Ekta Europe Network: Ekta Parishad Europe is an open network of independent organisations and individuals of European countries. Its primary goal is to provide moral, political and financial support to social movements which assist deprived people to achieve control over their means of livelihood such as water, land and forest. In particular it supports organisations like Ekta Parishad, India who work toward the empowerment of disadvantaged people by applying and advocating non-violent methods for change (for example Gandhian methods). The support can take the form of awareness raising among Europeans, fundraising, participating in activities on site and supporting projects. Membership is defined by any active form of participation in the activities of EP Europe that is carried out in the spirit of this charter. A list of the members of Ekta Europe can be found on the website of Ekta Europe.
Ekta Parishad: Ekta Parishad is a non-violent Gandhi-inspired social movement in India working on land and forest rights at a national level. It has been built up over the last twenty years growing from the local, to the state, to the national and increasingly, to the international level. The purpose of mobilizing an increasingly growing, very large group of poor people into a loosely structured, major grassroots movement, has been to put pressure directly on central and state government bodies in order to press for legal reforms and structural change. The structural change that Ekta Parishad is calling for is a profound land reform to enable the marginalized and poorest segments of society to get out of poverty. Land reform – giving the poor access to land is a ‘game changer’ that could bring 40% of the populace out of absolute poverty and substantially reduce the violence that is increasingly threatening Indian society. Violence, that is fueled by naxalite, marxist groups who draw on the misery of people to exert control and to use aggressive means in confronting government, leading to police repression and a climate of fear and violence. More information on www.ektaparishad.com.
Conference organising comittee:
- Margrit Hugentobler, Coordinator of Ekta Europe (Conference leader and President CESCI Support Association, Switzerland)
- Alan Leather, Executive Board member, Action Village India, UK
- Aye Aye Win, Co-founder and former Executive Director of Dignity International
- Jill Carr Harris, Coordinator of Advocacy and Public Policy, Ekta Parishad
- Altaï De Saint Albin, International Communications, Ekta Parishad (Bhopal office)
- Marie Bohner, Conference coordinator, OHE