multiple fronts. A tribal representative in the municipality of Rizal recently won a mayoral election. The re-elected mayor of neighboring Brooke’s Point has also pledged a halt to more oil palm plantations. Three of the seven municipalities in southern Palawan have now placed limitations on oil palm cultivation.Meanwhile, a growing number of communities are responding to threats to their ancestral domains by pursuing legal recognition of their community land and water resources. Two communities celebrated success in 2018, and at least 12 more claims are in process.Tribal land appropriationMany tribal landowners leased or sold parcels of land to Agumil. Those who leased said they were provided loans from the government-run Land Bank of the Philippines, negotiated by Agumil, to clear the land and plant oil palm saplings. Title deeds to the leased land were lodged with the bank as collateral against the loans, where they remain.“Until now I am riding only in my thongs,” said Mily Saya, landowner and member of the village cooperative in the barangay of Aramaywan. He explains how early company promises of a car and stone house failed to materialize. He says he “has no idea how to get back the land title” for his 4.7 hectares (11.6 acres) from the Land Bank.“I don’t know how big the loan is from the Land Bank,” he says, explaining how the company planted oil palm seedlings on 1 hectare (2.5 acres) of his land but abandoned the rest with no explanation.Mily Saya Landowner and member of the Aramaywan cooperative, leased most of his land to Agumil but has yet to realize any return. Photo by Rod Harbinson/ time, the saplings matured and today the plantations are producing plentiful bunches of oil palm fruit. Still, members of the landowner cooperatives say they have yet to see any financial returns on their leased land. The problem all cite is that the loans came with crippling 14 percent annual interest rates, which left the original loan amounts inflating out of control. The terms of the lease contracts also stipulate that ongoing operational and managements costs be subtracted from the loan and harvest income.“You will become a rich man,” Larry Arcuyo says he and other landowners were promised, “before entering into contracts” with Agumil. Arcuyo chairs the Aramaywan farmers’ cooperative, one of 14 such growers’ cooperatives on the island. He says Aramaywan has 26 members who have leased land to Agumil. “There are rich men in Palawan — rich of debt,” he says. “We are praying that someone helps us to resolve that problem.“From the start almost 11 years [ago], the landowners have never seen any money even through the harvesting started eight years ago … Some landowners already died in the meantime,” Arcuyo says. He adds that the price per kilo of palm fruit set by Agumil “is already very low.” Even then, he says, this payment never reaches the farmers who have leased their land to the company; instead, “it is given to the Land Bank for settling the debt,” including for preparation of the land and the initial seedlings. “All decisions regarding finances are controlled by the company,” Arcuyo says.Palm oil fruit harvested from a plantation in Aramaywan community awaits transport to the Agumil processing plant. Photo by Rod Harbinson/ to the Coalition against Land Grabbing (CALG), a local indigenous organization campaigning for indigenous people’s rights, 9,000 hectares (22,200 acres) in Palawan have been cleared for oil palm plantations, and the government is inviting foreign investors to develop more. Agumil spokesman Eric Ang told Mongabay, “We intend to expand our business in the oil palm industry but for now we are consolidating in Palawan.”CALG says that if rules and regulations had been implemented properly, Agumil would never have been able to develop its plantations in the first place. It claims the Philippines’ Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA Law) has been ignored, and that the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) has failed to implement its Strategic Environmental Plan as required under a 1992 act. The group also says that environmental compliance certificates should never have been issued to palm oil companies by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The department did not respond to an email request to comment from Mongabay.Arbitration between tribes and companyThe Palawan Palm Oil Industry Development Council (PPOIDC), a multi-stakeholder industry body, is seeking a solution to the ongoing