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”la Caixa” Foundation honours 31 Spanish NGDOs at its Sixth Competition for Grants to International Cooperation Projects for Development

Barcelona, 7 November 2002

”la Caixa” Foundation has selected the winning Spanish NGDO projects of its Sixth Competition for Grants to International Cooperation Projects for Development. A total of 31 solidarity initiatives have been chosen, all of which seek to remedy the needs of some of the world’s poorest countries. Eleven of these projects are specifically aimed at El Salvador, which was devastated following the earthquake of January 2001. The remaining 20 projects will be carried out in different countries of Africa, Asia, Latin America and Oceania.

Altogether, ”la Caixa” Foundation has allotted these international cooperation projects 1,982,300 euros (close to 330 million pesetas), thus raising the global grant figure to 9,080,000 euros (over 1.51 billion pesetas) since the programme first got underway in 1997. Up to the present and including this year’s grants, ”la Caixa” Foundation has provided financial support for 145 projects, 66 of which have already been completed.

Created in 1997, the ”la Caixa” Foundation Competition for Grants to International Cooperation Projects for Development came into being with the aim of helping to remedy some of the problems facing the world’s most disadvantaged countries through collaboration with different Spanish NGDOs whose initiatives promote development in these countries.

This year, ”la Caixa” Foundation has selected 31 projects out of 270 evaluated. Eleven of these projects will work towards the recovery of El Salvador, a country seriously affected by the earthquakes of January 2001, and for which the sum of 601,000 euros has been earmarked. The other 20 initiatives are focused on different countries throughout the world. Latin America will benefit from 11 programmes (855,000 euros); Africa, from five (331,300 euros); Asia from three (147,000 euros) and Oceania from one (48,000 euros). Altogether, the financial aid provided by ”la Caixa” Foundation comes to 1,982,300 euros.

The 31 international cooperation projects for development selected in this sixth competition are managed by different NGDOs throughout Spain: Andalusia (2), Castilla-León (3), Catalonia (11), Madrid (10), the Basque Country (2) and Valencia (3).

The scope of the initiatives
A large number of the NGDO cooperation projects are aimed at fostering the education and training of the most disadvantaged groups in each area of intervention, with the sole purpose of improving their quality of life and of reinforcing their social, educational and labour situation. To achieve this goal the initiatives include a variety of actions, such as building and equipping schools, training qualified teachers, developing educational and occupational workshops, implanting primary education programmes for children, and carrying out all types of cultural, recreational, pedagogical and socialisation activities. Altogether, 10 of the projects are especially geared towards encouraging schooling and literacy through the creation of educational centres and programmes.
Rural development, the creation and restoration of housing and infrastructures, health and community organisation are other fields of intervention in which the selected projects are focused.

Bases of the competition and project selection criteria
The National Evaluation and Prospective Agency (ANEP) and the Assessment Committee of ”la Caixa”, Foundation made up of experts in different disciplines related to development and international cooperation, see to evaluating the applications submitted by the different NGDOs taking part in the competition.
The principal selection criteria are the indexes of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). These determine the degree of growth of a country in terms of the human development index, infant and child mortality, life expectancy and distribution of the GDP among the population. It also verifies that the projects are geared towards helping the most vulnerable, that they have social, economic, technical and environmental viability, and that they are adapted to the needs of the beneficiary areas. Furthermore, it also analyses whether or not the project is based upon an adequate process of identification and formulation, and if there is a coherent, balanced relation between the means required for its execution and its results.
To be eligible for these grants, NGDOs must have a local partner organisation in the beneficiary country and proof of at least three years’ experience in interventions related to international development cooperation. The total contribution by ”la Caixa” Foundation cannot exceed 182,000 euros, or 50% of the project’s overall cost.

Other activities in the International Cooperation Programme
In addition to the annual competition for grants to NGDO projects, ”la Caixa” Foundation carries out other activities within its International Cooperation Programme, such as organising discussion forums and consciousness-raising events which are open to the public at large. Also worth mentioning are the training courses aimed at NGDO professionals and volunteers. A prime example is the NGDO Management Course organised by ”la Caixa” Foundation in conjunction with ESADE Business School. The course seeks to offer those with managerial duties in these organisations a number of tools that will enable them to optimise their management. This course has been given on four occasions, twice in Madrid and twice in Barcelona, benefiting 122 students. And last summer, within the framework of the Menéndez Pelayo International University (UIMP) of Santander, ”la Caixa” Foundation organised the seminar “The Humanitarian Action Forum”, which provided information, training and the exchange of experiences by different NGO members.

The right to a basic education
The awards ceremony for the 2002 grants will be one of the highlights of Basic Education in Southern Countries: A Fundamental Right, a symposium that will discuss, among other subjects, some of the conclusions drawn at the World Education Forum, held in Dakar, Senegal in 2000, in which 180 participating countries committed themselves to eradicating illiteracy and educational exclusion by 2015.
The symposium will feature the participation of numerous speakers who will approach the education situation in the poorest countries and their prospects for the future from different viewpoints.

www.fundacio.lacaixa.es

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