European Citizens working for the Global Development Agenda
Locations: Italy, Bulgaria, Romania, Belgium + action where TV documentaries will be shot (Mozambique, Malawi, Botswana, Sierra Leon, Ghana, Syria, India)
The overall objective of the Action is to contribute to enabling public opinion makers (educationists, media, local authorities, development actors) in Italy, Belgium, Bulgaria and Romania to better understand and tackle the international development issues, so as to better inform the public of the scope and challenges for actions against poverty and for building fairer relations between developed and developing countries.
The specific objective of this Action is to create, collect, organize, make accessible and distribute knowledge resources and tools for educationists, media personnel and local government policy makers in Italy, Belgium, Romania and Bulgaria, so as to facilitate opinion makers to illustrate to their audiences the issues of international cooperation for development.
The primary target groups are opinion makers who directly participate in the activities of this action: (i) 80 persons participating in 4 network building workshops (in Italy Belgium, Bulgaria, Romania); (ii) Associations of stakeholders involved in the network building activities; (iii) 100 opinion makers who will participate in capacity building activities.
The secondary target groups are those who will be reached and will benefit from the knowledge resources, information tools and media products created, collected and produced by this action; (i) The opinion makers of target countries who will benefit from the manuals and other resources made available through the Action web site and promoted through the networking and dissemination activities; (ii) the EU public reached indirectly through the distribution of the media products of this Action.
Estimated results: EU level network is established for sharing resources and generating cross-sectoral synergies on informing the EU public about international cooperation agenda; Web site is created for collecting and sharing knowledge resources; 3 manuals published and distributed; Capacity of 100 stakeholders is built; An 8 episode documentary on 8 MDGs (TV broadcast and 250 DVD copies); Knowledge resources and awareness building tools distributed; Concluding workshop.
Main activities: Conducting 4 network building workshops; 1 Round table, developing a Web Site; producing 3 manuals, holding 2 Capacity building (CB) workshops, Producing and broadcasting an 8 episode TV documentary on MDGs; Organizing the concluding workshop
This action will focus on the role of media for awareness generation and education for development. The Action is built on the assumption that by improving the way knowledge is organized, shared and utilized, it will be possible to change the attitude of target audiences towards development partnerships and the issues and difficulties faced by the people in developing countries.
Through activities of networking and production of knowledge resources to be shared and utilized by network partners, this action intends generating a virtuous circle of:
- opinion makers and educators better capable of informing the public on the scope and challenges of international cooperation for development,
- increased awareness among the public about linkages between development cooperation, international security and global governance;
- greater pressure on policy makers for implementing international agreements aimed at reducing poverty and establishing fairer relations between developed and developing countries;
- policy makers and LA becoming more participative and attentive towards anchoring development policies in European societies, giving visibility to the development activities utilizing European taxpayers money.
The direct target groups, of most outputs produced and activities conducted by this action, will be opinion makers (educators, media professionals, local authorities, development actors); Although the EU public of the target countries will be reached indirectly, the change in their attitude is the primary objective of the action. This objective will be achieved through the empowerment of the opinion makers that will better create a sustained change in the attitudes of the EU public towards development.
Relevance of the action
The Action objectives have been conceived as a response to the problems identified in the context analysis that was conducted by the Action partners. This analysis revealed:
- the declining level of public support for actions, in support of developing countries, financed by EU taxpayer money,
- a general lack of knowledge and preparation amongst opinion makers of target countries (Italy, Bulgaria, Romania and Belgium) for illustrating, to the public, the scope and the challenges of international cooperation for development.
This context analysis also revealed that there is a vicious circle of scarce attention given by educational institutions to development issues and insufficient media coverage of international development agendas that leads to low prioritization among policy makers with regard to implementation of international cooperation agreements.
Furthermore, UN monitoring of MDG (www.mdgmonitor.org) reveals that many countries are not making enough progress and might not achieve declared targets by 2015. This is largely due to a combination of the lack of driving policy changes in these countries and the lack of consistent commitment by donor countries. In spite of official declarations to pursue the 8th MDG goal (i.e. Developing a Global Partnership for Development) by devoting at least 0.7% of GNP to development cooperation, the average contribution by donor nations is still approx 0.23%, i.e. equal to US$ 56 billion per year (EU has committed 0.7% by 2012). UN and World Bank estimate that an additional USD 50 billion donor contribution per year is still required to this end. One of the reasons for the low prioritization of commitment to International Development Agenda is the low awareness, among people in Europe, of the real development issues and on the scope and impact of international cooperation. (see The Millennium Development Goals Report 2007).
