Our ideal: a world in which the democratic rights of all people are safeguarded.
What we do
We fight for fledgling democracies and for (social) democrats in countries where freedom is under pressure. The FMS supports the development of political parties by means of providing trainings for them at their request. For example, we educate young politicians in the Balkans, we support democrats in Eastern Europe and we train the new social democratic parties in Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt. We believe that human dignity, human rights and the chance to determine one’s own future must not be restricted to a select group of mostly western countries. Recurrent themes within these trainings are building a democratic party, involving the youth and women in politics, campaigning skills and the enlargement of the European Union. Hundreds of trainers and politicians have been educated in this way in the countries where we are active.
Who we are
The FMS has a small professional staff with a large group of volunteers that conduct the trainings. The trainers have relevant expertise in politics and train for the FMS out of idealism. In this way we keep the costs low and the involvement high. Our trainers have two handbooks at their disposal which are available freely online: How to become a better politician – a handbook of political skills, and The art of effective training – a trainer’s handbook.
European Forum for Democracy and Solidarity
The FMS is in charge of the office of the European Forum for Democracy and Solidarity, a platform for cooperation between social democratic parties and foundations within and beyond the EU. The European Forum’s aim is to strengthen social democracy in countries outside the EU based on the principle of international solidarity. More than 30 parties and foundations are associated with the European Forum.
Our ideal: a world where everyone has equal opportunities for development.
Giving something with one hand which is then taken by the other hand… It could not be more contradictory. What is the purpose behind investing in the development of the SME-sector in Africa, if these enterprises through free trade with Europe are competed out of their own markets? Why would the Netherlands aim at climate-friendly agriculture in developing countries, if its own ecological footprint is three times more than the earth can handle? These are the incoherencies we aiming to stop. We want to persuade the Dutch government into adopting and realising fair policies and legislation. We want to kick-start a public movement in which interest organisations and civil society are represented and heard; involving those who support sustainable development in The Netherlands and in the rest of the world.
Building Change: Global Goals at home and abroad
With ‘Building Change’ we continue to work towards fulfilling our vision of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We want to do this in a fair, sincere, and genuine way with the help of a positive and encouraging government. In order to accomplish this, cooperation with parties such as multinationals and financial institutions is essential. We want to bring all of these parties together based on three important themes: financing for development, climate and energy and international trade. This is where we have to take strides to make a more sustainable world possible. Our goal? To give off a strong signal to the Dutch Parliament and secure the progress that we desire.
‘Building Change’ is a continuation of 'Ready for Change? Global Goals at home and abroad'. In 2016 we used this social initiative during the Dutch presidency of the EU, to demonstrate the necessity for a dedicated approach and responsible implementation of the SDGs in the Netherlands and Europe. We managed to successfully gather a large group of civil society organisations, research institutes, NGOs, and environmental agencies. We took a mutual stance on the shared expectations towards the Netherlands and the European Union to achieve the SDGs in 2030.
Together with Partos and Woord en Daad, we advocate vigorously for development policy coherence in the Netherlands. We are committed to fair Dutch policies that are not detrimental to development countries. Sustainable development, at home and abroad.
Our ideal: an informed society in which everyone can form an opinion based on mutual reliance.
Activities in the Netherlands
The FMS regularly organises public meetings and meetings of experts in the Netherlands on developments in countries and regions where we are active. These events provide a forum for debates about those countries, European expansion or development cooperation among representatives from politics, the civil society, science and industry. We always cooperate with social organisations, the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA) or people who originate from these countries. The big debate about Russia on the eve of the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin in April 2013 attracted a great deal of publicity and cast a spotlight on the developments in Russia, especially because of the presence of Russian opposition leaders. Even within the PvdA, attention to international cooperation and the importance of international solidarity must continually be fought for. The FMS does so through party conferences, managing the office of the PvdA Foreign Affairs Committee and by way of extensive online communication (e.g. a free digital newsletter, Facebook and Twitter).
Africaday is the largest public event related to Africa and international cooperation in the Netherlands. In addition to an extensive cultural programme, visitors get the chance to speak directly with politicians, professionals and each other in dozens of political debates, workshops and lectures. The annual Africaday attracts some 1500 visitors and is made possible thanks to the cooperation of around 150 guest speakers from the Netherlands and abroad, and 60 cooperating organisations.
Information sur la fondation en Français.