MISSION, VISION AND MANDATE
Vision – An achieved solution to social- economic empowerment and vulnerability to sustainable livelihood among gender category, creating Cities with opportunities to develop full potential and success
Mission – To promote scalable methods in creativity and educational programs, assertive network with local, regional and global partners while promoting community skills development for women/girls, persons with disability and youths to enhance and increase youth employability and empowerment to explore their full potential and achieve their goals, focusing on the challenges that relate to global poverty, unemployment, vulnerability etc.
Scope and Objectives:
Our scope statement contains the following: Openness and Recognition to our sponsors, and stakeholders. The problem statement, project goals and objectives, requirements, deliverables, project non-goals (what is out of scope) Milestones, cost, management plan, Project assumptions, risks and achievements
Lifelong learning, to attain quality Education for all, provide skills and knowledge through information dissemination and communication
To inclusively address a transpiring social and ethical challenges, to foster cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue, a culture of peace towards reconciliation
- Our Mandate:
To provide support, services and referrals to the newcomers, refugees to smoothly integrate and transition into Canadian society. Support the homeless, persons with disability, Youth at Risk, LGBTQ in collaborations with other stakeholders through Education, workshops and dialogue, Out-reach, cultural and sports programs/activities and environmental issues. Diversity and integration through Reconciliation March/Parade. We source funds for intercultural dialogue through Education, Youth Sports development. The visual and general Arts, Promote and develop life skills to reduce employment barriers, increase support to school drop outs (Youths, single parents (Mothers) to return to school, with after school programs
- Cross-Cultural Sensitivity – We engage and work with partners and community leaders encouraging different languages to be spoken and protected, respecting different cultures, customs and values, while remaining true to Canadian values as well.
- Adaptability and Flexibility – We respond quickly but flexible on new and innovative approaches to achieve results. Initiative – We are action-oriented, setting priorities with ability to use reasoning skills to solve identified problems, seeking solutions to complex development challenges.
- We Network, build alliance and source for funding for education development, we engage with many development and humanitarian partners to advance the priorities, source resources to make a difference in the lives of the disadvantaged.
- Teamwork and Cooperation – With different strength, working with one another, we address complex development challenges. We believe that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
- We focus on quality services – We are accountable for the quality and accuracy of services and information we use in making significant Policy and programs decisions.
- Judgment and integrity – We identify priorities, diagnose opportunities, and draw logical conclusions. We analyze complex situations and make decisions with a significant impact to our communities, preserving our integrity.
Out-Reach programs, we reach out to identify and respond to a specific social problems and examine service access and address challenges and coordinate between agencies and individuals; we work with geographical and functional communities living in the same areas or regions.
Promote and facilitate formal and Informal educational development among the needy group of people, encouraging increased public participation in planning, service delivery and decision making processes; in a preventive nature that enhances the social well-being of individuals and families through intervention strategies provided at the earliest opportunity; and to one or more of the following:
- Community members assuming responsibility for decisions and actions that affect them, focusing on the most beautiful things in life that are never seen with eyes but felt by the heart, as well as building bridges and constructive relationships among communities.
- Interpersonal development skills and Youth Trade and Vocational skills training increase to overcome barriers to employment, promoting and developing broad range of educational skills and knowledge, the key to the current and future labour market and employability.
- Mobilize, organize, involve and engage community members, particularly those identifying themselves as African descentants, to make them feel at HOME AWAY FROM HOME, by providing them with educational programs for sustainability; helping them to develop/create awareness of social needs, through English conversation. We are culturally responsive educators, Research developers; and Programming interventionists – for quality, culturally responsive education and Socio-cultural consciousness
- Annual Dynamics of multiculturalism through Arts, Carnival, Parade, Dialogue, Sports and Music
The core values are our guiding principles that dictate behavior and action that helps us know what is right from wrong; determine if we are on the right path and fulfilling our goals; and creating unwavering and unchanging guide in our vision and mission
- Accountability – Development, Innovative and reflection
- Strive – As part of Innovation solution
- Diversity – Staying true to our Cultural diversity, Heritage, History in stewardship and principles
- Commitment to excellence- Quality of excelling, being truly the best
- Sustainability – We believe not only in making strong sustainability commitments, but in taking action to ensure we fulfill those commitments
- Above and beyond – We strive to exceed the expectations by going an extra mile giving our time and talent
To our achieve our goal AGL’s relay on the following Objectives:
- Skills development promotion among disadvantaged groups to enhance the livelihood and employment barriers.
