Pushing for open African governance

first_img30 May 2013 Representatives of 16 countries gathered in Mombasa, Kenya on Wednesday for the first Africa outreach meeting of the Open Government Partnership (OGP). Launched in New York in September 2011, the OGP is international coalition of leading governments and civil society organisations aimed at advancing transparency and accountability in government, increasing civic participation and fighting corruption. The partnership has grown since then to 59 countries, including the eight founding countries: the US, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, Philippines, South Africa and the UK. Africa is represented in the OGP by founding member South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania, who committed to joining in 2012, and Liberia and Ghana, who are in the process of joining.Service delivery, development benefits Speaking at the opening of the OGP Africa meeting on Wednesday, South African Deputy Public Service and Administration Minister Ayando Dlodlo said it was important to “recognise the benefits of enhancing governance in order to improve service delivery and foster development”. Dlodlo told the gathering of politicians, administrators, civil society workers, academics and others that South Africa sought to help build strong international partnerships to promote good governance, which was “fundamental in improving the delivery of services to our citizens and enhancing public trust in government”. While stressing the value of a civil society with the “independence, capacity and will to hold governments accountable”, Dlodlo challenged challenge African governments and civil society to move away from a “cold war of us against them” and to work together for the betterment of people’s lives. She also highlighted the use of information communication technology (ICT) by governments, not only to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery, but also to promote information sharing and public participation.Importance of ‘open data’ Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Information Communication and Technology Fred Matiangi relayed a welcome message from President Uhuru Kenyatta calling for constructive engagement between governments and civil society to improve the living conditions of Africa’s people. Kenya’s Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communications, Bitange Ndemo, speaking at a separate session on open data, spoke about the challenge of making technical information available to the public in clearly understandable language. Open data had to be relevant to people, Ndemo said, in order for them to understand it and use it to improve their living standards. He lauded those Kenyans who used technology to access data and rework it in language that people could understand through smartphones and apps “Our Open Data portal has information about the various counties we have in Kenya, and this is important for making development decisions about a county. The data compares counties to each other on which is lagging behind,” Ndemo said.Platforms for citizen feedback Unathi Bongco, South Africa’s OGP programme manager, told a session on improving the public service that citizen feedback was crucial in monitoring quality and improving accountability in service delivery, and noted the South African government’s use of outreach forums and special telephone hotlines to gather this feedback. The two-day conference continued on Thursday, with panelists drawn from government and civil society set to share their experiences on open governance in the day’s main event, “Conversations with African Leaders”. The panelists scheduled to take part included Qinisile Delwa from South Africa’s Department of Public Service and Administration, Thomas Karyah from Liberia’s Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism, Prince Kreplah of Citizens United to Promote Peace and Democracy in Liberia, Gladwell Otieno of the Africa Centre for Open Governance, and Emmanuel Kuyole of Ghana’s Revenue Watch Institute. SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Creating new partnerships for your cause

first_imgWe’ve all heard it before, “Give me your Rolodex, give me 20 names that I can contact.” It can be overwhelming to produce a big list of people who are eager to raise money for your cause. But what if 20 names is 19 too many? What if all you need is just one? This is the idea proposed by philanthropist Jeffrey Walker and fundraising expert Jennifer McCrea in their recent book, The Generosity Network.Reach out.Asking your nonprofit board members for just one person who might be interested in joining your cause will seem more manageable to them and is more likely to generate a thoughtful response. That way, you can meet with someone who is open to starting a relationship with you and—ultimately—your organization.Meet in an intimate setting.Invite your new contact to meet, but beware of asking them to your office! Conference rooms can be beautiful spaces: great for viewing PowerPoints, but actually hosting an intimate first meeting? Forget it! Go to coffee or breakfast so that you can be in a space that is made for conversation. In a coffee shop, sharing your story won’t come across as rehearsed the way it automatically would in a conference room or at someone’s desk. Context is everything.Form a connection.Remember, this first meeting isn’t a sales call; it’s a chance to authentically connect. Be ready to ask what your new contact truly values and consider saying, “For the record, I’m not going to ask you for money today.” If people think you’re just there to extract something from them, they might beworrying about your potential ask. If they’re only half listening, it will be hard to build a relationship of trust and explore a potential partnership. But don’t wait too long to ask for a commitment! It’s important to share what your organization is doing and what you could achieve together.For more ideas on developing a relationship with your donors and how to turn them from one-time customers into lifelong partners, access the archived webinar presentation of Nonprofit 911: Build Your Generosity Network with Jennifer McCrea and Jeff Walker.last_img read more

