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OD DEBATE.AUGUST

VIEWS: 11 PAGES: 12

									VOLUME 2 NUMBER 4
AUGUST 1995                                                                    debate
                                                  REFLECTING ON ORGANISATIONS AND DEVELOPMENT


          Why care about OD?
  OD debate asked DAVID HARDING to reflect on the need for organisation development work and the nature of its practice.
He is currently working as a UK-based consultant in the field of OD and adult learning programmes and draws on some 21 years’
  experience in the areas of socio-economic development policy and programmes. He is author of the 1994 AVOCADO series
                          working paper “From Global to Local - Issues and Challenges Facing NGOs.”



O
        rganisations permeate our          and give it its volatile edge. People      whether through the “irrationality”
        lives. We spend much of our        individually bring skills and com-         of personal behaviour, the impossi-
        time working in them, deal-        mitment - but also their own val-          bility of precisely linking cause and
ing with them. They carry many of          ues, attitudes and weaknesses.             effect, or the inevitable existence of
our expectations and dreams for            Many would argue that people               paradoxes in complex human social
delivering a better life, a peaceful       working together - in teams, meet-         systems.
and democratic society. They are           ings, corridors or caucuses - form             Yet, for an organisation to work
one of the most pervasive and              the core dynamic of an organisa-           effectively, these dynamic elements
important elements in modern               tion, but also its most sensitive and      have to pull together and move
social reality.                            fragile one. It is people who give         broadly in the same direction - no
    Yet in many ways one of the            their own shades of meaning to the         easy and simple task. When the
most notable features of the late          structure of an organisation - create      organisation also lives and works in
twentieth century is chronic crisis in     their own, often critically different      the turbulent environment of mod-
organisations, their failure and                                                         ern social life, there is a further
inability to live up to our expec-                                                       complicating factor - the need for
tations. Many of the persistent                                                          constant revision and adaptation
fundamental problems of mod-                                                             of that direction under pressure of
ern life are organisational ones,                                                        change, the need to take creative,
whether at the level of national                                                         flexible action to stay up with
politics or the micro detail of                                                          change.
implementing a small develop-                                                                Managing an organisation like
ment project. Working in                                                                 an NGO in these circumstances -
organisations, how many of us                                                            with complex internal dynamics
have not experienced frustration                                                         and social turbulence - is less like
and alienation as the dominant                                                           steering a supertanker (where you
mood? How often have we felt                                                             can plot the course in advance,
that the organisation does not                                                           steer a straight line, defy all but
allow us to contribute to our full                                                       the worst weather, but only change
capacity, that the organisation is                                                       direction very slowly). It is more
considerably less than the sum                                                           like white water rafting (a very
of its parts?                              Managing an organisation like an           unpredictable course, swirling
        Complex dynamics                   NGO is more like white water rafting       change all around, the need to adapt
When we stop to look at the dynam-         and less like steering a supertanker.      to situations fast, and to work intu-
ics of organisations, however, the                                                    itively and creatively on the chal-
wonder is that they work as well as        mental maps. People too are never          lenges ahead.) 1
they do. Even small organisations          passive objects of action or deci-               Scientific management?
are enormously complex entities.           sions - they interpret, perhaps mis-       If this is the picture of modern
An organisation is a constantly            interpret, implement in their own          organisational life, how do we handle
changing complex system with a             way and at times may block or sab-         it - in thought and practice? Organi-
dynamic interaction between:               otage. They bring in power and             sational theory and practice has
                                           conflict - two old friends that oil
   •   Structure
                                           the wheels of organisational
   •   Organisational values and culture                                                    CONTINUED ON PAGE 3 
                                           dynamics, or sometimes bring
   •   The operational framework – from
                                           things to a grinding halt. Conflict
       policy down to detailed tasks
                                           in particular, plays an important           ALSO IN THIS ISSUE            Page
   •   People
                                           but double-edged role - very little
   •   The environment in which the                                                    RDP Update                        8
                                           moves forward in an organisation
       organisation sits and works.                                                    New publications                 10
                                           without it, but it can at times be a
    Of all these dynamic elements,         paralysing force.                           Funding: The Open
people are at the heart of an organi-         Complex and unpredictable, the           Society Foundation               11
sation but also contribute most to         dynamics of organisation often defy         Organising NGOs                  12
its complexity and unpredictability        logic and rational analysis -

August 1995                                             OD debate                                                          1
               ive                        information
                                                                                            CORRESPONDENCE
O R G A N I S AT I O N
 DEVELOPMENT                                   service
   &TRAINING
                                                                       Dear Davine, Jenni and all at Olive,
                                                                       I work as a community development facilitator/OD person
                HAP Publications                                       in an organisation primarily concerned with vocational
                                                                       skills training (in bricklaying, plumbing, electrical wiring,
The closure of HAP Organisation Develop-
                                                                       carpentry, metalwork amongst others). I have recently
ment Services is a great loss to all of us in                          worked in an associate relationship with Olive (OD and T)
the ‘OD sector’ and to their many clients                              and I thought that OD debate readers may be interested
over the years. We salute their excellent                              in what this entails.
work. Olive (OD and T) is privileged to be                                 Olive’s work approach is to increase the organisation-
given the responsibility of continuing to                              al development capacity available to the non-profit sector
                                                                       (both qualitatively and quantitatively). One way of doing
market, distribute and develop HAP publica-                            this is to develop the skills of associate OD facilitators.
tions (which will include the BRIDGE 1995                                    My work with Olive began in May this year after I par-
Directory.) See page 10 for further details.                           ticipated in the first session of an International Organisa-
                                                                       tion and Systems Development course offered by the
                            Comment                                    Gestalt Institute of Cleveland, in Europe. I was con-
                                                                       cerned to share what was gained from this unique course
HAP’s closure reflects a trend that continues to                       with other OD practitioners (especially since the Gestalt
plague NGOs. In this context, David Harding’s                          approach is not widely used in South Africa). I discussed
article “Why care about OD?”, continues the                            this concern with Olive and it was agreed that I would
                                                                       offer a short report-back workshop. In addition, I shared
debate on issues and challenges facing NGOs
                                                                       some of the approaches of a Communication and Facilita-
and ways of responding to them. The back                               tion course based in ZOPP methodology. This report-
page outlines various options for national                             back took place within a ZOPP Facilitation course offered
NGO organisation in South Africa - an issue                            for the first time by Olive and Associates, last month.
tackled at an August meeting of NGO coalition                                I have found that the opportunity to work with fellow
                                                                       OD practitioners, in an associate relationship, important
representatives.
                                                                       and necessary to my work. The contact and support has
   Following coverage of the RDP in April’s                            proved particularly useful as we grapple with the intrica-
edition, we feature a further RDP update on                            cies of ZOPP and its applications, and the possibilities of
pages 8 and 9, based on a report to Parliament                         integrating new methodologies into our work (for exam-
                                                                       ple, the Gestalt approach). It also provides a platform for
made in June this year.
                                                                       practitioners to offer skills in OD training to the sector,
   Jacky Leach, our UK-based “overseas corre-                          which may not otherwise be used in day-to-day work.
spondent” for the last 5 issues of OD debate, is                       Associates are also offered further training in self-devel-
returning to South Africa. However, readers                            opment opportunities.
can look forward to contributions from other                                 One of the crucial factors in the associate relation-
                                                                       ship is an employer who understands the benefits of this
parts of the world, since we will retain an
                                                                       relationship and is flexible in offering the space and time
“overseas correspondent” column for forth-                             to be involved in such activities. It is most important that
coming editions.                                                       the boundaries between payment for work done for and
                                                                       on behalf of your employer and work done in a consultan-
Olive can now be reached through e-mail! - please                      cy capacity, be clearly defined and put in writing. It is
note the address below.                                                useful to negotiate organisational policy along these lines
                                                                       if it does not already exist. The employer should be com-
                                                                       pensated for time if the associate work lies outside of a
    OD debate is published six times a year                            job description - otherwise the associate work can be
    by Olive Information Service,                                      done on leave time.
    21 Sycamore Road, Glenwood 4001.
                                                       ive                   Through the associate relationship, a network of reli-
    Telephone: 031-258059      Fax: 031-252114   ORGANISATION
                                                 DEVELOPMENT           able OD practitioners can be developed to facilitate
                                                  &TRAINING
    E-mail: oliveodt@iafrica.com                                       access to collegial input and support, further training and
    Editors:   Davine Thaw                                             opportunities to work independently or in a co-facilitator
               Jenni Wishart                                           situation.
    Correspondence is very welcome and should be sent to the
    Editors at the above addresses.                                    CHANTELLE WYLEY
    Designed and produced by ARTWORKS                                  Community Development Unit, Khuphuka Skills Training
                            The Desktop Publishing Agency              and Employment Programme.


