As a citizen
- Sign the petition asking international NGOs to commit to the manifesto
- Write to a specific international NGO. You could tell them that the SDGs are not enough to save us from the social, economic and ecological crisis we face, and that GDP needs to be replaced as a measure of progress.
- Join your local climate justice group or any other local group interested in poverty, economics and/or women’s rights. Ask what the group can do to encourage international NGOs to commit to a more radical agenda.
- If you are involved in any group related to ecological, economic or social issues, aim to focus on the interconnectedness between any one of these elements and the other two.
- Read more about these issues. If you are not sure where to start, try The Rules.
If you contact an NGO and they do not respond to your enquiry, or they respond in a way that is dismissive, please consider supporting an alternative organisation. There are many organisations which are building solidarity, challenging powerful interests, tackling root causes and sometimes putting their lives on the line. These include La Via Compensina, Tax Justice Network, Indigenous Environmental Network, and Global Campaign to Reclaim Peoples Sovereignty, Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity.
If you do stop giving your money or support to a particular NGO, please write to them explaining why, and invite them to explore the ideas outlined in this website.
As a worker in an international NGO
We know that it can be hard to create change from inside organisations, especially the largest. Start a conversation to challenge existing ways. If those in positions of formal power are not going to listen or try to fob you off, start with a few colleagues you trust.
You might initiate a conversation exploring these questions:
How is poverty created?
Where do poverty and inequality come from? What is the detailed history of past actions and policies that contributed to their rapid ascent in the modern era? When were these patterns accelerated and by whom?
Who is developing who?
The story of development is often assumed or unstated. What is the role of colonialism in the early stages of Western development? How did the geographic distribution of wealth inequality come into being? What are the functional roles of foreign aid, trade agreements, debt service, and tax evasion in the process of development? And most importantly, who gains and who loses along the way?
Why is growth the only answer?
The mantra that “growth is good” has been repeated so often that it has the feel of common sense. Yet we know that GDP rises every time a bomb drops or disaster strikes. Growth, as defined up till now, is more nuanced and complex than this mantra would have us believe. Why must the sole measure of progress be growth (measured in monetary terms)? Who benefits from this story? What alternative stories might be told?
You can use any method you are comfortable with for a discussion group: the circle way, world café or a chat. During or after the conversation you might ask yourselves:
What assumptions do we hold about the way things work?
How do we think change happens?
Which organisations are already working in a different way?
Explore what you can do as individuals and/or as a group. You could check out Systemic Alternatives, an initiative that explores alternatives being developed by grassroots movements.
Thank you and good luck!
If you have any comments, please email TIN.collective<at>protonmail.com