disagreements. However, four meetings “resulted in deadlock,” according to the minutes of the most recent meeting, held last November, and an agreement has still not been reached.According to lease agreements obtained by Mongabay, Agumil offered a land rental rate of 17,000 pesos ($333) per hectare for a 10-year period, amounting to 1,000 to 2,000 pesos ($20 to $40) per hectare per year to each landowner. In addition, it offered 200 pesos ($4) per ton for harvested palm fruit.The price of processed palm oil has been dropping in recent months, and on May 31 stood at $563 per metric ton, the sixth-lowest monthly valuation in the past five years.Palm oil from the Agumil processing plant at Maasin is trucked to the port at Brookes Point from where it is shipped to other parts of the Philippines and abroad. Photo by Rod Harbinson/ was noted at the PPOIDC meeting that the estimated tonnage of palm oil per hectare was well below that promised to farmers by Agumil at the project initiation. In contrast, the palm oil cooperatives demanded a signing bonus of 20,000 pesos ($400), production sharing of 400 pesos ($8) per metric ton, and land lease rental of 10,000 pesos ($200) per hectare per year.The meeting recommended that Agumil reconsider its offer to the cooperatives and if still no agreement could be reached, the committee should “render a report to the committee on Cooperatives, House of Representatives, and recommend/request Congress to provide legal assistance to the Palm Oil Cooperatives for the filing of appropriate case, a class suit against Agumil.”It also recommended that the “Top management of the Landbank of the Philippines conduct a thorough investigation on the various accounts of the Oil Palm Cooperatives and possibly cooperate with the Oil Palm Cooperatives in filing appropriate legal charges against Agumil.”Back in 2015, only one co-op had already repaid its loan and four were up-to-date with payments and on course for full repayment by 2023. Seven, however, needed loan restructuring and two had defaulted on their repayments. Restructuring in previous meetings had involved interest rate reductions from 14 percent to 7 percent, and the management fee charged by Agumil reduced from 10 percent to between 2.5 and 5 percent.Summing up, board member B.M. Rama said that, “with what had happened to this industry, somebody must be [held] responsible and liable to this problem and that this case should be brought to the proper forum which is the court.”Workers load bunches of palm oil fruit onto a truck bound for the Agumil processing plant at Brookes Point, Palawan. Photo by Rod Harbinson/ by Mongabay whether Agumil would be improving terms to co-ops in future, Ang said: “There is no change in the terms and conditions of the Lease Agreement entered between the Coops and the Company.” He maintained that the coops are still liable for a start-up 20 percent equity advance, a matter hotly disputed in the meeting. “We are agreeable to an independent audit of the 20 percent equity advance,” Ang said, adding that none of the co-ops had yet initiated the auditing process.The idea that the capital debt of the co-ops be assumed by another entity was recommended by a study commissioned by the government’s Cooperative Development Authority. Ang says this “was explored by the Land Bank of Philippines (LBP) and Agumil.” Such a restructuring scheme has yet to be implemented, and according to Ang, would entail a new company assuming the capital debt and a further loan from the Land Bank along with a “processing agreement with Agumil.”Moratoria stop palm oil plantationsThese days, the tribes are getting organized and pursuing ways to seek justice for their lost earnings. Mobilizing to stem the spread of oil palm plantations in Palawan, groups such as CALG have networked with Palawan’s tribal groups to explain the risks of leasing their land. According to CALG chairman Kemil Motalib, the lessons have been learned and nobody is leasing land to Agumil any longer, though some are selling plots in areas where cultivation is still permitted.There’s another cause for celebration among Palawan’s indigenous communities: the planting of oil palm has been banned in two other provinces in the Philippines, a trend others may follow in the coming months.