Protecting Those At Risk

Uniting grassroots organizations with specialists to challenge World Bank policies

In 1999, International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) successfully pressured the World Bank to end its funding to China’s Western Poverty Reduction Project through a two-pronged approach of mobilizing at the grassroots level to lobby the U.S. government and convincing Washington specialists to draft a claim to the World Bank investigation panel listing the internal policy violations.

Employing community health volunteers to administer low-cost HIV/AIDS medications, treatment and support

Ninety-five percent of the world’s HIV/AIDS cases occur in developing nations where little or no access to affordable treatment exists.  Even so, conventional wisdom in international circles often points to the lack of medical and economic infrastructure and the high cost of treatment as reasons why HIV/AIDS initiatives cannot work in poor countries.  Haiti, the western hemisphere’s poorest and most HIV-affected nation, is one example of the intersection between poverty and disease.

Developing a Corporate Sector Model to promote cost-effective and socially-responsible action on HIV/AIDS in the community

HIV/AIDS is a devastating disease that affects populations all over the world, particularly the young and productive industrial workforce in India.  The cost associated with treating the disease is beyond the means of most persons living with HIV/AIDS.  Tata Iron & Steel Company Ltd (TISCO), recognizing that the most inexpensive and cost-effective approach to battling the spread of HIV/AIDS is through education and prevention, developed a Corporate Sector Model to prevent the disease.

Creating a child board and village child protection networks to combat child abuse and trafficking

At the beginning of 2005, Enfants & Developpement (E&D) in Cambodia set up a Participatory Child Protection Project with communal councils covering 126 villages. The project piloted a new initiative to intervene in child abuse and combat child trafficking issues through the establishment of Child Boards at the district level.  At the time of this writing, it was too early to assess the impacts of the project, however, a high degree of success towards the goal of protecting children from being abused was anticipated due to variety of reasons. These include:

Using people with direct experience and knowledge to rescue victims of abuse

Senior sex workers play an important role in the sex trade. Most are madams or rent rooms to prostitutes who stay in the brothel. They have more spare time than younger workers and they also have a deeper knowledge of the industry. Their position of economic power within the brothels offers these senior sex workers a unique ability to influence who can be in the brothels and when they rent quarters to younger prostitutes they clarify that no under­age girls are allowed.

Protecting cultural and economic rights of indigenous people by recording traditional ecological knowledge

The Science and Human Rights Program of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has created an online searchable database of traditional ecological knowledge to prevent private companies from patenting that knowledge. The Traditional Ecological Knowledge Prior Art Database (T.E.K.*P.A.D.) is located at ip.aaas.org/tekpad.

Maintaining a physical presence at the site of potential abuse to monitor and prevent human rights violations

Machsom Watch monitors several Israeli checkpoints every morning and afternoon during the periods of highest traffic to protest the checkpoints and to protect the rights of individual Palestinians who must pass through them. All of the volunteers for Machsom Watch (machsom means checkpoint in Hebrew) are Israeli women. The organization began in January 2001 with three women and has since grown to 300 volunteers.

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