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
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
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
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.
Asia-Pacific Regional Office
World Scout Bureau, Manila.
in South Asia
UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador
Founder, South Asia Foundation
SAF Chairpersons in