- Support services development in Formal/informal education and training, Income generating, Mental health care, disaster preparedness, environmental protection and conservation, support and prevention of drug abuse, public awareness and information dissemination
- Development and empowerment projects
- Improve living standards
After “The Dynamics of Multiculturalism through Education, Sports and Music (ESM) event of 2013 at Edmonds community school we saw over 400 children and families participate. We launched a long term goal aimed at achieving the desired outcome. Goal is to examine the root cause of employment barriers and how to serve over 300 youths annually through an increased families and Youth LIVE SKILLS Programs to smoothly transition them into employment for sustainability. This strategy will not only build on our success over the annual breakthrough to the 300 clients, but will also gives us the foundation to be more efficient.
In order to do these, we shall then focus on three strategic priorities that include:
- Expanding our reach – Create and grow programs for Youth skills development, Guiding/Counselling, sports, cultural activities will not only help in job creation and economic growth, but also promote employability skills development among the youths and hence improve social economic status of the community.
- Strengthening our Global network – Education and staff development, ensure financial sustainability with our partner in different programs globally.
- Mobilizing support – Increases understanding programs that support more target groups and families.
Network and partnerships unable us identify needs to carry out our mission and programs, working with institutions that provide needful services of our beneficiaries such as formal and information institutions, Health institutions, Donors/development partners, employers, Universities, Municipalities, Governments including the cooperation, owner/cooperators as well as other important corporate partnerships. We rely on Strategic alliances with organizations/agencies that have the knowledge and infrastructure to extend our reach, as donors, volunteers, staff and friends.
The Principles and Practices for AGL’s Excellence are meant to educate community members, the executive, board members, managers, volunteers and staff about the fundamental roles and responsibilities.
Accountability principles and management practices. The Principles and Practices for AGL’s Excellence are based on the fundamental values of quality, responsibility and accountability. Our practices provide specific guidelines to evaluate and improve our operations, governance, human resources, advocacy and financial management.
Board members represent community members through programs, the board is committed, developed to understand the success of our mission, ongoing programs and activities, finances, business model and changes in the operating environment, holding on values, diversity, understanding the role of broad participation and the importance of diverse inclusion. We accomplish what we hold ourselves accountable for, we all create the future, we do so every day consciously, everyone and everything is interconnected and interdependent. Being the change we want to see” means walking the talk of our values building upon our strength. The board demonstrates their personal stake by their volunteer time, help raise external funds and make personal financial contributions to the organization to help the smooth operation and running of the programs/activities. Board members receive no monetary compensation for their board duties other than reimbursement for board-related expenses.
Board Compensation – Characteristics and Qualifications. AGL’s Board is made up of individual volunteers who are committed to represent the best interests of the organization, its mission and the community it serves. Open to new viewpoints of the community members, board seeks out new potential board members from outside the organization’s traditional circles and include board representatives from the communities. Deliberate careful during decision-making process and a diversity of perspectives. The Chair, a Vice-chair, a Treasurer, Secretary- General, and Assistant Secretary none of them serves in more than one officer position at the same time. If staff membership on the board is deemed necessary, it’s limited to the executive director. The Executive Director cannot serve as the Chair, Vice-chair, Treasurer Secretary General or Assistant Secretary.
Board Responsibilities. Our Volunteer Board members gain full understanding of the board roles and responsibilities to the public by being providing clear set of expectations and responsibilities, Bylaws, articles and other key documents of the organization, An introduction to the work of the organization, and Ongoing opportunities to discuss and review responsibilities. Board members are responsible and fully understanding their legal and fiduciary responsibilities, carrying out their duties in the following areas:
- Strategic planning
- Policy approval and ongoing review
- Annual review of the executive director’s performance and compensation
- Setting of compensation structure
- Annual general meetings, budget and revenue plans
- Financial procedures
- Risk management
- Regulatory filings
Board members are responsible for the ongoing financial issues, understanding the contents and significance of the organization’s financial statements and to actively participating in decision-making processes in the best interest of the organization and themselves.
AGL’s a conflict of interest policy that includes a disclosure form, which is signed by board members annually, and procedures for managing conflicts of interest and handling situations in which public and private interests intersect.
Conflict of interest policy: Prohibiting” conflicts of interest or managing conflict of interest situations in order to ensure that decision-making is not influenced by conflicting interests. A conflict of interest is a situation in which a person has a private or personal interest sufficient to appear to influence the objective exercise of his or her official duties at Africa Great Lakes Networking Foundation (AGL). Types of conflict for “A Board Member, employee or volunteer of AGL may be in a conflict of interest situation that is:
- Actual or real, where his/her official duties are or will be influenced by his/her private interests.
- Perceived or apparent, where his/her official duties appear to be influenced by his/her private interests.
- Foreseeable or potential, where his/her official duties may be influenced in the future by his/her private interests.
Responsibilities: Overall Responsibility
Members of the AGL Board, staff and volunteers are responsible for managing conflict of interest situations in order to ensure that workplace behaviour and decision-making throughout AGL are not influenced by conflicting interests.
