1 Vivere- who we are
Relatively little is needed to protect someone’s right to live a decent life. ‘Vivere’ is an association that was founded in 1999 by a group of volunteers- friends, experienced in humanitarian work. Our basic values are quite simple: the right to a decent life lies at the core of all human rights. If this basic right is not guaranteed, then all other human rights are rendered meaningless. We do our utmost to ensure that this right is protected and help the vulnerable where they are most at risk. We consider this ability- to be on hand and able to act quicklyas essential.
Vivere has, right from the very beginning, ensured that it is governed by statutes, a charter, guidelines and operational regulations, is financially accountable and has a model agreement for working with partner organizations.
1.2 Aims and Priorities
Vivere’s primary objective is to help any person in a situation where their life is in danger. Our members are convinced that even with the smallest of resources, we can help individuals who find themselves caught up in a crisis situation, and that we can and must try to help them.
Wherever discrimination threatens lives, Vivere supports the idea of a counterpower in civil society -i.e. pressure groups fighting for justice and change to stop these man-made crisis from happening.
Often people hang onto life by the smallest of threads. It is unacceptable that in this day and age people are dying for the tiniest, most absurd of reasons: no-one to turn to for help just when it’s needed, no access to antibiotics, not enough food, no simple treatment or care, no transport to get to hospital, no heating. Sometimes it is only a question of a few coins a month, which will make the difference from escaping a life of modern day slavery or a life plagued by the constant fear of death. Vivere believes that we have to make things happen, we have to identify local people or organisations who are able to act, we have to support them, and that we have to try to convince others to do the same!
1.3 Ways of working
In order to achieve these primary goals, Vivere has identified three key stages:
a) Identifying, promoting and supporting local partner organisations: this support is often financial, but can also include methodological and organisational support, and the encouragement of grass-roots activist members.
b) Bringing the perpetrators of crime and torture to justice.
c) Awareness campaigns, relaying information coming from the field, bearing witness, mobilising public opinion, direct lobbying of politicians from the developed and developing world (North and South), networking and collaborating with similar organisations.
1.4 Project Areas
Vivere has voluntarily restricted itself to working in one area of human rights from amongst the huge field possible: that of prioritising and saving any individual whose life is needlessly in danger. There are four necessary conditions that need to be met in order for our association to initiate a project:
- There is immediate danger to life,
- Human rights are not respected.
- No other local humanitarian solution is possible.
- There is a competent, local group who is ready and willing to get involved.
(If this is not the case, Vivere will initiate the setting up of such a group).
Vivere has so far been actively involved in four types of project:
- Assistance to victims of extortion, torture, cruel and degrading treatment
- Assistance to single mothers in grave need
- Nutritional program
- The fight against human trafficking, both in prevention and in assistance to former victims of sexual slavery.
Whilst being aware of the limitations that exist, our association nevertheless wishes to remain loyal to our charter and accessible to those in need. We therefore do not for-see limiting these criteria.
Vivere’s annual reports document all of our projects in detail.
1.5 Internal Organisation
Vivere is a non-profit association, governed by its own statutes and from article 60 onwards of the Swiss Civil Code. It has no political or religious bias.
Its structure is comprised of the general assembly, the committee and financial control.
All available means- whether direct or indirect- are used to achieve our goals.
It is extremely important for us that we keep in close contact with our members, volunteers, donors and friends. We therefore send out information about our work on a regular basis and organise public meetings on various topics.
The association’s resources are made up of regular subscriptions or one-off payments from members, donations, subsidies, joint finance of projects, various gifts, legacies from wills, merchandising material and fund-raising events organised by Vivere. If appropriate, funds are also obtained from the state and public social projects.
Gifts in kind are encouraged, as are fund-raising initiatives and ways to secure discounts on prices.
1.7 Future Development.
Vivere is deliberately small, since only by being small can we ensure a quick and rapid reaction to any given situation. However, our aim is to increase both our material and our financial capability to the point where we are able to have 25 small but pragmatic projects running simultaneously.
Our work is mainly concerned with:
a) Building up and strengthening groups of qualified volunteers with operational responsibilities.
b) Strengthening our links with caring organisations in developed countries who are likely to get directly involved in our projectson the ground
c) Broadening our scope to act by employing one or more permanent staff
d) Fund-raising and actively recruiting other donors.
