Inter Agency Group of Development Organisations (IAGDO)
Report for the period January – December 2012
In addition to being economically challenging, the year 2012 was a politically eventful one for the country. The government was plunged into the status of a minority government following the resignations and firing of ministers of government in the first half of the year. It narrowly survived a first motion of vote of no-confidence brought by the opposition. The second motion, brought by a minister who resigned from the government, was staved off by the prorogation of Parliament in July 2012. The Parliament remained prorogued to the end of the year and the country went into a “pause” mode seemingly marking time till the inevitable calling of general elections in early 2013.
In the midst of all the political drama, the country united to celebrate the exploits of a young Grenadian athlete who won Grenada’s first ever Olympic medal – a gold medal in the 400 metres at the London Olympics in August 2012.
The Inter Agency Group of Development Organisations is the network of development NGOs in Grenada. The member agencies are:
- Agency for Rural Transformation Ltd.(ART)
- Grenada Community Development Organisation (GRENCODA)
- Grenada Education and Development Programme (GRENED)
- Grenada National Council of the Disabled
- Grenada National Organisation of Women
- Grenada Save the Children Development Agency (GRENSAVE)
- New Life Organisation
- People in Action
The objectives of the IAGDO are as follows:
- To advocate on policies and legislation affecting the operation of NGOs
- To advocate on issues affecting the with whom people that the NGOs are working
- To create conditions for the survival and sustainability of members
- To network on common issues and minimize duplication and wastage of scarce resources
During the period, the organization was chaired by Project Co-ordinator of GNOW, Ms. J. Lorice Pascall, and the Secretariat was housed at the Grenada National Organisation of Women. Additional secretarial support was offered by the Agency for Rural Transformation Ltd.(ART). There were six regular meetings of the the network during the period.
Key Accomplishments and Activities:
Key accomplishments and activities of the network were facilitated by its participation in and contribution to the organizations and groups of which the IAGDO is a member or has representation. During the period, the key accomplishments and activities of the network were as follows:
- Presentation of the CEDAW Shadow Report at the 51st Session of CEDAW
- Contribution to the Non State Actors Panel
- Meetings with Ministers of Government
- Visits to Diplomatic Mission
- Representation on National Committees and Bodies
- Fundraising Activity to support GRENSAVE
- Presentation of the CEDAW Shadow Report:
IAGDO presented the Shadow Report on Grenada’s Implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) to the 51st Session of CEDAW which was held in Geneva Switzerland in February 2012. IAGDO’s Chairperson, Ms. J Lorice Pascal who is also Project Co-ordinator of the Grenada National Organisation of Women , along with consultant Anande Trotman-Joseph presented the report to the CEDAW Committee.
On the basis of the team’s presentation, the Committee included the issue of gender discriminatory practices in Grenada in their Concluding Observation. These practices were specifically related to domestic violence, sexual assault and sexual harassment. A copy of the CEDAW Concluding Observation for Grenada C/CRD/CO/I-5 can be accessed on line.
- Non State Actors Panel:
The Non State Actors Panel was established in October 2009 and the IAGDO was instrumental in the setting up of the Panel. It is a provision of the COTONOU Agreement which provides for the participation of non state actors in political dialogue, policy dialogue, programming and review related to European Union development assistance to Grenada. The representatives of the IAGDO held key positions in the grouping during this period as Chairperson and the Secretary – Ms. Judy Williams and Ms. Sandra Ferguson respectively. A member agency of the IAGDO, the Agency for Rural Transformation, also provides secretariat services to the NSAP.
Among the significant accomplishments and activities of the NSAP to which the IAGDO or its member agencies made significant contributions were the following:
- Alternative Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy:
In response to the Country Poverty Assessment Report 2009, the Non State Actors Panel facilitated the development of an Alternative Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy through a consultative process in which a diverse number of civil society organizations participated. The strategy was launched at a press conference in April 2012.
- Development of the Management Action Plan:
Through a further consultative process, a Management Action Plan to complement the strategy document was developed. It was finalized in December 2012.
- Community Fora:
A series of community fora were organised to present the Alternative Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy to the wider community in order to facilitate community discussion and feedback. These were facilitated by Secretary of the Non State Actors Panel.
- CSO Capacity Building Programme :
The NSAP also facilitated the delivery of five training programmes on the theme of “capacity building for organizational strengthening and governance”. This training was a follow-up on the recommendations made by the Survey ad Needs Assessment of CSOs conducted in 2011 which was also facilitated by the IAGDO. Ninety-three persons from forty-nine organisations participated in five workshops. The workshop facilitator was the Secretary of the NSAP.
- Climate Change Awareness Workshop for Labour: The NSAP also facilitated a one day sensitization workshop on climate change, which targeted persons in leadership in the labour sector.