“No to expansion of palm oil planting in Rizal for five years,” says Kemil, explaining the substance of the moratorium declared by the Rizal municipal government in October 2018. Kemil, who is from the Tagbanwa tribe, said that a year of painstaking lobbying that included frequent meetings with government officials by CALG members and local indigenous people had finally paid off: “After one year the moratorium was signed by the Municipal Mayor of Rizal,” he says. “Agumil cannot question it because that is ordinance. That is the law made by the municipal government.”This sense of victory was reinforced by the election of Rizal’s first indigenous mayor. Otol Odi, a member of the Palaw’an tribe, was won the May 13 election, polling nearly twice his nearest rival. Odi, now in his seventies, attracted widespread support among Rizal’s population of 50,000 with his platform of defending the area’s natural resources from big business.The municipality of Quezon was the first in the Philippines to declare a moratorium on oil palm cultivation, back in 2014. After recent victories, CALG is now pressing for similar moves in the municipalities of Española and Bataraza. When asked by Mongabay whether Agumil would respect the moratoria, Ang said, “We will abide by any rules and regulations imposed by the Government.”Youth and children from Brookes Point hang out on a shipping buoy at the edge of the harbor where palm oil is exported. Photo by Rod Harbinson/ further challenge to palm oil companies came from the May 16 re-election of Mary Jean Feliciano as mayor of Brooke’s Point. Despite Agumil being headquartered at Maasin near Brooke’s Point, where its processing plant is located, and using the town’s port facilities for exporting palm oil, Mayor Feliciano has pledged no new oil palm plantations in her region. (She says the two existing plantations can stay for now.) When asked what impact this would have on Agumil’s business, Ang said the company was “not aware of Mayor Feliciano’s pledge.”Recognizing ancestral domain landIn an August 2018 ceremony, ancestral domain titles were awarded to the Tagbanwa tribes in the barangays of Berong and Aramaywan. In all, the titles awarded by the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) covered 31,000 hectares (76,600 acres) of territory, comprising 23,000 hectares (56,800 acres) of land and 8,000 hectares (19,800 acres) of ancestral waters.“The forest land is inside the ancestral domain because the forest provides many things, such as honey, rattan, and almaciga [Agathis philippinensis] tree resin,” says Sarong resident Romeo Japson. “They are hunting grounds and provide clean water to drink. There are also natural medicines in the forest that can prevent and cure many illnesses.”A tribal elder from Sarong community in Southern Palawan. Photo by Photo by Rod Harbinson/ an application has been filed, it is assessed by the NCIP at the national office in Manila. Here the order is issued for a survey of the area to determine parcel size and boundaries.“Ancestral domain land is the common land of the indigenous peoples. So the indigenous people are claiming their land, no limits to the thousands of hectares that they claimed. They can own that but only communally, not in the name of one person,” Japson says. He adds that marine and mangrove areas can also be applied for under ancestral domain.However, there are hurdles. According to Kemil, it takes at least five years to process an application, with the domains granted to Berong and Aramaywan the result of “12 years hard work.” Part of this is due to the average cost per application of around 1 million pesos ($19,500), which can take a while to amass. Then there’s the issue of capacity.“The NCIP is very stretched as there is only one office in the whole of Palawan and only a few staff,” Kemil says.An indigenous community member from Aramaywan village, Palawan. Photo by Rod Harbinson/ the obstacles, the number of ancestral domain applications has grown, with 12 currently in the pipeline. CALG has an ambitious program in the works that intends to support three barangays each in the municipalities of Batarazza and Matarazza and six in Quezon, according to Kemil.After years of struggling against the odds for the rights to their land, the indigenous peoples of Palawan appear to be making progress.“Ancestral domain is the only way the Katutubo [indigenous peoples] can protect their rights, their land,” Japson says. “It will decide whether they live freely and whether they maintain their own traditions and culture.“Indigenous people believe if there is a forest, there is food, there is medicine, there is everything else.” Article published by Morgan Erickson-Davis Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more


