ACORD Strategy Active citizenship and more responsive institutions contributing to a peaceful, inclusive and prosperous Africa.

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2 ACORD Strategy Active citizenship and more responsive institutions contributing to a peaceful, inclusive and prosperous Africa. 1

3 ACORD S VISION, MISSION AND CORE VALUES Vision: ACORD s vision is a society in which all citizens are equally able to achieve their rights and fulfill their responsibilities. Mission: ACORD works in common cause with people who are poor and those who have been denied their rights to obtain social justice and development and be part of locally rooted citizen movements. Core Values: We believe people are the primary actors in their own survival and development. We work for social justice and equality, especially for the poor and marginalised. To achieve this, we work in partnership with communities and in alliance with other organisations. We will contribute to the prevention and resolution of conflicts affecting the communities with which we work, aware that social justice and equality are the basis of meaningful peace. To advance these values, ACORD will carry out its work with integrity and courage. We respect and celebrate diversity, both within the communities we work with, and within our own organisation. We seek to achieve excellence in what we do. 2

4 Theory of Change ACORD s theory of change incorporates our values and mission, continual learning from our own practice and that of our allies, the views and solutions articulated by the citizen organisations and communities who we work alongside, and an analysis of our own capacities and abilities. Since its formation 40 years ago ACORD has taken a bottom up approach to achieving social justice on the African continent. Our research, policy work and programming have been informed by a rights based approach, and a belief in people being the primary actors in their own survival and development. As such, the heart of our work is empowerment, strengthening people s capacities in engaging with local authorities and leaders in the governance of resources for common benefit and becoming actors in their own right. This is both within traditional structures, at household level and in the context of socio-economic and formal political processes.. We believe that central to building inclusive economies and societies is an inclusive, responsive and accountable relationship between citizens and states. We recognise that positive social transformation is a political project where power dynamics at the different levels come into play. Power and interests shape the way in which economies and societies are formed, the direction of investment, the nature of policies and how they are made, and the distribution of wealth. Therefore promoting lasting and transformative changes will invariably involve influencing and changing power dynamics. Furthermore, we understand the ability of economic growth to create socio-economic transformation for the poorest and most marginalised African citizens. In rural and peri-urban areas, we work alongside citizens to equip them with the means and approaches to build more sustainable and secure livelihoods, and the necessary transformation in the policy and legal architecture and social attitudes needed to achieve it. Securing the policies, institutions and investment needed to achieve economic transformation also means establishing decision-making processes based on inclusive, responsive and accountable relationships between state and citizens. 3

5 Finally, we recognise that equality and social justice are the basis for meaningful peace and sustainable development. In our strategy for , our skills and expertise in health promotion, women s empowerment, and conflict will be married with our work on natural resources, livelihoods and civic driven change, to create a more holistic approach and set of activities that seek to confront the barriers to a peaceful and prosperous Africa that leaves no one behind. 4

6 ACORD s approaches, methodologies and value-contribution Our methodologies and approaches from community level to national, Pan African and global are centered around civic driven change, i.e. change that is people-centered and citizen led, and catalyst for holistic positive transformational changes in society. Working alongside the communities, we are promoting rights and defending justice. A large focus of our work is to build and strengthen civil society within African communities, from local to national level. This has included small community based organisations, producers organisations, traditional community organisations like burial societies, up to national CSO networks. We work with these organisations to strengthen their capacities and agency to engage with decision makers and represent their own interests, claiming community rights, contributing to policy formulation and implementation processes demanding accountability. In so doing we seek to address the root causes of poverty and exclusion to achieve lasting and sustainable changes. Because communities are influenced by decisions and actions taken at national and international levels, there is a need to make connections with others and be part of citizen movements. ACORD is facilitating such linkages and helps convene citizens for joint action in order to foster their agency. At community level we also research and pilot test solutions for effectively reaching the poorly served. Lessons and best practices are documented and brought to the attention of policy makers and the wider development community enabling replication at a wider scale. In this way we can add value and work proactively in partnership and complementarity with other stakeholders. We do this within the African continent and globally through our network of partners, ACORD staff in selected locations and allies internationally. This approach to work from community level to national, regional, Pan African and global affords us a unique opportunity to lead well informed, tried and tested advocacy positions for effective policy formulation within our Pan Africa and policy advocacy work. ACORD s strategic approach (working with citizens, for citizens and driven by them) enables the effective influencing of policy at national, regional and continental level. 5

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8 WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED ACORD strives to be a learning organisation and during the past strategic period we have learned a number of lessons that are being taken into account in this new phase. These are highlighted in the internal mid-term review and the final evaluation of the former strategy. Some of the lessons include the need for: Working more closely with young people in Africa Focusing on rural-urban linkages and peri-urban settings and including market linkages and power relations Considering sustainable environment and need to mitigate the effects of climate change Preventing dependency of communities and building in sustainability and exit strategies in a systematic manner Deepening and further developing strategic partnerships with key actors relevant for the effective achievement of our objectives including civil society, governmental, academia, private sector and media actors Ensuring research is an integrated function informing programming, advocacy and learning 7

