Annual Reports

IHEYO 2007 – Annual report

(1)  Introduction

Just like in many past years, IHEYO had an ambitious Action Plan for the year 2007. In principal IHEYO did her best in trying  to take an extra step further to fulfill the aims of this umbrella organization as described in our By-Laws, article 3, section 2:

“IHEYO aims to achieve the following non-profit goals of international benefit:

·         To promote the development of cooperation among member organizations and humanist youth, especially on the international level;

·         To promote circulation of information and expertise among member organizations and humanist youth;

·         To carry out educational and cultural action in order to promote a Humanist vision of cultural, social and ethical values;

·         To represent its members to any and all international governing institutions on all questions related to the organization’s purpose;

·         To contribute and give a voice to youth humanism on the international level.”

(2)  Brief Overview

2007 was broadly marked with a process of strongly connecting the members and partners and broadening the range of activities on an international level. This was intended at strengthening the local and national youth work that our members and partners carry out in order to empower young people, to strengthen the human rights of all people and to enable youth develop themselves and their societies further. In a bid to initiate a coherent program that captures our main thematic fields for action, IHEYO planned a three-year program for 2008-2010 and this was geared towards strengthening its members and partners through regional working groups that  could coordinate and carry forward activities to support these members and partners in combination with international spaces (online, face to face, etc.)  In this line henceforth, IHEYO used 2007 to focus on Europe, South Asia (India and neighboring countries) plus West and especially East Africa.

IHEYO tried very much to bring together qualities that are not often seen in many international organizations. It should be remembered that IHEYO as an organization is for youth, but also carried forward by youth. There is very limited hierarchy in IHEYO and a lot of team spirit and solidarity was maintained as well in 2007. The responsibility for the network and its activities lied completely within the young people themselves which created a maximum learning experience for the youth on an international level, and intercontinental level. This continues to make IHEYO one of the most unique youth international humanist organizations. We connected many people from diverse backgrounds in touch with each other in an open space where they shared experiences and opinions on different topical issues. We still think that this is a very good quality and method of working with young people.

Like many other organizations, IHEYO still depends on external financial grants and membership fees both for the general operations and the projects that are carried out. IHEYO worked very hard to raise the funding for the action plan of the year. However some projects were changed or delayed because of the funding challenges.  It is therefore unfortunate that some of the projects were not realized but still the scores and implemented projects put IHEYO above an ordinary youth organization. Realizing this short fall, we think the same projects can be modified and re-examined for future implementation.

 

 

(3)  Regional Achievements for 2008

ASIA

·         The Asian Working Group called Asian Humanist Alliance-IHEYO (AHA-IHEYO) that was established in 2007 as result of the IHEYO 2006 Conference in India organized a regional workshop/meeting in Katmandu, Nepal, with the aim of discussing the scope and strategy of the Working Group and enabling its further growth. Several volunteers took up the task of enhancing humanism in this region and these came from India, Nepal, and Pakistan. This group focused its work on the poor and oppressed such as dalits, women, young people in rural areas enabling them to rely on their own strength and thinking.

·         The Working Group decided to make several publications as a way of reaching their target group and considered the idea of inviting more organizations and group that share the same commitments to human rights and ideals.

 

EUROPE

 

·         IHEYO put in place all the needed preparation work to organize a mini seminar in Eastern Europe to formally establish the European Working Group of IHEYO and  prepared an action-plan based on a discussion of our thematic priorities in Europe.

·         Four IHEYO board members was present at the Norwegian Humanist Associations youth humanist summer camp  in Norway, where a new youth humanist organization (Humanistisk Ungdom) was established. IHEYO was honored to be part of this unique occasion and a chance to share experiences with over 50 teenagers plus camp leaders.

·         The initial preparations for the Theatre project was done with all the necessary arrangements put down. This was merged with the Pyramid campaign and is now at the level of funding status. However the same project is to be modified to still meet the deferent required criteria of different funders.

·         The Tolerance Campaign was organized in as a non-formal educational campaign on minorities. This was so because humanists are a minority in quite some countries. They for instance experience lack of choice for choosing between religious or non-religious education. Organizations from six-seven countries were participating in the campaign. We expanded our network as while some where IHEYO-members, others where not.

·         IHEYO actively supported participation in the European Voluntary Service, one of the EU's European Youth Program initiatives, which enables organizations in Europe to host a volunteer coming from another European country guide her/him in her/his work. IHEYO was part of this programme in Belgium with an EVS placement from Norway, but the project was unfortunately not completed fullyby the volunteer due to personal issues.

·         The EVS-volunteer project was still carried through and a conference on youth work was organized by the EC in Ronse, Belgium with 25 participants.  

 

 

AFRICA

 

·         IHEYO established the ground work and identified volunteers for the long term theatre project to enhance awareness on both HIV and (homo) sexuality in East Africa. A music teacher and her group approved of their interest in developing and implementing this project with IHEYO.