2                                                               OD debate                                               Vol. 2 No. 4
                                                    OD - WHO CARES?

               CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1                         to some manageable, discrete problems which we can
                                                              then “resolve”. It means giving up the idea that there are
struggled to come up with the answers to the endemic          “right answers”, check lists we can borrow from others,
problems organisations pose. The classic - and dominant       and a logical path through all of this, which, if we can
- response in Western cultures has been that of the vari-     only find it, will bring us calmer seas for good.
ous schools of scientific approaches to organisations and         There are also gains - and interesting challenges - in
management. These have tried to apply rational analysis       accepting our inadequacies and limits. The main chal-
and cut logical paths through the disorder, to develop        lenge is to really accept that we cannot control the uncon-
manageable models and build some kind of generalised,         trollable - and to see that as liberating as well as a loss.
replicable praxis. To do this rational analysis tends to      We have to dance with the ungraspable complexity of the
“reduce” complex social systems to a simpler set of “key”     present, the unpredictability of the future, muddling
elements. In mainstream management there are now              through as best we can, with perhaps our own core val-
important challenges to this dominant approach: in the        ues as our only constant guide. We will struggle to
development world, what we see is more a push to re-          understand our organisations and our social reality as
introduce scientific management ideas – logical frame-        best we can - but our grasp will always be imperfect and
work currently being the most popular candidate – as the      transitory. We do gain in several ways however, in
answer to ineffectiveness.                                    accepting this challenge. We stop banging our heads
    The hard lesson from experience is, however, that         against the impossible task of maintaining order and
organisational dynamics are too complex, too paradoxi-        adherence to neat future planning models - with the
cal and too unstable to be grasped in their “whole” by        stress and frustration when things always “get away”.
logical, rational thinking. Scientific management             And by escaping from the idea that rationality is the only
approaches are, bluntly, inadequate to the task. They         road, we open the door to other, more appropriate ways
may often be inappropriate - for example, intuitive or        of thinking and responding - more intuitive, reflective
creative responses, are often demanded and require a          ways of working. Working with organisations becomes
totally different thinking approach. They are also often      more like an art than a science. We can bring back the
dangerous - we tend to buy their simplified analyses of       analogy of white water rafting here - and we should
situations, their model answers and their straight line       remember that white water rafting can be exciting as well
thinking and work with them, believing they are some-         as scary.
how more accurate than reality, because they are logical          This is a long route round to the title of this piece
and manageable.                                               - why care about OD? What does all this mean for
    We have a problem with organisations. We have per-        OD? Should we care?
sistently underestimated the complexity and distorted the         At one level, most decidedly yes. Organisations are
nature of the organisational problem. We have common-         key vehicles in our lives and all of our projects. Yet para-
ly tried to make it conform to a simpler, more mechani-       doxically, they are often the main blocks on the road to
cal, logical problem shape that we can then deal with.        progress; partly because of the inadequacy and short-
And we have correspondingly overestimated our capacity        sightedness of our approach to thinking and working
in thought and practice - to handle and resolve the type                               with them. If, when we talk about
and depth of problems these volatile creations of ours                                    OD, we mean in a very broad
throw up. In a recent essay by Allan Kaplan of the                                        sense, the challenge of how to
                                                                                          develop new ways of thinking
Community Development Resource Associa-
                                                                                                 about and working with
tion, he notes a phrase of Albert Einstein’s
                                                                                                    organisations, how to
which sets out a key issue here, concisely:
                                                                                                     gain a deeper under-
“The world that we have made as a result
                                                                                                     standing of how
of the level of thinking we have done                                                                organisations work,
thus far creates problems that we                                                                    and how to develop a
cannot solve at the same level                                                                       more effective prac-
                                                                                                   tice in our work - then
                                                                                                we desperately need OD
                                                                                           and we need to care about OD.
                                                                                               At another level, though,
                                                                                            we need to be care-full. OD
                                                                                            also means OD practitioners,
                                                                                          conscious attempts to intervene
at which we created them.” 2                                         in organisations, OD as a discipline and profes-
                   Facing inadequacy                          sional practice. Here we have to watch out. OD is not a
We need to face up to our inadequacies at the level of        united discipline any more than is economics. There are
thinking and practice when it comes to organisations.         many different approaches and schools but, with a disci-
We also need to be more humble about what we set out          pline that draws on organisational theory for much of its
to achieve. We need to accept the real nature of organi-      thinking framework, it’s not surprising to find much of
sational issues - in all their complexity, dynamism and       the same inadequate, but at the same time, arrogant
irrationality. Unfortunately this means giving up a lot. It   thinking, present in OD work.
means giving up the arrogant idea that we can somehow                           Taking care with OD
regain a rational control over and impose a logical order
                                                              If you’re being care-full about OD, what do you watch
on our organisational life, if only we work harder on the
                                                              out for?
right method or theory. It means stopping cheating on
                                                                  Watch out for the OD practitioner who talks only -
complexity by over-simplifying the dynamic mess we face
                                                              but confidently - in rational analysis terms, and offers

August 1995                                            OD debate                                                        3
                                                        OD - WHO CARES?