- Stakeholder Consultations: The NSAP facilitated a Stakeholder Consultation re Renewable Energy Readiness Assessment for Grenada and also participated in the national consultation.
- Meetings with Ministers of Government:
- Meetings with Prime Minister: Given the political turmoil that was present in the country, Prime Minister Thomas instituted meetings with various stakeholders. IAGDO delegations participated in two such meetings with the Prime Minister and his Minister of Information.
- Meeting with Minister of Information: An IAGDO delegation also met with the Minister of Information to express its concerns on government plans re the appointment of foreign investors as inward investment ambassadors, noting the potential conflict of interests – the individual investor’s interest vis-a- vis the national interests.
- Visits to Diplomatic Missions:
During the year, IAGDO delegations met with the following missions in Grenada to introduce the IAGDO and the work of its member agencies and explore the possibilities for support: – Brazil, United States of America, Venezuela and Cuba. Each mission was presented with a copy of the Alternative Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy.
- Representation National Bodies and Committees:
During the last year, various member agencies represented the network on the following national bodies and committees contributing significantly to decision-making and policies of those bodies that were active during the year:
- Millenium Development Goals Committee
- Task Force on Prison Reform
- European Partnership Agreement Steering Committee
- Global Environment Facility Small Grants Project Steering Committee
- National Trade Policy Committee
- National Chronic Non-Communicable Disease Commission
- Public Sector Reform Committee
- Population Census Advisory Committee
- Social Safety Nets Committee
- Fundraising Support to Member Agency, GRENSAVE:
The Inter Agency Group gave support to the annual fundraising event of member agency, Grenada Save the Children Development Agency (GRENSAVE) International Food and Drink Bar which took place on March 3rd. The IAGDO operated a juice and beverage stall which featured locally produced Grenadian drinks and beverages. All of the net proceeds were donated to GRENSAVE.
- Civil Society and the Millenium Development Goals:
Two member agencies of the IAGDO, GRENCODA and ART, participated in a project which facilitated a civil society review the progress made towards the achievement of the Millenium Development Goals in Grenada.
The Grenada assessment was an activity of the Breaking Point Project, a joint initiative of the Commonwealth Foundation and the United Nations Millennium Campaign which involved research across 20 countries. It was intended to:
- Facilitate CSO analysis of the progress towards the MDGs
- Assess the usefulness of the MFG framework for civil society
- Assess the contribution of civil society towards the attainment of the MDGs
- Identify issues and recommendations for a Post- 2015 Agenda and framework.
GRENCODA was recruited by the Commonwealth Foundation to undertake the research re assessment of the achievement of the goals in Grenada and civil society involvement. ART was the national partner to CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation which facilitated a national consultation to review, discuss and augment the research findings and make further recommendations. CIVICUS was recruited by the Commonwealth Foundation.
- Documentary – United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development Brazil Rio+20
On invitation from the Ministry of Finance, IAGDO members contributed to the making of a documentary which was to be aired at the Rio+20 Conference in Brazil in June 2012. Heads of agencies were interviewed and the initiatives of their agencies to environmental, social and economic development were featured. Ms. Judy Williams of GRENCODA was invited to be part of the official delegation attending the meeting.
- 16 Days of Activism re Violence against Women:
This campaign, co-ordinated by GNOW, spanned the period November 25th, International Day to Combat Violence Against Women to December 10th, International Human Rights Day. The campaign also embraced the following days:
- December 1st – International AIDS Day
- December 3rd – International Day of the Disabled
The campaign, which was implemented in collaboration with a number of other organizations and the Ministry of Social Development, focused on public awareness and sensitization of the general public to the issue of human rights and the recognition of the human rights of the various vulnerable groups which faced violence and discrimination.
In specific reference to violence against women, the following activities were undertaken:
- A roving exhibition under the theme “Victims Speak Out”
- A candle light vigil and holding of hands around the Carenage which took place on December 10th, International Human Rights Day, in support of victims of violence.
The economic challenges faced by the country, aggravated by the global financial melt-down has increased the numbers of vulnerable and at-risk individuals and communities. It has also increased the demand for the services and programmes provided by various member agencies.
However, member agencies also grappled with human and other resource constraints brought about by inadequate financing, particularly for supporting operational costs. By the end of the year, member agency, GRENSAVE, had to significantly scale back the operation of its secretariat.
Notwithstanding the many challenges, the level and commitment of the members remain high. The Inter Agency Grouping represents a significant grouping of civil society organizations to which the wider civil society look to provide leadership and to be a “voice” for those who as yet have no voice. This would again be demonstrated when IAGDO provided the leadership in mobilizing civil society under the banner of developing the Code of Political Conduct re the campaign process for the inevitable general elections in early 2013.