MOSHOOD (MOSH)'s friends
Alliance, Coalition & Network
posted on Wednesday, December 19, 2012 07:35 AM
1. An Alliance is a union or an agreement to cooperate, without necessarily obligating any resources. The ownership belongs to members of the Alliance.
2. A Coalition is a temporary alliance for combined action, in which each coalition member obligates some resources. The ownership also belongs to members
3. A Network is a group of individuals or organizations who share information, contacts, and experiences for specific purposes. The ownership belongs to few, especially the initiators of the network.
The inability of community/youth development actors to separate these three terms always brings about a situation when a member of a supposedly Alliance will receive an invitation letter to participate in a workshop/seminar/conference that his/her Alliance organizes. If such a thing happens to you then you are a member of a Network.
If you belong to a group, which has no guidelines and no action plans, then you are in a Network.
If your group is formed because that is one of the criteria for obtaining grants from donors, then you are in a Network. Sooner or later you will know; especially when that grant you applied for comes. When the grant comes you may be sidelined or delisted/deleted from the group. The group will then fold-up after the grant.
So, what are we planning?
Most importantly, if you cannot contribute freely to the discussion, deliberation, debate and dialogue of your group, then you are in a NETWORK. In fact, such a Network will never assist you when you are in need.
What you are planning to form or what you are invited to participate in may eventually become a mere Network because that is what most alliances and coalitions have been reduced to. There are many examples of such coalitions in our world today. Just look around you.
Building an Alliance will bring some benefits not limited to:
1. Strength and greater impact.
2. Broad based campaigns for greater LEGITIMACY
3. Enhanced advocacy campaigns through availability of a broader range of services and skills
4. Information and experience sharing
5. Knowledge acquisition
6. Additional capacity for monitoring and evaluation
A Network group can also achieve these at a lower level because of the ownership and reduced sense of responsibility.
The basic requirements for creating and maintaining an Alliance include but not limited to:
1. An agreed plan of action based on shared values and objectives, a time frame. This could be done through a strategic planning forum.
2. Issues must be properly named and framed for deliberation and democratic problem solving.
3. The capacities and constraints of each member should be determined and tasks assigned accordingly without any fear or favour.
4. Secretariat, formal or informal, should be established to manage, coordinate and control JOINT EFFORTS on the basis of clear OPERATING GUIDELINES.
5. Must be DEMOCRATICALLY run, INCLUSIVE and TRANSPARENT otherwise it becomes a CULT. Most of the supposedly alliances have adopted 'no limited time for contesting for a post'
6. Regular CONSULTATION and INFORMATION DISSEMINATION among members.
The builders of an Alliance should expect the following problems, but not limited to:
1. Uneven commitment by members, especially when the Alliance has been reduced to a Network.
2. Power struggles over ownership or equality of power when there is no clear definition of roles and purposes.
3. Lack of coordination
4. Difficulties in reaching consensus
5. Competition among members
6. Domination by powerful members
7. Hijacking of the group for selfish interest
8. Self-serving/promotional attitude of powerful members
9. Conflicts of interest
10. Expense of maintaining long term groupings
11. Corruption/misappropriation of resources especially when huge resources are involved.