DemNet taking three MPs to a Study Trip to Kenya During October 26 – November 2, 2010.
The Hungarian MFA is currently struggling with a Sub-saharan Africa Strategy, and Hungary currently does not have much significant ODA allocations in Africa, except for debt relief and a few micro projects. This study trip was hoping to be a stepping stone for raising the profile of poverty eradication within the Hungarian ODA strategy, as well as the possible focus countries and fields of activity. There are many projects run by our V4 partners: Polish, Czech and Slovak NGOs' and ODA activities have a more significant presence in Kenya, providing for an excellent comparison for convincing arguments.
After the study trip it can be stated that the objectives of this study trip were achieved. The MPs gathered a substantive and detailed picture about the challenges of programming as well as implementing and monitoring bilateral development projects, and the necessity of taking this on a professional footing.
It became clear that the other V4 countries managed to create a more professional framework for their respective development cooperation architecture, by introducing quality strategy development, programming and implementation cycles, which are not subjected to the everyday changes of Foreign Policy, but are based on midterm (5-7 years) objectives, strategical planning and a monitoring and evaluation system able to provide substantial feedback.
Journalists were also very impressed with the V4 projects visited, since it also gave them a deeper understanding of what it means that a project enjoys democratic ownership, is based on community development and how can long-term sustainaibilty be practically ensured. These are concepts the complexity of which can be much better explained for journalists in the field. There is much video material produced about the projects, some published on: www.index.hu
The members of Parliament having the opportunity to travel to the study trip were:
Mr Attila Gruber, FIDESZ (governing party), deputy chair of the National Unit of the Inter-Parlamentary Union (IPU), Parlamentary Committee of Foreign Affairs, previously active in inquiries on ODA addressed to the Minister;
Mr Mátyás Firtl, KDNP (governing coalition), deputy chair of the Parlamentary Committee of European Integration, previously active in inquiries on ODA addressed to the Minister;
Ms Virág Kaufer, LMP (opposition party), member of the Social Affairs Committee, has a personal track record of working in Development cooperation (Oxfam, UK), shows significant personal and political interest in developing a modern and professional Hungarian ODA policy;
TAPA (Transform A Person Africa) - Integra Foundation (Slovakia):
TAPA is a charitable organization based in Kibera slums Nairobi, Kenya. They seek to address the needs of Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVC), youth, women, especially those living with HIV/AIDS. An educational center has been established that provides food, and provision of medicare is planned as well for the OVC and workers.
Family members of the children in the educational center are given income-generating opportunities, such as production of school uniforms also for other schools, including requests even from as far as Tanzania; as well as art and crafts workshop, a knitting workshop, etc. The workers receive salaries for their work, whereas the profit generated by these activities are returned to support the education of the OVC and the center. We have received concise information on their long-term sustainability plans, as well as synergies with other projects in addressing the needs of the slum-dwellers.
SIDAREC (Slums Information Development and Resource Centres - MFA / Embassy microproject
Community Media and ICT: beyond the training allowing for computer literacy (Office mainly) of youth living in the slum, SIDAREC also established 99.9 Ghetto FM, broadcasted in Kibera as well as Mukuru, and a periodic magazine is published called „Slum News". These are not financed by the MFA.
The majority of the Hungarian ODA goes into the EC (development) budget as a single annual disbursement. We met with Mr Bernard Rey, the Head of the Delegation, who briefly explained the approach the EC takes towards Kenya (a rather developed country among the LDCs, with enormous inequalities within the country. He explained the effects of the post-election chaos and violence on the development cooperation, but also the question of corruption and the effect of these two factors on budget support. The „Joint Annual Operational Review of Cooperation between The Republic of Kenya And the European Community 2009" was presented to us.
AWEPA: The Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa
The Association of European Parliamentarians for Africa works in cooperation with African Parliaments to strengthen parliamentary democracy in Africa, keep Africa high on the political agenda in Europe, and facilitate African-European parliamentary dialogue. AWEPA is non-profit, and strictly non-partisan. AWEPA has Special Consultative Status with the UN ESC and is on the list of ODA Eligible Organisations of the OECD. AWEPA programmes include: institutional capacity building for African Parliaments, Thematic Programmes (Poverty Reduction, Gender Equality, HIV/AIDS, OVCs, Climate Change, Peace, Private Sector Development).
AWEPA had membership in all V4 countries, except for Hungary. The specific purpose of meeting AWEPA in Kenya was to establish contacts and explore possibilities for joint actions during the EU Presidency of Hungary in order to raise awareness in Parliament, but also to generate and improved understanding of MPs about development cooperation and poverty reduction.
Two MPs joined AWEPA on the spot, and Mr Gruber, MP (also deputy chair of IPU National Section in the Parliament) agreed to take a lead on bringing these initiatives into the FA Committee and organize some form of continuation for this initiative. Also agreed to look into the potential touch points with IPU membership.
