There is a strong commitment to ensuring standards are consistent, that there is cross fertilization of ideas and experience, and that there is a grass roots commitment to innovation. Strategic plans are prepared annually; boardroom level performance review is undertaken quarterly; each directorate undertakes monthly progress checks against agreed international and local criteria.
Policy making and cross fertilization of ideas. The management style of Feminenza has evolved, matured with the growth in responsibility, concomitant with the need for consistent standards, efficiency in our administration, consistency and effectiveness in our outcomes. There have been huge benefits in learning from the experiences of other Feminenza chapters and our strategic partners. Thus, within the past three years Feminenza has established a set of Policy forums, driven by programme staff, populated by women from all sectors of influence and moderated by Feminenza Chairs. The forums span:
- Headwork (curriculum development, content and standards for teaching, methods and framework for assessment and accreditation of teachers and project leaders, etc);
- Methods. Diversity and effectiveness methods of education.
- Values, ethics, leadership and strategic partnerships.
- Corporate standards and policies for governance, finance, corporate and programme logistics, human resources, etc.
- Communications, networking, event management, publicity and press, web activity.
The forums have made significant strides in enabling Feminenza’s aims, principles and constitution to be expressed consistently within the world’s diverse legal systems, and to establish policies, procedures and operating standards which have together had a direct, and tangible impact upon programme outcomes. Today we can demonstrate:
- Consistency of organization structure, internal and external accountability across the world. This has greatly eased communication and improved transfer of skills between, for example, Feminenza in Holland, Feminenza North America and Feminenza Kenya.
- Transparency and availability for audit of our programme designs, activities, staff selection processes;
- Objectivity and sensitivity in our processes for education and accreditation; a more mature approach to delivering cultural and ethnic diversity.
- Continuing efficiency improvements in our infrastructure costs, convergence of business software applications, project management processes. Volunteers from the USA and Israel can work alongside their counterparts from Kenya, using the same terminology, methods for progress review, and tools to help their activities.
Grass roots participation in Feminenza’s priorities. A system for proposing improvements and reflecting on our direction has evolved, based upon the following principles:
- Staff and beneficiaries have a voice in our priorities, the scope of change or priority being moderated by our aims and principles, and by available resources.
- If innovation can be piloted within a small work group, this is actively encouraged. Executives have a constitutional duty to govern such pilots objectively.
- All changes are planned in and subject to progress review.
- Changes of international portent are submitted through the relevant policy forum. International policy requires consensus on the timetable.
Strategy and performance review. Strategy is formulated once a year, the result of a 4 month process of consultation (internally, with beneficiaries and with donors). The strategy allocates resources and includes timetables and progress measures for each directorate. Programme directors are required to have their plans submitted through the Directorate of Corporate Affairs.
- Progress is reviewed quarterly at Board Level, monthly within the programmes and directorates.
- International programmes are reviewed by Feminenza International every six months, and audited every 3 years, as a failsafe mechanism.
- Directorates are delegated authority to make whatever decisions are necessary within their approved budget and action plan.
- Every serving officer participates in an annual review in which the individual’s personal objectives and corporate objectives are monitored.
- Boardroom reviews serve three primary purposes (i) setting the strategy and maintaining progress against a clearly defined strategic direction (ii) containing risks (iii) mentoring the directorates.
Programme management has special consideration. Standard organization governance structures do not apply well to a Programme Governance setting. Therefore, within Feminenza, the latter is covered by the following framework.
- Any action plan which involves multidisciplinary skills, multiple stakeholders, oversight of activities in diverse countries, foreign languages, currencies, and foreign community values must be considered for PRINCE programme management techniques.
- PRINCE management tools are mandatory where (i) the project involves more than one directorate and/or (ii) a partnership with another agency is in place which would make normal organization centred governance impractical.
- All PRINCE projects report through the Directorate of Corporate Affairs which has the right to intervene at Board Level in the PRINCE programme.
- The Education directorate and the Communications and Marketing Directorates are treated as service providers to PRINCE programmes, and operate to criteria set by the project.
- When Feminenza is a minority stakeholder in a project, the project must satisfy Feminenza that its procedures are compatible with Feminenza policies and procedures.
Global Policies and standards to sustain global solutions. Our Feminenza International forum consults and sets Feminenza’s global standards and policies. The policies define our areas of focus each year; the standards and infrastructure investment determine how joint resources are acquired, organised and delivered into our programmes, both locally, and abroad. The forum also provides the regular processes needed to ensure that all Feminenza facilitators are regularly assessed and accredited to standards which are consistent around the world; to ensure that the values, aims and principles are consistent across language and national boundaries. We continually encourage local innovation and in particular, cultural diversity to ensure that respect across national and ethnic boundaries is a continuing developing feature of our work.
A global process of cooperation in research, development, production and quality review between women who have committed themselves to each specialist area has led to the development of the educational content we use.