Caritas Georgia implementing the Caritas Development Fund (CDF)
The charitable foundation Caritas Georgia approached the Caritas Development Fund (CDF) for the first time in 2014. They then joined fully this newly established system that supports the organisational development and institutional strengthening of member organisations.
We at Caritas Georgia appreciate in particular this important change in the whole system of support for Caritas Europa members. Shifting from the European Solidarity Fund (ESF) to the CDF was a positive qualitative step towards the development of member organisations and, consequently, the strengthening of the whole Caritas Europa network.
The first and most distinctive feature of the CDF system is that the participating organisations are invited to conduct self-assessments to evaluate their strong and weak sides. On the basis of the results, they are then able to elaborate their 3-year organisational development plan. We consider this to be the fairest way to receive support from the network. CDF is not only a financial support tool (like the ESF was), but a mechanism that also supports sustainable organisational plans - introducing methodologies, such as the “problem/solution tree” among others.
Caritas Georgia, due to some internal and external constraints, has had to face continuous changes in its organisation. Therefore, contrary to the majority of other member organisations, it conducted its first self-assessment only in July 2014, benefiting already from the CIMS (Caritas Internationalis management standards). This self-assessment revealed several weak points and gaps in the organisation. The first improvement plan of Caritas Georgia for the years 2015-2017 tackled only three priority goals out of these:
- Effective HR Management System;
- Updated and Comprehensive Strategic Plan as Guiding Document for the years 2016-2020; and
- Sustainability of Organisation Ensured by Funding Stability.
The implementation of this improvement plan during the first year (2015) was subject to some adjustment and modifications because of structural instability caused by changes in the governing structure and executive leadership. Only since the beginning of 2016, Caritas Georgia is finally somehow settled for the following two years.
The preparation of the strategic planning process was initiated in 2014 through several strategic planning assessment trips to different regions of Georgia. In this framework, we conducted assessments of both potential beneficiaries (needs of people, including parish communities, their vulnerability, capacities) and of different stakeholders, such as government, local authorities, local and international NGOs, different community units, etc. (resources – technical, financial, other). Thanks to this, Caritas Georgia was able to define its role in responding to the most acute needs of marginalised people, advocating for their rights and/or establishing partnerships with different stakeholders.
One more important step towards the future strategic plan of Caritas Georgia was the partners’ meeting held in Tbilisi in March 2015, to which also the Secretary General of Caritas Europa, Jorge Nuño Mayer, participated.
The last and most crucial stage of work on the strategic plan took place in 2016, following the firm decision of Caritas Georgia’s new Director Anahit Mkhoyan to finally finalise the plan for the following 5 years. A two-day workshop was conducted to brainstorm on the changing environment of the organisation and the existing reality of the country and the Church. At present, the plan has been compiled thanks to the commitment and hard work of all the participants.
Thanks to the support through CDF, the rest of 2016 and the year 2017 will be fully devoted to finalising the already partially implemented activities that were planned under the other two priority goals set in Caritas Georgia’s improvement plan.