Comment, Solidarity Spring 2010
It has been a busy year and one of solid progress for UnionAID as we work to establish ourselves as a credible organisation.
For a number of reasons there is a public scepticism about charities and aid organisations, not helped by bad publicity, such as the recent ‘double dipping” fraud case against an ex- cabinet Minister.
UnionAID is not immune to that scepticism but we have had a very successful year with growing financial support from unions and union members.
As the articles in this issue mention some uncertainty over future NZ Aid funding for our projects has been raised by the abolition of the KOHA co-funding scheme, which has provided $4 to $1 co-funding for our Tamil Nadu and Mae Sot projects.
KOHA has been replaced by the new Sustainable Development Fund which has a narrow economic development criteria for funding. While this is a worthy objective and may be appropriate in many situations, it will mean the withdrawal of funding from many effective community-development projects, particularly in Asia. The Government requirement is that 75% of the Sustainable Development Fund be spent in the Pacific.
So we have some big challenges ahead. We can feel confident that we have an effective project model. We have excellent project partners. We have a growing understanding of our work among union members and, with the completion of our education kit, we will be extending our education work.
And we should always be mindful that:
- International solidarity is a key union value
- We are helping struggling working families
- Reducing exploitative conditions contributes to fairer trade.
- We are helping workers exercise their basic human rights.