After a six month pursuit to reach a workable compromise between SACRENA’s founder and the youth it aimed to serve, GlobalGiving has decided to remove this organization from the site.
The conflict resolution process (led by two locally-based volunteers from University of Oregon) resulted in the emergence of a new organization (Manyatta Youth Resource Center) that is led by the youth that felt SACRENA was not serving them. This group is shepherded by community leaders, an external board, and mentored by TYSA and Upendo – two GlobalGiving organizations. GlobalGiving encourages you – the SACRENA donors – to support these same youth through Upendo, another local youth sports organization that is continuing the project.
GlobalGiving wants every project on our site to reflect the wishes of the community it serves. In July of 2009, when the beneficiaries started to build a splinter organization, it was clear that much of the Kisumu community withdrew their support from SACRENA in favor of the Manyatta Youth Resource Center, including the high school where the athletes practiced. Therefore, we wanted to reflect this new reality on the ground by removing SACRENA and raising awareness about Upendo, an existing funding alternative. In six months time, if the new organization (MYRC) can pass our due diligence process and has a proven track record of activities, we will invite them to join GlobalGiving.
This is a success story. The work continues to serve people in the community, and now with better leadership.
We summarize the story below, and encourage you to download the complete version as a Word document attached to the update.
Please comment on this update and tell us what you think about this process.
The following outlines pivotal pieces of information in the process of resolving the conflict between SACRENA’s founder and the group of beneficiaries he aimed to serve.
In March, a Global Giving staff member visited the project and encouraged the beneficiaries to provide informal feedback.
In April, two project visitors reported youth being excluded from the decision making process and a lack of transparency in the organization.
In May, youth decided to report their concerns directly via an online feedback form and via email as a group petition.
Later in May, a formal evaluator visited with staff and beneficiaries and reiterated the prior observations of casual observers.
In June, in response to a request from the organization founder for guidance in conflict management, volunteers arrived and held workshops with youth and organization staff.
In July, after several months of dialogue with the organization founder and following a visit to a nearby sports program (TYSA) with an inclusive management style, the youth decided to create a splinter organization. This decision was supported by but not orchestrated by the conflict resolution volunteers.
Two sources tell us that in July, the local school where SACRENA youth practiced asked the founder to leave, citing longstanding broken promises from its founder to invest in grounds upkeep.
Also in July, the founder of SACRENA packed up and left Kisumu. We confirmed with multiple local eyewitnesses that this organization no longer has an office in Kisumu.
In August, GlobalGiving conducted a final survey of beneficiaries and community members. We again asked, “Should this organization be removed from GlobalGiving?” We were able to hear from 34 youth athletes through liaisons who now believe SACRENA should no longer receive funding through GlobalGiving. We will contact 8 of these interested community members (via SMS) for periodic follow-up to confirm that the new organization (MYRC) is making progress.
In August, GlobalGiving also tracked down the SACRENA founder. The founder insists that the organization is still functioning and thanked us for our guidance in helping his organization expand its activities. He did not allude to any of the existing problems, and in fact insisted his Kisumu projects were functioning without interruption.
We now realize the importance of identifying the moment when community support for an organization dissolves. Before July, 2009, the youth who now want GlobalGiving to remove SACRENA had previously asked us to keep working with them. The emergence of better organizations to manage the project (MYRC and Upendo) enabled the youth to withdraw their previous endorsement of SACRENA, this causing GlobalGiving with remove SACRENA from the site.
===== Why are you telling us? =====
This report reflects a dramatic departure from the standard international philanthropy model. Organizations, like governments, exist to serve people, and when the people say they no longer want an organization, we – GlobalGiving – seek ways to accommodate their wishes. As the donors, we want to hear what you think. If you fully support this process, we ask that you also give to Upendo to make it work. Regardless, please comment on this update. What you think affects this organization and the many others with whom we will share this story. Your involvement has already transformed the way this organization dealt with internal conflict. Help us help them continue the work.
Upendo = http://www.globalgiving.com/3759Attachments: