(Source: ICA Review, Vol.91 No.2 - Annual Report 1997-1998, pp. 27-28)
An important event in the last quarter of 1997 was the meeting of the ICA Development Trust Advisory Board in Marburg in December. The main item on the agenda was a discussion on the draft policy paper for the Development Programme which the members thought should be more focused. The latest version, approved in principle by the ICA Board, emphasises four key priorities; Co-operative Identity and Image, Business Development, Value-based Professional Management and Leadership, and Government Policy and Legislation. HRD and gender are cross cutting themes, the former being an essential support function in each core area. Increased emphasis will be placed on the income generating aspects of ICA’s development activities. Resource mobilisation is consequently an issue that merits special attention. ICA will also vigorously pursue alliances with new partners. These concerns will be reflected in both the policy and regional strategies.
The next meeting of the Advisory Board will take place in conjunction with the European Regional Assembly. There will also then be an opportunity for the Advisory Board to meet the Trust Board.
In December, ICA was the only non-British organisation invited to a meeting in London organised by the British DfID (The Department for International Development) to discuss a strategy for DfID’s assistance to the co-operative sector. The Plunkett Foundation, which also participated in the meeting, is actively following this up. DfID’s Nairobi office has expressed interest in participating in an ICA ROECSA study on rural finance.
Whilst in England, ICA also had a constructive meeting at the Plunkett Foundation during which a number of areas where the two organisations could work together were identified. The ICA will follow up and look forward to a mutually beneficial collaboration with its British colleagues.
The ICA has continued discussions with ICA’s European region with a view to assisting in assessing members’ needs. This activity will now probably take place towards the end of the year.
Head Office continues to participate in regular planning and review meetings at the regional offices. During the period under review such meetings were attended at ROECSA, ROAP and ROAM. In the East, Central and Southern African region, HO has also contributed to the formulation of terms of reference (TORs) for regional studies on issues like rural finance and support to agricultural co-operatives. Head Office has furthermore participated in a strategy formulation workshop at ICA ROAP, as well as assisted in the preparations for a joint ROAP/HO mission to study the co-operative situation in Central Asia.
Considering the enormous development needs of many of ICA’s member organisations in developing countries, and the resources available to alleviate those needs, it is clear that the ICA must improve its capacity for resource mobilisation. Recent discussions in conjunction with the formulation of a new development policy, as well as conclusions of the review of ROECSA, have confirmed this and consequently highlighted resource mobilisation as the priority area of the development programme. A resource mobilisation task force has now been set up at head office to drive this process forward. The task force will assist ICA development in its resource mobilisation efforts and will meet whenever called for to provide advice. The existence of this task force is a recognition of the urgent need for a systematic and sustained approach to resource mobilisation. Financing has been secured, and a Terms of Reference drafted for a study on resource mobilisation that will provide an inventory of potential sources of funds with regard to their policies and strategies, requirements on project proposals, and, if possible, planning and budgeting cycles and decision making procedures.
An important and related function of HO is the contact with partners. There are regular contacts and joint activities with ILO’s CoopBranch (in particular the COOPNET and COOPREFORM programmes), with whom it has also been instrumental in expanding regional collaboration. A position audit on co-operative management is in the pipeline in collaboration with the ILO COOPNET programme at head office level, and it has also continued its collaboration with the SCC and the ILO on the writing up of a leadership development programme for Africa.
Discussions with Habitat in Nairobi have resulted in a proposed partnership arrangement which will enable the ICA to draw on their technical resources when it comes to the development of housing co-operatives. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed early in the year. ICA Development staff also accompanied the ICA President on his visit to the FAO in March where a number of meetings were held with key departments and personnel. A Memorandum of Understanding between the ICA and the FAO has been drafted and will hopefully be ready for signing by mid-year. The ICA would also like to initiate discussions with UNDP for the same purpose. All regional offices will be able to make use of these partnership agreements.