Report for the period January – December 2013
By mid- January 2013, the dissolution of Parliament was announced, not unexpected given that Parliament had been prorogued in mid- July 2012 and that the incumbent government was in minority in Parliament. General elections followed in mid-February, resulting in a change of government and the rather unusual situation of the winning party, winning all fifteen seats in Parliament, leaving the country without any Parliamentary Opposition. The new government announced that, given the dire economic circumstances that the country faced, it was defaulting on its debt repayments, seeking debt restructuring and negotiating a structural adjustment programme with the International Monetary Fund. The Office of the Prime Minister convened a Committee of Social Partners (CSP) to facilitate dialogue between the government and its Social Partners and to negotiate a Social Compact between government and the Social Partners. The IAGDO is represented on the Committee of Social Partners by Ms. Lorice Pascall (GNOW and Chair of the IAGDO), Ms. Judy Williams (GRENCODA) and Ms. Denyse Ogilvie (PIA).
The Inter Agency Group of Development Organisations is the network of development NGOs in Grenada. During 2013, the holding of general elections and its outcome significantly impacted the activities of the organization. Its key activities and accomplishments are summarized hereunder.
- Code of Political Conduct to Govern Elections 2013:
- Public Signing of the Code: For the fourth consecutive time since the general elections of January 1999, the Inter Agency Group of Development Organisations convened the grouping of Civil Society Organisations to develop a Code of Political Conduct which would set out a code of behaviour to be adhered to during the election campaign process by the various political parties and independent candidates offering themselves for office. Over twenty odd organizations, including the private sector organizations and the umbrella organisation for labour, participated in the process. The political parties and candidates were invited to affix their signature to the Code at a public signing ceremony. The opposition party (now in office) did not participate in the signing of the Code.
- Priority Issues and Town Hall Debates: Besides the development of the code, the grouping of CSOs also identified the priority issues that it wanted to see being addressed on the political platform during the campaign and publicized these issues and sought to engage candidates in public debate via town hall meetings. However all efforts, either collectively or via individual organizations, were not embraced by either the party in office or the opposition.
- Meetings of Observer Missions: Representatives of the IAGDO along with counterparts from other organizations also met with representatives of the three election observer missions to Grenada: – the OAS Observer Mission, the Observer Mission of the Commonwealth Secretariat and the CARICOM Observer Mission. The missions of Commonwealth Secretariat and CARICOM applauded the efforts of civil society re the Code of Political Conduct.
- Grouping of CSOs:
Following the elections, the grouping met to review the election process and concluded that there was a need to strengthen the grouping and its role in the governance of the country, They noted that the current political conjuncture demanded a continuing role for the grouping of CSOs to promote greater civic awareness and engagement in the governance of the country. IAGDO continued to convene and co-ordinate the meetings of the CSO Grouping. Post elections, participation has been principally from the NGOs, community based organizations and the producer organizations , since the private sector organizations and labour have independent representation on the Committee of Social Partners.
Key activities of the CSO Grouping post elections were:
- Meetings with IMF officials re Grenada’s home grown structural adjustment programme
- Participation in the National Social Fora organized by the Committee of Social Partners
- Participation in the development of the Social Compact.
- Committee of Social Partners:
The IAGDO was invited to participate in the Committee of Social Partners convened by the Office of the Prime Minister in March 2013 and chaired by the Hon. Prime Minister. The objective of the Committee is to facilitate dialogue between all partners. Given that the private sector and labour have their individual representation on the Committee, the IAGDO continues to convene meetings the other CSOs, which participated in the Grouping of CSOs and facilitate the feedback and input from this wider CSO grouping to the Committee.
IAGDO was signatory to the Social Protocol on behalf of the Civil Society Grouping, committing to the development of a Social Compact, a “framework for inclusive engagement and dialogue to foster the sustainable and balanced development of our country”.
IAGDO and the CSO Grouping participated in the series of National Social Fora organized by the Committee to sensitize the public on the following: – economic growth and national development, national productivity and measures proposed by the Ministry of Finance in respect of the proposed Home Grown Structural Adjustment Programme. Negotiations on the Social Compact will be concluded with all social partners in early 2014.
