Successful development cooperation eminently depends on experienced development partners, professionally planned projects and committed target groups. Yet, among the decisive factors for the success of a project intervention are its political, social and economic frame conditions. Political structures, e. g., can be conducive to development activities of people, but they can also be obstructive or even destructive to them. In this context, therefore, lobbying is perceived to be a principal task. Lobbying means to convince politicians to work actively for necessary changes believed to have a positive impact on development. This convincing needs to be done at different levels
Lobbying at project level
Take the example of dalit women living in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu: Being dalits or "untouchables", they are not allowed to draw water from the community well. How do these women manage to convince the local decision-making bodies of their right to draw their water from the well near-by? In the first place, dalit women need to know their civic rights. Andheri-Hilfe helps them to get organised, first in groups and subsequently in federations. They jointly present applications to government agencies, organise sit-ins and demonstrations. They win prominent voices of the civil society over to join their protest. Also the media get mobilised. As a consequence, the demands of the women can no longer be ignored. Finally, they attain access to the well.
Lobbying beyond a single project
In the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, plans are being made to construct a new large dam Consequently, more than 300.000 people have to fear eviction from their homeland - with no hope to get a substitute home, fresh work or even fair compensation. Here too, awareness-building on the part of the affected people is the first task which has to be tackled. Political decision-makers need to be confronted with exact figures about the actual extent and the consequences of the destruction of homes and livelihood as well as of the eviction of people following the construction of the dam. Forceful alliances well beyond the project level are indispensable. Furthermore, the wide spectrum of civil society organisations needs to be mobilised. Endurance and stamina are necessary to finally overcome the threat.
Lobbying in Germany
Also German politicians have to accept responsibility for those people on the globe who are living in great need. The presidency of the EU as well as the hosting of the G8 summit reflect the importance of the role Germany is playing on the international scene. Together with a good number of other NGOs, Andheri-Hilfe reminds German politicians of their responsibility in respect to achieving global justice. As member of the campaign "Your voice against poverty", Andheri-Hilfe asks politicians to do their utmost to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, for instance, to halve, by 2015, the number of people living in poverty. This ambitious goal requires the commitment of all of us.
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