The assurances of aid announced at the end of the two-day donor conference comes on top of the $81 million already available through the Trust Fund for East Timor and the UNTAET successor mission, the UN Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET). East Timor will now have access to over $440 million in international support for its three-year budget framework, which donors applauded for its emphasis on development. Much of the conference concentrated on the government’s National Development Plan, which details a development strategy focusing on poverty reduction and growth in the social sectors, with high allocations to health and education. “Our National Development Plan sets an ambitious path for our development,” East Timor’s Chief Minister Mari Alkatiri said in a statement released today. “Our challenge will be to ensure that we have the persistence to implement it and the flexibility to make changes and improvements as conditions allow.” The World Bank noted in the statement that the composition of the financial plan is strongly pro-poor, with 48 per cent of the core budget allocated by 2005 to health and education. “This is one of the highest allocation to social sectors in the world, and is a concrete reflection of the government’s commitment to development in those areas,” said Klaus Rohland, World Bank Country Director for East Timor. While cautioning on the need to maintain strong discipline on police and defence expenditures, delegates to the conference emphasized the importance of accelerating the government’s commitment to cost-recovery in the power sector and legislation to foster private sector growth, investment and job-creation. Representatives of 27 countries, the European Commission and a wide range of multilateral groups attended the meeting, which was also co-chaired by the Second Transitional Government of East Timor and the World Bank.
Jada Monica Drew is an author and diversity training expert. She will be presenting a keynote address and workshop aimed at youth at the upcoming White Privilege Symposium at Brock University Sept. 30-Oct.1. The following is a Q&A with Drew.Q: Why is a conversation about white privilege important for youth to participate in?A: Youth experience the effects of white privilege daily, whether they know it or not. It is important for youth to have a space to express their feelings, share their thoughts, and to work to make sense of the inequity they notice and feel daily.Q: What is SNAP and how does it assist youth in pushing for social change?The acronym SNAP means See Name Act Proceed. This is the framework we present to the youth as a way to structure the Youth Action Project experience. We discuss the many ways we SEE or witness how white privilege is enacted and demonstrated in our lives and the lives of others. White privilege plays out differently regionally, nationally and even in different socioeconomic classes. The youth work collectively with the adult leaders to NAME white privilege. This means we all work towards a shared definition. The process of creating and developing shared language is a valuable tool for awareness and understanding that leads towards change. We strategize with the youth to generate methods for ACTION. These acts can include starting a school club, hosting a group meeting, or sharing knowledge with peers and family members. The YAP team believes in the power and the voice our youth have and we make space for them to brainstorm how to create action, but also to think about long-term sustainability. We share examples of what it looks like to PROCEED after YAP and after a short-term action.Q: In your experience, how are youth best reached and engaged on social issues?A: In my experience, they are best reached by allowing space, room and intense listening. Youth have so much to say and they also have so many solutions. However, adults get in the way by simply not allowing them to share. Engaging them in their language is important as well. Social media is led by youth. I bring in social media and multimedia tools to engage them. Over the years, the YAP experience has been led more and more by youth leaders. Research shows that peers learn best from peers.Q: What can adults do to help empower and inspire youth to get involved?A: Adults can do 3 things:1. Work hard every day to understand their own privileges (adult, race, religion, gender, class, language, etc) and to uncover their actions of bias.2. Create innovative space for youth to share.3. Listen to the ideas of our youth and support them to act without trying to make their ideas fit into your way of doing things.Q: In what ways can society start moving towards greater equality for all people?A: This answer requires a dissertation. In short, our motto at Social Designs is Historic Truth-Telling + Building Relationships + Creative Action = Social Justice. To achieve equity, we need to learn about historic and contemporary systemic laws, acts, and policies that have deliberately been put in place to advantage some people over others. It is also important that we have engaging and tough dialogue in mixed spaces to better understand each other. Then we must act. We must create innovation solutions for the inequity that is in space. These solutions have to be long-term and not quick Band-Aid fixes.