Ngong Road Forest Sanctuary Trust - MFA / Embassy microproject (8 000 euros)
The Ngong Road Forest Sanctuary Trust was established in 1993 to protect the altogether 588.13 hectares large forest, 80% of which is indigenous. This forest is situated some 6 kms from Nairobi. The Sanctuary was supported from various sources („The donor consortium for the development of this project include Kenya Wildlife Services, Kenya Pipeline Ltd., the Jockey Club, a private Estate, Ford Foundation and the United Nations Development Programme. „), and in 2008 by the Hungarian MFA, although the website of the project does not mention this. The „Educational Equipment Microproject" aims at supporting the environmentally conscious education of children. Imre Loefler, a medical doctor working in Nairobi (and a Hungarian by origin), was pioneering the protection of this forest, and it is intended to lend his name to the educational center. The Sanctuary protects over 316 species of vegetation and over 250 species of animals. Aside from the lecture room, an interactive forestprotection center is planned as well.
Sega Silicon Valley, Ugenya District - Simba Friends Foundation (Poland)
Sega Silicon Valley - a very complex community-based development project, hereby listing a few of their many achievements, due to lack of space. However, this project was regarded in our trip as of an outstanding, synergic and thorough design aiming at long term objectives, developing at high speed.
The idea is to turn Sega village, consisting of 5000 inhabitants, just 50 kms from the Uganda border, into an African ICT hub, comparable to Silicon Valley, California.
The programs fall under 3 broad development areas:
Education: provision of IT technology to schools, IT training, multimedia curriculum, and curriculum integration techniques for teachers (3 Primary Schools, 2 Secondary Schools, Sega Silicon Valley Community Resource Center and a Polytechnic School), with a total of 140 solar-powered PCs deployed. LAN has been set up in each institution, and wireless connectivity established. Multimedia curriculum developed in 4 subjects (Match, Physics, Chemistry and Biology), a special scholarship for disadvantaged youth, CISCO Academy for the most talented, a degree recognized everywhere on the Planet.
Entrepreneurship: trainning in integration of IT in business, youth entrepreneurship, etc.
Community Development: Security and e-policing, Environmental conservation, sustainable agriculture and farming initiative, etc.
Our Delegation has spent the the whole day visiting the various aspects of this very structured and layered project, where we paid the most attention to the ICT-based educational initiatives and the CISCO Academy, however, a week would not have been enough to observe all the details and draw conclusions on planning and implementation. All the members of our Delegation admitted their surprise and admiration to the hosts and the staff of Simba Friends for this highly advanced project, owned and cherished so much by the local community http://segasiliconvalley.org/new/ssv/
ESVAK, Kenya - eRko (Slovakia), People in Peril (Slovakia): Spring Valley Kayole
ESVAK Community Development Initiatives: Founded in August 2001, Champions the development and empowerment of poor children within their communities, working closely with local communities for capacity, finding a lasting solution to the reintegration of street children and sometimes, street families, aiming at curbing the trend by facilitating the empowerment of the poor slum communities from where most street children emerge, aiming to forestall eventual displacement of rural orphans, initiatives are expanded to include women capacity building.
We visited the Spring Valley Kayole - Urban Slum Community and Empowerment Programme (target population: over 6000 people). ESVAK is using the Participatory Urban Appraisal (PUA) approach to assess the needs of the target populations. The 2003 PUA research on the community revealed the poor and ever-deteriorating lifestyle due to lack of basic facilities e.g. clean water, but also a need to realize development and empowerment through community leadership headed by a Development Committee. The Spring Valley slum is the only slum where the community received ownership over the plot of land in the slum, officially, as a result of community based advocacy. Access to water: the community dug trenches for water pipes contributing 50% of the labour costs and 19 communal water points were contributed by donors and community members themselves. A fully-fledged high quality ESVAK community school has been constructed. 15 teachers were trained, the school offers education to 400 children from Spring Valley and its neighbours. A Revolving Micro-credit scheme Fund: ESVAK initially trained 40 leaders, individuals were encouraged to save Kshs.10/= per day which was banked every fortnight by ESVAK, after nine months the group had grown to 100 members with savings over Ksh.200,000 (Euro 2,850 in 2004), members were given grant by KNH in partnership with ESVAK to boost their savings and were able to borrow loans of upto 3 times their savings, members' living standards.
Mary Alice Onyura: email@example.com
TAITA Foundation (H) - MFA / Embassy microproject
The TAITA Foundation is registered in Hungary, and its main activities consist of supporting an orphanage close to Bura, Kenya (in the Taita Hills), and carrying out development education activities in Hungary. The Foundation sends volunteers to the orphanage regualrly, to assist with management skills, education, organizing activities for the smaller children. The orphanage is run by a nun and two nurses. The Foundation assisted the orphanage in their effort to create a sustainable livelihood (barns for the cow, regular procurments of hen, seeds, staple food, sugar, medicines), as well as by increasing the level of education and also, organizing pre-school education (kindergarten) for the smallest. Besides equipping the facility, the Foundation also covers the salary of a professional teacher. On weekends, the Foundation organized that teacher's college students spend some time with the children. In 2008 the Kenyan Hungarian Embassy supported the building of a new water tank for the orphanage, as well as supported the establishment of the pre-school as a one-time humanitarian donation.
The whole Sunday afternoon we spent at the orphanage, we were received with great hospitality, invited for dinner, and discussed all the various aspects of the financial sustainability of the Foundation with Andrea Szegedi (volunteer). http://www.taita.info/