Initiative Pour le Developpement Communautaire et de la Conservation de la Foret (IDEF) has positioned itself on the path of good institutional governance; one that makes the staff, management and board confident of its course towards achieving its mission.
This, the organisation attributes to the capacity building support they received from WACSI.
“The support from WACSI has enabled the organisation to better reorganise itself in pursuit of its vision,” the Board Chair of the organization, Marc-Anthelme Kouadio said.
The joy expressed by the dynamic board chair emanates from the fact that the institution was guided by WACSI to address a critical problem that plagued its governance and impeded their credibility as a well-governed institution.
“From the beginning, we were a council of founding members and not a board,” he explained.
Created in 2014, this status quo did not facilitate a smooth coordination between the founding members and the Executive Director of the organisation, Bakary Traore. There was lack of clarity on who should do what, especially when it involved engaging partners.
“There was lack of clarity on who should sign a contract with partners, lack of clarity and consistency in this regard which sometimes retarded progress in decision making in line with finalising partnerships,” explained the Executive Director, whom, together with the board and staff of the organisation, found a solution to this governance menace.
The determination of the management and board to address this menace yielded fruits.
IDEF was among 6 civil society organisations from Cote d’Ivoire that work to promote nature conservation that were selected to take part in a capacity building programme organised by WACSI between 2020 and 2021.
Organisational governance was treated as one of the key topics during the online and face to face sessions. These trainings helped IDEF’s team to clearly identify the governance challenge plaguing their organisation. It further helped them to identify key actions they needed to address the menace.
First, a board was established and voted into office during the 2020 general assembly. IDEF’s first ever board is made of 5 members with a 5-year mandate that can be renewed once.
“This is a good step for a forward-looking organisation,” says Leandre Banon, WACSI’s capacity building Programme Officer who facilitated the session on governance and leadership during the trainings.
Second, IDEF has developed a board charter. This clearly outlines the role of the board and its members and establishes the delimitations of the board, the board chair and the executive director; a veritable panacea to the organisation’s major challenge prior to participating in the capacity development programme.
As a visibly elated Executive Director celebrates this milestone, he recounts the relevance of these actions to the organisation’s overall governance.
“There is a clear separation of duties between the board and the executive team. For example, the board chair signs all contracts with external stakeholders while the executive director signs internal contracts for staff,” he says.
“Also, the board approves (signs) financial engagements above 5 million francs CFA,” he adds.
Traore is overly satisfied with his organisation’s effective participation in this programme and he could not hide his emotions.
“This programme brought a lot of added value to IDEF. This programme helped us know what we need and based on our available resources, we defined what has to be put in place,” the Executive Director testified.
According to them, as a team, they have the passion to promote nature conservation efforts. However, the training helped them to be more strategic and better organised in the pursuit of their passionate ambition. They are confident that which such improved organisation, they would effectively work to create a sustainable society that is aware of its environment, placing its natural resources at the service of sustainable development in Cote d’Ivoire; an accomplishment they do not take for granted.