logical paths and straight line thinking as the frame to            •   are well-schooled in different approaches and methods
work in. The practitioner who wants to “reduce” your                    for working with organisations, but can work selectively
own mess too quickly to a simple set of (often standard-                and appropriately with them;
ised) problems - and who isn’t prepared to listen and               • respect, encourage and can work with intuitive and cre-
struggle with you to grasp the “whole picture”. Watch out               ative approaches, in handling dynamic, changing and
for the OD practitioner who offers you “ready to wear”                  complex situations, as well as more rationally based
models for your organisation to slip into - not wanting to              approaches.
get into the uncharted waters of your organisation’s own                Above all - as well as everything above - look for those
unique issues and responses. The practitioner who brings            OD practioners who confess to doubts and holes in their
their “patent method” as “the method for all situations” - a        understanding of organisations, who say they will learn
sign often that they are more dominated by the method               with you when they work with you, who believe there are
than the master of it. The practitioner who sells their OD          usually no “quick fix” answers but rather a need to spend
work as a pre-set two-day structured session - rather than          as long as it takes - and to go as slowly as is needed.
looks at your own needs and time needs. Beware of those                 We must not become complacent about our thinking and
who offer to provide you with the expert answers - rather           practice around organisations. We certainly have no right
than help you work through to some tentative, experimen-            to. We need to be uncertain, have doubts about our work,
tal responses of your own.                                          because that then reminds us of our limitations to date; it
    Look perhaps instead for those who:
• seem to be open to your problems, to exploring a range                Robert Graves wasn’t thinking of OD when he wrote the
    of approaches to working on them;                                   following lines, but they are appropriate:
• recognise that you will never grasp the whole “whole pic-             ”He is quick, thinking in clear images;
    ture”, but will nevertheless work with you to try to do             I am slow, thinking in broken images;
    just that, rather than rush to over simplify;
                                                                        He becomes dull, trusting his clear images;
• bring experience, but see it only as a qualified guide to
    your reality;                                                       I become sharp, mistrusting my broken images.“ 3
• are prepared to offer judgements but not to impose                    We should both care and be care-full about OD. All our
    them;                                                               futures are bound up with the struggle for greater effective-
• recognise their own knowledge and power, can offer                    ness in its subject matter - social organisations. We have a
    them for you to use and learn from, but will not use                lot to learn.
    them manipulatively, or abuse them;
1
  White water rafting is the term used by Peter Vaill in his interesting book “Managing as a Performing Art”, Jossey-Bass, 1990.
2
  From “The Art of the Development Practitioner”, by Allan Kaplan, unpublished.
3
  From Collected Poems by Robert Graves.


    Developing human                                                 change since they can be revisited and modified as cir-
                                                                     cumstances demand.
                                                                         In his article on organisation identity, (April OD debate
        resources                                                    1995), James Taylor makes reference to six levels of com-
                                                                     plexity present in organisations and strategies of interven-
   CAROL ANN FOULIS, who is part of Olive’s OD team,                 tion to deal with them. HR fundamentals operate at levels
 comments here on the practice of Human Resource (HR)                two, three and four (refer to table below). If structures and
development and management in organisations, and its role            procedures (incorporating HR mechanisms) are not in
              in OD processes for NGOs.                              place, organisations can experience great difficulty in oper-
                                                                     ating at successive or increasing levels of complexity.
H    uman Resource management does play an integral
     role in organisation development processes and
assist organisations to cope with change. (As David
                                                                         NGOs need to consider using the function of human
                                                                     resource development and management as a tool to
                                                                     increase their effectiveness and sustainability - particu-
Harding notes in the previous article, “People are at the
                                                                     larly in the light of the challenges they currently face.
heart of an organisation.”)
   However, few NGOs spend time or money in develop-
ing policies and procedures in this area, unless forced to              Levels of complexity         Description
as a result of crises. Under these circumstances, the
urgency of a situation can lead to decisions that are less              6. Environmental             The social, economic and
than ideal - staff can be left wondering how important                                               political situation in which the
                                                                                                     organisation functions.
they are to an organisation.
   Olive has introduced a Human Resource development                    5. Identity                  Fundamental purpose and
and management focus into the work of its OD unit.                                                   essence of the organisation.
Attempts are being made to develop frameworks for                       4. Values                    Policies, principles, norms. What
staffing policies and systems specifically for the NGO                                               we prize and use as guidelines.
environment.
   Work with existing clients covers issues regarding                   3. Relationships             Cooperation and the way in
                                                                                                     which people work together.
conditions of employment, job descriptions, payment
frameworks and performance management systems.                          2. Structures/procedures     Procedures, work processes,
These are areas that form the “nuts and bolts” of HR.                                                structure, the formal organisation.
   They are relatively easy to implement yet, if they are               1. Physical level            Building tools, equipment and
not in place, their lack can be the source of great dissatis-                                        technical resources; personnel.
faction. They are also tools to enable organisational

4                                                          OD debate                                                       Vol. 2 No. 4
                                                   OVERSEAS CORRESPONDENT


How is the UK voluntary sector
tackling OD and training?
By JACKY LEACH, OD debate’s Foreign Correspondent based at the School of Development
Studies, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom.

   n comparison to South Africa, the voluntary sector in the       ent degrees of experience
I  UK operates in a different socio-economic and political
environment. However, it is surprising how quickly you hit
                                                                   of participants, as well as
                                                                   their level of seniority
                                                                   within their organisation. Training courses offered fall
familiar ground once you start to discuss the nuts and bolts       under the following broad headings: Vision, Quality,
of organisational growth and development. There are the            Equality; Management; Personal Development; Managing
familiar crises such as: when the founder of the organisation      Time and Tasks and Projects; Communication, Funding and
leaves, or when the founder should leave and won’t; or             Fundraising; Finance and Resources; and Legal. To give you
when a three-year funding grant comes to an end; or an             an idea of the extent of the courses offered, there are 19
organisation requires staff with a different set of experience     courses alone falling under the Vision, Quality, Equality
and skills because of a change in direction. The examples          section, such as the two-day, level 3 course on Developing
here were offered by Jean Garner, a trainer at the National        a Successful Organisation.
                                                                        Most of the courses taken up are on Funding and
Council for Voluntary Organisations. One startling difference
                                                                   Finance, which are issues that never seem to go away.
is that those involved in OD and training have not yet heard       Although management skills are not the most pressing
about “building capacity”, and had to ask me what it meant.        issue, when it comes to assisting organisations with fund-
                                                                   ing, you find that things such as a mission statement, equal
                            Savita Ayling who heads the            opportunity employment policy and other fundamentals
                            Events and Training Department         required for successful fundraising are not in place.
                            at the Directory of Social                  DSC also offers in-house training, where it tailors
                            Change (DSC) once came across          courses for staff. It offers its own certification which is
                            “building capacity”, when tender-      recognised because of its good reputation. DSC is, there-
                            ing for a local government con-        fore, not convinced about the necessity of accreditation
                            tract. “So it must be floating         according to the National Vocational Qualifications.
about out there somewhere”, she said. DSC had guessed                                           Charles Woodd, from the
that it implied, “the capacity to allocate and use scare                                    National Federation of Commu-
resources to maximum effect”. However, they still use the                                   nity Organisations (NFCO), also
term “empowerment”. DSC was established in 1974, by                                         known as Community Matters,
Michael Norton, with the aim of providing information and                                   says that training for voluntary
training to the voluntary sector. It defines the voluntary                                  organisations is a burgeoning
sector to include any organisation which is not-for-profit         industry. But these training courses don’t provide any-
and has an element of voluntarism in its staffing. The first       thing for those organisations who have not even got onto
training offered by DSC took place in Michael Norton’s liv-        the bottom rung of the ladder. These are organisations
ing room in response to a book he had written called The           who don’t see their training needs and don’t have the time
                                                                   or money anyway. For them you need another approach.
Directory for Social Change, which elicited responses from
                                                                   There is the option of consultations with individual organ-
all over the UK. DSC now employs 40 staff, has offices in
                                                                   isations, but “this is crazy because at £300 a day, these
London and Liverpool and lots of lovely training rooms. It
                                                                   organisations can’t afford it”. Another option is communi-
is the largest provider of information and training to the
                                                                   ty development workers providing on-the-spot nurturing.
voluntary sector in the UK, publishing books and running
                                                                   The problem here is that there are not nearly enough com-
training programmes and conferences, from which it gen-
                                                                   munity development workers to go around, and this trend
erates its income. It also organises a number of annual
                                                                   doesn’t seem likely to reverse. Also, community develop-
events such as the Charity Fair and the Law Conference for
                                                                   ment workers vary: some are not so good and are in and
which it has become well known.
                                                                   out of the area with little commitment for a community
    Savita attributed success to the fact that the organisa-       they are not from. For NFCO the solution lies in the local
tion is able to respond very quickly to issues and often see       community and with local networks of people who have
potential information and training needs before others do:         some experience, and who can be enabled to share their
two recent examples being the Charity Act and the Nation-          experiences with other groups. They may not always have
al Lottery, which have both impacted upon the voluntary            all the skills and knowledge, so the aim of NFCO is to con-
sector. This ability to react proactively with speed is seen       centrate on enabling these people to be more effective.
as crucial because training is often the only way small            NFCO therefore develops training programmes and runs a
organisations keep abreast of what is happening. The vast          consultation service with this in mind, starting with a
majority of DSC clients are small and medium organisa-             Development Facilitator programme.
tions. There is, therefore, also a concern with keeping the             The UK voluntary sector is also grappling with how to
fees down and the cost of courses is between £70 and £80           provide effective training and OD to a sector charac-
a day, where the average elsewhere is £300. It also tries to       terised by different levels of knowing and having, and dif-
get bursaries sponsored.                                           ferent levels of being. The solution put forward by the
    DSC offers small courses which are available to anyone         people I spoke to was to experiment, not to be scared to
who can fulfil the criteria, depending on whether the              run with an idea and see how it works. Maybe we can
course is level 1, 2 or 3. These levels reflect both the differ-   learn from each other’s experimentations?