The context analysis also revealed that organized campaigns concerning world poverty do reach the public with touching slogans and images. Official campaigns about MDGs have been well articulated in Italy and Belgium through posters, presence on the press and TV spots; this campaign did achieve important results as far as the viewership it achieved. However, most of these campaigns adopt an advertisement-style rhetoric. The public perceives this rhetoric as being motivated by the interest of justifying the business niche of the campaigner. The result is that these campaigns have a limited ability to change the attitudes of the public towards issues and difficulties that developing countries face (except sometimes in the case of humanitarian response to massive calamities). Besides ad hoc spaces that the agenda for the MDGs obtains in the media, it does not really get mainstreamed into the regular news programs; from the special events in schools or small additions to curricula, attention to development issues does not advance onwards to get mainstreamed into regular learning. And although policy makers voice out their intentions to support international development efforts, its implementation is actually linked to the availability of additional funds which are often found later on to be insufficient.
The context analysis further revealed that the public has faith in the messages of the trusted educators and informers (journalists, local authorities and educators) rather than the campaigners. However, the professional context in which these trusted educators and informers work tends to lead them to highlight only the negative side of development problems and to often miss out the positive-impact stories, like the coordinated efforts of development actors in responding to emergencies through a globally participated agenda. These opinion makers, who can make a significant change in the attitude of the public, are little prepared to tackle communication on:
- the scope and impact of the actions financed with EU taxpayers money that contribute to international development efforts;
- how and why NSA and LA become actors of international cooperation for development and what do they benefit through such efforts.
Instead, those who know more about international cooperation agendas, i.e the development experts and actors, are unable to produce a significant change when they try to reach the public directly because their efforts are perceived as self motivated, i.e. aimed at justifying their own business niche. And the lack of cross sectoral synergy between the development experts and the opinion makers hampers the transfer of knowledge resources and information tools from the former to the latter. These two groups tend to remain apart and rarely have the opportunity to work together for raising public awareness about development issues and promote education for development in the European Union.
From this context analysis, the partners identified the 3 main problems that this Action will address:
- the lack of awareness among the general public on the linkages between development cooperation and the governance of global issues (like global security, intercultural dialogue, environment, migration, etc.)
- insufficient knowledge and preparation amongst opinion makers;
- lack of synergy and subsidiarity between the development actors and the opinion makers.
This Action, being a response to the above problems, while building awareness on issues related to the 8 MDGs, Education for development, Development and media, global security, migration, human rights, social dimension of globalisation, will focus on:
- producing knowledge tools and resources required by the opinion makers in order to improve their capacity to inform the public about development issues;
- build networking and subsidiarity amongst stakeholders (development actors and the opinion makers) so as to build cross sectoral synergies aimed at enabling the public to give an informed support to actions against poverty and in favour of fairer relations between developed and developing countries (this being relevant to Objectives of this Call).
Disseminated through informal and formal channels of education, the above themes, will be understood by analysing:
- what are the current challenges in the implementation of the MDGs agenda,
- what are the factors establishing coherence for development,
- how can we anchor development polices in European societies,
- what are the ethical responsibilities of opinion makers in enabling informed choices among the public with regard to the support for actions aimed at reducing poverty and establishing fairer relationships between developing and developed nations;
- what is the communication style that facilitates intercultural understanding and dialogue.
The above problems, needs and themes are directly related to the primary target groups which will be opinion makers directly participating in the activities of this action, i.e. development actors who need to learn how to transfer their expertise on development issues to opinion makers (journalists, educators, policy makers); and the opinion makers who need to acquire more knowledge about development issues in order to raise the awareness of their audiences and allow them to make informed decisions.
By enabling public opinion makers (educationist and media) to raise awareness and by promoting education for development, among the EU public, particularly in new Member States, the Action will contribute to changes in the attitudes of the EU public with regards to issues and difficulties the developing countries and their peoples are facing. By creating, collecting and distributing knowledge resources and tools for media personnel so as to facilitate them in informing their public of international development priorities, this Action also adheres to the guideline priorities of linking media and development. By focusing on development issues faced by sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America, the content of the Action products is in line with the priorities of the Call guidelines.
