This is Dr. Max Stille, Executive Director of NETZ. Thank you for your interest in NETZ.
Climate for Change
NETZ stands at the side of marginalised people and together with them struggles for a more just and equitable world. To NETZ, human dignity means that every human can at least fulfil their basic needs in a dignified and self-determined manner and take an active role in protecting their rights. This continuous struggle for human dignity is very necessary and realistically possible during the strategy period 2023-2030, which is a crucial phase for the world and Bangladesh. It covers the last years to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and is a crucial phase to finally changing track in preventing the climate crisis to further deteriorate. At the same time, Bangladesh is graduating from its status as a Least Developed Country (LDC) with all the pride and positive impacts as well as challenges of how to stabilise and broaden this success. Until 2030, the creeping democratic erosion throughout the world might be reversed, but could, in a grimmer scenario, even be exacerbated.
The effects of the climate crisis will become even more destructive. In this context, civil society actors and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are playing an important role in global movements for climate protection and climate justice as well as in adaptation particularly of disadvantaged parts of society. However, civil society globally will have to reckon with an environment of extreme social inequality, violence against women, shrinking civic space and conflicts over natural resources.
According to experiences and analyses by NETZ, change in this climate can be brought about by partnership. NETZ works with the people, with local organisations and based on local knowledge. NETZ as an organisation is based on participation and empowerment: externally as well as inside.
"When developing the strategy, we quickly realised: it is not just NETZ. We need the voices of partner organisations, stakeholder representatives and also the members of the groups in the villages."
NETZ aims to continue and strengthen its efforts in three fields of action:
- Jointly with partner NGOs, NETZ supports marginalised and excluded people in Bangladesh and neighbouring regions of India in three core areas: Climate-Resilient Livelihoods, Inclusive Quality Education and Equal Human Rights. These core areas are of a similar size, share geographical working regions and may reach the same people who participate in and benefit from project activities, mutually reinforcing each other’s impact. Against the background of the climate crisis, NETZ systematises its support in Disaster Management and Preparedness.
- NETZ engages in International Advocacy, Global Learning and Public Relations to reach structural and sustainable transformation of global injustices. The unique position of being engaged in networks ranging from grassroots initiatives in Bangladesh and Germany to national and international bodies is utilised for a maximum effect.
- As a living organisation, NETZ learns and grows with a high participation of diverse people. Donors and members are convinced and motivated in their engagement. They rightly trust the efficient and transparent project work that is made possible by learning and content professionals of NETZ offices, who have the right systems to manage tasks and knowledge in a steady yet innovative team.
These fields of action and the major approaches are an updated continuation of the successful work of NETZ during the period of the previous strategy since 2016. NETZ could, despite unforeseen external shocks, extend its projects and achieve major developments. Examples are: (i) new working areas in the South-West of Bangladesh and a transnational project including a partner NGO in Nepal in Climate-resilient Livelihoods; (ii) the further development of the Anandalok school model approach and the formation of Anandalok Trust for Education and Development in Inclusive Quality Education; (iii) the successful promotion of conflict transformation approaches through young and adult peace multipliers and a national platform in Equal Human Rights. However, not all strategic goals could be achieved. Private donations, for example, increased, but did not do so as much as envisaged in the NETZ strategy. Based on the review of the last strategy and of developments since then, NETZ staff members, partners and members of the association, particularly the Executive Committee (EC), took stock and came up with innovations and core issues for the further development of the organisation.
Highlights of evisaged further development during the strategy:
- The response to the impacts of climate change on the most marginalised groups in Bangladesh and
neighbouring regions in India is internally and externally recognised as a key topic of NETZ and increases the visibility of NETZ
- The high-quality of NETZ projects is further improved by clearer project design, increased research, advanced training designs, capacitated and dedicated staff as well as a new team for Planning, Monitoring & Evaluation (PM&E).
- The financial sustainability of NETZ is further improved by gradually increasing support by private donors and private foundations, by working together with the NETZ Foundation and by diversifying major back donors. Sound financial planning enables early reaction in case of changing scenarios or external shocks.
This strategy brings together many discussions and reflections and we are very thankful as an organisation for the many heads and hands who helped develop it. NETZ is connecting and formed by many actors believing in the same principles and forms of collective action. Many more heads and hands will join to reach the goals of this strategy, and to reflect and adjust them where necessary. Finally, this strategy is not about NETZ, but about reaching the many larger changes that we all bring about – united as people.
Thank you, dear reader, for being with us
Projects in Partnership with the People - Standing by the Marginalized
1. Climate-Resilient Livelihoods
NETZ supports members of marginalised communities who have to live in extreme poverty and earn 1.4 dollars per day (purchasing power parity of 2022). They are often members of indigenous groups and other minorities. Women are the main actors of the project focus. In the project focus Livelihoods despite climate crisis, they earn a living wage and sustainable income and claim their rights. They gain access to social services, e.g. through dialogue with political decision-makers. Communities and groups affected by climate change recognise and strengthen their adaptive capacities and resilience. Women have equal access to resources and decision-making processes. They combat violence against women and girls.
- Increased focus on the younger generation through vocational training for unemployed youth and awareness raising among students.
- Develop an effective and regionally specific model of the project focus for the coastal areas of Bangladesh.
