Event Reports

“Applying Rules of Good Governance in the Management of Charity and Non-Profit Organizations”

With the increase of poverty and social inequality, the Ministry of Social Development (MOSD), together with public and private charities, is seeking to expand relief services to the people in question. Due to the lack of financial capacity, governance standards, and administrative coordination, MOSD, in cooperation with KAS Amman, organized a one day workshop to improve the organizational framework and management skills of local charities.

Event: Training Workshop

Date, Place: February 02, 2013, Hall of All Jordan Youth Committee, Irbid - Jordan

Organization: KAS Amman Office, Ministry of Social Development and All Jordan Youth Committee

Program

Welcome Speeches

Mr. Ibrahim Al Tamimi

Director of NGOs

Ministry of Social Development

Amman – Jordan

Ms. Nidaa Al Shraideh

On Behalf of the Resident Representative

Project Manager

Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung

Amman Office-Jordan

Session 1: Good Governance in the Management of Charities and Non Profit Organizations

Ms. Ahlam Al-Nasser

Consultant and Trainer

Amman - Jordan

Session 2: The Role of Strategic Planning in Charities and Non-Profit Organizations

Ms. Ahlam Al-Nasser

Consultant and Trainer

Amman - Jordan

Introduction

While state charities and institutions expanded, local charities also experienced unprecedented growth. Global and local economic crisis, during the last years, increased social problems. Poverty and its accompanying difficulties shown in destitution and general unrest, forced the Ministry of Social Development to expand relief services. New charities, both public and private, also responded to the challenge. But due to the lack of financial capacity, governance standards and coordination, MOSD saw the need to improve the organizational framework and management of these local charities, by providing volunteers with adequate training to fulfill their tasks and reach all pockets of poverty in Jordan.

In cooperation with the Ministry of Social Development, KAS Amman organized, in Irbid, a one-day training workshop on good governance. This workshop is the third of a series of workshops held in Amman and in Aqaba in 2012. They aimed at: Providing guidelines and general principles of good governance to these organizations and bridging the gap between the CSOs and MOSD, as well as opening dialogue between the members of these charities and the employees of the ministry.

Welcome Speech

Ms. Nidaa Al Shraideh, on behalf of Dr. Otmar Oehring, the Representative of KAS Amman, thanked the organizers and participants for their attendance and she gave a brief about the work of Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in Jordan, which tackle different topics among which is the rule of law and administrative reform. She then wished that participants would benefit from the training and implement the rules of good governance in their daily voluntary work.

Mr. Ibrahim Al Tamimi, on behalf of Mr. Wajih El Azaizeh, the Minister of Social Development, welcomed the participants and thanked KAS for its contribution and assistance in conducting such workshops, aiming at promoting development and reform in Jordan. He then stated that in its efforts to expand local relief, hoping to moderate the depression's severity and to establish social order, the Ministry needs the help of all charities. But having gathered all database about charities working in Jordan, the Ministry perceived that many of the new relief efforts were inefficient and poorly organized. It also discovered that many of these charities are common to pitfalls of dependency and pauperism.

Besides being formed by family members, these charities do not have organizational system to distribute tasks and share responsibilities. Therefore, the ministry, in its effort to promote voluntary work, holds different training workshops for the charity members to help them putting priorities to their work in order to meet the urgent needs of the communities in their areas in a just and transparent manner.

First Session: Good Governance in the Management of Charities and Non Profit Organizations

Ahlam Al-Nasser led the workshop by stating that there are over 5000 CSOs in Jordan; yet in 2011, their economic contribution was minimal to GDP. Ms. Al Nasser attributed this problem to financial mismanagement and poor governance. CSOs cannot be partners to development when they seek financial support without contributing substantially to the economy. Good governance is the mechanism through which successful decisions are implemented and monitored; it guarantees transparency and integrity. While voluntary work and public service are the main driving forces, management and planning lack focus. She noted that pillars of effective communication and standards are fundamental to sound administration. Participants discussed different governance topics amongst each other, then provided:

Administrative Evaluation: Periodical performance assessments of organizations’ management and employees is needed. Participants stated that although these organizations begin as voluntary projects, members begin to pursue their own self-interests rather than that of the organization. Because volunteers are not accountable to the Jordanian General Assembly, planning is sub-standard and performance suffers.

Election Committees: Participants stated the need to define administrative bodies within organizations. They suggested having elections and auditing committees to enforce the results and terms of elections. It will incentivize performance because administrators can be voted out if they do not execute their role well.

