Our ideal: a world in which the democratic rights of all people are safeguarded.
What we do
We fight for democracy and human rights in supporting fledgeling democracies and (social) democrats in countries where freedom is under pressure. The FMS supports the development of political parties by providing training to them at their request. We, for example, educate young politicians in the Balkans, support democrats in Eastern Europe and train new social democratic parties in Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt. We believe that human dignity, human rights and the chance to determine one’s future must not become exclusive to a select group of mostly western countries. Recurrent themes of our training are the building of a democratic party, the involvement of youth and women in politics, the development of 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 team which is supported by a large group of volunteers that conduct training in its name. The trainers have relevant expertise in politics and train for the FMS out of idealism. In this way, we keep costs low and involvement high. Our trainers have two handbooks at their disposal which are freely available 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 of the EU on the basis of 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.
There is nothing more contradictory than giving with one hand and taking away with the other. What is the purpose of investing in the development of the SME-sector in African countries, if these very enterprises, through free trade with Europe, are outcompeted by others in their own markets? Why would the Netherlands advocate for climate-friendly agriculture in so-called 'developing countries', if its own ecological footprint is three times more than the earth can handle? These are the incoherencies we aim to stop. We want to persuade the Dutch government to adopt and realise fair policies and legislation. We want to kick-start a public movement in which organisations of interest and civil society are represented and heard, involving those who support sustainable development in The Netherlands as well as 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 and genuine way with the help of a motivated and encouraging government. In order to accomplish this, cooperation with actors such as multinationals and financial institutions is essential. We want to bring all of these parties together to engage with 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 we desire to make.
‘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 of a dedicated approach to 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 agreed on a stance regarding 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'; we want sustainable development, at home and abroad.
Our ideal: an informed society in which everyone can form an opinion based on solidarity.
Activities in the Netherlands
The FMS regularly organises public meetings and meetings with experts in the Netherlands on developments in countries and regions where we are active. Here, representatives from politics, civil society, academia and business are given the platform to debate current issues around countries in question, European expansion or development cooperation. We always work together with civil society organisations, the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA) and diaspora organisations which are engaged with the different topics at hand.
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).
The Africadag, organised by FMS and the European think tank FEPS, has for the past 25 years been the event on Africa and international cooperation in the Netherlands, being the largest public event of its kind. Each year, the Afrikadag welcomes around 1500 visitors, speakers from all over the world, partner organisations as well as many volunteers to the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam. The event showcases the complexity and richness of a continent of 54 diverse countries through an extensive arts and culture programme, countless workshops and debates in which visitors can talk to professionals, politicians as well as each other, and a smashing afterparty where both rich African dishes and music are on the menu.
Information sur la fondation en Français.