All the way from Manipur, Urikhimbam Jenison ‘s journey to join the youth training on effective development cooperation agenda made him understand its purpose of bringing people’s development at different levels, especially those at the grassroots.
Jenison attended the Youth Constituency Training on CSO Development Effectiveness, a two-day activity that gathered around 20 youth participants from different regions to: a) deepen the understanding of youth on CSO development effectiveness (CSO DE) principles towards its realization among youth groups and organizations; b) discuss the present landscape and identify opportunities and challenges for youth in implementing CSO development effectiveness; and c) formulate Sectoral Guidelines for the youth, and especially for the CPDE Youth Constituency, to implement CSO DE.
The concept of EDC became clearer when CPDE explained about the picture of the World War II, the colonisation and the history of aid and development. I agree with his explanation on aid as an instrument of war because it is very similar in India since the adoption of the new economic policy in 1991. The Finance Minister at that time approached the World Bank and we have adopted their model until now through structural adjustment programs. Aid that flowed since has mostly benefited the donors.
“Aid is the process of indirect colonization,” he said. He further highlighted the linkages of war and aid by citing the recent Marawi case in the Philippines when aid was used in the operations in the name of eradicating terrorists in the area.
During the group work, Jenison also learned about the role of civil societies and the different actors like the states and corporations. “Corporate infringement to the states in the name of development results to disempowerment of poor peoples”. Jenison said.
The sharings from Africa, Pacific, AIYPN, and Latin America on the role of youth as a stakeholder in development effectives was also an eye-opener for him.
Jenison, along with other youth participants went to a low-income community in Quezon City for a community immersion with migrant families. “I and Aziz were able to talk to two families. The first family whom we interacted has a relative working in Jakarta as a welder for the last 17 years. They used to live in a small hut and now have a better house.
Another family has a relative working as a seller in a private company which extract offshore crude oil since the last 25 years and was able to construct a house for his two children.
In both cases, Jenison learned about the continuing struggles of migrant workers to find a better future for their families which are now threatened even by their own government. The families that they have met migrated from other provinces in search of job in the city. They sold their ancestral land to be able to find a better life in Manila. After developing their houses by risking their lives abroad, their families are now being asked by the government to leave their lands due to a road expansion project which will cut through their houses. In nearby areas, the government have started evicting some houses.
Jenison said that the youth has a huge stake in development effectiveness if we are to build a sustainable and just future.
For Jenison, education, land rights, belongingness, and implications of globalisation should be part of the youth agenda.