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Manos Unidas

Prince of Asturias Award for Concord 2010

Manos Unidas is a Catholic non-governmental organization that is dedicated to the fight against under-development, illness, oppression, lack of education and hunger. It was founded after the first campaign against hunger in Spain, which was organized by a group of women from Acción Católica Española (Spanish Catholic Action) in 1960 when the FAO called for world action. Manos Unidas also tries to promote a humane and sustainable development, providing financial aid to those who need it and who, due to the unequal distribution of wealth, live in subhuman conditions. The highest governmental organism is the General Assembly of Delegates, presided over by Myriam García Abrisqueta. It also has a Permanent Commission and a National Management Team. 71 delegations, more than 4,500 volunteers, mostly women, and 86,701 members and contributors who support the organisation.

The main aims of Manos Unidas are funding projects in poverty-stricken countries, and education for development. Manos Unidas does not establish projects; it finances those that offer guarantees, helping them to take off. Manos Unidas has supported around 25,000 projects in more than 64 countries in Asia, Africa, America and Oceania. The projects can be agricultural, social, cultural-educational, related to providing medical care and aiding in the promotion of women’s rights. In 2008, Manos Unidas worked on the fifth of the Millennium Development Goals, which is to reduce the maternal mortality ratio. In 2009, the Forum of the 50th Anniversary of Manos Unidas was held in Seville, under the motto “Fighting Hunger, Everybody’s Project”.

601 new projects were taken on in 57 countries in 2013. Manos Unidas also tries to instil the values that aim to achieve change, through fighting for a fairer and more supportive world order. To achieve this, the organization sends educational material to schools, carries out roundtables, conferences, speeches, etc. Manos Unidas receives its funding from private (77.7%) and public (22.3%) sources. In 2008, it raised 53,650,997 euros, of which 91.7% was allocated to projects worldwide.

As a founding member of the CONGDE (Coordinator of NGDO in Spain) and as member of CIDSE (International Cooperation for Development and Solidarity), Manos Unidas is one of the more than 1,600 European organizations that make up CONCORD (European NGOs Confederation for Relief and Development), with 18 international networks and 21 national associations. It is also part of the Fundación Sur (South Foundation) and the Global Call to Action Against Poverty. Manos Unidas has also been in international forums and symposiums, especially those regarding foreign debt in Southern countries, working together in meetings with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Manos Unidas has, among others, the Award for Best Humanitarian Work (1998), the Award of Publicity Festival in New York (1999), the Sol de Plata Award at the San Sebastian Festival (1999), the Ondas Award (National Publicity 2000), the “Human Values” Award of the Scientific Foundation of Caja Rural de Zamora (2001) and the International Award for Human Values of the Jaime Brunet Foundation (2004). In 2009, Manos Unidas was received by Pope Benedict XVI.

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