The Launch Of  the Kampala Initiative

More  about the event  follow this link https: https://www.medicusmundi.org/kampala2019/

Since 2016, Medicus Mundi International provides spaces and input for a critical reflection on the role of health cooperation (aid) in people centred national health systems and policies. With the launch of the “Kampala Initiative” through a series of webinars and the Kampala workshop on “How to advance cooperation and solidarity within and beyond aid?” (15-16 November 2019), we successfully broadened the debate beyond the Network members, giving more space to civil society voices and perspectives from the Global South, and moving from analysis to joint action. ttps://www.medicusmundi.org/kampalainitiative/

In the recent Kampala initiative workshop (November 2019) “cooperation and solidarity within and beyond aid” Civil society activists from diverse professional and experience backgrounds met in Kampala to examine the notion of Aid, dominant narratives about aid and charity emanating from the global North (the rich states helping the “poor” states- and in particular from many NGOs), establish a democratic civil society space and structure of independent, critical-thinking activists and organizations across Southern and Northern boundaries and address the failures and shortcomings of “health aid” and its actors and practices.

The dominant narrative surrounding aid and charity has been shaped largely by the global North and has often been criticized for its paternalistic approach to addressing global health challenges. The notion of aid is often framed in terms of the “rich” states helping the “poor” states, perpetuating power imbalances and inequalities. The role of NGOs in perpetuating this narrative has also been a topic of discussion in the Kampala Initiative workshop.

One of the criticisms of this narrative is that it ignores the structural factors that contribute to health inequities, such as poverty, inequality, and political instability. By framing aid as a one-way flow from rich to poor, it fails to recognize the complexity of global health challenges and the need for a more collaborative and equitable approach.

Another criticism of the dominant narrative surrounding aid and charity is that it often ignores the agency and expertise of communities and individuals in the Global South. The Kampala Initiative workshop emphasized the importance of establishing a democratic civil society space where independent, critical-thinking activists and organizations can work together across Southern and Northern boundaries. This approach recognizes the importance of community-led solutions and the need for local actors to have a voice in shaping global health policies.

Furthermore, the workshop highlighted the importance of addressing the power imbalances and inequalities inherent in the current system of aid. Participants recognized that the global North has a disproportionate influence over decision-making in global health, often at the expense of communities in the Global South. To address this, the workshop aimed to promote a more participatory and equitable approach to global health cooperation, one that recognizes the expertise and agency of all actors involved.

The Kampala Initiative is a critical effort by Medicus Mundi International to promote dialogue, collaboration, and solidarity among civil society actors and organizations from the Global South and North. Through a series of webinars and workshops, the initiative has provided a platform for critical reflection on the role of health cooperation (aid) in people-centered national health systems and policies. The 2019 workshop in Kampala brought together civil society activists with diverse backgrounds and experiences to examine the dominant narratives and practices of aid and charity from the global North, and to address the failures and shortcomings of health aid.

One of the key outcomes of the workshop was the establishment of a democratic civil society space and structure of independent, critical-thinking activists and organizations across Southern and Northern boundaries. This structure aims to promote joint action, foster collaboration, and encourage the exchange of knowledge and best practices. It recognizes that the challenges facing global health require a collective effort, and that collaboration and solidarity are essential to achieve sustainable and equitable solutions.

Another important aspect of the Kampala Initiative is its emphasis on shifting the narrative around aid and charity. The dominant narrative of aid as a one-way flow from rich states to poor states perpetuates power imbalances and reinforces the idea that the Global North is the sole provider of solutions to global health challenges. The Kampala Initiative aims to challenge this narrative by promoting a more equitable and collaborative approach to global health, one that recognizes the expertise and agency of civil society actors and organizations from the Global South.

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