In the space of a few years, solidarity has undergone a great many changes. Today, a wide range of initiatives are being implemented in developing countries: cooperatives, local associations, social entrepreneurs, producers’ organisations, etc. There are large numbers of stakeholders working on a daily basis to promote essential services for their local communities and help develop their regions.
PU supports projects being implemented in vulnerable contexts, where local people are socially and economically isolated and natural environments are being destroyed.
The association identifies the support and assistance needed then tailors its response to meet the expectations of its partners, via three modes of intervention:
- provision of specific skills within the context of a Short-Term Volunteer Assignment (STVA), securing the involvement of people willing to give a little of their time to come and share their knowledge, understanding of an problem or expertise,
- continued partnership offering longer term support to local partners,
- provision of funding for specific projects (reforestation, restoration of vulnerable ecosystems, renovation of dwellings, etc.).
Created in 2000 based on an original model of voluntary commitment, PU is directed and administered by former directors of Médecins du Monde, Handicap International, Greenpeace and a number of business leaders. Awarded public utility status, its activities are focused on adult vocational training and support, socio-educational support, protection and restoration of biodiversity, agroforestry and combating deforestation.
These activities are managed courtesy of two programmes:
- STVA which provides skills transfer assignments
- The “Environment & Development” programme which provides technical and financial support to local organisations.
THREE AREAS OF ACTION
PU supports projects implemented in situations where communities are experiencing social and economic vulnerability and where natural environments are under threat.
- Adult skills building.Access to ongoing vocational training is impossible or extremely difficult for millions of men and women throughout the world. All too often, project developers find that the funding they need to bridge skills gaps at grassroots level is out of their reach. Craftspeople, village cooperatives, associations, women’s groupings, students, small-scale entrepreneurs, local authorities… PU contributes and shares expertise to help those working at grassroots level.
- Socio-educational support for children.Education and culture are considered to be drivers of development and are vital for lifting people out of poverty. This is why PU focuses its work in schools or cultural centres in rural areas. The goal of the association is not to replace teachers or youth leaders, but to work with them to develop stimulating activities to support vulnerable young people.
- Protection and promotion of biodiversity.In response to the ever increasing destruction of the environment, PU is supporting biodiversity research and survey work. It is also supporting local communities by means of reforestation and economic development projects designed to ensure virtuous and sustainable usage of natural resources.