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MoU between South Asia Foundation and Chief Commissioners of National Scout Organisations in South Asia

South Asia Foundation (SAF) is a voluntary, secular, non-profit and non-political youth movement. Founded by UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Madanjeet Singh, its cardinal objective is to promote regional cooperation through education and sustainable development across all levels of society in South Asia. SAF's eight Chapters - Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka - are registered in each country as national entities and their decentralised activities are guided by eminent Chairpersons who are assisted by members of the respective Advisory Board.

During a visit to Bhutan in January 2000, Ambassador Madanjeet Singh was greatly impressed by a scout camp in Thimphu. He suggested to the scout Chief Commissioner that since the aims, objectives and activities of SAF are in tune with the spirit, purpose and principles of the National Scout Organisations of South Asia, similar SAF-Scout Friendship Camps be organised so that young people from all the South Asian countries get an opportunity to meet each other and in the process foster mutual understanding and forge creative friendships.

Consequently, the First SAF-Scout Friendship Camp was held from February 21-26, 2002 in Bhutan, a country nestled amidst the spectacular beauty of the Himalayas. "Regional Cooperation" was the theme of the camp in which 550 girls and boys from the seven SAARC countries participated. An equally successful Second SAF-Scout Friendship Camp with "Protection of the Environment" as its theme was held in Maldives from February 15-22, 2003. It provided 180 youngsters the rare opportunity to camp in Feydhoo Finolhu, an uninhabited island in the Indian Ocean. The costs of holding both the camps were almost entirely borne by SAF.

Worldwide, the experience has been that organisations such as SAF can hardly sustain themselves and function effectively unless all the participants share equally the costs and the responsibilities of joint ventures. Hence, at a meeting held from April 9-11, 2002, at Beaulieu-sur-Mer, France, SAF Chairpersons decided unanimously that SAF shall not undertake any project if a matching contribution is not made by the host South Asian country.

This view was endorsed by Mr. Abdullah Rasheed, Regional Director of the Asia-Pacific Regional Office of the World Scout Bureau, Manila. He suggested that the ad-hoc practice of negotiating a budget with the host country be discontinued and the SAF-Scout camps be held in accordance with the MoU signed between SAF and the Chief Commissioners of National Scout Organisations in South Asia, the terms of which are as follows:

1. SAF shall pay for the scouts to travel by the cheapest land-air routes from their home towns to the venue of the SAF-Scouts Friendship Camp. The participating scouts - comprising an equal number of girls and boys - will travel in batches of 10, each group accompanied by one male and one female scout leader. The scout Chief Commissioner in consultation with SAF Chapter in the host country and APR office shall decide the total number of scouts to be invited, depending on the size and capacity of the host country.

2. Regional Cooperation being SAF's principal objective, the SAF Chapter in the host country shall, as part of the camp's programme, arrange and pay for a seminar to be held on the subject, in consultation with the scout Chief Commissioner. SAF shall pay for the travel and hotel accommodation of the resource persons invited to create awareness among the scouts on the merits of regional cooperation in South Asia and on topics that are of common interest to the Youth of the region.

3. In addition, the SAF Chapter in the host country shall arrange and pay for a documentary film (DVD) about the camp, as was done in Bhutan and Maldives.

4. In conformity with the decentralised SAF regulations, all travel arrangements, including the cost of tickets, shall be paid by the respective SAF Chapters, in consultation with the local scout Chief Commissioner.

5. All other expenditures involved, including on the boarding and lodging of the participating scouts, entertainment, handicraft exhibitions, and other scout-related activities, shall be borne entirely by the scout organisation in the host country. The Chief Commissioner of the host country shall prepare the budget and if necessary, seek sponsorship or part funding from the host government, international and national Non-Governmental Organisations, well-wishers, business sector or from the participating countries.

Abdullah Rasheed
Regional Director
Asia-Pacific Regional Office
World Scout Bureau, Manila.
Chief Commissioners,
National Scout Organisations
in South Asia
Madanjeet Singh
UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador
Founder, South Asia Foundation
SAF Chairpersons in
South Asia
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