Outputs and expected results
The outputs of this Action will be the knowledge resources and information tools that will help the opinion makers in informing the public on the scope and challenges of international cooperation for development.
The main expected outcome of the Action is the empowerment of opinion makers who will be better able to generate cross sectoral synergies with development actors and generate awareness among the EU public on international development cooperation issues. It is expected that the empowerment of opinion makers will lead to sustained and lasting changes in the behaviours and attitudes of the EU public.
The expected impact of the Action will be greater awareness among EU public that is expected to create greater pressure, by the EU public, on policy makers to implement international agreements aimed at reducing poverty and to establish fairer relations between developed and developing countries, thereby giving visibility to the development activities utilizing European taxpayers money. By demonstrating, to the development stakeholders, the effectiveness of empowering the trusted opinion makers rather than reaching out directly to citizens through advertisement style campaigning, the success and impact of the Action will influence analogous efforts in other EU countries.
In this Action, EU partners will build the capacity of the new EU member states in effective communication among the stakeholders of development cooperation public. It is expected that the Action partners from the new EU member states will lead collaboration with partners from other new EU member states in order to replicate this experience, its methodology, results and outcomes, thus carrying forward the model of networking and cross sectoral synergies for generating awareness among the public of the new EU member states
The information collected and the manuals produced in this Action and available in the "Clearing House" will be utilised to produce other knowledge resources and tools that the Action Network will continue to utilise.
The proposed activities and their effectiveness
Activities are structured on the basis of the results they are meant to achieve. Although the activity lines run parallel, there is constant interaction among them. Although there isn't a specific chronological order among activity lines, there is a chronological order between activity results. The chronological order of the activities depends on the outputs of preceding results becoming inputs of the succeeding ones.
- Networking for sharing resources and best practices and generating international and cross-sectoral synergies on how to inform the EU public about international cooperation agenda.
- Developing and disseminating three manuals to address the capacity gap among the primary target groups.
- Producing and Broadcasting an eight-episode documentary on the eight Millennium Development Goals.
- Promoting, amongst the wider networks of educationists, media personnel and local government policy makers in EU, the utilisation of the knowledge resources and awareness building tools developed in the Action.
Three key factors determine the methodology of this Action:
- The belief that in order to be effective and sustainable, awareness building activities must move through "Trust patterns" of the community; i.e. they must not cast aside traditional opinion makers and target the public directly; instead they must reinforce these "trust patterns" by supporting and empowering the trusted opinion makers. This is not only a more effective way of spreading the messages but also a pedagogic method that and reinforces existing social structures while providing new contents. This methodology is also in line with the spirit of international cooperation where providing aid is accompanied with reinforcement of existing social patterns and not substituting them.
- It is the dialogue between development actors and opinion makers (Action target group) that will generate and articulate the content of the communication material (Manuals, Web Portal, knowledge resources, etc.) which will also explain and illustrate the same process with which it was constructed. This is the very application, on social communication, of the fundamental pedagogic metaphor that says "awareness is not a pot to fill but a fire to light".
- Often communication products created for sharing knowledge resources run the risk of being pedantic and doctrinal. It is, therefore, important to use a smarter and more lively communication methodology that brings the issues under consideration closer to the emotions of the target groups. And it is for this reason that the Manuals will be accompanied by the Web Portal and the Documentary films.
Thus, the approach of this Action is to involve the primary target groups as partners in implementing the activities. A mechanism of networking and resource sharing will be developed during the Action and this process will gradually involve other stakeholders who in turn will share it with relevant audiences in their countries, thus expanding the impact of the action. Since partners belong to the same categories of stakeholders as the primary target group, they will mobilise their networks of alliances during selection of participants in the networking and capacity building activities.
- Municipality of Grosseto (Italy)
- Fondazione Labos (Italy)
- Centre for Innovation in Education (TEHNE Romania)
- Time Foundation (Bulgaria)
- Children of Europe (Bulgaria)
- ERCEQ (Bulgaria)
- NASMB - National Association of Small and Medium Businesses (Bulgaria)
- European Union Experts - EUE-AISBL (Belgium)
- Kautilya Society for Intercultural Dialogue (India)
- Syrian International Academy (Syria)
Project's website: www.eugad.eu