first_imgANTI-austerity campaigners from Donegal say 80,000 protestors on the streets of Dublin on Saturday is proof they’re winning the political battle with the Government.The Right2Water campaign Donegal says it has one core premise – that water is a human right – and one core demand: the abolition of domestic water charges.“Saturday saw between 80,000 and 100,000 people from all over the country gather in Dublin to restate our demand for the abolition of water charges,” said a spokesman for Right2Water Donegal. “The Right2Water campaign will continue until that objective is achieved.”Bus loads of protestors from throughout Donegal joined the march on Saturday.Paul Murphy, Anti-Austerity Alliance TD told them: “This is an opportunity for people to show firstly that the anti-water charges movement has not gone away, despite repeated reports of its demise, and to go after the government now on water.“They are reeling under the impact of 57pc non-payment, failing the Eurostat test and it’s an opportunity to put an extra nail in the coffin of Irish Water and water charges.”80,000 ON STREETS OF DUBLIN SHOWS WE’LL WIN, SAY DONEGAL CAMPAIGNERS was last modified: August 30th, 2015 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:dublinprotestwaterlast_img read more

Infrastructure drive ‘key to job creation’

first_imgEnhancements to the mining licensing and environmental impact assessment systems.The establishment of the Consumer Protection Agency.The development of an “unblocking” project in the Economic Development Department, which has assisted large employment-creating projects to overcome unnecessary bureaucratic delays.Continued efforts to simplify tax administration. “This is no cause for celebration since we believe that there is a long road ahead, and thus we are accelerating measures to increase employment through public sector interventions as well as assisting the private sector to create more jobs.” Motlanthe singled out the newly adopted National Infrastructure Plan as key to stimulating employment creation by improving the competitiveness of core industries while opening up new opportunities for them. He said this would primarily be done through the Durban/Free State/Gauteng corridor and the opening up of the Northern Mining Belt, as well as securing the country’s energy supply and upgrading the ports. Major investments would also go towards increasing the access of historically deprived regions to the core economy through improved roads, rail and communications, as well as enhancing productivity through investments in household and economic infrastructure and in social capital. The Deputy President said job creation was heavily pinned on construction projects for the infrastructure build programme. Maximising local procurement of inputs for infrastructure projects would also ensure the greatest possible multiplier effect from the build programme. South Africa has also streamlined key elements of its regulatory framework to help bolster the outcomes for job creation. Motlanthe said crucial steps had been taken in this regard, including: 16 August 2012 South Africa’s state-led infrastructure drive will be crucial in realising the country’s target of creating five-million new jobs by 2020 by improving the competitiveness of core industries while opening up new opportunities for them, says Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe. Responding to a question in Parliament in Cape Town on Wednesday, Motlanthe said that while South Africa had made some progress in job creation, the country still has a while to go. Motlanthe was cautiously optimistic about the latest Labour Force Survey, which showed that over 300 000 new jobs were created by the end of 2011.center_img Motlanthe said the government had also initiated major programmes to support key economic sectors in the country. “These include the auto industry scheme, which has already led to billions of rand in new investment; the clothing and textiles scheme, which has stabilised this critical labour-intensive industry; continued support for business process services, which has already succeeded in creating tens of thousands of new jobs; and a number of programmes to bolster agro-processing.” In spite of the current slowdown in the global economy, the Deputy President said the government remained confident that these measures would go a long way towards helping South Africa to create new jobs. Source: read more

15 Awesome #Geocaching15 Photos from the Geocaching Road Trip ’15

first_imgLoading… SharePrint RelatedChronicle Your Road Trip with #Geocaching15 Photos!June 4, 2015In “15 Years”Ain’t no Mountain High Enough… for Geocachers – The Photo AlbumJune 14, 2015In “15 Years”A Geocaching Life in Pictures – Farogdatter – Celebrating 15 Years of Geocaching in 15 PicturesMay 28, 2015In “Community” Share with your Friends:Morelast_img