9 GLOBAL AND AFRICA CONTEXT ACORD s new strategic period coincides with the launch of the global goals that take effect from ACORD played an active part in the consultative process that led to the development of the post-2015 agenda and culminated in the adoption of the Transforming our World; the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and new global goals for sustainable development. The global goals are universal, indivisible and together balance the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. Moreover, the Paris Agreement on climate change adopted by 195 countries in December 2015 will become legally binding once countries ratify it. In coming years, member states will be integrating the global goals and climate commitments in national policy implementation to reflect country specific needs and aspirations. The pledge is that no one will be left behind and to endeavor to reach those furthest behind first. This echoes well with ACORD s niche of traditionally working with the marginalised and underserved populations, the poor and those who have been denied their rights. In Africa, Agenda 2030 is pursued through the African Union s Vision 2063, which incorporates and links with continental frameworks and policy agreements. ACORD supports the African Union s vision of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena and will contribute towards the realisation of this vision in the next five year period. 1 The successor framework to the MDGs, adopted at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit on 25 September 2015, comprising of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2 Agenda

10 STRATEGIC CHOICES Ultimate outcome: Active citizenship and more responsive institutions contributing to a peaceful, inclusive and prosperous Africa Strategic Objectives and Interventions: SO.1 Foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies that are free from fear and violence We will engage communities in dialogue processes to support peaceful electoral periods We will contribute to strengthen local governance and social cohesion through peace, recovery and resilience projects in communities at risk of or emerging from conflict We will support transformative governance and traditional justice mechanisms at the community level We will support people experiencing disasters or conflict in the Sahel, Central and Horn of Africa to recover their livelihoods, and promote solutions for long term change. Expected impact: By 2020 we will have contributed to reduced violence and improved conditions for human security and dignity for Africa s most vulnerable 9

11 SO.2 Build sustainable food systems and livelihoods, increase resilience and enhance natural resource management We will support small scale food producers in marginalised communities to double their agricultural productivity, add value to their produce, increase incomes and ensure access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round We will organise and support communities dependent on land, pasture, forests, and fisheries to play an active role in the equitable and sustainable management of their natural resources We will support communities to expand capacities to respond and rebuild in the face of climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other shocks and stresses (ie implement effective disaster risk reduction systems) We will promote development of domestic and regional markets for small scale producers, and support partnership with the private sector to develop inclusive and equitable business models across the value chain that create quality and sustainable jobs for young people We will support marginalised and small holder farmers to secure coherent and inclusive policies that increase quality investment in sustainable food systems, enhance access to markets and increase community resilience to climate change, disaster, conflict, disease outbreaks and other shocks Expected impact: By 2020 we will have contributed to Africa s most marginalised being more prosperous and resilient with jobs created for Africa s women and youth 10

12 SO.3 Promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls We will contribute to women s empowerment in communities through entrepreneurship development, access to productive assets and market opportunities, and increased leadership and decision making power We will contribute to the reduction of gender based violence through transformation in social and cultural norms, and support to more active and responsive institutions We will help women and girls affected by violence access support and justice by facilitating access to legal services, safe spaces, psychosocial services and economic opportunities We will promote the domestication of SDG5 and Beijing objectives for combating violence and their adequate resourcing in African Union, regional and country action plans Expected impact: By 2020 we will have contributed to reduced gender inequality, vulnerability to HIV/AIDS, female genital mutilation, forced and early child marriage and a life free from violence for women and girls 11

13 SO.4 Contribute to good health and well being and access to universal quality health services We will support access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services, in marginalised and hard to reach communities (including for refugee populations) We will challenge stigma, discrimination, attitudes and laws that undermine access to health services We will support communities to improve their sustainable access to safe and affordable drinking water as well as adequate and equitable hygiene and sanitation paying special attention to the needs of women and girls We will take action to promote universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform of Action and advocate for the integration and adequate resourcing of reproductive health in national strategies and programmes Expected impact: By 2020 we will have contributed to Africa s most marginalised exercising their right to universal quality health services thus reducing preventable deaths particularly among women, girls and children 12

14 SO.5 Co convene African civil society and citizen voices to influence policies and more responsive institutions for a peaceful and prosperous Africa that leaves no one behind We will work to strengthen effective engagement and uptake of African citizens aspirations and needs in global level policy processes and dialogues and their implementation at community, national, regional and AU level. We will take a lead to co convene and contribute to effective Africa civil society coalitions and alliances engagement in global level policy processes and dialogues to ensure outcomes that support social and economic justice, including the SDGs, Beijing +20, UNSC reform, CFS, ICPD, and CSW and their subsequent domestication in Africa. We will deepen and further structure ACORD strategic partnerships with various types of key actors relevant for the effective achievement of our objectives (incl. civil society, governmental, academia, private sector and media). Expected impact: By 2020, we will have contributed to increased influence and a more united African civil society that engages for more responsive institutions for a peaceful and prosperous Africa where its citizens are in the lead 13

