India’s Manav Seva Sansthan has won third prize among a competitive field of 11 finalists vying for the prestigious Intercultural Innovation Award (IIA) for 2014.
The award was presented at a ceremony on August 28th held on the sidelines of the 6th Global Forum before an audience that included Foreign Ministers, UN officials, dignitaries, representatives of the 139 Group of Friends-member states and international organizations – comprising the UNAOC as well as civil society groups and the media.
Manav Seva Sansthan won for its project, “Facilitating Informed and Safe Migration among Vulnerable Nepalese Migrants along the Indo-Nepal Border,” which aims to provide efficient help to migrants, to promote their rights, and to prevent human trafficking and illegal immigration.
The IIA award, given by UNAOC in partnership with the BMW Group, recognizes grassroots projects worldwide that promote intercultural dialogue and understanding, thereby making vital contributions to social stability and prosperity.
UNAOC and BMW Group received a total of more than 600 entries from grassroots organizations worldwide, narrowing that group to a ‘short list’ of 25 for review by a jury composed of scholars, practitioners and representatives of the award partners themselves. An important criterion for each of the finalists was the potential of programmes to scale up and be replicated successfully elsewhere.
After the ceremony, joint chairs President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations and Mr. Bill McAndrews, Vice President Communications Strategy, Corporate and Market Communications, BMW Group, offered their views on the commitments of their respective organizations in a relationship which is a historic first for both.
“The Intercultural Innovation Award is a unique example of the Alliance mandate to bridge cultural and religious borders and to foster understanding,” said President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser.
“BMW Group’s commitment to the awardees extends beyond financial support to include every relevant resource we can offer.” said Mr. McAndrews. “This can make the crucial difference in turning an idea into a practice that enriches peoples’ lives.”
In addition to a cash award, Manav Seva Sansthan receives, along with all finalists, a year-long programme of managerial, marketing and other consulting help tailored to its unique needs, principally from UNAOC and BMW Group.
What the jury liked
How to protect the safety and the rights of the hundreds of migrants crossing a 1900 km open border every day? How to prevent human trafficking on a scale of 10,000 victims annually?
Manav Seva Sansthan has created a starting point with its Life Guard Centres located at heavily trafficked corridors along the India-Nepal border. The Centres operate on the simple notion that the more migrants know, the less vulnerable they are to human trafficking and other forms of exploitation. The Centres help alleviate fear of the unknown by distributing ‘safe crossing’ information on legal rights, healthcare and access to services they can expect to find at their destinations. The Centres also serve, de facto, as a ‘clearing house’ for information on trafficked victims with the aim of repatriation, rehabilitation and reunification of rescued trafficked victims with their families. “We see migration not as a barrier but as a bridge to a better livelihood,” says Seva Executive Director Rakesh Nair.