Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Human Development

Youth Economic Forum for Lebanon:  How little money does great jobs

It is no secret for most Lebanese that they never enjoyed a valid and strong central State, that the successive governments since independence in 1943 were huge creative smokescreens for the real power structure in Lebanon represented by the “officially recognized” 18 religious sects and the private banking institutions. But the Lebanese youth in the last two years have been actually building a civic true State from the ground up.

Lebanon political structure has de facto handed down to the “officially recognized” 18 religious sects the responsibility to identify a citizen and run his social and civic status (a sort of de facto multi-theocratic State).  The youth of every generation have taken to the streets for a fair and equitable election laws, but there never existed a government to listen and act upon youth expectations.  The Arab spring upheavals are giving youth movements in Lebanon live engagement ammunition to hope for successful demands to reforms.

So far, the only duty of the government is to issuing passports, coining currency, and taxing the people. But the Lebanese youth in the last two years have been organizing in specialized NGO to supplement the deficiencies of a non-existing civic central government in gathering data on our social reality and problems.

Youth movements, and the Youth Economic Forum for example, have demonstrated of being capable of doing great things and executing good jobs with little money. What’s the story?

Two years ago, the finance ministry organized training sessions and invited university students to participate. At the end of the sessions, Yahya Mawloud took the initiative to establishing an association with the goal of canvasing Lebanon for collecting feedback of local urgent needs to development.  Apparently, 300 university students joined the association called Youth Economic Forum, and were willing to pay about $15 per year as dues. The well-to-do and more engaged members contributed more to the treasury and enabled the association of undertaking its mission.  About 70 paying members participate every year in electing the benevolent board of directors.

Youth Economic Forum (YEF), headquartered in Badaro, organizes day-long conferences, two-day workshops in four districts, outside of the Capital Beirut.  The conferences are done in universities and students are invited to participate such as in Balamand, Lebanese International, NDU, Antounieh, Al Manar, USJ, Sagesse, LAU…  Workshops were initiated Nabatieh, Marje3youn, Majdal Anjar, Jeb Jenine, Zahleh, Baalbak, Koura, Tripoli, Mina, Badawi, Donnieh…

The conferences approach topics related to individual initiatives, creation of small enterprises, link between economy and higher education, role of youth, hardship of reality, disaster preparation…

The workshops training sessions relate to public policy research methodology, brainstorming sessions for feasible project ideas and plans, written evaluation procedures, filling forms for project grants…Workshop are planned to accommodate local mayors, elected officials, and local NGO in order to present the social and economic conditions and priority lists of urgent projects that government and authorities usually ignores or have limited engagement.

Economic development are divided into two main categories: Human development (education, health, housing, environment…) and economic development (fiscal policies, public transport, telecom, power generation, agriculture, administrative reforms…)  I think development categories should be separated along human development indicators as defined by the UN such as infantile mortality, elementary education, preventive health care, basic sanitation… and State investment in human skills, education programs, job creation, administrative reforms, direct access to forms and application…

It’s projected that within two months, Youth Economic Forum will publish 33 ideas for decentralized projects, ideas gathered and discussed in workshops around the country.  The ideas are meant to modernize Lebanon. USAID will incur the expense of publishing the booklet of ideas.

A few dedicated graduate students, barely earning a living, are doing great jobs.  The project manager earns $100 for a day work, the project coordinator $40, and the field officer $20.  No work, no pay. They sleep in inexpensive hostels ($25 per night).  The corporate does not offer health benefits, annual or sick leaves, does not withhold or file taxes on behalf of the contractor.  The contractor agrees to hold YEF harmless for any loss, damage, or injury incurred as a result of work under the agreement…

Note: Cedric designed the blog page yeflb.wordpress.com.  The blog shows details on the workshops, videos, and the schedule of workshops and conferences…

A Paradigm Shift for Human Development (Jan. 21, 2006)

So far, the development of mankind was focused on using Man in order to create machines, and lately, thinking machines, and self-autonomous machines.  I have the feeling that, for about a decade ago, we have reached the crest of the curve that permits machines to better our lives.  Life has stopped to improve based on the previous paradigm; even our generation is a stranger to the fast paced automated machine world, of mostly a virtual world.

