Network news from Eirwen Harbottle

eirwen harbottleEirwen sends news of Peace Child activities. Her daughter Rosey and son-in-law David Woolcombe founded this organisation which works to “empower young people to be the change they want to see in the world”.

Many good people are working for a more peaceful world , yet we see an escalation of killing. However, I think this work, paralleled by Zerbanoo and the Asha Centre, is the most hopeful approach. The FT reports that a new opinion poll on Friday by Gallup demonstrated a big generational gap in views about Israel. Among Americans aged 65 and over, 55% said they supported Israel’s actions in the current conflict.

Encouragingly, among the 18-29 group 51% said Israel’s behaviour was unjustified and only 23% supported Israel’s actions.

In September last year Eirwen attended a new production of the original “Peace Child'” musical at UN HQ in Geneva. Green Cross international had asked Peace Child to do this as part of the celebrations of the 20th anniversary of its creation by Mikhail Gorbachev. Eirwen relates:

“The story begins with the catastrophic explosion of the Chernobyl nuclear plant which financially beggared the old Soviet Union. The cost of seeking advice from world experts on how to render it safe had left a huge hole in the Soviet military budget.   National – and global – security had suddenly assumed a new environmental priority.   It proved the political undoing of Gorbachev. Sacked, he was left to ponder where the essence of global security actually lay. Green Cross International was the result.

peacechildlogo“The show was called “2050 – The Future We Want”. Whereas back in 1981, the story of ” Peace Child” had focused on how young people had made friends with the young of Soviet Russia, supporting disarmament as the road to world peace, 32 years on the spotlight was now on environmental security.

“It was not hard to edit the words of the original songs.   “The Military Industrial Complex” easily became “The Petroleum Industrial Complex”. There were additional songs from Cat Stevens (now Yusuf Islam) who was delighted to be there with his wife.   The Geneva City community choir were joined by singers from 3 former Soviet satellites – Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus – and 19 other countries. Brilliant dancers were trained by a UK choreographer; 11 younger children from families in Geneva gathered round Rosey, playing the Story Teller, (and looking absolutely beautiful!). A few of the cast below – all may be seen here:

eir cast world we want 2050“On screen a poignant film about Chernobyl’s demise showed the stricken countryside where nothing can now thrive, as though people had just left in a hurry, leaving food on the tables, children’s toys and shoes strewn around and an eerie silence everywhere. Much individual rehearsing had naturally already been going on in various locations but this jigsaw of a production had now to be assembled by David, lighting and sound technicians, others responsible for scene setup, changing props &c – and all within a bare fortnight!”

(Please see for instructions on viewing the show)

Peace Child then hosted the first international “Jobs Creation Summit” at a Westminster location provided by the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills:

“The keynote speaker was Andries Piebalgs, European Commissioner for Development, followed by Lord Young, Prime Minister Cameron’s Enterprise Adviser.   Half the 165 delegates were young people, the remainder being representatives of NGOs, business, academics and a single MP – Jeremy Lefroy (Con)- who organised a later follow-up meeting in the House of Commons. Basically all this was the culmination of a series of 6 smaller meetings over the past year within a EU network that seeks to identify best innovative practices already running for 18-20 year olds. Peace Child’s partners have been Multiple Learning Solutions and InspirEngage International.

“One particular individual stood out for me from the array of innovative leadership on the platform that day – Larry Sullivan, the Australian Founder/CEO of Look him up, if you will, and see how many start-up enterprises he has created.

“The new Youth Training Programme of EU Partnership for Enterprise has a challenging task ahead, does it not? But I have confidence that they will make their mark!”

New Era news was read by people from these countries last week






News from Shaun Chamberlin

teqs 2 fleming centreShaun has issued an invitation to a seminar on TEQs in the House of Commons (Committee Room 17) at 2pm on the 15th of July.

The joint seminar is being held by the All Party Parliamentary Renewable and Sustainable Energy Group (PRASEG) and the All Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group (APPCCG).

TEQs is an electronic system that would guarantee that a nation meets its emissions reductions targets, ensure fair access to energy for all, and support the active participation and cooperation of citizens and all other energy users in rapidly reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. Read more:

The event will be chaired by Alan Whitehead MP, and will take place at the House of Commons (Committee Room 17) from 2pm-3:30pm on Tuesday 15th JulyFull details here. 


Shaun ChamberlinTEQs’ Managing Director
Dr. Tina FawcettEnvironmental Change Institute, Oxford University
Prof. Michael GrubbCambridge University Centre for Climate Change Mitigation Research (invited)Please reply to Neha Nijhon at the APPCCG Secretariat either by email or telephone: +44 (0)20 7833 6035.


