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Our Guest Is: Juliette Decoster for the FPH Call for Initiatives

The Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation (fph) Call for Initiatives is today one of the main financial offers on which the Alliance relies for its development. After ten years of a close relationship between the Alliance and this private foundation, the Call, drawing lessons from the relationship, seeks to offer a better framework to meet the challenges that the network has defined progressively, as well as to achieve its aims of interaction with society. Juliette Decoster, in charge of processing the answers to the Call at the fph Paris office, tells us how the program has developed over the past year and a half, and gives us a few leads for its future development.

- Juliette, tell us something about your work and about the Call for Initiatives. What initiatives are you supporting at the moment? What objectives are being encouraged?

- At the moment, we are supporting about forty initiatives. We get the applications, follow them up, encourage applicants to find joint financing, decide within a team at the Foundation of the kind of support we shall grant it, and take stock of the project. There is a lot of diversity in the initiatives. In general, we try to share out the efforts among the main Alliance work themes (environment, socio-economy; governance; ethics and values) as well as among the cross-sectional “branches” (geographic, thematic, socioprofessional) and the proposed scope (local, national, continental, or global).

As for the objectives, we favor those, in particular, that capitalize the experience acquired during the first phase, i.e., the Proposal Papers, the Charter of Responsibilities, opening up to new actors, and synergy among groups of themes, socioprofessional networks, or regions that might have points in common. Other financing criteria are a strategic vision of the changes, work on the proposals, collective management, the capacity of producing social mobilization around the project, and joint financing.

- How do you support synergy among the different groups?

- We look for connections among different themes and then we encourage actors with points in common to contact each other. This way, we are better able to set the initiative within the project as a whole. An example of that is the meeting of different Human Rights movements and an international network of jurists that will be held within the framework of the European Social Forum in November. Such interaction among groups is of course fundamental, but it remains a difficult task for everyone involved. The support capacity of our team, which comprises only four persons, is limited and the initiatives themselves keep the persons in charge of them very busy. One of our first steps is to make all of the information we receive on the initiatives visible by publishing it on the Alliance Web site. Every actor can thus access that information and make their own contacts. This section was updated recently and contains concise and precious information on each initiative. (Later, it will also be possible for the actors themselves to access and change the information on their own initiatives directly on the Web site.)

- How does this Call help to fashion the development of the new stage of the Alliance?

- For some of the new groups just getting acquainted with the Alliance thanks to the Call, we are working more on the idea of “setting up alliances” more concretely (for instance, among independent filmmakers) as a way of connecting and progressively participating in the project as a whole. To capitalize the experience of the first stage, we have the participation of long-standing groups of Allies in initiatives such as the cross-sectional evaluation of the proposals or the elaboration of Charters of Responsibilities. Little by little, new citizens’ alliances and new actors are answering the Call, thus opening the range of alliances. Finally, the Foundation team in charge of the Call for Initiatives provides, in addition to financial backing, follow-up of the initiative and methodological support, backs circulation through printed documents and Website publication, and helps to make connections with other initiatives. The Foundation team is also producing an evaluation of the whole of these experiences to obtain a clearer definition of its main lines of support to the Alliance for the 2003-2010 period.

The fph is already circulating a document presenting its orientations for this new 2003-2010 stage. It is available to anyone interested. It can also be consulted on the fph Web site at: http://www.fph.ch

Themes involved

-The Alliance story

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