Responsibility for Prevention: AGL supports an organizational culture in which people freely take responsibilities for both “Self-declaring” possible conflicts of interest, and respectfully raising possible conflicts faced by others in the organization. This culture makes it possible to avoid many such situations from arising in the first place. Managers, staff, volunteers and Board members have the responsibilities to implement practical preventive measures, such as:
- Provision of education about what to do when gifts and hospitality are offered;
- Meeting agendas in advance to enable participants to foresee possible conflicts;
- Ensuring that people are clearly told when information must be protected from improper use;
- Declining involvement in an action (such as supporting a questionable outside activity
Responsibility for Managing: Where prevention is not the solution, conflict of interest situations must be managed. Steps: Those involved in such situations will work together and support one another’s ethical responsibilities. Ensure transparency by self-declaration, and by making sure that a record of the declaration is made. Discuss it. In a doubtful situation, take a moment for a quick word with the Chair of your meeting, or undertake a full dialogue with the group, if the situation warrants it. Deal with it. Measures to mitigate or eliminate a conflict of interest will depend on what is appropriate to the severity of the situation. Options include:
- Restricting the involvement of the individual by for example, withdrawing from decision-making. This would not be appropriate if the conflict of interest arises frequently, or if the individual cannot be separated from parts of the activity.
- Recruit a third party to assist. For example, asking a disinterested party to sit on a hiring board. There will be situations where no appropriate third party is available.
- Remove the individual from affected duties, when restricts and recruits are not suitable options, the individual with the conflict may be removed from duties related to the conflict. The individual could transfer to other duties.
- Relinquish the private interest. In cases of serious conflict, the individual may choose to drop the private interest, such as membership on the Board of another Organization, which is causing the conflict.
- Resign from the official duties. In serious cases where other solutions are not possible, the individual may have to resign from the position creating the conflict.
- Document what has been done. Board minutes, correspondence to interested parties, or other documentation will provide a record of steps taken.
- This policy will be explained to all new Board members, staff and volunteers. All such affected persons will agree in writing, at the outset of taking a position or volunteering with AGL, that they will abide by this policy.
- At that time, Board members and staff will disclose possible conflict situations to the Executive Director (or Board Chair if appropriate) in confidence. Subsequent material changes must be disclosed when they first emerge. Volunteers will inform their coordinator of possible conflict situations.
- The Executive Director (or Board Chair if appropriate) will indicate to each individual whether any further action in necessary to manage the possible conflicts of interest disclosed. Actions include the following, depending on the severity of the conflict:
- Declaring the conflict to all concerned before discussion or decision-making;
- Withdrawing from final decision-making only;
- Withdrawing from all aspects of discussion and decision-making.
- The Executive Director (or Board Chair if appropriate) is the final authority on resolving disputes, for example when an individual does not agree with the perception that he or she is facing a conflict of interest.
- The Executive Director (or Board Chair if appropriate) is the authority on dealing with real conflicts of interest which are discovered “after the fact”. A variety of serious measures, such as cancelling a contract or hiring decision, may have to be considered, case by case, in such situations. AGL legal services will normally be involved in the final disposition.
For the purposes of this policy, the Board Chair is the appropriate authority in all matters relating to the affairs of the Board, and to any issues involving the Executive Director’s own affairs. Any issues involving the Board Chair’s own affairs will be dealt with by the Board Vice-Chair and the Board. The Executive Director is the authority in all other matters.
Transparency: The application of this policy involves two types of transparency:
- Confidential Disclosure: Affected persons must provide information on possible conflicts of interest and related matters to the Executive Director (or Board Chair if appropriate).
This information will be kept strictly confidential.
- Declaration to Concerned Parties: If the Executive Director (or Board Chair if appropriate)
deems that a particular element of information on a possible conflict of interest must be provided to a wider audience of concerned parties (such as the members of a committee or the Board, or the public at large), then a declaration of the conflict of interest situation will be made and recorded. The person involved should be consulted prior to the wider declaration.
Good Judgement: The application of this policy relies heavily on the good judgement and common sense of those affected, following the ethical principles outlined in the Government’s Code of Ethics.
Accountability: Every member of staff is responsible for his or her own conflict of interest situation:
- Awareness of the policy,
- Self-declaring potential problems to superior,
- Respectfully identifying potential problems of other staff members,
- Undertaking follow-up action determined by the Executive Director, and
- Making disclosures when circumstances change significantly.
Volunteers are responsible for respecting this policy. They should take any questions in this regard to their coordinator. Coordinators of volunteers will apply the policy to them under the general direction of the Executive Director. The Executive Director is responsible for the ongoing application of the policy and procedures to staff. The Executive Director will:
- Provide a point of contact for advice about conflict of interest matters,
- Determine the actions required as a result of confidential disclosures by staff,
- Receive complaints about possible breaches of the policy,
- Determine the actions required by breaches of the policy, and
- Make annual reports on the overall situation of conflict of interest of staff and volunteers to the Board.
