22. december, 2009
The newsletter is designed to tell our partners in Ghana, Uganda, Nicaragua and Honduras about our work - in Denmark and also abroad. In the newsletter you will find more information about the challenges DHF faces in Denmark and up-dates on the projects.
We would also like to encourage our partners in Ghana, Uganda, Nicaragua and Honduras to contribute with articles, developing this newsletter from being only information from Denmark to becoming an opportunity for all our partners to network and share experience. If you would like to add something to the newsletter, then please forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The newsletter will be published 4 times a year.
The last two weeks we have had a UN conference on the climate, called COP15 here in Copenhagen, only 10 km from where we at DHF, have our office. So a lot of people arrived to Denmark to participate, both delegates and all sorts of NGO’s. There were ministers and officials from 192 countries, 12-15000 people with UN-accreditation and even more NGO’s. It turned our city up side down in many ways. Traffic in downtown and at the airport was really heavy and all the snow and ice, which is ironically making this winter the coldest in 10 years, doesn’t make it easier. There was a concert every night on the square in front of the town hall and a lot of other activities going on.
See the official Hopenhagen-site
The many NGO’s made their own unofficial summit and a lot of other activities, like happenings and demonstrations. It has been a problem to host all the visitors since hotels and the like soon was fully booked, so a lot of our citizens have been hosting NGO’s in their private homes. Many have said, that it gave them a great opportunity to get a better insight to the NGO work. The city of Copenhagen had bicycles ready to use for the visitors, so they could see how we do a lot of our transportation in a climate friendly way. Bicycles are very common in Copenhagen where almost 40% take the bicycle to work. I saw this young South-african girl, used to drive in the opposite side of the road and not used to bicycles. She had a lot of difficulties riding the bike but also a lot of fun doing it.
Saturday we had a huge demonstration with up to 100.000 participants, according to the organizers. There were people from all over the world, Peruvian indians, Africans, Europeans, and so on, each with their primary concern, eg. the Tibetans who worries about the melting gletchers in the Himalayas. The Tibetan plateau is the Worlds third biggest reservoir of drinking water and 2 billion people is said to be affected by the changes. All in all there was a very good atmosphere in the demonstration, with a lot of people playing music and dancing. Still though, the police were afraid that a small group would encourage the rest to violence and they made preventive arrests. 1000 persons got arrested, which is the biggest number at a demonstration in Denmark ever. There has been a lot of critique on the police making unnecessary arrests, but a spokesman from the organizers said in a very positive way, that he was happy about the 99.000 who weren’t arrested.
See more photos
The first day of the conference, an article in British Guardian made headlines in all media. The article referred to, what seemed to be the Danish governments proposal to a treaty, but the Danish government denied that it was their paper. The problem was that the G77, the group of developing countries, found it favouring USA and Europe over development countries and that conflict went on to be the main issue during the negotiations. That, and the disagreements between USA and China. But also minor countries was trying to be heard, without greater luck. Eg. the negotiator from Tuvalu, who burst out in tears when he explained, what effect the climate changes has to his country. Tuvalu is a group of islands in the pacific only few meters above waterlevel and if we don’t limit the rising of the temperature, Tuvalu will soon be gone. Two days before ending the summit, State leaders from all over joined their officials to close the negotiations and everyone hoped that they would get a solid agreement. But nothing really happened and the only result was a very weak deal with no legal bindings. Now everyone’s accusing each other for ruining the conference and we have to wait for next summit in Mexico next year, to reach a better deal. This is bad for all of us but especially for the developing countries, who will suffer most from the climate changes. What began as Hopenhagen – turned out as Nopenhagen or Brokenhagen.
See official UN- homepage
On December 7th 2009, Danida accepted a project proposal for continuing the joint project in Ghana aiming at strengthening the Ghanaian disability movement. The project is a cooperation between Danish Association of the Blind, Danish Association of the Physically Disabled, Danish Deaf Association and Disabled People’s Organisations – Denmark, and our four partner organisations in Ghana. The new phase of the project will run for four years and the budget amounts to approximately 4 million USD.
The project will build on lessons learned from the inception phase (2008-09), which is increased visibility and implementation of activities in the districts and among members. An opening workshop in February, including participants from all four Danish organisations, will target the establishing of a local monitoring system in the new eight project districts.
UNAPD has since the development of national standards for physical accessibility been involved in a number of specific activities to improve the physical environments, so that everyone can use their right to move independently. A good example is an accessibility survey conducted in Wakiso District, where a number of schools were visited by a team from UNAPD and representatives from the local authorities. The outcome of the survey was the depressing conclusion that several of the schools were not accessible for students with a physical disability. But in most cases the situation could be significant improved with use of only few resources and many of the directors from the schools were ready to make the necessary changes after the dialogue with UNAPD. One of the major reasons to drop out of school for children with disabilities, is the poor standards of accessibility in most schools where steps and inaccessible latrines makes it a challenge for the students just to attend.
DHF are planning a trip to Uganda in January 2010 to discuss future areas of cooperation with the new board of UNAPD that is being elected on the General Assembly, December 29-30 this year.
The political situation in Honduras is still a main issue, also for the implementation of the UNIDAD project. On November 29 national elections were held, but a broad part of the population boycotted the elections and many countries will not recognise the new government. Never the less, it is the impression that the project DHF are implementing with its partners can go on.
The project has now 7 partners. Besides the original partners, a federation of organizations of parents with disabled children - FENAPAPENESH, a national organization of physical disabled – ALHF and a local based organization – APREH, are now partners of the project.
A common training unit are to be formed. Expectations are that the first trainings are being held in the first semester of 2010. Staffs have been employed and a Danish consultant will help to advice about the training.
The federation of organizations of PWDs – FECONORI - are doing very well and have for instance made an agreement with the Ministry of Education and Health to improve the accessibility on new and renovated buildings.
The project is about training the partners in monitoring, and the most of the seven partners will in 2010 elaborate their own monitoring systems.
In November a member of the DHF board and The Commission of Cooperation Ulla Trøjmer visited Honduras and Nicaragua and participated among other activities, in the biannually assembly of the partners of the project. On the assembly the indicators of the project and project documents were discussed and the partners came with some proposals for change. Common activities for all the partners was also discussed and decided.
Ulla Trøjmer also participated in the preparation of the elaboration of an infant novel about a disabled girl. The elaboration of the novel is done in collaboration with a Danish NGO who deals with projects for children and youth. The novel will be used in Danish schools to inform Danish children and will also be translated into Spanish.
DHF have decided to investigate the possibilities to start working in Bolivia, and consultant are right now working on identifying possible partners in Bolivia. A delegation from DHF probably will visit Bolivia during March 2010.
- DHF wants to thank everyone for 2009. Merry Christmas and a happy new year.