August 1995                                                 OD debate                                                        5
          A
       T  P                                               DRAMA & OD
       E  P
       C  R
    METHODOLOGY                        BEYOND ROLE-PLAY:
       N  A
       I
       Q
          C
          H
                                         A theatre for OD?
       U                         MIKE ABRAMS comments on a creative approach to Organisation Development and
       E                         Training (OD & T). He has worked as co-ordinator of an OD & T unit for Akanani Rural Develop-
                                 ment Association of the Northern Transvaal. He is currently based in the Cape, working on
                                 developing a theatre and education unit for ABE educators.
      heatre in OD and T? ... The-                                                       ing a sense of a people’s con-

T     atre and drama to build
      management capacity?...
Using theatre to do a needs
                                        “The arts in Africa are an important
                                    empowerment tool for the grassroots.
                                                                                         sultancy - a consultancy
                                                                                         whose form, process and
                                                                                         practice is an OD and T ser-
analysis?... Sound a bit strange?...This is because the arts in Africa are               vice for the people, by the
Definitely a fringe activity?... It                                                      people and with the people.
                                    endowed with certain characteristics that
conjures up pictures of consul-                                                          It’s about breaking through
tants and development workers       render them effective and suitable for               an image and reality of high-
dancing dramatically in time to     empowerment processes... Throughout                  ly-paid outside experts travel-
“shoshoIoza” while strategically                                                         ling in ‘planes and fast cars
planning the next three years...    Africa’s history people have used the arts           and staying in costly hotels,
    Strange? No! In many parts      as a communications medium for their                 developing elaborate plans
of the world, Popular Theatre                                                            and not following up with
(PT), has developed as a means      daily preoccupations... Moreover, the arts           unlearning processes. But it’s
of communication amongst            in Africa, especially the indigenous arts,           more than this - it’s about
oppressed people involved in lib-                                                        seriously challenging our
eration struggles. Adult educa-     are under grassroots ownership and con-              power. To do this we need to
tors and theatre activists have     trol. The arts, therefore, have the poten-           develop methods of commu-
developed techniques for using                                                           nicating our processes which
drama and theatre in a wide
                                    tial to facilitate a people’s identification         are action-based and partici-
range of development activities.    with development messages, which is a                patory, allowing the facilita-
From drama workshops for city                                                            tor to be an equal partner in
                                    crucial step towards their participation in          the dialogue.
mayors in Brazil (to develop
effective communication strate-     action for development...”                               Performing arts offer one
gies), to improvised theatre for                                      Penina Mlama       such alternative because it is
needs analysis in Sahel, to pro-                                                         a method of communication
viding a framework for rehears-     “Drama builds energy of the spirit, in a             still under mass control. This
ing anti-crime strategies in Sicily,way which burns no fuel, depletes no                 means that, unlike other
popular theatre is creating a                                                            forms of media, which “talk
                                    resources and creates no pollution.”                 to” their audience, this is a
viable participatory means of
development communication.                                          George Leonard       medium that allows “talking
                                                                                         back” and the development of
Dear reader - am I about to                                    dialogue at the point of communication. We all do
lose you?                                                      movement and many of us sing or tell stories when we
Does the idea of a consultant/trainer/ manager/ field-         have to deal with dramatic events in our lives. The
worker running drama workshops make you uncom-                 performing arts allow us to use a method of commu-
fortable?... Please don’t go, because all over our new         nication which we are all familiar with - a useful start
South Africa, educators are using popular theatre.             to any learning process. We need learning methods
For example: learning science and technology using             which do not estrange people from the content,
puppets; using story-telling techniques to resolve con-        because it is foreign to them.
flict and communication breakdowns; using impro-                   The performing arts also allow participants to ini-
vised and image theatre for planning purposes; thera-          tiate their own messages, using the conceptual frame-
peutic theatre for unlearning racism and sexism.               works, codes and symbols familiar to them, thus
Lend me an eye for a few moments, read the next few            building involvement and ownership of the process
paragraphs and if interested, please contact me and            and outcomes. This is important in a society where
let’s bring PT into your OD and T process!                     80% of the population are poorly literate. We need to
    So why use theatre? For me, the answer lies in             be sensitive to the fact that small group discussion
thinking through our roles as OD and T practitioners           and flipcharts can be alienating in an oral culture that
and the power relations affecting the organisations            is stratified by age and that affirms and develops
and communities we service. We need to be develop-             knowledge differently.

