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MoU between South Asia Foundation and SOS-Kinderdorf International

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 assisted by members of the respective Advisory Board.

SOS-Kinderdorf International is an International Child development organisation working in 131 countries and territories through its member associations. In South Asia it has member associations in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Ambassador Madanjeet Singh and the SAF Chairpersons visited Piliyandala, an SOS Children's Village, and other projects in Sri Lanka during the Second SAF General Conference in February 2003, when Mr. Siddhartha Kaul described to them SOS activities, which are in tune with SAF grassroots projects. Hence it was agreed that as they share a number of common objectives the cooperation between the two organisations should be encouraged.

The first common project was approved as SOS+SAF Environment camp. It was held for the first time at the SOS Vocational (agriculture) Training and Vacation Centre in Malpotha, Sri Lanka from August 12-21, 2003, in which 40 young people from the seven South Asian countries participated. The objective of the camp was to expose the youth to the rural life style and to make them aware of environmental issues and simultaneously foster friendship among the participants.

While the entire cost of holding this camp, including travel, boarding and lodging of participants, was borne by SAF, SOS Children's Villages helped conduct the camp in their premises.

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 without a matching contribution by the host South Asian country.

Accordingly, SAF and SOS-Kinderdorf International have decided that the ad-hoc practice of negotiating a budget with the host country be discontinued and the two organisations sign an MOU, the terms of which are as follows:

1. The number of participating youth - comprising an equal number of girls and boys - will be decided and the deserving ones selected jointly by SOS Children's Villages and the SAF Chapters. The selection of participants from Afghanistan, Bhutan, and Maldives will be done by SAF Chapters as there are no SOS villages in these countries.

2. SAF shall pay for the participants to travel by the cheapest land or air route from their hometown to the venue of the SOS/SAF Camp. The youth will travel unaccompanied.

3. Regional Co-operation being SAF's principal objective, the SAF Chapters in the host country shall arrange and pay for the holding of a seminar on the subject as a part of the camp's programme, in consultation with the SOS Children's Village organisation in that country. SAF shall also pay for the travel and hotel accommodation of the teachers invited to create awareness among the youth on the merits of regional co-operation in South Asia.

4. 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 Sri Lanka.

5. In conformity with the decentralized SAF regulations, all travel arrangements and the costs of tickets shall be the responsibility of the respective SAF Chapters in each country, done in consultation with the local SOS Children's Village organization.

6. All other expenses for organizing and conducting the camp, including board and lodging would be met in full by the SOS organisation in the host country.

Siddhartha Kaul
Deputy Secretary General
Asia Office
SOS-Kinderdorf International
Madanjeet Singh
UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador
Founder, South Asia Foundation
SAF Chairpersons in
South Asia
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