·         In preparation for the international training that was due to take place in Uganda and Kenya in the second half of 2008, a successful three days preparatory meeting was held to map out the modalities. This was attended by over twelve participants from our member organizations in Uganda, Kenya and Congo. Several concepts were discussed surrounding the success of this project and a report was provided. This project is expected to be the pivot around which regional activities and interactions will materialize.

·         Communications among the African Working Group was maintained in relation to the activities of IHEYO. The Western region of Africa also intensified her efforts in line with publications using funds from other sources.

 

 

(4) General Operations / scores

·         IHEYO spread copies of the flyer booklets about IHEYO that were formulated and press-printed in 2005 to humanist and human rights groups particularly in East Africa.

·         IHEYO continued offering advice particularly on fund raising procedures to our members groups that requested for such help.  The website was also made open for member activities and this was an opportunity for groups to inform people about their activities on an international scale, and encouragement in their projects.

·         IHEYO successfully maintained the flow of our Youth Speak with the intention of informing people about developments and debates in youth humanism. We were able to publish over seven issues of Youth Speak with interesting topical issues, fun and events information to our members and interested organizations.

·         We had a fresh and brand new look of our web site with new areas, modern and friendly options of operations for contemporary humanist thinkers and our other visitors!  

·         IHEYO was able to maintain a staffed office to coordinate the work of IHEYO on a daily basis. This made it possible for IHEYO to keep a close contact with her members and making professional operations in the process of carrying out her targeted actions.

·         IHEYO strengthened her competence on fundraising process and vigorously sought structural funding from long-standing partners and new ones such as the European Union, HIVOS, IHEU, IHS, Council of Europe, HEF etc...

·         The Executive Committee made efforts to become a more efficient structural organ and continued to be the central operations system of IHEYO. We were able to have one face-to-face EC-meeting in Ghent/Brussels, Belgium in August. This was supplemented with IHEYOs first EC-meeting online on Skype in December, the first in a planned line of periodical Skype-meetings for the EC and the daily board, to make IHEYO more efficient in delivering her services. The meetings held made the EC more focused trough several discussions on different crucial matters.

·         IHEYO started planning the Annual event for 2008 and is happily able to hold its annual conference parallel to the AHA / IHEU World Congress in Washington D.C USA! IHEYO looks at this as a great opportunity for further net-working and strengthening her contact and working relationship with the young American Humanists.

·         It has been a priority of IHEYO to strengthen our relation with IHEU; and we have continued to be present at the meetings of their Executive Committee in the second half of 2008. This has made the working relationship between the two organizations better and more firm.

·         IHEYO has also kept a close link with the sexual minorities especially in Uganda and was made ableto fund one the most crucial law suit between SMUG and the Uganda Government. This has greatly improved their social status in the community and a good reduction in stigmatization of the same was registered.

 

 

(5)  Challenges / short falls

IHEYO was unable to get funding from HIVOS and the European Union which was a set back in the implementation process of several of the expected projects. However, we received good feedback and guidance from both funders to improve our projects and proposals, and are positive that our proposals will be re-examined and granted in the future. But because of this shortfall, we were incapable of implementing several projects in different areas. IHEYO did not establish a regional office in Kampala-Uganda (East Africa) as was the plan. The international youth training that was due this summer in Uganda and Kenya was only able to stop at the final preparation level and was not fully implemented. However the EC and the African Working Group is positive in re –applying and implementing this project in our next action plan. IHEYO was also not able to have its internship and did not also implement the theatre project but is enthusiastic to have all this rearranged and finally implemented in the near future.

IHEYO’s office staff, IHEYO was not able to hire Rosemary Wanjala who was selected as officer in early 2007 because of EU law and after a few months trying to find a solution, it was unfortunately necessary to hire someone from the EU. Joris Verschueren was requited in July to work part-time as Communications Officer till the end of the year.

 

 

(6) ConclusionIn totality therefore, 2007 had several challenges but all-in-all IHEYO was able to score above the average performance. Much was achieved and a firm foundation has been laid for 2008. IHEYO has managed to exist since its reactivation and much has been improved in comparison to its old fractured structure systems.  We are greatly indebted in appreciation to our member organizations, funders, advisers, partners and current and previous members of the Executive Committee that has extended a worthwhile voluntary service to IHEYO. We deeply appreciate that.IHEYO knows that for such a unique international organization, challenges are bound to be part of our daily encounter and we know that this is more than a simple task but we treasure the experience that comes along with this and we think that the status of IHEYO is and will continue to be better than before!  IHEYO will continue to develop and promote humanism among our member organizations on regional, continental and international level. We will still maintain our grip on the impoverished part of the world.We look at IHEYO’s future with a positive attitude and we do continue to think that it is extremely important to maintain close communication between the EC and our members. In line with continuity and as a way forward, we are looking to a more fascinating and memorable 2008, full of achievements and making the world a better place for all as well as creating a long lasting legacy for IHEYO and humanists in general.   Prepared byAsaba Lawrence, Secretary General-IHEYO