6                                                         OD debate                                                Vol. 2 No. 4
                                                          DRAMA & OD

Within the performing arts, popular theatre has a                 ❐ It is under-utilised in OD and T in South Africa
number of other advantages:                                         because practitioners are mostly middle class and
                                                                    locked into methods of facilitation that emphasise the
❐ Its an evocative, experiential and immediate form of
                                                                    spoken and written word, technology, the individual
  learning that allows almost simultaneous movement
                                                                    and a colonial sense of formality which is often alien-
  between conceptual thinking and action, thus creating
                                                                    ating and boring to participants in an OD process.
  deeper levels of meaning, feeling and attitudinal
  change.                                                             The implementation of the Reconstruction and
❐ It allows for a process of dialogue within an organisa-         Development Programme (RDP), is envisaged as being
  tion that breaks patterns of verbal domination by the           people-driven. It is argued that people need to be
  articulate, skilled and powerful, because of race, class        involved in all stages of development processes - pro-
  and gender inequalities.                                        ject conceptualisation, resourcing, implementation and
❐ It is a medium which emphasises action, movement                evaluation. We would like to operate in supposedly
                                                                  democratic and transparent ways, yet we use means of
  and responsive improvisation rather than the word -
  in Africa, it is more user-friendly.                            communication which reinforce existing power rela-
                                                                  tions in our own interventions - and wonder at low lev-
❐ It is a very fast method for building assertiveness and
                                                                  els of participation in workshops and ownership of the
  confidence.
                                                                  product when it comes to implementation. If the RDP
❐ It allows for rehearsing or practising strategies for           is to be people-driven, we will need to find methods of
  change.                                                         communicating developmental messages which are
❐ It’s fun, enjoyable, cathartic and entertaining, like any       people-driven. This will require methods of facilitation
  good performance.                                               which are participatory for all, face to face, cheap, sus-
❐ It can even make learning Logframe and ZOPP less                tainable, creative and democratic in creating a process
  boring!                                                         which allows particpants and facilitator(s) to share
❐ For the facilitator, it constantly challenges one’s own         more equally. This will ensure that the outcomes are
  creativity and learning boundaries, so keeping each             rooted in the people’s knowledge and experience.
  intervention creative, exciting and different. This can             Theatre is one such methodology utilised for the
  help to prevent burnout as well.                                purpose of developmental communication since the
❐ Since it is a collective activity, it builds collective         birth of human society. The challenge lies open to us to
  activity.                                                       continue this tradition in our work of building human
❐ Since its creation requires criticism, it helps build a safe    and organisational capacity.
  environment for mutual and self-criticism to develop.
                                                                                                                Theatre allows
   This type of popular theatre can                                                                               for a process
be used as a diagnostic tool, in                                                                                    of dialogue
conflict resolution, in strategic                                                                                   that breaks
planning and the unlearn-                                                                                           patterns of
ing of oppressions. The                                                                                         verbal domina-
techniques being utilised                                                                                            tion within
extend far beyond
                                                                                                                 organisations.
role-play into more
complex and chal-
lenging forms of
improvisational and ther-
apeutic theatre.
However, there are a
number of disadvan-
tages:
❐ Since it is evocative,
  it could need care-
  ful containment.
❐ Aspects of the
  organisational
  c u l t u r e
  which      are
  problematic
  and hidden, tend to
  surface quickly.


 The trend towards incorporating theatre and drama in education is reflected in the Southern African Performers’ Co-ordinating
Network. This embraces a Theatre for Development Network and will hopefully be launched in Harare, Zimbabwe, this year.
 If you are interested in exploring the use of theatre in your work or organisation, contact Mike Abrams, 10 Merrick Street,
                          OBSERVATORY, 7925, tel: (021) 472851 (h) or 448 2883 (w). Fax: (021) 448 2882.


August 1995                                               OD debate                                                            7
                                                          UPDATE



    RDP Report-back
     OD debate summarises MINISTER JAY NAIDOO’s June 1995 Report to Parliament titled
                                Taking the RDP Forward.


“R      econstruction and development is a journey” is
         Naidoo’s theme. He provides a 25-year timeframe
for this, divided into five-year strategies. An underlying
                                                               This process appears to be uneven
                                                               across the spectrum of RDP-aligned departments and
                                                               non-existent in other departments. In departments
assumption is that the vision of the RDP is not just the       where RDP planning is taking place, it involves the devel-
property of the Government of National Unity (GNU). If it      opment of national strategies, which include sectoral
is to succeed, this vision must belong to the nation as a      strategies, such as health, education, trade and industry,
whole. April’s OD debate reported that the RDP Office is       and so on. This includes cross-sectoral strategies, such
working in two key areas to achieve greater support for its    as urban development, rural development, infrastructure
mission: (1) the integration of government departments at      investment and human resource development.
all levels to implement RDP objectives in a more ‘holistic’        Interdepartmental task teams have produced work-
way, and (2) ensuring community participation in RDP           ing drafts of these strategies based on input from line
projects on the ground. Taking the RDP Forward gives           departments, provinces, local authorities, parliament,
some indication of what has and hasn’t been achieved in        social partners (through NEDLAC2 and other structures)
those two areas. Following the 1994 RDP White Paper            and from civil society. A special programme unit is
and departmental White Papers, a second RDP White              working with departments to prepare policies on gender,
Paper is due out in September this year. The target is to      children and disabled people. A draft policy document
put a National Strategy for Growth and Development             for Women’s Empowerment is currently being circulated
before Parliament in early 1996.                               by the RDP’s Gender Coordinator for comment.
                                                                   Certain government departments 3 are involved in
                    Needs analysis                             strategic planning processes to implement develop-
The report looks at some ways to quantify people’s             ment planning strategies. These departments are looking
needs which will enable tough political choices to be          at what each can contribute to the RDP, and what
made around how best to address social and economic            restructuring is needed within each to do so efficiently.
priorities. Leverage allocations from the 1994 RDP Fund        Following the strategic planning cycle, departments are
were used to re-design and execute the 1994 Household          required to budget, implement, monitor performance
Survey, and in support of the Presidential Lead Pro-           and evaluate service delivery - bringing a “customer
jects (PLPs), which have been identified as “pilots” to        focus” into a “performance culture” by following “a busi-
begin RDP implementation and monitor effectiveness.            ness planning process”.
The Household Survey covered 30 000 households, pro-               A Programme Management Unit is processing
duced “the most accurate statistical information we            departmental and provincial business plans for approval
have” and led to the first ever United Nations Human           by the Programme Steering Committee. This comprises
Development Index or HDI calculation for South Africa.         RDP, Finance, State Expenditure, Public Works and the
The HDI takes into account literacy levels, life expectan-     Central Economic Advisory Service. PLP and other pro-
cies, and the quality of life of the population with break-    ject reports are compiled into monthly reports for cabinet.
downs by province, racial group, gender and the
urban/rural divide. These statistics will be one of the fac-                  Transforming for delivery
tors used by the Fiscal and Finance Commission in allo-        The RDP office calls for “departmental strategies which deliv-
cating resources to the provinces. The 1996 Census is          er and transform at the same time” and for “flatter and more
being designed to create a solid foundation for more rep-      responsive (government) structures”. At national level, work
resentative statistical information in South Africa, and       with the Departments of Housing and Land on the Develop-
the RDP is preparing to make use of this information.          ment Facilitation Bill aims to cut legislative red tape (such
                                                               as building control, town planning, fire safety regulations and
        Development according to the RDP                       treasury regulations) and to fast-track release of land for
The Report details efforts that have been made to              development. It creates conflict resolution mechanisms and
mobilise resources behind the RDP. In 1994, the RDP            calls for a coherent development planning system at regional
Fund represented less than 2% of the total government          and local level. It is hoped the Bill will be passed in the cur-
budget, or 0.5% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).1          rent Parliamentary session. The Overseas Development Asso-
In addition to re-prioritising government line department      ciation (ODA) has funded a two-year provincial government
budgets to enable implementation of RDP goals, the             support project and is currently tackling a training pro-
report notes that more work is needed to mobilise the          gramme on the Bill at the request of the provinces.
resources of the private sector (such as contractual sav-          Support is also being sought for a National Informa-
ings institutions and mutual societies) and parastatals.       tion Project which will create a common information
To this end, an investment conference, involving pri-          system to be used by all departments. This recognises
vate sector investors, is scheduled for August.                the intersection between the ‘vertical’ strategies of gov-
    The RDP office is working on the question of interna-      ernment departments and the ‘horizontal’ integrated plan-
tional aid with the International Development Co-opera-        ning that takes place in provinces. Departments like
tion Committee, and with the Departments of Finance,           Water and Transport, and parastatals such as Eskom,
Trade and Industry, Foreign Affairs and State Expenditure.     Telkom and Transnet, need to participate in the develop-
                                                               ment planning process at a provincial level. In support of
                  Role of government                           this, the RDP office co-chairs the Forum for Effective
One tactic to redirect the resources of government             Planning and Development (with Land Affairs). Other
departments to meet people’s needs, while at the same          participants are provincial MECs.4 Through this forum, a
time ensure growth, is an orientation towards “develop-        capacity building process began in May with a workshop
ment planning,” which is under way in some key areas.          for 80 provincial planners. It is hoped that provincial and

