Development cooperation:a new momentum created by the Brussels-Capital Region
The Brussels-Capital Region is actively committed to tackling development challenges. In this framework, Brussels International organises annual calls for proposals for NGO projects. The new call for projects will be launched in April but for now, we take stock of the projects that were implemented in 2013 and 2014. Two years ago, Brussels International took the initiative to start organising annual calls for projects, creating a new momentum for the bilateral development cooperation agreements of the Brussels-Capital Region. Only approved Belgian NGOs, operating in development cooperation, whose headquarters are in the Brussels-Capital Region, may submit a project. Moreover, the candidate projects must be implemented in either the Province of Katanga (DRC) or in the Region of Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zaër (Morocco), both partner regions of the Brussels-Capital Region. They must target specific areas of action. In 2013 and 2014, the projects focused on social economy, human development, innovative financing and sustainable urban development. 2013: artisanal miners in Kolwezi district In 2013, Brussels International selected a project for the social, economic and political development of the traditional mining industry in Katanga. The two-year project was jointly implemented by the not-for-profit association Solidarité socialiste and a Congolese not-for-profit association, the Centre national d’appui au développement et à la participation populaire (CENADEP, National Support Centre for Development and People’s Participation). The project’s objective was to encourage the artisanal miners or “creuseurs” in the mines in Kolwezi district to group themselves into associations and cooperatives. This would allow them to move out of the informal economy or at least contribute to “organising” this informal sector. These structures will also create a framework for better labour regulations. For example: working in areas where artisanal mining is permitted by the authorities, working with a permit issued by the authorities, assuring the better commercialisation of the products. The miners thus can take control of their future again and they and their families will enjoy a better quality of life. The team of Solidarité socialiste was able to raise awareness for its project in the margin of the 2015 11.11.11 solidarity campaign on social protection thanks to the stunning photos taken by the photographer Johanna De Tessieres which illustrate this article. 2014: women and young people in Katanga and people with disabilities in Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zaër In 2014, two projects were selected. One was implemented by the not-for-profit association Solidarité socialiste in the Province of Katanga and the other by the not-for-profit association Handicap international in the region of Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zaër (RSZZ). Support for the micro-enterprises of women and young people (Katanga) The first project is a two-year project that supports social-economic initiatives in the informal sector, which are set up by young people or women in four towns on the fringe of the city of Lubumbashi. The aim is to strengthen these micro-enterprises and group them in a network or channels. As a result they can adapt the way they are run, making them viable, efficient and profitable. This project focuses on identification, raising awareness, technical training and the promotion of the targeted economic stakeholders. It wishes to improve their quality of life by more efficient work and a better response to population’s demands and vital and daily needs. The range of relevant goods and services is very diverse, ranging from food to technology, communication and craftsmanship, housing, clothing, mobility and even the environment. A central convergence centre will be set up in the selected towns. Here micro-entrepreneurs in the informal sector will organise themselves in formal channels, in line with their respective specialities. These four centres will serve as training centres, meeting points, places where entrepreneurs can exchange best practices and knowledge, provide services, socialise and unwind. To implement this project Solidarité socialiste partnered with Palmier, a consortium of civil society organisations working for the social and economic advancement of the population of Katanga. Social local action scheme for the disabled (RSZZ Region) The second project to be selected in 2014 was submitted by Handicap international. It is aimed at developing a social local action scheme in five urban and suburban areas of the Province of Khemisset – RSZZ Region. This six-month project aims to improve access to social services and the social-economic integration of disabled individuals, while addressing the lack of information and support. In practice, a local social action scheme will be set up. The aim of this scheme is to welcome, listen, advise and guide people with disabilities towards referenced accessible or specialised services. In practice, the scheme in Khemisset Province will consist of a local information and orientation centre in Khemisset and a network of four intermediaries, which will intervene directly in the community in Tiflet, Rommani, Maaziz and Oulmes. The centre will be open to all persons with disabilities and their families, residing in the territory. Handicap international is working with various Moroccan organisations for this project: the Club des handicaps (Disability Club) of the Bouregreg association (CHAB), the Association de soutien au programme “réadaptation à base communautaire” (the support association for the community reintegration programme), Khemisset, l’Association des professeurs de l’intégration scolaire in Khemisset (APISK, the association of teachers for school integration), Entraide nationale, and the CLIO (local information and orientation centre) of Salé.