‘We link the people with the power’

DCA partners met Danish MPs to show how civil society organizations can implement real change in areas affected by conflict and poverty.

©Folkekirkens Nødhjælp / Jørgen Thomsen
DCA partners met Danish MP Mette Bock.

Yesterday, DanChurchAid’s Partner Group met with the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Danish Parliament. As elected representatives of all DanChurchAid’s partners they brought specific examples from some of the world’s hotspots of how these civil society organizations facilitate real change for the poor. 
Ohnmar Khaing from Myanmar explained how Myanmar partners have influenced legislation by gaining access to dialogue with parliamentarians and ministers. For instance the Farmers’ Protection Law.
“The Farmers’ Protection Law is important in Myanmar to protect small farmers and not just the big ones in order to be able to produce,” Ohnmar Khaing, Chair of the Food and Security Working Group in Myanmar, said and added:
“Our civil society organizations are important as interlocutors between the grass roots level and the decision makers.”
©Folkekirkens Nødhjælp / Jørgen Thomsen
Peter Lujana from CCDS in South Sudan.

Where others would not want to go

The fighting between different parts of the government that broke out in South Sudan before Christmas and developed into a civil war, has resulted in massive displacement of one million civilians into Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and the bush.
Peter Lujana from CCDS is a DanChurchAid partner right in the center of the humanitarian response.
“DanChurchAid’s partners break up and go with the displaced. Thanks to the help given, education goes on and seeds and tools are distributed so people can farm,” Peter Lujana said.Mr. Lujana looked at the parliamentarians, when he concluded that:
“DanChurchAid is an organization you need to take seriously for they have presence, where others would not want to go – and impact.” 

Operation Days Work still works

©Folkekirkens Nødhjælp / Jørgen Thomsen
Dr. Ohnmar Khaing and the other partners vieved the Danish Constitution displayed at Christiansborg.

MP Nikolaj Willumsen from the Red-Green Alliance was very impressed by the accounts.
Mr. Willumsen had visited Cambodia eleven years ago with Operation Days Work in cooperation with DanChurchAid, and he wanted to know about progress in the area of trafficking and migration. 
Soheap Ros from Cambodia informed of progress in the country, but also of the recent backlash in January, when members of some of DanChurchAid’s partners that work with the affected people, was brutally arrested during peaceful demonstration.
“23 of whom are still in prison,” Sopheap Ros said.

Checks and balances by civil society

©Folkekirkens Nødhjælp / Jørgen Thomsen
Soheap Ros and MP Nikolaj Villumsen talked about rights in Cambodia.

MP and former Minister Astrid Krag found NGOs to be a big gain for society and to inspire and give input to the political system.
Norah Owaraga from Uganda responded that civil society is very important to ensure checks and balances.
“Recently our parliament passed bills that have been considered against human rights. Immediately civil society went up in arms, so the laws have not been enforced, but are now pending verdict by the Constitutional Court,” Norah Owaraga said. 
MP Mette Bock from the Liberal Alliance chaired the meeting and she appreciated the Partner Group’s input very much.
“You said you were proud of DanChurchAid; I think that DanChurchAid is also proud of you,” Mette Bock said.