Memorandum of Understanding for Governance & Human Rights Consortium 2013

1. Background

The issue of governance dominates the development agenda. Since the 1990s, donors and multilateral institutions have based their aid and support on good governance.

Donor countries realised that development aid, particularly in Africa, was not bearing fruit because of bad governance; characterised by corruption, a democracy deficit, rule of law crises, human rights violations, and lack of voice for citizens in decision-making.

According to Smith (2007), as quoted by Kwabena Gyimah-Brempong, T. Shaw and V. Samonis, governance combines ideas about political authority, management of economic and social resources and the capacity of government to formulate policies and perform their functions effectively, efficiently and equitably.

Human rights, democracy, rule of law, citizen participation, gender equity and, more importantly, political freedom form an integral part of governance principles and values.

Unites States Government Millennium Challenge Account has 17 governance indicators: civil liberties; political rights; voice and accountability; government effectiveness; rule of law; control of corruption; immunization rate and public expenditure on health; natural resources management; inflation rate; trade policy; land rights and access index; regulatory quality; fiscal policy; and business start-up.

Corporate governance relates to the governance of institutions such as NGOs which facilitate transparency, accountability and probity profit organisation. It is no longer business as usual for NGOs. CANGO has a Code of Conduct which serve as a guide for NGOs. As good governance for NGOs/CBOs/FBOs is no longer a luxury, there is a need for this Governance & Human Rights Consortium to also take this on board.

The coming into force of the 2005 national Constitution ushered the country into a new democratic and human rights trajectory. These values, embedded in the national Constitution, created an expectation that at long last the government would be committed to promote these values. The Chapter on Human Rights in the Constitution confers rights to citizens including women, the disabled and children. Constitutional experts, however, pointed out in various analytical papers that there are serious claw backs in the Constitution  – a serious threat to the realisation of the rights by citizens.

2. Purpose and objectives of the Governance & Human Rights Consortium

The purpose of the Consortium is to become ‘the VOICE for governance and human rights for CANGO and to also build capacity of other Consortia and members to advocate for these issues as well’.

The objectives of the Consortium are:           

2.1 to provide a forum for likeminded organisations to have a forum to analyse, research, promote and advocate for governance and human rights as practiced within organisations and in the country at large;

2.2 to coordinate, collaborate and deal collectively with governance and human rights challenges affecting the Constituency served by the NGO community in the country;

2.3 to strengthen the technical capacity of members to base their work on human rights and good governance approaches and values.

3. Critical Issues  

3.1 Weak  coordination,  collaboration and voice on governance and human rights

3.2 Fragmented Lobbying & Advocacy

3.3 Non-existent M&E system

4. Consortium Membership

Membership of the Consortium shall consist of two levels.

4.1 Directors and Technical Group — Directors and coordinators: the Directors will elect the Chair and Vice Chairperson for a period of one year and the Vice will take over whilst the Vice will be elected to assume the Chair when the term for Chair ends.

4.2 Secretariat — The consortium recognises the role of CANGO as an umbrella organisation  for NGOs in Swaziland. CANGO will:

  • host the Consortium
  • prepare its agenda
  • prepare record of meetings
  • convene advocacy platforms, and
  • any related campaign activities.

5. Meetings of the Consortium 

5.1 Directors and Technical group meeting

  • Directors and technical team meetings will deal with strategy approval, endorsement of action plans, to receive half yearly report and annual report every end of July and beginning of January. Will hold quarterly meetings.
  • Will deal with issues for advocacy giving guidance on how these concerns are communicated.
  • Will engage in campaigns.
  • Will engage policy makers.

6. Internal Operations

6.1 Leadership of the Consortium is on rotational basis amongst members until all the members have served as Chairperson and Vice Chair.

6.2 Term of office shall be for a period of 12 months. When the term of office ends, the members shall amongst themselves elect a chair and vice chair persons.

6.3 Decisions making on the Consortium will be by consensus.

6.5 Funding of all consortium activities will be through CANGO, as host of the Consortium; CANGO will give administrative oversight on resources allocated to the consortium.

7. Code of Conduct

Each member of the consortium shall hereon be guided by this common code of conduct for directors, employees, and volunteers, as set out below.

7.1 In all of its activities, a  member shall respect the dignity, values, history, religion, and  culture of all its constituents.

7.2 A member shall recognise that all of its activities impact on the public perception of the  consortium, and that it shares significant responsibility to enhance the public trust.

7.3 Each consortium member shall oppose and not be a willing party to wrong-doing,  corruption, bribery, and other financial impropriety, or illegal acts in any of its activities.  Ethics standards shall be maintained despite possible prevailing contrary practices  elsewhere.

7.4 Each member shall ensure that no person shall be excluded from participation in the  Consortium, be denied the benefits of the Consortium, or be otherwise subjected to  discrimination by the Consortium on the basis of gender, race,  colour, age, religion, or disability.

7.5 Members shall adhere to professional standards in their field of activity.

7.6 Advocacy,  public policy, and lobbying activities by members shall be non-partisan in  nature, and shall conform to applicable law.

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