While looking for some changes in the giving culture of Slovaks after the tsunami disaster in Asia, there can be definitely mentioned two measurable indicators - the individual/corporate donations potential and the readiness of the non-profit sector to react promptly to the public compassion.
For the first time People in Peril Association, the only Slovak grass-root and secular humanitarian organization, succeed to stimulate response from a broader Slovak public - individuals, municipalities, schools and legal entities.
Trust and eligibility became key aspects of Asia charitable campaigns of NGOs in Slovakia. While the Slovak Red Cross, ADRA and UNICEF are parts of international networks and raise most or all funds for international projects, their Slovak is less acknowledged. Certainly experts of Red Cross are most of all helpful and engaged in the relief phase - rescue services and medicine support. The public likes to see immediate effect of their donations. So far this aspect could hardly refer to any development project for reconstructions requiring more time for planning, implementation and collecting fruits of efficiency.
People in Peril Association is following its own path to the public by continuous all-year work. Referring to the efforts for disseminating information and knowledge about relief giving culture, it is of great importance to get positive reactions of those who trusted People in Peril Association and joined the SOS Asia campaign.
While some non-profit organizations are worried that the unprecedented charitable response to the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami may result in fewer donations at home, People in Peril Association hopes that an increase in new donors will result in more charitable giving in long-term perspective. We are convinced that once a mass positive campaign resulted in effective support for reconstruction of Asian communities, more and more people will back up activities of People in Peril Association.
In the very beginning of the campaign, People in Peril Association received a trusting financial injection from big public companies in Slovakia. It appears that People in Peril Association campaign is one of the most successful public collection campaign in Slovakia (410.210 EUR total amount, part of it via SMS collection - 129.000 EUR). People in Peril Association reacted very promptly to the public sense of understanding and expectations for community projects.
Thousands of Slovak citizens were generous in their giving and many companies managed to formulate their interests in longer term development process of damaged Asian communities.
Slovak NGOs working with communities show us that they have the best reputation among people and prove that any nationwide fundraising campaign should be based on a local partnership. Media support is of great importance in the first phase for spreading information and creating images related to the campaign's messages.
As far as individuals receive information for many collections, an essential part of his/her decision could play the personal encouragement by local partners and volunteers. It is worth mentioning that People in Peril Association partner NGOs Naruc and TRUC Spherique managed to mobilize over 65 volunteers who raised 72.000 SK (1.850 EUR) for a day in the town of �ilina.
Slovak municipalities where People in Peril Association provided aid during floods in 2002 joined the campaign as well as schools involved in the development educational programs organised by People in Peril Association. Therefore many small companies donated as well, which is a positive sign for the effect and influence of annual public events in the regions of Slovakia.
The International Women's Club of Bratislava doing professional charitable campaigns gathered 12 restaurants and clubs in Bratislava for the Eating Out Day for Asia (95.000 SK or 2,430 EUR collected). Although above-mentioned examples are of unusual public reactions, People in Peril Association would like to develop own volunteer network and establish satellite partners/chapters collaborating on a regular basis.
In order to avoid any compassion fatigue, people have to be informed systematically and should be asked by media to raise questions to those who administrate their donations. It will improve the work of indigenous NGOs not acting as local chapters of the international charity groups.
The official governmental support to the international organizations, based on bi-literal or multi-lateral agreements, should not be taken as relevant to the personal contributions. Any active citizen have to take their own decision how to use own donation for empowering concrete projects in affected regions of disaster or communities of violated human rights.
Galya Terzieva works in the People in Peril Association, Slovakia. She can be contacted at email@example.com . Community Projects in Sri Lanka
As of February 2005, People in Peril Association implements a development project in Kudawella
(Hanbantota, Matara) focussed on the established boat yard for repairs, nets and new oru boats. People in Peril Association is planning to support the production of 100 new boats considering the assessment needs and requirements of the fishing inspectors. Daily professional boat-makers train in the very working process 10 fishermen to repair and construct boats. Till end of February 2006, 50 boats are planned to be produced/repaired, which means that 50 fishermen will be able to feed their families. Meantime People in Peril Association field experts are assessing needs and preparing other programs in support of the livelihood of the fishermen's families.
Humanitarian workers are coordinating possibilities for launching a microfinance project for fisheries cooperatives within the SANASA development bank long-term programs. A detailed assessment is also made on small livelihoods referring to the replacement of tools for small craftsmen (masons, carpenters and mechanics) and other (tailors, divers and etc.) in order to facilitate and re-establish their small businesses.
Part of People in Peril Association field office's strategy is to replace the small oru boats and nets in the village of Mawella, Unakuruwa
(Hanbantota). People in Peril Association's overall plans for the Dikwella division
(Matara) are to liquidate damaged boats by using microfinance programs for the fisheries cooperatives, to boast the small businesses of craftsmen and other self employed activities.
In cooperation with the Irish Development NGO GOAL, People in Peril Association will launch projects aimed to re-establish income generation vocations and build transitional/permanent shelters - data for needs is provided by UNHCR - Matara and OXFAM, Great Britain.
Later on the program for empowerment of local communities will shift to capacity building activities, vocational training programs and management support of the grass-root civic organizations.
As of March 2005 a partnership between local INSIST, People in Peril Association and the Canadian Alternatives is to be established in Indonesia in order to provide new development projects for the citizens of Aceh, Sumatra.