OD patients given medicine at Vancouver ER as part of unique program

first_imgThe Canadian Press VANCOUVER — A Vancouver emergency department has become the first in Canada to give overdose patients take-away packs of medication aimed at warding off withdrawal symptoms and getting them into treatment.Dr. Andrew Kestler, a co-lead of the program at St. Paul’s Hospital, says patients get a three-day supply of Suboxone and easy-to-understand instructions from a nurse.He says the idea is to prevent barriers to treatment because many patients are not able to even get a prescription filled at a pharmacy after being discharged.Kestler says five women and three men have so far been given the medication and emergency departments around the province have shown interest in the project that could potentially be adopted across the country.He says patients from the hospital can also access a clinic in the same building so they can be connected with a doctor in the community before being followed up by an outreach team.The two-year innovative pilot project will be evaluated by the BC Centre on Substance Use in the province with the highest number of overdose deaths in Canada.last_img read more

Sheckler Foundation Announces Latest Be The Change Recipient

first_imgAfter weeks of rallying and spreading awareness for its finalists, Ryan Sheckler and the Sheckler Foundation are pleased to announce Books and Boards East Coast Tour its “Be the Change” recipient.As the beneficiary, Books and Boards will receive a $10,000 financial grant and support from the Sheckler Foundation to help provide skateboards and books to underserved communities.“The impact ‘Be the Change’ has had on individuals and organizations across the country has been unreal! We’re stoked to reach so many communities with this amazing program,” said Pro Skateboarder and Sheckler Foundation Co-founder, Ryan Sheckler. “Congrats to Books and Boards East Coast Tour on becoming our ‘Be the Change’ recipient and thank you to everyone who participated in our initiative.”Boards for Bros and Bess the Book Bus joined forces in 2015 to give the combined gifts of reading and skateboarding to underserved youth in Tampa Bay, Florida. After hitting the road together to reach kids in underprivileged neighborhoods, both non-profits found that this partnership left a dramatic and lasting impact on the lives of Tampa’s youth, offering them an escape from harsh reality. Through skateboarding and reading, Books and Boards’ mission is to provide children a place of inspiration where they can create happiness in a time of despair.With a $10,000 grant and support from the Sheckler Foundation, Boards for Bros can join Bess the Book Bus on an East Coast Tour bringing Books and Boards’ events to youth in Baltimore, Maryland, Camden, and Ashbury Park, New Jersey. In addition, the grant will allow Books and Boards to purchase skateboard and art supplies, helmets, stencils and books giving kids a chance to learn and grow in a fun, joyful and active learning environment.The Sheckler Foundation is dedicated to the mission of educating, equipping and empowering its community to “Be the Change” and has helped numerous causes and individuals over the years, to include: A.skate Foundation, The Port Gamble S’Klallam, Peach’s Neet Feet, Ashley Wade Foundation, Hope for Carter, Gamerosity, Andrew Hale’s Road to Recovery, Coping Mechanism-Parisite DIY Skatepark, Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) and Adventure Club.Finalist, Passport 2 Freedom stated: “We’re a small non-profit solely run on volunteers. But we are all Passion! We felt so inspired to learn about Boards for Bros, A walk on Water and Fashion honors autism. It’s easy to be stuck in your own sphere of anti-trafficking, orphan care and slum work, so it was so great to be enlightened about what Good people are doing out there! … It’s all about giving back where we can.”Fashion Honors Autism, another BTC finalist stated: “I must say that this was an amazing experience not only for FHA, but for myself and the FHA team members. I thank you and the Sheckler Foundation for the opportunity to be one of four finalists. It was fun and a great way for our City to come together and support. Super stoked and excited for Books and Boards East Coast Tour! They have an amazing cause.”last_img read more

