Sovereign organisation

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  • 1. Shaping Our World Making a case for Sovereign local organisations and social movements By Doug Reeler Community Development Resource Association South Africa (illustrations by Andy Mason)
  • 2.
    • ?
  • 3.
    • What kind of civil society organisations are making a difference?
  • 4.
    • How are they transforming power relations in the world today?
  • 5. In three parts
    • Two contrasting approaches to working with organisations in development
    • The idea of Sovereign Organisations
    • Phakamas Story
  • 6. Everyone sees local organisations and social movements as important for social change
    • working through or with local partners is big
    • But we see two contrasting approaches
  • 7. The Conventional Approach:
    • Which asks:
    • How do we make change happen?
    • PROJECTS
    • (or outcomes-based programmes)
    • local organisations O O
  • 8.
    • Many Governments, Donors and larger NGOs use or work through local organisations
    • to deliver their development agenda
    • (increasingly around the Millennium Development Goals)
    • local organisations = outsourced service
    • providers
    • funded to fulfil the aims of others
  • 9. Organisational Capacity Building becomes very important
    • Project management systems and skills
    • M and E systems and skills
    • Finance systems and skills
    • Personnel systems and skills
    • Governance systems and skills
    • ICT systems and skills
    • To fix up local organisations to be more accountable Project delivery vehicles
    • local organisations O O
  • 10.
    • Project management systems and skills
    • M and E systems and skills
    • Finance systems and skills
    • Personnel systems and skills
    • Governance systems and skills
    • ICT systems and skills
    • To fix up local organisations to be more accountable Project delivery vehicles
    • local organisations O O
    To what effect?
  • 11. More specifically: this Capacity Building
    • (under an external project delivery approach)
    • often undermines hidden local knowledge
    • imposes a foreign managerial culture and systems
    • creates cloned organisations copying Best Practice models
    • professionalises community-based organisations
  • 12.
    • The result?
    • a sector plagued with uncreative, obedient, local CBOs and NGOs
    • ... doing what they are told to do, badly
    • not being themselves!
  • 13.
    • Supporting local organisations and social movements
    • as the core purpose
    • starting from a different place
    A different approach
  • 14.
  • 15. and the people making choices and decisions about the future are those who have the power of organisation behind them
  • 16.
    • Some donors and NGOs are paying more attention to Civil Society Organisations
    • not as Project delivery vehicles used to deliver external outcomes
    • but strong, local organisations and social movements, as outcomes in themselves
    • perhaps the truest measure of significant change
  • 17.
    • Instead of local organisations delivering Projects as service providers for others
    • we have approaches which are focused primarily on supporting the development of local organisations and social movements
    • who will themselves lead the change needed, driven by their own aims and initiatives
  • 18.
    • My sense is that people see organisations as vehicles through which to do things in the world, not realising
    • that in building organisation they
    • are shaping the world. James Taylor, CDRA
  • 19. If we want to talk of sustainable development, we might ask
    • Who will sustain it...?
    • it can only be sustained if it is embedded in strong, sovereign local organisations and social movements
    • possibly supported by the others - donors, NGOs, solidarity networks etc.
  • 20. If we want to talk of rights
    • Who will win and defend rights?
    • Sovereign social movements
    • made up of strong local organisations
  • 21. So instead of asking
    • How do we make change happen?
    • we could ask:
    How do effective local organisations and social movements emerge and develop? How can we best support them? (in whichever field we work in)
  • 22. In our minds The ability to understand and work with organisations is a discipline (like adult learning) that should be a core capability of leaders and facilitators in all fields of development Not the sole preserve of professional Organisation Development (OD) Consultants
  • 23. the idea of Sovereignty
    • Small farmers movements talk about
    self-reliance, local ownership decision-making out of consciousness and free-choice free from outside interference, domination or exploitation
  • 24. local organisations and social movements suggests:
    • the same home-grown resilience
    • an inside-out identity
    • the idea of an organisation being the expression of the free will of its own constituents
    • but open to collaboration, support and solidarity
    Applying Sovereignty to
  • 25.
    • It should be clear that rights like food and seed sovereignty can only exist if they are embedded in strong sovereign organisation
  • 26. Defining a sovereign organisation:
    • Works with its own purpose and principles
    • Mobilises and expresses the will and voice of its own constituents
    • Not an outsourced service provider
    • Culturally and structurally unique (not a Best Practice clone)
    • Politically conscious, asks its own questions
    • Able to cooperate and collaborate
    • Able to continually learn and adapt, from its own experience