The Executive Director’s own conflict of interest situation is the responsibility of the Board Chair. The Board Chair is the key person to establish the ethical climate for AGL and its Board, and for ongoing attention to conflict of interest issues on the Board. The Chair is also responsible for the resolution of conflict of interest situations, and related disputes, among members of the Board. The Board Vice-Chair will, together with the Board, deal with the Board Chair’s own conflict of interest situation. The Board bears great responsibility for the good name of AGL and as such has a special responsibility for ethical matters. The Board is also ultimately responsible for policy, and will review of the conflict of interest policy every 5 years, or when the nature of the organization changes significantly. This information will be kept strictly confidential.
The Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC) is responsible for the Council’s Code of Ethics as well as guidance documents, communications and training on conflict of interest. Its Ethics Review Committee can provide assistance on managing particularly troublesome conflict of interest issues.
Some Categories of Conflict of Interest Situations
Self-interested funding, contracting or hiring: when an affected person uses a position in AGL to influence a decision to provide funding or contracts to another organization in which he or she has an interest, or to go outside normal hiring processes to give a job to a friend or family member. Improper influence: when an affected person solicits or accepts some form of benefit in return for influencing AGL’s activities or promoting someone else’s interests in AGL. Misuse of information or property: when an affected person uses information or property to which the person has access at work, and to which others would not have access, for some personal benefit. Inappropriate outside activity: when an affected person’s activities outside AGL are in conflict with the interests of AGL. Accepting undue benefits, such as significant gifts which place an affected person under obligation to the donor
Some Possible Scenarios
Gifts – People in partner organizations and communities frequently offer gifts that it would be impolite to refuse. It is important to distinguish gifts and favours that represent goodwill and friendship from those that are designed to create an indebtedness on the part of the recipient. A conflict of interest may also arise when gifts are larger than a normal token in a given situation. Key ethical principles in resolving the situation are integrity (i.e. action in line with our policy and values), transparency (including honesty in discussing the issue), and respect (for the gift giver). An action is to explain that policy that will only allow the gift to be accepted on behalf of our organization. If there is an appearance of indebtedness, it may be necessary to respectfully decline the gift.
Coalition members involved in funding and decisions – The terms of reference for a coalition will state clearly that the first duty of the coalition’s Board members is to the coalition. When the coalition members provide funding and are active in decisions about programs, there is a possibility of conflicts arising between the interests of the coalition and the members’ own organizations. Such conflict situations must be declared and discussed by the Board. Then, depending on the extent of the possible conflict, the Board will decide to what sort of restrictions should be placed on the concerned individual in discussions and decisions. The resolution of the issue should be documented in the minutes.
Awards committees – Members of awards committees are in a similar situation to the coalition members described above, but the situation is even more serious because they are making decisions about the disbursement of funds. In addition to declaring conflicts, and removing themselves from the awards process as it relates to their home organization, members of such committees must remove themselves from the application process in their home organization. They may also have to recruit someone else to under-take some of the duties they cannot fulfil as a result. Example Policy on Conflict of Interest:
Out Responsibilities: Overall Responsibility
- Members of the AGL Board, staff and volunteers must arrange their private affairs and carry out their official duties in a manner that will prevent actual, foreseeable and perceived conflicts of interest from affecting decision-making in the organization.
- If a conflict does arise between private interests and AGL duties, the conflict will be resolved in favour of the AGL duties.
- Members of the Board and staff should respectfully raise, with those concerned, possible conflicts they see facing others in the organization.
- Affected persons should treat outside entities and persons with fairness and respect, and without granting improper preferential treatment to anyone.
- Affected persons should strive for honesty and transparency, without taking advantage of
Information that is obtained in the course of the AGL duties and that is not generally available to the public.
- Affected persons to strive with loyalty for the good of AGL, avoiding work for organizations with competing interests (except with permission from the Executive Director or Board Chair, as appropriate).
- Affected persons may engage in outside employment and activities unless they are likely to give rise to a conflict of interest.
- Acceptance of gifts, hospitality and other benefits arising out of AGL duties is permissible if they do not place the affected person or AGL under an obligation to the donor, are infrequent and of minimal value, and are within normal standards of courtesy.
- Members of the Board and staff will periodically evaluate and report whether the assets and liabilities could create an actual, foreseeable or perceived conflict of interest.
- After leaving AGL, affected persons should avoid taking improper advantage of their former positions.
- Board members serve without compensation, other than reimbursement of reasonable expenses, and are not eligible for employment or service contracts with AGL.
- Board members will not be closely connected to the Executive Director, and should not be closely connected to each other except as the Board may permit. The test for “closely connected” is a reasonable person’s perception of a connection that would be likely to influence decision-making such as: Immediate family members, Step-siblings, long-term room-mates, business partners, former spouses, minor business associates, etc.