In 2002 a program was started to help empower villages in Third World countries. The program developed into a “grassroots civil society institution” known today as the Foundation for Global Village Congress. The Foundation for Global Village Congress is dedicated to building a bottom-up culture of development, so that very poor villages in places like Africa, Latin America, and Asia can reach their own capacity to become “self-supporting.”
“This project is about villages that have been left at the bottom in the world,” said Executive Director of the Foundation for Global Village Congress, Goodluck Diigbo, in a recent conference at the National Press Club. “This is something that should concern every human being.” Diigbo, a native Nigerian and former journalist of fourteen years, has lived in New York City for over a decade pursuing the success of the Global Village Congress.
“We are building on a very solid foundation even though this is a highly ambitious project,” Diigbo said.
The majority of the world’s population lives in rural areas without safe access to shelter, water and food, roads, transportation, and health facilities. In fact, by 2025, United Nations statistics predict 83 percent of the global population will be living in the so-called Third World, or underdeveloped countries.
The foundation hopes to resolve these crises by creating development opportunities for the people living in these villages, by investing in priorities decided by the villagers themselves. The foundation wants to partner with political leaders and the media necessary to promote this vision for funding development projects in village life, on the global level, Diigbo stated.
“Our society should not protect development policies that promote deprivation syndrome?we want to address discontent, which causes people to resort to bloody conflicts, wars and desperate acts,” Diigbo said.
How does the foundation hope to make progress? The foundation will engage local people in the villages to undertake social accounting, Diigbo explained. “They (the villagers) will have to talk about their own progress at the local level.”
A village information “reservoir” is being established called Dataset Development Mechanism Bank. Here, software will assess the information gathered from the villagers and translate it into development elements, for which the foundation aims to attract direct funding to implement the development procedures, according to Diigbo.
“We are asking that resources be redistributed, we are not asking for money that does not exist,” Diigbo said. Currently, funding depends on a partnership for indigenous people’s governments, but eventually the Global Village Congress wants to be its own entity. Diigbo mentioned that Global Village Congress would like to tap into the money spent by the I.M.F and the World Bank.
Global Village Congress is pursuing these projects with huge focus; exercising every opportunity to draw attention to village development, and Diigbo believes that awareness, and the projects themselves, can help resolve other problems like terrorism as well.
Village development is an interdependent and interrelated measure to peaceful co-existence around the world. “The world cannot move forward if we leave others behind,” Diigbo said.
September 28, 2006 has been dedicated as World Village Day to encourage solidarity with villages around the world. An international briefing will be held at the United Nations that day to commemorate the event.