Towards sustainable development
Sustainable development is defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (Brundtland Commission, 1983). If we apply this concept to our own organisation, it means that we should ensure that our current activities as an NGO will not place a heavy burden on our future staff, beneficiaries and stakeholders but instead prepare them to address problems that may arise in the future so that they can continue to accomplish our organization’s mission.
We would like to highlight three aspects of sustainable development that receive our special attention:
1. Financial: increasing financial stability
Development of income generating activities
Traditionally, overseas funding has helped many NGOs in the South to get started, to develop their work and even to grow into substantial institutions. Until recently, most of the necessary funds for Fracarita International’s country offices in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America came from the North. But today, unfortunately, not all the funding sources for the requested projects can be found in the North. They are often insufficient to meet growing needs and rising costs. So, the pattern of support for Fracarita’s projects in the South as applied until recently is neither desirable nor sustainable.
This situation can create frustration and discouragement, but Fracarita International is convinced that we should look at it as a new opportunity. Faced with more competition for fewer donations and grants, Fracarita International is now challenged to find other ways to increase its financial security without sacrificing its own mission.
In 2012, Fracarita International decided to face this important challenge by taking the following steps:
1. Establishing fundraising and income generating strategies
Fracarita International established a strategy for the diversification of its fundraising efforts at the level of Fracarita International and the different country offices. In addition, a strategy for the development of income generating activities was also drafted. Both strategies are part of Fracarita International’s general strategic plan for 2013-2018.
Fracarita international developed a training course titled “From Aid Dependency towards Financial Self-Reliance”. The training was given to the regional coordinators in 2013 and introduced them to different approaches for resource mobilisation, each of which will have its own rationale, and each of which will have its own advantages and disadvantages. Using these different approaches will not only change the source of the country offices’ financial resources, but may also change the way in which country offices think of themselves and operate. Therefore, we have combined theory and practice into a suitable manual and made it flexible so that each country office can adopt and adapt it according to their own situation and needs. This manual is designed to act as source material for launching continued training programmes. We hope that each country office will develop its own trainthe-trainers system.
3. Local adaptation
Each country office and its coordinators should consider all the funding options available in the region and should choose the most appropriate mix, just as they must determine which core activities and implementation strategies are most appropriate for their mission and goals.
New regional fundraising offices
The general chapter (1) of May 2012 of the Congregation of the Brothers of Charity decided to expand the possibilities of setting up fundraising offices through Fracarita International. The reason for this is to ease the pressure that is on Fracarita Belgium to respond to the financial needs that grow in the congregation due to new dynamics in the services of the congregation outside of Europe. Traditionally the Belgian Region (2) supported the Great Lakes Region in Africa, the Dutch Region supported Indonesia, the Irish/UK Region Sri Lanka, the Canadian Region Peru and Nicaragua and other regions were supported through the Belgian Region.
This system of historical ties continues in a positive way but it was requested to Fracarita International to explore more possibilities for fundraising in the UK, India, Canada, USA, Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands. Possibilities in China, Hong Kong, the Philippines, South Africa and Japan are kept in mind and will be realized in a later phase. The Congregation of the Brothers of Charity is convinced that there are more possibilities that should be explored in the field of fundraising and in the different regions where there is an accumulation of wealth and network. In 2012 the first step was made to rename Stichting Caraes Nederland into Fracarita Netherlands and to hire a fundraiser. This process continued in 2013.
Also the other ‘Regional Fundraising Offices’ of Fracarita International will be created in a phased way. By 2018 all the fundraising offices should be operational and should give a return on investment.
(1) General chapter: 6-yearly general assembly of the Congregation of the Brothers of Charity during which a general superior and a general council is elected.
(2) Region: administrative and geographical division within the congregation that corresponds to one or more countries Fracarita International wants to make sure that its efforts in the field of mental health care, education and care for persons with a disability have a long term impact.
“With more competition for fewer donations and grants, Fracarita International is now challenged to find other ways to increase its financial security without sacrificing its own mission.“
Aqua Lodge, Kigoma, Tanzania: Guest hostel as income generating activity for the services in Tanzania; more info
“By 2018 all the fundraising offices should be operational and should give a return on investment.“
Fracarita International wants to facilitate the learning of its local staff and volunteers at all levels as it is one of the most effective strategies for the sustainable development of our own organisation. Fracarita International prepared a training programme for its regional coordinators that was implemented in 2013 during a two-week training session in Rwanda and Sri Lanka. In addition, different local staff members of the services were given the opportunity to increase their knowlegde and expertise through in-service training, foreign traineeships, advanced training or higher education.
Although ecology is not our NGO’s main focus, Fracarita International does make efforts to contribute to the realization of the 7th millennium goal of the United Nations on environmental sustainability. Fracarita International is convinced that protecting human dignity and striving for an integral human development is impossible if care for the environment in which we live as human beings is neglected. As a catholic organization, we respect the integrity of all creation and encourage our staff and volunteers to apply the model of environmental stewardship in their services.
Besides offering environmental education in the different educational projects and schools, our NGO also invested in ecological infrastructure such as solar panels for the psychiatric centre in Bukavu (DR Congo) financed by Fracarita Belgium. Solar panels were also installed in Ranchi, India, in collaboration with the Enforsa company. In Indonesia, Fracarita Netherlands financed the construction of septic tanks to avoid water pollution at the School for the Deaf in Wonosobo.
2. Human: investing in training
3. Ecological: care for the environment
Training by Fracarita International in
Solar power plant in Rwanda. 50% of the profit will be reinvested in the services of Fracarita International