International Project workshop
Report by Kiri Smith
Present: Dominique Saillard, John Tolley, Stephen Warburton, Kit Stoner, Cesar Fiores, Alun Davies, Jan Birk, Kiri Smith, Allesandro d'Aleo, Giorgina Momigliano, Donatello Fedrighini, Brenda Boughton, Ger Anjo van Houten, Monica Frisch, Allen Jackson, Adam Skidmore, Konrad Borst.
Report from 1994 - 1996 International Project
Joint Contingency Fund
Dominique Saillard of War Resisters International (WRI) presented a very thorough report on the success of this project. The aim of the project was to have a fund of money available to provide for feasibility studies into international nonviolent action. The ever-changing nature of the international situation rarely allows enough to time to fund-raise for each individual situation where nonviolent action may be appropriate - the Joint Contingency Fund now fills in this provision.
The Fund was used to do a feasibility study in Chechenya for providing an international presence. This was suggested by Chris Hunter of Quaker House in Moscow. Tim Wallis visited Chechenya in August 1995 and identified some possible actions, including the creation of a Centre for Peace and Human Rights in Grozny, intended to act as information point / organisational centre. However, it was acknowledged that to send international volunteers to Chechenya placed too much pressure on local people.
The Chechenya project has now started to raise money in its own right and is replenishing the 'Joint Contingency Fund', so that the fund can then provide for more feasibility studies as required. The project has organised a speaking tour of one Russian and one Chechyan woman of northern Europe and Britain.
The fund has been administered by WRI and IFOR. ú5,000 remain in the fund.
Peace Brigades International has had to withdraw, as its structure does not allow for quick decision-taking. However, it is still interested in the project.
Suggestions for the next international project
1. Peace Embassy in Kossovo.
This was proposed by Giorgina Momigliano of OSM. They currently provide around 20% of the funding for a Peace Embassy in Pristina.
The embassy aims to open up communication between the Serbian and Albanian communities. It has been open since February 1995, supporting peace groups in Kossovo, working with Serbian, Albanian and Italian schools, promoting better communication, and monitoring human rights, particularly those of conscientious objectors. There have however, been some problems - the worker was at one stage expelled by the Serbs for having links with 'illegal schools' (ie. Albanian schools). The project has the support of the Greens in the European Parliament.
2. Peace Translation Project.
War Resisters International are developing a peace translation project. WRI already work in English, French, German and Spanish. The Project is seeking funding and translators - they have located 130 translators, covering 30 languages. The Project will match up translators with those requiring services. It has a little funding and may be able to pay for a volunteer to help get the project underway. A little money would go a long way, and WRI believes the project could help the Kossovo project and other similar efforts.
The Italian Project ties in with the idea of developing a peace corps, however, reservations were expressed: there is uncertainty as to whether Alberto L'Abaie will be allowed to remain in Kossovo to continue the work. What happens to the money raised if he can't stay. How much money is required? How dependent is the project on our money?
3. Joint Contingency Fund.
Brenda Boughton suggested supporting the Joint Contingency Fund for another year, because it clearly still needs support and is very international in nature.
We could consider sharing the funding between two or more of the proposals.
Evaluation of the International Project
· How can we, as organisations, make better use of the International Project? Many campaigns also wish to support other projects.
· How can we publicise the International Project? Perhaps, those responsible for each of the projects could do more. Perhaps we need to identify what would help, for example items for newsletters. The project needs to be clearly outlined in order to attract funding.
· Should we chose the project we think will attract most funding or that which feels most appropriate.
The proposed projects were further discussed and decided upon at the Steering Committee meeting.