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President Ma: The Republic of China has created a good model of cooperation with NGOs such as World Vision Taiwan(08/24/11)

This morning, President Ma Ying-jeou was invited to speak on “Redefining the Republic of China’s Role in the International Community” at World Vision International’s Asia-Pacific Regional Forum. President Ma said that the Republic of China (R.O.C.) has created a good model of cooperation with NGOs such as World Vision Taiwan.
Since assuming the presidency 3 years ago President said he has contemplated how the R.O.C. can live up to the country’s values and become a major humanitarian player on the world stage. 
To redefine the R.O.C’s role in the international community, President Ma identified five key characteristics, 1) Peacemaker, 2) Provider of humanitarian aid, 3) Promoter of cultural exchange, 4) Creator of new technology and business opportunity, and 5) Become a standard bearer of Chinese culture.
While highlighting the R.O.C’s future humanitarian contributions, President Ma said, “Our new approach to foreign aid embodies 3 principles to undo all the errors we had done before,” referring to past controversial practices by the R.O.C. government.
“First, our goal must be proper. Second, our procedure must be lawful. Third, our implementation must be effective,” said President Ma.
President Ma continued to say that part of being effective is working hand in hand with organizations like World Vision. As an example, President Ma mentioned his visit to Haiti after the devastating earthquake in January 2010.
“I went to Haiti to help the children over there. The government donated in terms of cash and supplies worth US $16 million. We are also committed to building housing units and set up vocational training centers and public health centers,” said President Ma.
During a visit to Burkina Faso in Western Africa, President Ma said he found that children have difficulty studying due to lack of electricity. As an example of the R.O.C.’s innovation, a training centre in Taiwan developed rechargeable solar powered lights. These lights were distributed to children and the only way they can be recharged is if children go to school where the chargers are.
In a similar project, World Vision Taiwan has provided 1500 solar powered lights to children in World Vision’s Area Development Programs (ADP) in Haiti. World Vision Taiwan will also provide 4,000 lights for children in Mali, Malawi and Sierra Leone in the coming year. 
During the question and answer session, Nobuhiko Katayama, Executive Director for World Vision Japan expressed his gratefulness for the R.O.C.’s support after at the Japanese earthquake and tsunami earlier this year.
President Ma responded that Japan also provided support when Typhoon Morakot struck Taiwan. “We are friends and need to help each other,” said President Ma.
Mr. Katayama asked President Ma what the key factors were to work together with the NGOs. 
President Ma said government agencies and NGOs each have their unique roles, and close collaboration and mutual understanding is critical.
“For the recovery after Typhoon Morakot, we provided the land, and NGOs like World Vision constructed the houses. The land is also handed over for life with no possibility for transferring property rights so that we can ensure the people can use it forever,” President Ma said.
“I recommended this model to the former U.S. President, Bill Clinton (the U.N. Special Envoy to Haiti), as he was very concerned about Haiti. He praised the model we used,” President Ma said as a side-note.
“Coordination between NGOs and government agencies has to be done in advance of the disasters and has to be planned and practiced so that when emergency strikes, we know what we do,” President Ma emphasized.


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