4u2 - For you too - Roland Brunner

Forum Ziviler Friedensdienst (Civil Peace Service), Germany

Report of last months, Oct.2000, by Helga Tempel

Most of our activities during summer 2000 concentrated on implementing the South Balkan Program by sending out 10 well trained „peace professionals“ to several places in different regions of Ex-Yugoslavia either as volunteers of the forumZFD itself or in cooperation with other groups being responsible for certain projects. Meanwhile some of the planned seven teams have arranged themselves in their new role, have strenghthened their local contacts and have started with their training programs, with networking different groups and encouraging local people by creating  places to meet and to cooperate. In September we organised a „regional meeting“ to exchange experiences with all the team-members there and with representatives of the forumZFD and our trainers, which brought encouragement to the volunteers and was meant as a first step of evalution.

One other person was to start with his work in Palestine but decided to wait until the situation in the Near East will have deescalated.

This project orientated work meant a lot of extra work for our office and the board as well. We had to invest a lot of manpower to get the program running, more than we will ever get paid by public money. So we came into severe trouble wih our finances and decided that we had to concentrate on broadening our basis by winning new members and sponsors. Until then we had only some more but hundred individual members plus some 30 groups. But to gain more members  and to collect more donations proved to be very difficult in the present society in Germany!  Everybody told us we had to engage a special skilled „fund-raiser“, whom we were not able to pay. So the financial side of our work is still open - and difficult!

The 4months´ training courses are going on twice the year. It is still not easy to find enough people, Germans and others, willing to be trained and go uproad for two years, for normally they have to find a „Projektträger“first, a group, that is willing and able to engage the volunteer in its project and to pay a contribution of about 2000 Euro for the training. We were promised to get most of the funding  by the Ministry for Development Work also next year, but no clarification could be reached concerning the courses as a steadily repeated training program. So again and again we have to start the tremendous organisational work anew.

We already have told the Network about our plans to publish a sort of manual on  Civil Peace Service. This tremendous work under the responsibility of Tilman Evers has come to an end, and the volume with the title „Fachleute für den Frieden“ (Professionals for Peace) will be presented to the public by a well-known female politician in connection with our membership gathering in Bonn. The manual contents an article by Janne Poort-van Eeden introducing and commenting the European Network and its work.

Besides of this, Tilman in cooperation with Janne and Helga has been rather busy in preparing the Meeting of CPS-respesentatives and some other NGO people with EU officials under the joint responsibility of the EN.CPS and the forumZFD, Germany, and supported by the Boell Foundation on Nov.27th in Brussels.

The new field of project-work and caring for our volunters meant more and new responsibilities for all of us. This made us think of new structures and  of a more elaborated organisational scheme for the work of our board including setting up an Executive Board. At the coming membership gathering we will have elections of  a new board with hopefully some new people on it.

Following the initiative of a MP, who is a member of the forumZFD,  this summer the German Parliament had to deal with a motion by the Green Party and the Socialdemocrats - now both in government - concerning the strenghthening of the civilian part of German Foreign Policy  and also asking for a stronger commitment to Civil Peace Services and other NGO activities.

Besides of our break-through in respect to public funding of projects and trainings we still feel that there is much to do to make politicians and the general public aware of the alternative to military intervention and specially of  the new instrument ZFD.



4your questions and contacts: rbr(at)4u2.ch