2 Strategic Vision
2.1 Our principles
Our principles are central to everything we do. We strive to work closely with trustworthy individuals and small organisations, providing that they share the same vision of humanitarian engagement. This entails developing, initiating and/ or strengthening each project by putting in place:
– a conceptual structure
– a means of self- assessment
– a clear budgetary and accounting system
– the ability to communicate any problems as well as precise results
The yearly contribution to each project is limited to a maximum of CHF 15 000 and must be roughly equal to a significant part of the total annual budget-around 30%-40%. This clearly demonstrates both the modest scale of our involvement and the type of work we do.
In order to clarify the objective/s of a given project, we work with our partner organisations to quantify its suitability in measurable terms. This is not easily done, since the issues we are dealing with are extremely complex (with the exception of certain factors, such as the number of lives saved, quality of care given to the wounded, number of people released who have been imprisoned arbitrarily, etc).
– Number of complaints received about and formal accusations of an individual suspected of torture or rape
– Number of repatriations concerning individuals who have been kidnapped or forced into exile as a result of human trafficking
– Number of individuals being re-unified with their family following some kind of exclusion (see above)
– Number and type of individuals attending awareness and prevention meetings (see above)
– Nutritional campaigns: classic indicators linked to weight/ height norms amongst children, numbers of individuals receiving additional,
balanced nutritional supplements, the length of time needed to regain nutritional norms, etc
– Number of former victims who have been successfully re-integrated into society and work
– Number of individuals who have achieved civil status previously denied to them.
– Decrease in new cases of violent aggression within a given context
– Decrease in arbitrary imprisonments
– Number of hours worked by volunteers on a project
– Number of media articles supporting the project
A simple procedure is followed when considering any project:
- Analysis, along with our local contacts, of the context and dynamics at play, whether sympathetic or hostile
- Precise identification of the target population
- Identification of any preventative work necessary and/ or organisation of help or rescue which may be needed, taking into consideration the advice of our local partner organisation
- Definition of objectives
- Definition of what system to use for monitoring and evaluation
- Identification and documentation of any resources required
- Budget plan
- Signature of partnership agreement
As a general rule, each project runs for 12 months and is renewable depending on the needs of the project and the resources available. Some instances where projects are of a shorter or longer duration are, of-course, possible.
Provided that all of the goals and objectives have been sufficiently and precisely defined, it is not expected that Vivere needs to get involved with the day to day running of a project. However, our association does ensure that our partner organisations are supported as fully as necessary in all areas, be it in terms of training local staff, administration, networking, etc
2.5 Partner Organisations
Whenever possible, Vivere encourages local partner organisations to be outward-looking and to share competencies with other local groups who have the same aim: to synergise complimentary skills.
It is of vital importance that there is total transparency as regards to who does what. This is why Vivere encourages local organisations working in related areas to share any expertise and knowledge they have for the common good.
Vivere is a member of the Fédération Vaudoise de Coopération, and has so far worked with and sponsored 21 partner organisations, in 11 countries . 1
Our activities also extend beyond projects requiring financial involvement, and include work with groups from the developing world, Europe and Switzerland. To give a few examples:
1 Partner organizations: Indonesia (1), Uzbekistan (1), Equatorial Guinea (1),Madagascar (1), Dem Rep Congo (9), Tchad (2), Mali (1), Morocco (1), Ukraine (2), Moldavia (1), Colombia (1).
– In November and December 2005, Vivere established links with the Lausanne-based organisations Sentinelles and Casimundo. Our aim was to provide a focal point where members of the public could get more detailed information about victims of sexual violence in the eastern provinces of the DRC.
– We have recently set up a very close partnership with a delegation from the International Organisation for Migration, in Chisinau, to help Moldavian victims of human trafficking who are in captivity in the United Arab Emirates.
– Vivere is representing civilians in some legal cases against mafia gangs involved in human trafficking in Jytomyr, Ukraine
2.6 Project Monitoring.
Our association ensures that each project is systematically monitored in various ways by:
a) Closely following each project
b) Carrying out internal and external evaluations by third parties. Vivere does this by having representatives visit the partner organisations in the field, adhering to a previously agreed agenda
c) Gaining feedback from the victims themselves, wherever possible.
It is, we believe, of paramount importance that any humanitarian work carried out in the field of development is exemplary. Indeed, part of our work lies in ensuring that any successes we have can be shared and re-produced.
Likewise, it must be remembered that any failures we have -provided they are analysed rigorously and methodologically- can also serve to enrich our knowhow for future projects.
This is why Vivere actively distributes regular reports to its members and associates, holds awareness campaigns that are open to the public, and updates its’ internet site. Our ability to learn for the future depends on it.