FoEI’s democratic and decentralized approach to organizational and political development sets us apart from most other organizations. More recently, the process of decentralization has been defined as an important opportunity to strengthen FoEI’s capacity to ensure groups around the world act in solidarity to achieve our global vision and mission.
FoEI’s commitment to decentralization stems from our grassroots nature and our commitment to helping to develop or strengthen social movements. FoEI contributes to social movements by providing political and advocacy support for our shared political agendas. We also contribute through FoEI’s capacity to mobilize public support. Supporting a more regional approach to mobilization will increase FoEI’s overall capacity to reach out to the public.
FoEI has taken several successful steps to decentralize key functions while ensuring a strong international focus in all of our activities. Key recent achievements include:
- FoEI’s Strategic Plan ensuring that program strategies are rooted in local realities, and that FoEI policy proposals reflect the priorities of those communities most affected by unsustainable development.
- Network development teams taking over strategic development tasks in the areas of communication, programs, membership and fundraising.
- Program steering committees with regional representatives ensuring the political consistency of program activities and policies, with steering committee members being accountable to the regions.
- Regional structures coordinating regional capacity building projects, membership expansion, and to some extent resource allocation.
In forthcoming years, FoEI will use the opportunities created by our new membership development and communication strategies to strengthen our regional structures and delegate more development and decision-making processes to the regional structures.
For example, FoEI’s Membership Development Strategy emphasizes a specific role for the regional structures in terms of expansion, evaluation and capacity building.
Ultimately the success of the development and implementation of the Strategic Action Plan (STAP) depends in part on FoEI’s capacity to agree upon key international political objectives and strategies, and to create space for regions to take on additional political objectives and strategies that are more regionally relevant.
FoEI’s communication integration team will be looking at regional versus international communication strategies. Recognizing different political realities, we will adapt to the different communication needs and tools required in the different regions.
Regionalization of campaign coordination is also being discussed. It offers campaign opportunities, but is more difficult to achieve because of different strategies and short term political objectives. In some cases regional cooperation is easier though, because of shared political history, and less language and other cultural barriers.