Read the latest TEQs newsletter here:


News from Geoff Tansey

Geoff writes:

Every year in December and early January, I get lots of letters from friends and family updating me on their news for the past year. Most are only of interest to friends and family. But this year, news in one of these e-mailed letters could make a huge difference to tens, maybe hundred of millions of people in India.

gt satheesh writing“It was a year that took me to great heights of happiness when India passed a brand new Act called National Food Security Act which for the first time in our history recognised millets as food security grains of the country and put them firmly in India’s Public Food system”, wrote P. V. Satheesh, from Pastapur village, about 100km from Hyderabad, on the Deccan Plateau in Andhra Pradesh.

The challenge now, says Satheesh, is to start a process of decentralised procurement of food grains to ensure small farmers benefit from this change. They don’t want to see supply of millets captured by corporations that become the sole contractors for supplying millets to government granaries.

As a start they have been invited to begin a pilot in decentralised procurement and distribution by the government in the southern state of Karnataka in two districts where Ragi and Jowar are popular millets. I’m hoping next year’s letter will tell of their success in this pilot and be the beginning of a decentralised, localised food system for India in which the poorest farmers will benefit most.

gt millet complexIn 2013, the Africa – India Millet Network was set up. It will build on the work of the Millet Network of India (MINI), which has worked for a decade to bring millets into India’s public food system, ending the exclusive focus on rice and wheat.

Read the article on Geoff’s website: Millets join India’s public distribution system and new India-Africa links are born


News of Colin Hines

Colin writes in the Guardian: posted under the title ‘Take back control’, on the Political Concern website.

News from Ben Dyson and colleagues – recovering from Glastonbury

glastonbury header

In 2010 the government cancelled a program to rebuild 715 schools, because they’d run out of money. But at the same time the Bank of England had created £375 billion of new money through a program called Quantitative Easing. Instead of this money being spent on something useful, it was pumped into the financial markets, benefitting the richest 5% but doing almost nothing to create jobs and stable economic recovery.

Why does the government cancel essential projects because “there’s no money”, while at the same time the Bank of England was able to create more new money than the entire government spends in 6 months?

Why is it that the power to create money is used to blow up property bubbles and boost financial markets, but not to do the things that we actually need?

Our latest video explains how things could have been done differently and why it’s so important to campaign for a better monetary system… in the years following the financial crisis, the UK wasted £375bn on a failed scheme to stimulate the economy and end the recession. This was one of the biggest missed opportunities in history. Here’s how it happened:

positive news video june 14


And don’t miss: Why we disagree with Ann Pettifor:


News from Christine Parkinson

Christine Parkinson2Christine sends an update of progress in the Birmingham-based projects she is involved in: Gilgal Refuge; Bethel Health & Healing Network; Jericho Foundation: Stepping Stones; Good Neighbour Centre. The five organisations, all working with marginalised groups, have recently been in discussion about setting up a consortium, to provide mutual support, be involved in joint fund-raising and to share back-office functions.

The women’s refuge has recently moved to larger accommodation, where they will be able to offer additional bed-spaces to women (and their children) fleeing domestic abuse. Bethel has also been moving forward, by agreeing a one-year contract to deliver their doula support project for vulnerable pregnant women, with Birmingham South Central Clinical Commissioning Group. The consortium itself is looking to purchase a building in Small Heath, where Bethel will be based and where the consortium projects will be able to work together in fund-raising and other joint activities.

Christine spends much time these days carrying out fund-raising activities for her son’s Ugandan project, Chrysalis Youth Empowerment Network (CYEN), which works among slum children and the rural poor, to raise up future social entrepreneurs, by offering a unique training programme. Hardly a weekend goes by when she is not running a car boot pitch and she tries to put 100+ donated goods on ebay most weeks too.

Christine’s son Ben writes:

This month we have started running the Ashoka Youth Venture clubs. At the moment, seven partners have formed clubs, which are designed to enable them to mentor and develop new young social entrepreneurs.

chrysalis food programmeOur partner in the Changemaker School programme, St Joseph Primary, started the process, becoming one of the first schools in Uganda to do so. I hope this will become a model, and that we shall be able to expand this training to many schools in Uganda. St Joseph have offered us space on their land to expand the work we are doing and an office. Since they are adjacent to us and we are incredibly stretched for activity space, this is particularly welcome.

In the North, we believe that we will have the new Centre in Koro finished by end of June or early July. The follow-up will be the building of two dormitories adjoining the main activity building. The construction is going well, but has had a number of challenges, mainly due to having to rely on the builders working with little supervision. However, when the first building is complete, Patrick will move in there on a permanent basis and supervise building and farming on this location. The lack of available transport in Gulu means that added costs have been incurred.

brian ashoka youthOur Ashoka Youth Venture in Gulu was a huge success recruited almost sixty capable youth living in remote rural areas. We were amazed by the plethora of ideas and enthusiasm the young people had. Brian (left), has a passion to solve local water problems. He says that they have to travel miles to the nearest water source.

These children are rarely given a voice, but now technology can reach them, are we not bound to listen to what they have to say and then empower them to achieve their hopes and ambitions?

There is more information in the latest newsletter here and many photographs.


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