8                                                       OD debate                                                 Vol. 2 No. 4
                                                            UPDATE

national strategies will be brought together at a develop-          ment. This campaign was launched with the departments
ment planning summit scheduled for December.                        of Constitutional Development, Housing and Finance to
    The Cabinet and Parliament drive the national plan-             encourage support for local authorities and payment for
ning process, with consensus coming through the                     services. R850 million will be channelled into local author-
National Economic Development and Labour Council                    ities through the Extension of Municipal Services pro-
(NEDLAC). Provincial Legislatures and Executive Coun-               gramme: funds will flow particularly to communities that
cils are responsible for this process at the provincial             are taking responsibility for their own development. It is
level. The whole process is held together by the Inter-             urged that local authorities be empowered to put together
governmental Forum, made up of provincial premiers                  local economic development plans through community
and national ministers.                                             consultation and participation. Local development forums
                                                                    are viewed as strengthening this process, but they should
                      The economy                                   not be seen as an alternative to democratic local govern-
The Macro Economic Working Group helps guide                        ment. This new role for local government will require a
departmental budget allocations. It also considers what             review of existing legislation and regulations which govern
kinds of public investment and international financing are          local authorities. A task team will convene a summit on
needed to achieve RDP targets. Improved economic per-               development planning in local government later this year,
formance and job creation is being considered by the                to be followed by some LED pilot projects.
Department of Trade and Industry and other role-play-
ers particularly regarding an industrial strategy, support for                    Presidential Lead Projects
small and medium micro enterprises                                                The Cabinet released R2,5 billion to the RDP
(SMMEs), and policies on trade, tariffs, sci-
ence and technology. The Department of
                                                    Upcoming Events Fund in 1994. In 1995, R5 billion has been
                                                                                  made available. Four principal goals guided
Labour is working on a labour market policy                                       expenditure in 1994. One of these was the
                                                       August /September -
(together with NEDLAC), which includes the                                        development of Presidential Lead Projects
draft Labour Relations Bill.                         Investment Conference        (PLPs) which were identified, funded and
    A human resource development strat-                                           implemented to start fast-track delivery on
egy is needed to bring about managed and                  September -             the ground. It is hoped that the experience of
sustainable growth. This strategy should              2nd RDP White Paper         the PLPs will provide important lessons for
be supported by a science and technology                                          future development projects. Key Perfor-
policy linked to industrial priorities.             December - Development mance Indicators (KPIs) have been intro-
Domestic fixed investment (such as infra-               Planning Summit           duced as a means of monitoring progress.
structure investment) is viewed as a                                              Projects which are in advanced stages of plan-
favoured tactic to re-direct government                   1996 Census             ning include the provision of services to 10
expenditure from consumption to capital                                           rural communities who are returning to their
expenditure. The restriction of the RDP Fund to primari-           land, the building of 24 new clinics and the upgrading of a
ly capital investments has halted the increase in govern-          further 52, the Culture of Learning programme to rebuild
ment consumption for the first time in 10 years. A sepa-           schools and democratise school governance, and the
rate capital development budget (devoted partly to infra-          National Public Works Programme (within which 300 com-
structure) is suggested to sustain this trend. A long-term         munity-based projects are already under way).
Infrastructure Investment Programme is envisaged to
pull the public and private sectors into partnership, par-
                                                                                         Capacity building
ticularly at the local level. This will include working with       Capacity constraints in delivering RDP objectives are
transformed development finance institutions, such as              explored with regard to the public service, provinces and
the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA).                    local authorities. The report states that there is a commit-
                                                                   ment to developing capacity at local level, including the
              Urban and rural development                          work of community organisations and NGOs. Project
The Urban Development Task Team estimates that the                 Preparation Facilities (PPFs) are working in some regions,
provision of good and affordable services to the urban             providing support to local authorities, local development
population (65% of all South Africans) will cost in excess         forums, trusts and compacts, where appropriate. Civil
of R60 billion. The access of local authorities to private         society organisations are recognised as having a central
sector finance will need to be increased, in the form of           role to play in creating conditions supportive to the RDP at
either loans repaid through the tax base or through direct         local level. There is a commitment to contribute to the
private sector investment in local government services.            National Development Agency (NDA) which is being
Growth compacts between local authorities, communities             formed by Kagiso Trust and the Independent Development
and the private sector (Local Economic Development or              Trust. The NDA will provide resources for civil society
LED) are viewed as mechanisms to link economic growth              capacity building, particularly through NGOs. Donors will
with infrastructure investment and service delivery.               be encouraged to support this initiative. A key strategy for
    The Rural Development Task Team views rural                    building capacity within and outside government is to har-
development as a major component of an attack on                   ness existing providers, including the SA Management
poverty. Its rural development strategy requires support           Development Institute (formerly the Public Service Train-
for the establishment of local government, investment in           ing Institute), the Local Government Training Boards, and
infrastructure, improved access to land and credit, agri-          the SA National Defence Force. The resources of paras-
cultural training and broader human resource develop-              tatals, universities, technikons, colleges, schools and NGOs
ment (including Adult Basic Education and Literacy).               will also be drawn on. Regular meetings have been con-
    The Masakhane campaign reflects a wish for a central           vened of national Human Resource Development providers
role for local authorities in urban and rural develop-             to look at how to build capacity for the RDP.
1
    GDP is Gross Domestic Product, which is the total value of all the goods and services (output) that an economy produces in one
    year. In 1994, GDP was R448 billion.
2
    NEDLAC: National Economic, Development and Labour Council.
3
    Health, Welfare, Education, Environment and Tourism, Safety and Security, Water, Housing and Land.
4
    MECs are Members of Executive Committees, the provincial equivalent of ministers.

