MASHAV- Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation
August 25, 2009 at 5:46 am #78577
A short presentation of MASHAV, Israel National Agency for International Development Cooperation.
MASHAV, the Center for International Cooperation was created in 1958 with the aim of sharing with the rest of the developing world the know-how and technologies which provided the basis for Israel’s own rapid development. MASHAV, the Hebrew acronym for the Center for International Cooperation, was established as a division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. What started as a modest program focused on grassroots-level human capacity building at a time when Israel itself was still very much a developing country, has blossomed into an extensive program of cooperation throughout the developing world with the aim of promoting sustainable development and social equity.
Since 1958, MASHAV has trained more than 250,000 course participants from approximately 140 countries in Israel and abroad and has developed dozens of demonstration projects worldwide in fields of Israeli expertise.
Over the years, MASHAV has consistently made its priority the aims of poverty alleviation, provision of food security, empowerment of women and upgrade of basic health and education services, putting Israel’s own creative solutions at the disposal of the developing world. The formalization of these priorities in the Millennium Development Goals has only caused us to redouble Israel’s longstanding efforts to put Israeli solutions at the service of the developing world in order to further these aims.
In December 2007 the 62nd UN General Assembly adopted a resolution initiated by the State of Israel entitled “Agricultural Technology for Development”. Israel’s innovations in agriculture are leading in various fields, including water management & irrigation, seeds and propagation, livestock and dairy management and know-how, and biotechnology. These achievements are the result of the close cooperation between research centers, government institutions and private companies, combined with the urgent need of finding solutions to the lack of water resources and little arable land in a densely populated country with 7 million inhabitants.
MASHAV guiding Principles:
1) MASHAV activities focus on areas in which Israel has a comparative advantage and/or accumulated expertise. MASHAV believes that Israel greatest possible contribution can be made in fields where Israel has expertise directly relevant to emerging nations. The list of such fields includes water resource management and irrigation, desert agriculture and combat of desertification, early childhood education, community development, emergency and disaster medicine, refugee absorption and employment programs and others.
2) MASHAV believes in active consultation with local partners. For development cooperation to work, it is not enough to help the South learn new technologies and methodologies which have had positive effect elsewhere. The solutions that may work in one culture or geographical area often can be inappropriate or even harmful in another environment. Thus, MASHAV understands the importance of developing solutions in partnership with local organizations, asking them to help us adapt ideas to local needs rather than just blindly adopt them.
3) MASHAV is committed to cooperation throughout the developing world and don’t limit its activities to a small number of target countries: the focus is on areas of expertise rather than on geographical areas.
4) MASHAV prefers small-scale activities aimed at “bottom-up”, community-driven development. MASHAV endeavors to identify relevant micro-project activities that can serve as a catalyst for wider-scale development, targeting the grassroots in many of our activities.
5) MASHAV’s focus is on human capacity building and training. Training of trainers and other capacity building activities is the best way to achieve maximum impact in development activity. Education leads to empowerment – the surest guarantee of sustainable growth.
6) MASHAV seeks cooperative projects with other development organizations. MASHAV offers partnership in subjects in which Israel has comparative advantage, to all development agencies, governmental as well as non-governmental, international agencies and development banks. MASHAV’s experience with such joint projects, often on a cost-sharing basis, has been very positive, broadening the impact of MASHAV’s potential contribution and the efficacy of the projects undertaken.
7) MASHAV believes that development cooperation can and should be used to forge bonds of friendship and peaceful cooperation with Israel’s neighbors. Consequently, MASHAV endeavors to be active throughout the Middle East, regardless of the political climate.
MASHAV maintains contact with many of its over 200,000 former course participants through its network of over 70 Shalom Clubs worldwide. These clubs serve as a forum for MASHAV alumni to participate in professional and social activities. Members are invited to attend local lectures by skilled experts, to exchange ideas and to organize technical cooperation and humanitarian assistance as well as holding cultural functions. Among the many activities that have been organized by Shalom Clubs in their home countries have been workshops on professional topics ranging from AIDS education to business management, organization of events to raise funds for local charities, mobilization of club members to donate their professional services for community development and humanitarian activities. Members of the Shalom Clubs play an integral role in determining the focus and scope of programming of their clubs.
MASHAV Middle East activities
MASHAV accords top priority to cooperation with the countries and peoples of the Middle East. Since the signing of the Peace Accord with Egypt, and later, the Declaration of Principles with the Palestinians, MASHAV has been active in promoting technical cooperation with Middle Eastern partners in a wide range of fields. It is Israel belief that there is no more important battle to be waged than the one over the hearts and minds of the peoples of the region and there is no more important strategic asset in this struggle than that of technical cooperation.
MASHAV is the body responsible for Israel’s official Humanitarian Assistance Program. Israel, by tragic circumstance, is possibly one of the world’s leading expert in dealing with mass casualty situations. Israel has gained vast experience in responding to such situations resulting from war or terror, leading to the development of extremely effective procedures for rapid and effective response in case of emergency. This experience enables Israel to quickly dispatch field hospitals and medical and search and rescue teams to countries in the immediate aftermath of both natural and man-made disasters. In addition, Israel often donates needed food, medicine and supplies in emergency situations, constructs temporary housing and rehabilitates damaged medical facilities where needed.
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