next steps in implementing foei's strategic plan
We agreed, for example, that movement building would be a key objective. To this end we re-emphasized our commitment to the grassroots, and now require all programs to be grounded in local realities, ensuring that our policies reflect grassroots priorities.
We also urged our communications specialists to make sure that FoEI’s messages reach the general public, and are not simply oriented towards educating policy makers. We committed ourselves to prioritizing capacity-building, sharing experiences, learning together and creating space for new leaders to emerge.
But what is movement building? We found that implementing the Strategic Plan involves dealing with complex concepts that encompass a whole range of approaches and expectations. The federation is having to reconsider and redefine its ideas of what ‘movements’, ‘grassroots’, ‘leadership’, ‘strong member groups’, ‘capacity building’ and so on really are.
As the commitment towards promoting or embodying such concepts is taken on board, the way in which FoEI operates is also changing. Indeed, many of our activities have already altered quite dramatically.
However, at times conflicts have arisen as well - concerning political orientation and campaign priorities, for example. These conflicts developed precisely because we lacked a shared understanding of many of the concepts in our Strategic Plan. We found that each group had its own interpretation of those concepts, and had assumed that this interpretation was shared by the others.
During the 2008 BGM, the federation looked critically at lessons such as these, setting time aside to discuss the meaning and strategic implications of ‘grassroots mobilizing’, ‘strong member groups’, ‘acting internationally’, ‘gender mainstreaming’, and ‘alliance building’.