The Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation for the Progress of Humankind (FPH) is a Swiss foundation that makes grants to civil society movements and organisations to support their actions in favour of a social and ecological transition.
The Research and Information Centre for Development (Centre de Recherche et d’Information pour le Développement - CRID) is a network of French NGOs for International Solidarity (Associations de Solidarité Internationale - ASI) which :
share the same conception of a humane and sustainable development in a spirit of solidarity, through the strengthening of the civil society,
work in partnership with Southern and Eastern NGOs,
implement development education projects in France and promote public opinion campaigns,
participate in the construction of a “ global movement for international solidarity ” and try to develop it further in France.
Founded in 1976 by eight French NGOs, today the CRID gathers about fifty French NGOs which have built up partnerships with Southern and Eastern NGOs having development projects for their communities and representing a network of 1 500 partners in the South and in East Europe.
The NGOs of the CRID account for about 7.500 local groups gathering 180.000 volunteers.
“ Development is a global process improving the standards of living of a community on a economic, social, cultural and political level. ”1
Development has to be efficient from an economic point of view, but should also create a long-term perspective, should be sustainable for environment, fair on a social level, democratic, acceptable on a geopolitical level and allow cultural diversity. Development therefore does not merely consist in economic growth. It has to contribute to the satisfaction of fundamental needs (food, education, health…) which are recognized as rights.
The NGOs composing the CRID implement this conception of development by giving priority to the strengthening of the civil society in order to enable it to influence - if possible - public policies of the different countries.
Most of the CRID’s NGOs support Southern or Eastern partners (NGOs, farmers’ organizations, women’s organizations, cooperatives…).
The CRID was one of the French initiators of this kind of partnership in the beginning of the 80’s. This conception has then widely been adopted by all the NGOs and by the public authorities.
For the members of the CRID, partnership is the symbol of a development based on the initiative and the mobilization of local actors who change their living conditions in the way they wish to change it.
Partnership is therefore a break with aid and assisting policies. This relationship must be based on: trust, time, co-responsibility and reciprocity.
This partnership starts here, with the immigrant populations. “Their presence is the opportunity for building a society where the awareness of the cultural multiplicity and of the enrichment that it means is stronger than fear and racism. It is also the opportunity for creating new ways of cooperating with their communities of origin. ”2
Educational actions for development
The members of the CRID implement development education projects. These consciousness-raising actions are mainly organized by their local groups.
These educational actions try to increase public awareness of the necessary solidarity between North and South in order to counteract the bad effects of globalization and to find a new equilibrium in the exchanges between the industrialized and developing countries.
Development education is a long-term educational process, built on specific teaching methods, which should contribute to a change of mentalities.
For the NGOs of the CRID, the aims of development education are:
to help people to understand the complexity of our world
to induce them – being now aware of this complexity - to participate in the construction of a united world by suggesting them:
This process can be summed up by the expression: information – understanding – action.
The construction of a movement for international solidarity
The emergence of an “ international civil society ” on the global scene is a fact.
This heterogeneous civil society expresses itself through: demonstrations, forums gathering representatives of the civil society, international citizens’ campaigns, World and Continental Social Forums.
The CRID participates in the construction of this “ international social movement ” by promoting, together with its partners, the work on alternatives to ultra-liberalism.
For this reason the CRID supports and promotes the process of the World Social Forum (WSF).
In France, the members of the CRID and the CRID itself are part of the driving forces acting for international solidarity.
The CRID promotes consciousness-raising actions for international solidarity which are organized with different actors such as: NGOs (especially those from Coordination SUD : see presentation), NGOs concerned with migration issues (Organisations de Solidarité Internationale issues de la Migration - OSIM), popular education movements, NGOs for an economy of solidarity, trade unions, regional or local public authorities.