Madagascar, Haiti, Congo: what European development days show

Article published on Dec. 8, 2010
Article published on Dec. 8, 2010
Where do the millions of euros that are sent from European homes to the four corners of the earth through development programs actually go? The ‘It’s our money; it’s their future’ project sees several young Europeans, accompanied by a Belgian film crew, travelling to five countries to observe the work of NGOs in order to find out

‘We are eternally committed to development. This applies not only to the history of mankind, but to the personal history of every individual.’ This tenet from a character in Polish author Witold Gombrowicz’s novelPornografia (2009) is something which NGO workers have been substantiating for many years: aiding communities without the means to successfully pursue their own development. Whilst Brussels hosts the European development days (EDD) on 6 and 7 December 2010, the ‘It’s our money; it’s their future’ project has allowed several young Europeans to travel to countries where humanitarian aid is delivered daily: Madagascar, South Africa, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Haiti. There, they meet and interview members of the NGOs Caritas, DMOS-Comide (missionary cooperation for development), Entraide & Fraternité and Action against Hunger (ACF). Each of these organisations relies on the funding of the foremost contributor to international aid, the EU. Three video reports capture their experiences on camera:

Madagascar: autonomy through education

Alexandra and Medea visit the Salesian centre in Ivato: a missionary order supported by Comide which provides for 200 young people aged 12 to 22, including orphans and those with educational or family issues. The centre provides them with the personal and professional training to find employment and integrate within Madagascan society. Sixty years after the independence of nineteen African countries, the young reporters experience post-colonial guilt as they represent ‘the west’ in Madagascar.

South Africa : integration of those that development left behind

The reporters then cross the Mozambique Channel to South Africa, for which 2010 marks the twentieth anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s freedom. In Cape Town, the Salesian Institute provides homeless young men and women with life skills, as well as the training and knowledge to find a job.

Haiti: post-earthquake aid

In Port-au-Prince, Anna, a former intern at cafebabel.com, meets up with Julie, who has also reported from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Eight months later and Julie is coordinating the Action against Hunger project in Port-au-Prince; she typifies the young men and women who choose to take part in aid efforts in emergency situations.

Read the rest of the reports on the project ‘It’s our money; it’s their future’ in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo on the cafebabel.com blog Chez moi en Europe ('At Mine in Europe')

With the support of the European Commission DG Development and Relations with African, Caribbean and Pacific States

Images: ©André Bossuroy