Job Title Definition: One problem is with people who leave organizations because they see no objectives or their roles are not clearly defined. To address this, they recommended clarification via letters of objectives for the administration.

Strategic Planning: Traditionally, donor support determines priorities, which should not be the case. Rather, priorities must be set and then funding should be acquired. While stakeholders must be considered, financiers and donors must understand the mission statement of an organization before supporting it, preventing any conflict of interest.

Goal Identification: Organizations which have good governance set one or two goals and make a specific timeframe to achieve them. Associations should be licensed by the MOSD for one or two goals; oversight of the timeline, target goals, projected results and indicators must take place before the license is issued.

Ms. Nasser recommended establishing centers for governance similar to ones in the West, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt. Volunteerism is the basis of most CSO work; they are frequently the most well-intentioned employees. But poor administration leads to conflict of interests –with procurements going to the benefit of the board of directors. If these organizations cannot fight corruption, she said, do not expect democracy. Initiative starts with the individual, with that, others will follow. Proper planning and marketing will convince regional donors to support projects which demonstrate clear objectives.

The discussion session that followed was contentious and productive.

One participant stressed the need for more funding, citing the expectation of volunteerism by many political organizations. Another participant said that the impact of training is weak and many NGOs are still ineffective; thus the need for better training using a comprehensive approach should be implemented.

To the many arguments against current government policy, one participant said blaming the Ministry of Social Development will only lead the Ministry to lose confidence in the capabilities of the accusing organizations. The participant argued that even the capital, Amman has poverty like other parts of the country, yet when problems arise the Ministry should be approached directly with proposed solutions.

Mr. Tamimi from the Ministry responded by stating that the role of the Ministry is to partner with CSOs. The Ministry uses its budget to work with them, but there must be contribution and reciprocity of effort by the recipients. Financial shortfalls in Jordan makes development difficult: foreign funds make up 11.7% of the contributions to CSOs; and 40% of resources come from local philanthropists and the private sector.

Second Session: The Role of Strategic Planning in Charities and Non-Profit Organizations

Ms. Naser explained that CSOs supplement the state in meeting the needs of the people. In theory, volunteers come together to provide social and political services through scientific methods – finding appropriate solutions for the community they serve. Ms. Naser asserted that social policy is designed by specialists. Without adhering to the scientific methods previously established, it is impossible to sustain quality work. She outlined the process into five steps:

Exploratory Period: Analysis of economic, social, educational, and cultural climate. This is the only way to improve quality of life without imposing plans which are considerably culturally insensitive. This requires communication with the local community to establish understanding.

Situation Analysis: Using questionnaires and other methods of assessment is integral to diagnosing the problems in the community. If they misdiagnose the problem then all subsequent projects and activities will not net the desired results. Failure to diagnose the situation accurately will lead to a waste of money and resources.

Identify Indicators: Determine what the benchmarks for success are. Categorize a group of solutions to the problem and prioritize solutions based on cost efficiency.

Planning Phase: After all research and analysis has been conducted, a plan must be made to implement change. This can be in coordination with the Ministry of Social Development, other CSOs or independently.

Implementation: Execute plan according to the processes determined in the planning phase.

Development without these methods is haphazard. It is unsustainable and will not produce long-term results. Research and the foundations for development work are proven and can be replicated. Self assessment through daily, weekly, and monthly reports helps to identify problems or weaknesses within the organization. Ms. Naser concluded that one of the most important aspects of CSO work is motivation from the bottom to the top of the organization, not a top-down approach.

The discussion session provided valuable insight to how NGO’s in the North perceive Amman’s assistance to them.

Conclusion

Political reformation is noticeably occurring in Jordan through the principle of subsidiaries. Beginning at the smallest level, citizens are actively participating in changing the political landscape. Jordanians have taken the lessons of the Arab Spring to heart, not through violent revolution, but through the application of human capital. While previously, many felt that the Ministry of Social Development was inaccessible to them, they now feel their words were heard, and that their plight is better understood. This workshop was an opportunity for CSO directors in the North to address their misgivings and misunderstandings with MOSD in an environment conducive to their mutual benefit.

Konrad Adenauer Stiftung will continue to enable direct dialogue between government and citizens. It is in the interest of Jordan and the region’s stability to promote the trend of grassroots’ development. Project management, proposal and report writing, financial planning, and governance standards are only part of what makes for a successful reform. Without them however, CSOs may inadvertently inhibit progress. The Ministry of Social Development representatives addressed the concerns of the CSOs respectfully and openly. All participants were awarded certification for participation in the training workshop. The recommendations made by the trainer and participants provided a basic framework for governance standards of civil society organizations.