August 1995                                               OD debate                                                            9
                              PUBLICATIONS
                                                                                                                    As of August, Olive is
                             How to Run Effective and
                                Efficient Meetings
                              Copies of a participants’ manual
                              and a facilitator’s guide are now
                                                                                                   HAP              priveleged to assume
                                                                                                                    responsibility for marketing
                                                                                                                    and distributing existing HAP
                                                                                                                    publications.
                                                                                                                                                               ive
                                                                                                                                                    O R G A N I S AT I O N
                                                                                                                                                     DEVELOPMENT
                                                                                                                                                       &TRAINING



                               available from Olive.
                               The participants’ manual looks at                                   BRIDGE 1995 DIRECTORY -
                                the purpose of meetings in an                                      South Africa’s leading directory
                                 organisational context and gives                                  of non-governmental organisa-
                                 advice on how to plan and run                                     tions, RDP officials, conference
                                 them effectively and efficiently.                                 centres and media contacts -
                                                                                                              cost: R135.00.
     Participants’ manual - R10.00. Facilitator’s guide - R20.00.
          Contact Nonhlanhla or Michael at Olive for copies.
                                                                                                                         Series
                                                                                                                         of accessible
                                                                                                                        “how-to-do-it” publications:
         A fully illustrated, step-by-step guide in two                                                                How Organisations Work - 8 books
       volumes on how to set up a simple and effective                                                                in the series provide easy-to-read
                        accounting system.                                                                             information for anyone starting an
     This can be used as a financial training manual, a finan-                                                          organisation.
     cial reference manual or as a financial systems and pro-                                                           Organisation as Employer - 7
     cedure manual. It is written for treasurers and adminis-                                                           books in this series give advice on
     trators (or anyone else in an organisation responsible                                                              how to develop policies, proce-
     for financial record-keeping and reporting) and for train-                                                          dures and structures to manage
     ers of bookkeepers.
                                                                                                                         people better in NGOs.
         It is published by Network Management and Devel-                                                               Building Organisations - 6 books
     opment Services. The cost is R130.00 per 2-volume set,
                                                                                                                       in this series are aimed at people
     including packaging and postage. To order, contact
                                                                                                                       who are part of planning and devel-
     Publishers Service and Distribution, P O Box 15016,
                                                                                                                       oping organisations.
     Hurlyvale, 1611, tel: 011-397 5054.
                                                                                                                      Action Notes are a series of pam-
                                                                                                                      phlets giving practical advice on a
                                                                                                                       variety of topics.
             Local Government Elections                                                                                 Order forms with details on titles avail-
     IDASA’s Local Government Information Centre (LOGIC), is                                                            able and their cost are enclosed.
     publishing Local Government Elections: A Directory
     of Contacts. This provides information on national and
     provincial government departments, Transitional Local                                                      Later this year, Olive will make available
     Councils, Regional Service Councils or Joint Services
     Boards, Task Groups, political parties, NGOs and Train-                                                            four new HAP titles:
     ing Boards for Local Government bodies, countrywide.                                          ➨ Legal Requirements of Small Organisations -
         For more information on how to get a copy, contact                                          covers UIF, the Compensation Fund, Tax, RSC
     Liz Findlay, tel: 021-484 1330 or the Public Information                                        levies, and how to get a fundraising number.
     Centre, 13th Floor, 2 Long Street, Cape Town 8001.
                                                                                                   ➨ Financial Management for Self-Reliance - cov-
                                                                                                     ers issues of financial control, budgeting, finan-
     Y Press has published a Training Manual titled Guide to                                         cial strategy, monitoring finances, decision-mak-
     Local Government Elections - KwaZulu Natal covering                                             ing and implementation.
     the background to the November elections,
                                                                                                   ➨ Managing a Department - covers what manage-
     the rural areas, what and who will be LO GUIDE
     voted for, how the elections will be organ-
                                                 CAL
                                                     GO
                                                          TO                                         ment skills are needed and gives advice on how to
                                                  ELEC VERNME

     ised, and lists of useful contacts. Single
                                                      TION
                                                          S
                                                              NT
                                                                 Kwa
                                                                       Z u lu
                                                                                Nat
                                                                                      al
                                                                                                     manage contract staff, the information flow and
     copies are available at R50.00 each.                                                            change.
     Bulk order prices available on request.                                                       ➨ Evaluation: Judgment day or management
     Contact Belinda Yiangou at 031-                                                                 tool? - covers the different kinds of evaluation
     216084 (tel) or 216488 (fax) for more           A Train
                                                            ing Ma
                                                                  nual
                                                                                                     and advice on how to plan for it and the practical
     information.                                                                                    issues involved.
                                                                                                       Information on cost and availability will be provided by
                                                                                                                Olive closer to print-production time.
             Appropriate Classified Adverts can be accepted for
               publication at a reasonable fee - contact Olive.


10                                                                                         OD debate                                                       Vol. 2 No. 4
                                                            FUNDING


                                     Sources of Funding
Resources are usually the single most important factor in enabling communities to move from
    ideas to action. In each issue, we will let readers know of any new sources of funding
              available, particularly those for community-based organisations.

 The Open Society Foundation for South Africa
 What is the Open Society Foundation (OSF-SA)?                        •   political campaigns or political organisations;
It was founded by George Soros in April 1993 to promote               •   fundraising events;
the ideal of an open society in South Africa; an ideal                •   inventions or private profit-making ventures;
which includes democracy, a market economy, a strong                  •   short-term emergency relief;
civil society, respect for minorities and tolerance for               •   scholarships and bursaries;
divergent opinions. The Foundation has been estab-                    •   film projects, or projects in the arts;
lished in the conviction that the collapse of a closed,               •   private schools and colleges;
apartheid society will not lead automatically to the emer-            •   activities of religious denominations.
gence of an open society in South Africa. Areas of pri-          The Foundation does not provide support for any project
ority for its initial work are:                                  which promotes racism, sexism, ethnic or religious intol-
   ❐ Education for local government;                             erance.
   ❐ Youth development;                                                    Guidelines for submitting proposals
   ❐ Rural community development, with a focus                   The Foundation does not have a set application form.
      on the empowerment of women and;                           To submit a proposal:
   ❐ Radio.
                                                                 1 There should be a clear two-page summary outlining:
The Foundation will also engage in special projects it
considers will make a contribution to its Mission.                    ❐   what is proposed
                                                                      ❐   what it will cost to implement the proposal
        What is the strategy of the OSF-SA?                           ❐   what results will be achieved
The Foundation seeks to support and engage in activities              ❐   how the project will make a significant contribu-
that focus on the delivery of a needed service. In doing                  tion to creating an open society in South Africa.
so it has decided it will:
                                                                 2 The following information about the organisation
   •   act in a limited number of priority areas and with          applying for support should be given:
       projects which will initiate change and produce
                                                                      ❐ the full name of the organisation, its postal and
       demonstrable results within two years
                                                                        street address, telephone and contact numbers
   •   seek major ventures or fresh ideas that would not
                                                                      ❐ the names of contact persons
       see the light of day without the resources and
       assistance of the Foundation                                   ❐ the financial status of the organisation and a copy
   •   seek to act in coordination and cooperation with                 of its latest audited financial report
       other organisations and funding agencies to                    ❐ details about the financing of the project and of
       ensure that resources are optimally used.                        the sources of its financial support.
The Foundation will seek to ensure that in its work all          3 A clear description of the project should be given
projects should have:                                              in whatever format the proposer wishes. The
   •   an ongoing institution-building impact                      goals of the project should be clearly set out.
   •   an emphasis on sustainability                                       Procedure for processing proposals
   •   a mutually reinforcing impact wherever possible.
                                                                 Project proposals receive an initial assessment by the
The Foundation will pursue a policy which seeks to               Foundation staff. Based on this assessment, proposals
avoid urban, rural, racial or gender bias, and which             are referred to the Board for decision. Proposals may be
addresses the maldistribution of resources in South              referred to expert assessors commissioned by the Foun-
Africa. The Foundation encourages new approaches and             dation. Assessors may require further information and
ideas that can be replicated and have a multiplier effect.       may wish to visit the work of projects. Assessed propos-
         Whom will the Foundation assist?                        als are considered by the Board at its meetings every
                                                                 three months. The Board may offer support to a project
Organisations whose work falls within the mission of the
                                                                 against specific criteria and a time frame, which it may
OSF-SA are invited to submit to it, proposals on how key
                                                                 later use in evaluating the work of the project. An agree-
needs can be met through their own activities. Infra-
                                                                 ment between the Foundation and a project is normally
structural funding can only be sought if it is directly
                                                                 entered into once a proposal has been approved by the
related to the delivery and output of a project.
                                                                 Board. Organisations and projects supported by the
    The Foundation endeavours to maintain a high
degree of flexibility but observes the following limita-         OSF-SA are required to submit progress reports. Contin-
tions. It does not provide support for:                          uing support is dependent on a satisfactory evaluation of
                                                                 the work of a project.
   •   general expenditure of an operating nature;
   •   construction;                                             For more information contact: The Executive Director, OSF-SA,
   •   endowment funds;                                          Albion Spring, 183 Main Road, Rondebosch, 7700.
   •   charities, conferences and institutional research;        Tel: 021-689 8396 Fax: 021-689 3266.


