Tuesday, 26 June 2012

New Manifesto Regional Workshop in Lome Togo, March 9th 2012

Participants at the New Manifesto Campaigns workshop
This meeting aims were to:

(1) Review the aims of the New Manifesto campaign, proposed actions and the timetable until Congress;
(2) Learning about the implementation of the New Manifesto Campaign in 3 countries;
(3) Discussing whether other countries in the region can develop a New Manifesto Campaign;  
(4) Identifying common elements for a West and Central Africa New Manifesto
(5) Adopting a plan for the West and Central Africa New Manifesto Campaign until December 2013.

Nora Wintour, campaigns coordinator and Sibailly Douhoure,  organiser

Nora Wintour  explained the overall aims of the campaign, what activities had been carried out to date and different ideas for how the campaign might continue until the period up until Congress. She also presented the proposal to carry out an International Day of Action on Street Vending in 2012 and 2013.

There was a lively question and answer session after the presentation, focusing on issues about how campaign activities could be continued after the initial StreetNet funding had been exhausted, what were the criteria for selecting countries to participate, how to send in an application and other issues.

Next was an opportunity to showcase three countries which had carried out the New Manifesto campaign in the region.

The first presentation was from Togo where the two affiliates, FAINATRASIT and SYVEMACOT had recently completed the campaign, which had focused on a survey of markets in some of the towns in the interior of the country.  The two unions had been very impressed by the difficult working conditions in the interior and were planning a series of follow up activities.

The second presentation was from UGSEIN and FENASEIN. Souley Zainabou reported on the first phase of the programme which had included a survey of 5 districts in Niamey. 100 questionnaires had been completed and the unions had then held a workshop to compile the answers and develop the New Manifesto demands.  They will now publish the text and carry out lobbying and dissemination activities, as well as produce a poster in local languages to distribute to member associations in the capital and in the regions.

The third presentation was from LFDC.  Anne Matondo explained the process whereby the LFDC had trained its own members to carry out the survey in various districts in Kinshasa, had compiled the results and published the New Manifesto.  She shared copies of the New manifesto with the participants and a photo album.  the New Manifesto had then been presented to local authorities in the districts, to the trade union centre and had been presented to members.
Working Group

There was then a question and answer session about the different campaigns and how they had been implemented.  Participants were interested to learn from the practical experiences of others and there was considerable interest from other countries about the possibilities of carrying out the campaign and the mobilizing impact on their membership base.

This session was divided into two working groups to discuss what was needed to carry out a New Manifesto campaign.  The working groups focused on how best to organise a survey of members and potential members, how to draw up the survey, who would carry it out, how to compile the results and how to publicise the New Manifesto.

The working groups noted that the way that the LFDC had trained their own members to carry out the survey was an interesting methodology. It was also noted that carrying out the survey in the interior of the country was a good method of developing stronger contacts with members outside the capital region and to understand better their working conditions and needs.  It was also nted that the proposal to print posters with the main points of the new manifesto in local languages was a good idea which could be successfully duplicated in other countries.  

The last session look at the possible timetable for the development of the New Manifesto campaign in the region up until Congress. However, this planning was slightly impeded as the date for Congress was not yet determined. 

It was felt that there were not yet sufficient country level experiences to develop a New Manifesto campaign for the West and Central Africa region but maybe there could be an African New Manifesto campaign later in the year.

It was also agreed that a number of other countries in the region would seek to implement campaigns so that there would be a good cross-section of the affiliates in the region who had participated in the work prior to the 2013 World Congress.

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