2. Inclusive Quality Education
Education is a key to development - but is denied to many children. NETZ supports children of pre-school and primary school age, mainly through formal education at public schools and at child-friendly Anandalok model schools, if needed also at simple village schools run by partner NGOs. Children from families living in poverty or from marginalised communities (e.g. religious minorities) are targeted. Support for children with disabilities is given increased priority. Teachers are strengthened to provide inclusive, quality education and representatives of local authorities and village communities are empowered to ensure effective cooperation between civil society and the state. The negative consequences of the long school closure during the Corona pandemic are being addressed, as well as the consequences of the climate crisis. The cooperation with the Anandalok Trust will be further developed and, if possible, additional regions will be reached.
- Increased support for children with disabilities through capacity building, networking and pilot projects.
- Further development and testing of pedagogical concepts, e.g. on peace and climate education, through evaluation of existing concepts, research and networking.
- Supporting post-5th grade students in further education and/or vocational training, e.g. through pilot initiatives with Anandalok model schools.
3. Equal Human Rights
NETZ protects and supports members of marginalised groups who are exposed to violence and discrimination. For this purpose, partner NGOs train young and adult human rights defenders in secondary schools and local groups and support them if they themselves are exposed to repression. The accountability and responsiveness of the authorities is improved through conflict-sensitive democratic dialogue and joint action with civil society. The national and international networking and advocacy of human rights defenders is supported in coordination with the NETZ International Advocacy, with possibly a geographical expansion. The application of non-violent approaches and the do-no-harm-principle is promoted.
- Establish a fund to rapidly support initiatives to protect and promote the human rights of vulnerable groups not covered by projects.
- Develop an effective project component that explicitly addresses the human rights of Dalits.
- Raise awareness to combat the misuse of digital tools and media, especially for youth.Einrichtung eines Fonds zur raschen Unterstützung von Initiativen zum Schutz und zur Förderung der Menschenrechte von schutzbedürftigen Gruppen, die nicht durch Projekte abgedeckt sind.
4. Disaster management and preparedness
NETZ improves the resilience of disadvantaged communities as part of the long-term self-help approaches in the project area of Climate-Resilient Livelihoods. When the self-help capacities of the local population are not sufficient to cope with the impact of natural disasters or other emergencies, e.g. pandemics, NETZ provides emergency assistance.
- Development and implementation of a NETZ guide for humanitarian aid. This includes, for example, clarification of roles in an emergency situation, at NETZ and its partners, operational planning, the disaster assessment, target group clarification and communication in emergencies.
- More systematic and active exploration of mobilising funds and cooperation with NGO networks for humanitarian action in Bangladesh and Europe.
Transforming Power Structures - International Advocacy, Education and NETZ Association
1. International Advocacy
NETZ's policy dialogue aims to bring the perspectives and demands of marginalised people and civil society in Bangladesh to international decision-makers and to achieve interventions. Achieving the SDGs, especially Goals 1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 13 and 16, is a focus. NETZ's advocacy work is mainly carried out within the Bangladesh Forum Germany. NETZ continues the coordination of the Bangladesh Forum and strengthens the secretariat.
- Support access to data and information to interpret developments, especially in linking grassroots and macro levels.
- Strengthening links between the Bangladesh Forum and local NGOs in Bangladesh, e.g. partner NGOs of NETZ and other Forum members, in order to use the in-depth knowledge of the local level more efficiently.
2. Global Learning
Based on the experiences of NETZ and its partners, Global Learning brings issues and realities of the Global South to the public in order to stimulate transformative learning and motivate people to act for a just and peaceful world. NETZ trains, supports and provides materials for voluntary multipliers in educational institutions, worldshops and communities. The North-South and South-North "weltwärts" volunteer services in Bangladesh and Germany also play an important role. The Education Working Group, which helps to shape education work in Germany by organising events, producing materials, holding regular meetings and exchanges, will be continued and strengthened. The use of digital opportunities for transformative learning, possibly also a direct digital exchange between people in Germany and Bangladesh, will be expanded.
- Linking the South-North Volunteer Service with Global Learning projects.
- Strengthening the exchange between Global Learning and the focal points of the project work, including through feedback from NETZ's Bangladesh office in the development of new educational materials and concepts.
3. Dialogue with Supporters and Donors
NETZ maintains the trust and motivation of its long-standing supporters in all age groups. At the same time, NETZ updates and sharpens its profile and increases its reach. NETZ strives for a steady, moderate increase in donations. To this end, measures are being implemented step by step, such as the expansion of online fundraising, campaigns to increase reach and climate-related fundraising. In its cooperation with foundations, NETZ wants to continue and strengthen existing partnerships. In addition, NETZ aims to attract at least one new funding institution to finance the majority of one to two projects.
- Updating communication channels and internal donation management processes for an increase of efficiency and effectiveness.
- Targeted campaigns to reach out to new interested people, upgrade (donation amount and frequency) and reactivate former donors
- Publicise the NETZ Foundation as an additional way to support NETZ.
4. NETZ Association in German
NETZ aims to increase the number and diversity of people who support and contribute to NETZ as an association, e.g. in terms of gender, age, place of birth and place of residence. NETZ takes up the motivation and interest of young people, increasingly involves people of Bangladeshi origin living in Germany and reaches out to supporters and members who have not been active recently.
- Exchange and networking at the grassroots level is increased; in addition to restarting the voluntary service, alternative strategies are being developed in case it has to remain suspended.
- The use of social media is being increased to improve communication within the association, especially with young members.
- Bangladesh-specific cultural events by active members in Germany will be promoted to increase networking and attract new interested people.
Do you have any questions about us?
Hello, I am Habibur Rahman Chowdhury, Country Director of NETZ. Don't hesitate to contact us.