Caledonia Centre for Social Development
Summary of the Centre's 2005 Activities
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The Caledonia Centre for Social Development is a small, virtual, and non-profit distributing section 30 Company based in Scotland. Membership is drawn from those actively working in the field of social development. The activities of the Centre are focused on a limited number of programmes and projects agreed by the Board of Directors. The Centre has no paid staff and its activities are all carried out voluntarily or as part of the self-employed business of its members.
During 2005 members financial tithes to the Centre amounted to £1,110 GBP while labour tithes amounted to 91 days. Labour tithes were donated to the following activities: Who Owns Scotland project - 20 days; Popularisation of the Land Reform Act - 9 days; Commonweal Project - 3 days; Web-publishing and management - 32 days; technical cooperation partnerships - 16 days; and peer review, consultations and project development - 11 days.
Co-Govern Project: An Africa - Europe Exchange on Common Property Rights
During 2005 Caledonia participated in Co-Govern, a 3-year European Union-funded project in partnership with the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) ( www.iied.org ) and five other organisations (3 African and 2 European). The project has three main objectives:
This project came to an end in May 2005 and the proceedings of the October 2004 Nakuru workshop have been published in Securing the commons in an era of privatisation: policy and legislative challenges. Summary conclusions of the second international workshop of the Co-Govern network, Nakuru, Kenya, 25-28 October 2004. Copies are available at: http://www.iied.org/pubs/search.php?s=STC&p=1
Common Property Rights - Commonweal of Scotland Project
In early 2002 the Centre launched its Commonweal of Scotland project. This initiative seeks to document and publish a series of working papers on aspects of common property rights and their management in Scotland. In recent years the topic has received little attention from researchers, civil society and policy makers.
The Centre published Common Good Land. A Review and Critique by Andy Wightman and James Perman. This received substantial coverage in the media and has been successful in energising a latent debate about the status, role and future of common good land in Scotland's former burghs. Copies available at:
The Centre runs 3 of the largest UK-based land rights websites. The main land website is devoted to land reform and land tenure issues and holds information on Scottish and international perspectives www.caledonia.org.uk/land . The second website is devoted to social land ownership issues and holds feature articles, ideas and case studies relating to the growth and development of non-profit distributing property associations www.caledonia.org.uk/socialland . Both these web sites were launched in June 1999 and continue to receive a modest but steady stream of visits. The third website is devoted to common property rights issues and was launched in 2002 www.caledonia.org.uk/commonweal
All three sites prioritise the gathering and publishing of grey and popular literature on land reform, social ownership and common property rights. During the course of the year: 20 new articles were published on the Land Reform site; 6 new articles on the Socialland site and 3 on the Commonweal site.
The Centre on its gateway website - www.caledonia.org.uk - carries feature articles and material on: the co-operative and social economy; poverty reduction; popular participation and self-development; new localism; and countervailing power. This year 12 new articles were published: 9 on cooperatives; 2 on countervailing power; and 1 on poverty.
During the year revisions and updates were made to the aims and services section of the Centre's gateway site as a means of upgrading the site's contents in preparation for the commissioning of a dedicated Caledonia JustGiving donation page. To further enhance the development and improve site access a re-classification of web-published articles was undertaken including upgrading the site's search facility to a Google-based operation. Each of the main sections headings is now linked to the website's front page.
Both the main Caledonia website and the land reform site operate updating newsfeed sections. This service provides a global selection of breaking and on-going news coverage about poverty reduction, international development and land reform activities, issues and events.
Who Owns Scotland Project
During the year, the Centre continued its involvement as a partner in this project to document the ownership of land in Scotland. The www.whoownsscotland.org.uk website is being developed by one of the Caledonia Directors, Andy Wightman, and continues to attract widespread interest from across the world. As of 31 December 2005, the website was continuing to attract an average of over 4,000 visitors per week.
During 2005, we published a further 62 holdings on the site covering a total of 203,267 hectares. A total of 1,329 private land holdings are currently on the website. This accounts for just over 3 million hectares of rural land (45.8 percent of all privately owned land).
Land Rights Programme
During 2005, the Centre was successful in obtaining funding from the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust and Highlands and Islands Enterprise to develop a 1 year programme to promote the Community Right to Buy (CRB) provisions of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. The programme was designed to increase awareness of the new rights conferred by the Act and to provide advice and support to all who wished it. The project was implemented through a series of activities and a website www.landreformact.com was published to facilitate these.
Responses to Government Consultations
During the year the Centre responded to 2 Government consultations - Highlands and Islands Enterprise's (HIE) new 5-year strategic plan and UK-DFID's new 3-year strategic partnership with UNIFEM.
The HIE submission took the form of a short paper titled: The Cargo Cult - Alive and well in the Scottish Highlands. The paper contrasted 35 years of inward investment industrial estate building in the Scottish Highlands and the highly transient nature of its occupants with endogenous local economic development approaches undertaken in rural China, the Basque country of Spain, Northern Italy and the labour unions in Quebec province, Canada. The article was carried on the Rural Gateway and SenScot websites where it received over 1,500 hits.
The Centre prepared a short response to the DFID-UNIFEM consultation in which it highlighted the need for UNIFEM to shift away from small scale ad hoc activities on gender and women's productive activities and move to a more strategic role of engaging and support global civil society apex bodies such as the those representing trade unions and cooperatives.
Technical Cooperation Partnerships
Tanzanian Technical Cooperation Partnership on National Policy Popularisation
The Centre is providing technical assistance to an innovative Tanzanian social justice NGO - Hakikazi Catalyst ( www.hakikazi.org ). Hakikazi works to promote the use of plain language in the popularisation of national policies. This is cutting edge policy popularisation work with countrywide coverage.
As well as communicating throughout the year via email and Yahoo Messenger George Clark visited Tanzania from 22 February to 4 April 2005. Amongst other things this allowed detailed work on the following publications:
Other Caledonia-related Activities and Assignments
George Clark attended the Africa Commission meeting in the Scottish Parliament Building on 16 May and Wightman, Boyd and Clark attended the SenScot Annual General Meeting on 17 June where Wightman made a presentation on land ownership and the social economy.
Graham Boyd provided 5 days of donated technical assistance to the Tanzania Federation of Cooperatives. The time was spent assisting the Federation's Education, Publicity and Training section prepare a grant application to the BEST (Business Environment Strengthening for Tanzania) program. The application sought to create a country-wide popularisation and dissemination project for cooperatives and other supporting actors on the country's new cooperative policy and laws.