- MDG Food for the Hungry Project:
The IAGDO was contracted by the European Development Fund – special Services Unit, in the Ministry of Finance, to provide support to the Ministry of Social Development in the implementation of this project supported by the European Development Fund. The project, of four and a half months duration, was intended to address hunger and poverty among families in Grenada who have children under the age of 12, by assisting them to them to realize their potential to be self sufficient and increasing their nutrition intake through their own efforts . e.g. backyard gardening. There were four (4) main components of the project:
- Conduct of a baseline survey on a maximum of one hundred (100)vulnerable households, identified by the Ministry of Social Development
- Coordinating and facilitating the development of family plans by one hundred (100) families
- Facilitating Personal Development/Life Skills training for targeted one hundred (100) families.
- Liaise with Parent Teachers Association (PTA) associations in Pre-Primary/Primary schools pre-selected by the Ministry of Education to discuss the introduction of a pilot Breakfast Programme.
The project was implemented during the period January to March 2013. Four member agencies, ART, GRENCODA, GNOW and NEWLO were involved in the implementation of these aspects of the programme while another member (PIA) provided independent consultancy to the EDF-SSU re the setting up of the data base for the project.
5.1. Non State Actors Panel:
The IAGDO continues to play a key role in the Non State Actors Panel during the period. In October 2013, the IAGDO representatives on the panel were again nominated to the post of Chair and Secretary and member agency, the Agency for Rural Transformation Ltd.(ART) retained to provide secretariat services to the panel. Key activities of the panel during the period under review were:
- Review and recommendations on the Grenada Conservation Trust Legislation and Sustainable Financing re Marine Protected Areas. This activity was organized to equip stakeholders who had been invited to participate in the national consultations hosted by the Dept. of Fisheries.
- Meeting with the consultant re “The Impact of the Yachting Sector in Grenada”
- a seminar on Travel Philantrophy and Voluntourism, Giving Time, Talent and Treasure, facilitated by Dr. Martha Honey of the Centre for Responsible Travel (CREST) in Washington. The intent of the workshop was to introduce stakeholders to the latest international standards for best practices and offer recommendations on how Grenada could create travelers’ philanthropy and voluntourism based on these standards and practices. The Non State Actors Panel was particularly interested in how such an initiative could support the implementation of the Management Action Plan of the Alternative Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy.
- Representations on National Committees and Bodies:
The IAGDO continues to be represented on and participates in a number of national bodies and committees. The most significant during the period under review were:
- Committee of Social Partners
- National Commission for Chronic Non Communicable Diseases
- Millenium Development Goals Committee – this committee did not function during 2013
- Social Safety Nets Advisory Committee
- Constitution Reform Committee – this committee was constituted in December 2013 and will become functions in 2014.
An invitation was also extended for representation on the Praedial Larceny Committee. Mr Christopher Stroude is IAGDO’s nominee to the committee
- Regional Affiliations:
The IAGDO participated in the biennial assembly of the Caribbean Policy Development Centre and the regional NGO Consultation which hosted by the CPDC and the Commonwealth Foundation. The focus of the regional consultation was on MDG acceleration and Post 2015 Agenda. Both activities were held in St. Lucia in April 2013.
Not withstanding the significant financial and material resource challenges, the member agencies of the network continue to make significant contributions to the national development efforts, both individually and collectively. The significant role that the IAGDO plays in providing leadership and to being a “voice” for those who as yet have no voice was again demonstrated during this period. Given its representation on the Committee of Social Partners, this role is expected to intensify in 2014, given the development and implementation of a Social Compact as the country faces austerity measures and an IMF Structural Adjustment Programme.
The IAGDO expresses its appreciation to all partners and well-wishers with whom it collaborated or who gave support to its efforts in 2013. In particular, it takes this opportunity to thank the Grenada National Organisation of Women (GNOW) for hosting the Secretariat over the last four years and to Ms. Jacqueline Pascall, Project Co-ordinator of GNOW for her role of Chairperson over the last three years.