August 1995                                            OD debate                                                             11
                                                             CIVIL SOCIETY


     How to organise NGOs?
    Councils, coalitions, networks, associations, forums, sectors - these are all forms of organisation.
       NGOs are challenged to use them appropriately when faced with pressure to represent their
    interests in changed and changing funding and legislative environments. OD debate summarises
               some positions on recent events requiring an organised response from NGOs.
                                                                         There is no agreement about
A   pril’s back page featured an article on a proposed NGO
     Council meeting. The June issue carried a summary
of the draft Non-Profit Organisations Bill - a non-profit
                                                                         what constitutes a sector, or
                                                                         about how many there should be. Existing sectoral bound-
sector bid to place alternative legislation governing non-               aries tend to overlap giving rise to charges of multi-repre-
profits before Parliament. The Bill calls for a Non-Profit               sentation. Government refers to its line departments as
Organisations Commission: non-profit sector representa-                  sectors, and it appears to be implicit in the request for sec-
tives are to be nominated for membership to it, alongside                torally-based structures, that NGOs should mirror govern-
government and donor interests. As with all policy bids to               ment to facilitate communication and resource-sharing.
create space for NGO and civil society representation in                 However, since many organisations work across sectors
decision-making, consensus on structures to channel NGO                  and could have linkages across departments as well as to
interests and nominations to them, will depend to a great                various departmental structures, it would be inappropriate
extent on how the not-for-profit sector itself is organised.             for NGOs to classify themselves in relation to line functions
                                                                         of government. (The agenda of sectoral organisations could
                            Tensions                                     become determined by departments.) Nevertheless, NGOs
The tension between “demonising the state and deifying                   will need to form sectoral interest groups or organisations
civil society” 1 with regard to the ability to deliver on                to develop linkages among NGOs, shape relationships with
development issues, is being played out in NGO circles.                  government and influence departmental policies.
The transition to majority rule has meant the movement
of many former “activists” from social movements                                                   Coalitions
opposed to apartheid, into government. These social                      The paper notes that coalitions are usually constructed
movements form (or formed) part of the conceptual ter-                   by organisations to lobby for changes to existing policy
rain known as civil society in South Africa. Now that                    frameworks. The concept is new to the South African
they are represented in government, the question of pro-                 development scene. With the re-direction of foreign
tecting the bondaries between civil society and the state                donor development aid to government, NGO resources
in South Africa has arisen. NGOs (identified as they are                 are being squeezed. Those NGOs with ties to political
with civil society), could play a role in re-defining those              parties have discovered that this hasn’t guaranteed sup-
boundaries.                                                              port. NGOs face pressure to understand the rules and
    A meeting of NGOs (postponed from May to August),                    processes of democratic governance in order to survive
will address issues of appropriate mechanisms for NGO                    giving rise to a call for a national coalition for NGOs.
representation.                                                              NGO Coalitions have been formed in most provinces.
    Possible Models for Representation of NGOs at National               Some offer representation on provincial coalition struc-
                                                                         tures to individual organisations, development forums
Level 2, reviews various organisational possibilities and
                                                                         and sectoral organisations. This is a viable strategy in
outlines advantages and disadvantages of different
                                                                         provinces which do not have the sectoral diversity of the
approaches to representation of NGOs on a coalition. The
                                                                         more developed provinces. In under-resourced
paper notes that NGOs’ already fragile capacity to act as
                                                                         provinces, organisations operate across sectoral divi-
a coherent sector has been dealt a severe blow by the
                                                                         sions, and participate in various national (and provincial)
departure of much of its strategic leadership core to gov-
                                                                         sectoral interest groups. The building of sectoral organi-
ernment jobs or private sector employment, and by the
                                                                         sations at the provincial level is recommended where
current funding crisis. NGOs have begun to form provin-
                                                                         NGOs need to facilitate partnerships with line depart-
cial coalitions and sectoral groupings. Each province                    ments. This will hopefully ensure the representative
and sector is organised differently: the task of bringing                nature of the provincial coalitions and strengthen their
NGOs together into a national body, like a coalition, is                 ability to address sectoral issues effectively.
thus complex.                                                                There are different models for a structure and methods
                             Sectors                                     of representation on a National NGO Coalition. Key objec-
It is common for NGOs to describe themselves, collectively,              tives are to strengthen the NGO sector by creating an
as a sector, in the same way that we speak of the private or             enabling policy, legal and fiscal environment for develop-
the public sector. The difficulty lies in the sectoral classi-           ment work, and to ensure that participatory development
fication of NGOs themselves, to determine whether                        approaches become part of the practice of development
organisations belong in the NGO sector or not. Classifica-               institutions. The paper notes that it will be important to
tion approaches, used by NGOs are outlined in the paper.                 give greater weight to provincial representation, than to
     The weaknesses of sectorally-based association have                 participation by sectoral and national organisations, to
been made apparent by the request from government for                    ensure that the coalition represents the broadest interests
NGOs to form sectorally-based structures, and to make rep-               of all NGOs. This should give greater authority to the
resentations to it through a national council. This has                  provincial coalitions, which are closer to needs on the
proved very difficult. The number of sectors originally pro-             ground. It will hopefully mean that the less developed
posed has grown to 17, with a request to add another.                    provinces would be heard and their needs prioritised.
1
     Democratic Selections?: Civil Society and Development in South Africa’s New Democracy, by Steven Friedman and Maxine Reitzes (with
     assistance from Khehla Shubane and Mark Shaw), Centre for Policy Studies, March 1995. Commissioned by the DBSA.
2
     Possible Models for Representation of NGOs at National Level, drawn up by a sub-committee of the Interim Committee of the National NGO
     Coalition, June 1995.

12                                                             OD debate                                                     Vol. 2 No. 4

								
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