De Beers ups pressure on Attawapiskat Chief Spence to end diamond mine

first_img(The Attawapiskat ice road blockade on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Nakogee)By Jorge Barrera APTN National News ATTAWAPISKAT–De Beers is pressuring Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence and her band council to bring an end to a four-day blockade of a winter road leading to the company’s Victor diamond mine in northern Ontario.In a letter delivered to Spence on Tuesday, the law firm retained by De Beers says the company would be seeking an injunction against the blockaders Wednesday morning.“As the leaders of the community, we urge you to use best efforts and to take appropriate steps to ensure that this unlawful activity cease immediately,” says the letter, signed by Fasken Martineau lawyer Tracy Pratt.De Beers Victor mine manager James Kirby has said the blockade could force the diamond mine to shut down. The mine depends on the ice road to stock up its fuel supplies and to ship up machinery and replacement parts too heavy to fly into its airport.The blockaders said Wednesday they had been told by a De Beers employee that the OPP would arrive at the site sometime Wednesday. As of early evening the OPP had not yet appeared.The ice road, which leads to the De Beers mine has been blocked for a total of eight days over the past two weeks. A previous blockade ended this last Thursday.De Beers pays for the construction cost of the about 400 kilometre road from Moosonee, Ont., to the Victor diamond mine, which sits about 90 kilometres west of Attawapiskat.The blockades have been driven by a number of grievances ranging from personal, past employment and pay issues with De Beers, to the lack of housing in the community, the need for compensation over the loss of traditional traplines and burial sites along with overarching environmental issues.The blockaders have also expressed concern over an impact benefit agreement (IBA) between Attawapiskat and De Beers which they believe fails to give the First Nation a fair cut of the riches contained on their traditional territory.The core of the current blockade has been maintained by about four families. The numbers at the blockade site also fluctuate throughout the day.De Beers spokesman Tom Ormsby, however, claims the blockaders are driven only by personal issues.“The blockades this year have originated from a small group of individuals with very specific individual concerns, mostly about employment, training and compensation for pervious work,” said Ormsby.Ormsby denies the issues are “rooted” in the IBA.Ormsby also denied De Beers was looking to have Attawapiskat dip into its IBA-linked trust fund to pay some of the compensation claims issued by the blockaders.“De Beers is not ‘looking to use the Trust Fund money’ for anything, as De Beers does not manage the Trust Fund nor have access to it,” said Ormsby. “The Trust Fund and the parameters around the use of the Trust Fund were set up by Attawapiskat First Nation, who own and administer that account. De Beers’ only role is to direct payments into the Trust Fund per the schedule in the IBA.”De Beers has transferred $10.5 million into a trust fund for Attawapiskat as of January 2011.Attawapiskat gets about $2 million a year from the mine.The trust fund was created to provide funding for Attawapiskat into the future.The mine had also generated $448 million on gross revenues by the same date, according to a De Beers PowerPoint presentation on the IBA.De Beers says it has invested about $1.022 billion of capital costs into the mine.De Beers currently says about $325 million worth of contracts have been awarded to “solely owned or joint venture companies run by the community” since construction began. Though some in the community dispute the number accurately reflect the reality on the ground and some question the make-up of some of the joint ventures.De Beers says in its PowerPoint that a blockade in 2009 cost it $3.5 million.jbarrear@aptn.ca@JorgeBarreralast_img read more