15 ORGANISATION PRIORITIES To deliver this ambitious strategy we have identified these critical organisational priorities for the strategic period : Programme quality, research, monitoring, evaluation, learning and accountability Enhance ACORD s focus on quality and impactful research, and enhance programme quality, learning and innovation through improved systems for M&E and documentation and a system for quality review to ensure compliance with best practices. We will further implement accountability and open data systems within the organisation and ensure quality feedback to communities. Enhancing programme quality, through research, monitoring, evaluation, and learning is key to achieving greater impact. Building better understanding and knowledge of civic driven change through evidenced based research in specific contexts is therefore a transversal and on going component of all of ACORD s programmes and projects. We will seek to optimise use of new technologies for more real time information sharing. Investing in people / People power Ensure continuous learning and capacity development in ACORD and its partners to deepen the influence, impact and sustainability of our work. We will give due emphasis to communication, messaging, outreach and networking. Strategic partnerships Identify and further strengthen systematic collaboration and partnerships at different levels for complementarity, mobilisation and bigger impact. 14

16 Communication Enhance ACORD s systems for communication and harness new technologies and social media, increasing our advocacy impact and raising our profile. Ensure the long term sustainability, quality and lasting impact of our action Systematically build exit strategies and/or integrate sustainability measures in our work. Quality funding for organisational sustainability Raise our global annual income to more than 10 million per year by 2020 with a balanced portfolio of funding from different sources (including a greater proportion of funding from private US foundations and own generated income etc). 15

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18 IMPLEMENTATION ARRANGEMENTS AND REVIEW MECHANISMS ACORD s global strategic objectives and organisational priorities will inform country specific strategies and programme development at various levels. In the rolling operational plan, there will be specific targets informed by the programmes and budget available in the period. Tied to the operational plan with its monitoring and evaluation framework there would also be a budget and a risk matrix. Overall monitoring, risk mitigation and management is overseen by the ACORD extended management team. The senior management team, through the Executive Director will periodically update the Board of Directors on the strategy implementation and results. Similarly risk management is formally reviewed and reported on by the Board. The organisation-wide annual report published by the ACORD Board of Directors will include progress against the agreed strategic objectives, updated financial data and a statement on risk management. We plan to organise an annual participatory review process with representatives of staff, partners, board and assembly members across the continent and a mid-term evaluation in A final evaluation will be organised in For example in relation to strategic objective 1, there might be a series of specific targets as relevant, such as: By 2018, we will have contributed to reduced violence and improved conditions for human security and dignity for xx refugee women in Uganda 17

19 CONCLUSION ACORD will contribute to progress on Africa s Agenda 2063 and the global goals, especially for the populations who are the furthest behind, and building on our areas of expertise and comparative advantage. ACORD will do this by working across the African continent through a combination of partnerships, networks and alliances and a physical presence in selected countries. We will also combine direct activities, research, advocacy and capacity building. ACORD will focus on advancing social justice in Africa, while recognising that the influence of issues and actors beyond the continent cannot be ignored. Examples include: foreign trade, investment, climate change and new technologies. In responding to these issues and rapidly evolving trends, we will collaborate with our partners and allies both in the global North and global South. Through our historic linkages with partners in other continents, we are able to look beyond Africa and influence the global spaces. Conscious of the rapidly evolving external and internal contexts we will build in bi annual reviews and rolling budgeting and target setting in line with our long term strategic directions. At the outset of the new strategic period we stand full of hope and energy, ready for grasping new opportunities and turning challenges into innovation and positive changes both for the results we seek to deliver and the organisation we are building for sustaining impact. 18

20 2016 ACORD. All rights reserved. This publication is copyright and should not be reproduced, duplicated or translated without prior written permission from ACORD. Photo credit: ACORD Layout and print: ACORD communications team ACORD has a framework partnership agreement with the European Union ACORD is signing a memorandum of understanding with the African Union Commission UK charity registration No and company limited by guarantee in England

21 ACORD. Defending rights. Promoting Justice. Registered office: ACORD, Development House Leonard Street London EC2A 4LT United Kingdom Tel: +44 (0) Headquarters in Nairobi: ACORD, ACK Garden Annex, 4th floor 1st N gong Avenue P.O. Box 61216, Nairobi, Kenya Tel: / 86 Find us on social media: ACORD Africa ACORD ACORD is a pan-african NGO with Special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN-ECOSOC) and is an accredited NGO with the United Nations Environment Programme

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