We need a political paradigm shift that reuses the invented machines to create responsible humankind; a Man who is in total control of machines and thinking machines.  It is not humanly acceptable to allowing fast trains to be navigated automatically without human operators; though they were successfully implemented.  Airplanes could also be navigated autonomously; and I am pretty sure, for a drastic price cut customers would valiantly board them.

All these automated transport systems and machines are designed to save expenses for training responsible operators, and cutting down on the number of paid operators under the false pretense of reducing errors and accidents. We know that most of these inventions were initially financed by the military, as basic research projects, for acquiring supreme power and not for the betterment of humankind. We are no longer better off and the environment is screaming, howling, battering our seashores, burning continents and burying whole cities.

The goal of this paradigm shift in politics is to reintegrate Man in the work cycle, create jobs for responsible people to control, monitor and design machines for the purpose of reinserting man in the life cycle, in the design cycle and in the development cycle. The old concept of effective rate on return of increase in production, with minimal financial cost, is decimating the availability of jobs opportunities and creating two distinct worlds:  a virtual so-called developed Northern Hemisphere and the real Southern Hemisphere still struggling to be in touch with itself, its neighbors, nature and its surroundings.

This paradigm shift in political organization is a natural extension to the fact of the existence of two distinct Worlds: one world trying to recreate the wheel in social and political organization, with complex democratic systems that quickly revert to the old oligarchic system on the whim of National Security, and the other world trying helplessly to ward off imported political systems that it cannot comprehend or is unable to implement.

The Northern Hemisphere has created self administered bureaucratic institutions for political organizations, padded with amoral technocrats.  The “citizens” or constituents don’t comprehend, do not care to understand and barely participate in elections.  The European Union has written a voluminous Constitution that nobody cared to read and even if they cared could not finish reading it on time for the referendum dates; no wonder that it failed in fracas.

All the media coverage, translation in different languages and the frantic support by the European Presidents could not transfer its contents to the constituents who are already wary of these brusque movements that are not taking account of the human limitations and emotional saturation for the quick political pace being forced upon them.

The Southern Hemisphere States had political organizations that its constituents understood, could control, monitor and did fully participate in electing their local and national leaders but have been pressured relentlessly to comply with political systems that they are not ready to assimilate.

This political paradigm shift will be the consequence of a world controlled by the very few and the rest relegated as walking zombies, disgruntled by their monotonous and undervalued jobs, jobs that can be snatched away anytime, anyplace for cheaper work force.  The rest of us who lost any respect for a job well done because deep inside us we are certain that these jobs can easily be replaced by machines no mater how educated we are.  The rest of us who feel too stupid, dumb and worthless throughout a lifetime and yet are asked to be responsible citizens abiding by inhuman law and order dictate.  The rest of us who have no self respect to raise a responsible new generation, just scratching a living and losing touch with life essence of dignity and compassion.

We are in a world controlled by a very few, not on their intrinsic merit but on their cowardice and willingness to selling their soul for the benefit of the capitalists or the power to be.  It is no longer the struggle between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres but the battle of regaining dignity in the human spirit:  a wretched humankind is the source of all discrimination festering at a lighting speed in all communities devoid of control over their destiny.

There can be no bright future for man if control over his life is removed as a viable alternative.  Developing a responsible and compassionate man means providing jobs that are respected, valued, remunerated commensurate to his investment in energy and time for acquiring knowledge and expertise and quality time reserved to him as his due.  Humankind has to stop being viewed as a commodity as anything else in the exploitation process.

There was a time when humankind could claim: “It is always too early to rely completely on our Creator”; now even adolescents believe in fate.  That is the ravage of desperation in human spirit and lack of correct direction.

Note:  The UN has adopted a set of human development indicators for measuring human development in every State, such as basic health, preventive care, education, infantile mortality rates, illiteracy rate… The human indicators are the launching pad for increased awareness of a wide array of basic human rights wanted by people.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

October 2020
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