Five Deadly Sins of Website Design

first_imgNonprofit organizations make many mistakes when it comes to the design, presentation and content of their websites. Here are the five deadly sins we commit:Too egotistical: The home page is too often simply an About Us page. It should not be an electronic brochure with your mission statement. It should speak to the user’s values, interests and desires. It’s not “about us,” it’s “about them.”Too meek: There is often no clear call to action on nonprofit pages. Grab a friend or relative, sit them down in front of your website home page, and count how many seconds it takes them to find and click on your Donate button or find another way to do something. If it takes them more than two seconds, you need to place your button in a far more prominent position. Make it central to the page. Make sure it is above the fold. Make it big. Make it colorful. Make it impossible to miss.Too laid-back: Too often, there’s no reason to act now – as opposed to later, or never. You want to inspire someone to act right now, but that can be hard to do if there’s not an urgent crisis to address. Create a sense of urgency for donating by creating a campaign with a goal and deadline, matching grant, or appeal for specific items or programs that are highly tangible.Too dodgy: People want to know where their resources will go if you support them. You must inspire trust. Where will the money go? What impact will result? What lives will be saved, what credible goal will be achieved?Too short-sighted:  Recognize that getting clicks requires cultivation. While you want someone to take action right away, it’s important to remember that it takes time to cultivate people.  Be sure your website includes a way to capture the email addresses of visitors so that you can build a relationship with visitors and turn them into donors in the future.  A newsletter is not very exciting; give people a more compelling reason to surrender their email addresses.last_img read more

Examples of the Good and the Bad in Online Fundraising Appeals

first_imgYou can almost see the line over to Katya ‘89, who is marketing for good. Open it up and it says, “Haverfordians make a difference in the world through their support.” And it asks me to support the education of people like them. It’s about me, people I can help, and the difference we all make. I love this appeal because it connects to the reader literally and emotionally. It’s like looking in the mirror and seeing a reflection of myself – and my aspirations.What’s good: focusing on the donor. What’s bad: focusing on yourself. It doesn’t feel good to look at something that should reflect you and not see yourself. My alma mater, Haverford College, earlier this year sent me a bad email appeal. I lamented this poorly led, “all about us” missive. Here’s what it said:January 1 is New Year’s Day, according to the Gregorian calendar. Sometime between January 21 and February 21 is the Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year. Many cultures celebrate the New Year on the day of the vernal equinox, which is also when the ancient Babylonians used to celebrate it. April is the month of the Nepali, Thai, and Cambodian New Year’s celebrations, among others. And at Haverford, when the calendar hits July 1, it is the new fiscal year!The last fiscal year was one of unprecedented success for the Haverford Fund, with 52% of our generous and loyal alumni contributing $4.2 million dollars!The 2007-2008 fiscal year promises to be an exciting year on campus, with the arrival and inauguration of Steve Emerson ‘74 as president. We hope to show him how committed the alumni body is to the current life of the College by sustaining and improving upon last year’s great success by increasing our participation to 53%!Why do I care about these dates, the fiscal year or the development department? What does this have to do with me? I looked at this appeal and I did not see myself. I did not recognize the do-gooder, warm institution I remember.Later in the year, Haverford sent me a fantastic mailed appeal this week that is gold-standard marketing. I looked at this and I saw myself; literally.last_img read more

What makes for motivation

first_imgJeremy Gregg at the Raiser’s Razor blog asked me to answer the following question: What drives your philanthropassion? In other words, why have I, like you, chosen to be overworked and underpaid in the third sector?Part of the answer for me is, I spent a number of years working as a journalist in very poor countries. And the poverty and pain I saw on a daily basis was hard to simply witness, over and over. So I stopped reporting and started working to remedy what I was seeing. (This is not to say journalism does not do much to contribute to the social good or to right wrongs – it does. I just wanted to be more involved in the story.)So part of my motivation is based on need.But the bigger part of it is based on change. I saw enough good when I was reporting that I also grew to believe there was hope in most situations. And that, ultimately, is the most motivating thing of all.I started my book this way: We all have moments in life when we happen upon our calling, and mine was when I encountered a giant, smiling condom in Cambodia. I go on to tell the story of being inspired by the ground-breaking work of the nonprofit PSI to make AIDS prevention fun and hopeful (including via a giant condom balloon), to great success. I saw the good in the story and possibility in the future.I think ultimately, what makes for the most powerful motivation (at least for me) is not how bad something is now but rather how much better it could be.last_img read more