PRESIDENT'S REPORT

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INTERNATIONAL FORUM FOR CHILD WELFARE

 

San Josť, Costa Rica, January 12, 2004

Dear Colleagues:

A year ago I wrote to you my first letter as President of IFCW.  Since then I have tried to keep you informed of what your Executive Committee discusses and decides as well as the administrative tasks that are necessary for our association to move ahead.  These tasks include, among others, collecting annual fees, preparing the annual General Assembly meeting, keeping an eye on the budget and answering the queries and comments that some of you make about different matters related with IFCW.

Membership Fees

These fees are our only source of fixed income and therefore it is important that they be collected early in the year.  This also helps our Treasurer, who has to keep track of payments and make remainders.  So, if your organization's budget for the new year is already in place I would like to suggest that you order the payment of IFCW fees for the year 2004 at your earliest convenience.  Should you have any doubts about the amount to send, please seek the advice of our Treasurer, Ian Calder at the following e-mail address: calder@paradise.net.nz. Thank you.

WorldForum 2004

The date for the 2004 Executive Institute and WorldForum, to take place in Argentina, South America, has now been set:  September 27 to October 1, 2004.

This date takes into account the fact that other conferences and congresses of possible interest to IFCW members will be taking place before an after WorldForum.

Keep your calendar clear for this date and make plans to attend this important event. 

From what I sense, there is a widespread interest in discussing and sharing experiences related with the preparation and implementation of the National Plans of Action that all UN members agreed to prepare to improve the situation of children worldwide.  If your organization has participated or is interested in this area of work, then WorldForum 2004 is a must for you.  Of course, there will be many other specific topics also discussed in this WorldForum, which makes it all the more interesting for all!

It seems to me that with the holding of our WorldForum in a South American country we will have covered most regions of the world: south, center and north of Europe; south, center and north of America, two Asian countries, the Pacific and Africa.  It is now, perhaps, time to go back to the region where we started and to continue to visit and learn about children in different environments around the world.

U.N. Relations

As instructed by the General Assembly we have presented to the Unicef NGO Committee and to CONGO our requests for regular membership starting in 2004.  I , if possible, but certainly our "New York contact", Elba Montalvo, CEO of The Committee on Hispanic Children and Families and her able assistant, Claudia Lombardo, will attend the next regular meetings of these organizations.  We shall keep you informed.

IFCW was present at the 56th Annual DPI/NGO Conference held on September 8 -10 in New York and also at the weekly briefing on December 4th, where Topic II was: "Focus on Children: the Impact of Rights-Based Strategies".

On March 18th at 3:00 pm will be opening of the NGO/Civil Society Forum, preparatory to the ECOSOC High Level Segment, to be held on 6 - 8 July and will address the theme: "Resource Mobilization and Enabling Environment for Poverty Eradication in the Context of the Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2001-2010".  If you are in New York on this date, or if you are interested in participating in this preparatory forum, kindly contact Elba (chcfinc@chcfinc.org) at your earliest convenience as the issuing of passes requires several steps and authorizations.  We are only able to get a very limited number of passes for these events, so it is a "first come, first served" situation.

Who are we and what do we do?

In past letters I have tried to bring to your attention worthy aspects of the work of some of our members.  I believe that getting to know our fellow members and their work is an important - and enriching - part of the IFCW experience.  To do this on a systematic way we must go from a monthly letter to a full-sized Newsletter, which is our immediate objective. But, for the moment, allow me the privilege of extending this letter a little bit more than the usual two pages to share with you an interesting experience:

Some 24 years ago a young German citizen decided to spend his Christmas vacation in Haiti with "sun, sand and Haitian Cadence-music".  But the poverty and surrounding misery shocked and motivated him to do something to, at least, alleviate this situation.

There followed a series of visits (38, so far) efforts to provide assistance and to raise funds from friends in Europe and, perhaps more importantly, a series of mistakes in providing resources to poor families that became part of a learning process that has resulted in a now well functioning sustainable program.

This program is based on the premise that you have to listen and involve the people you want to help in solving their problems.

The project gave special emphasis to the predominant of deprived Haitians concerned with the situation of their children.   They were not only undernourished and lacked a minimum of health-care but also lacked guided stimulation early in live to develop their mental self-help capacities, and their positive values.

To date, the program that started as a Christmas vacation has trained almost 400 preschool teachers and assistants and has established a network of school throughout Haiti that has been highlighted by the World Bank as a model for sustainable education.

I could continue to point out activities and achievements of this program, but it would require more space than what I have available.  So, I invite all those interested in this experience to visit the website www.solidarity.org to learn in detail about the history and evolution of the program.

The young man that went to Haiti for a vacation 24 years ago has a name: Mr. Peter Hesse, President and CEO of the Peter-Hesse-Stiftung (p.hesse@solidarity.org) .  I am happy to report that the Peter-Hesse-Stiftung is an IFCW member and that Mr. Hesse is not only active in the Haitian program but has also developed a concept of  "Solidarity in Partnership for One World in Diversity", which he has presented in the United Nations, where the Foundation holds consultative status.

I encourage you to learn more about this experience and to share with Mr. Hesse any ideas or suggestions that you might consider will help to improve the program.  At the same time I wish to congratulate Mr. Hesse on behalf of IFCW for his proactive experience and perseverance.

Sincerely yours,

Rolando Quiros

PRESIDENT

P.O. Box 393-2010, San Josť, Costa Rica

Telephone (506) 228 6601 - Fax: (506) 228 0945 - e-mail: feilat@racsa.co.cr

 

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