2015 Field Associative Debates – basic information

The 2015 FADs will bring a few changes to the setup you may have known in previous years. In short, in 2015 missions are invited to take more control and ownership over the FADs and test out new ways of doing their debates. An evaluation will be carried out later this year so we can adapt further the FADs if necessary, in a way that they fully support our social mission.

The FADs are yours, so don’t hesitate to adapt them to your needs!

Purpose of the FADs

The FADs are a platform empowered to the missions first: missions decide on the topics that are of concern to them and are relevant to the social mission, and are responsible for implementation of and feedback on the result of their discussions. As such, these discussions should have a value for the mission primarily and should not necessarily imply time-consuming reporting and/or motions proposals. FADs can help identify some issues and proposals to ‘push’ to higher levels in the association (boards, etc.) – when relevant - and are also a way for boards to listen to field concerns.

The goals of the FADs are to:

  1. Ensure a space for local discussions in every mission on an annual basis. FADs are a key element of associative life in the field, and ideally FADs would be the fruit of an active associative life in MSF projects throughout the year, at the discretion and under the responsibility of MSF members.
  2. Discuss issues of interest to the missions themselves, linked to both the global challenges MSF is confronted to and the operational and humanitarian challenges and concerns field teams face in their own context (social mission), most of which can be framed as an identity issue.
  3. Ensure a space to voice concerns relevant to the social mission and push ‘up’ the issues that field teams strongly believe in and want to voice at a higher level.
  4. Occasionally the International Board may use FADs to consult MSF field teams widely on an issue requiring a positioning (i.e. broader IB consultation of all the missions on a topic).

Timing and schedule
FADs should be scheduled between January and March to ensure they can feed into GA discussions, to facilitate exchanges and support regarding topic framing and avoid conflict with other priorities in the missions. Missions are free to select the most appropriate date for their FAD, and how to divide their time between the intersectional part and potential OC parts. Generally, FADs should last about 2 days.

Topics
Topics shall be developed by missions locally, in an intersectional way, so as to fit the local field realities. Topics should be framed in an ‘MSF global’ context, i.e. in a way that they relate to the challenges MSF faces internationally, the MSF ‘big picture’. When necessary, associative teams around the movement as well as boards will help the missions frame their topic and gather support documents and tools to prepare the topic, ensuring FAD discussions are connected to other discussions within the movement. A shared repository of topics will be available online at www.association.msf.org/2015FADs (login: msf / password: iga) so missions
can get inspiration from others and possibly join in/adapt topics proposed by other missions. Missions should inform their association coordinators of their topic 1 month before the FAD at the very latest and as soon as possible if they would like some support.

Participation
The selection of participants to a FAD remains under the control of the missions. Broad participation is encouraged – from members and non-members, national and international staff, former staff that are members, all hierarchical levels, different projects etc. International FAD Associates (MSFers from outside the mission coming to support with the FAD, formerly ‘international visitors) have a number of well-defined responsibilities (see separate ToRs).

To summarise, the major changes to the 2015 FADs are the following:

  1. Missions are the main drivers of Field Associative Debates, both when it comes to planning, content and follow up.
  2. FADs should have a value for each mission primarily and throughout the year (beyond the event itself).
  3. There will be no ‘international’ topic coming from international governance bodies on a systematic basis.
  4. In order for topics to be close to field realities, missions are free to define the topic they consider interesting in their context. As FADs remain intersectional, the different OCs present in the same country are invited to work together to find a common topic (while they can decide to dedicate part of the FADs to their own (or OC) topic).
  5. FADs results and outcomes can impact on MSF at several levels and in different ways. FADs can but do not need to propose motions to be successful. FADs are invited to use alternative ways to proactively promote change within the mission or more broadly, both with regard to operations and associative matters. More information about motions will be distributed separately. 
  6. The conclusions of the FADs, included in the new report form, should be a tool for the missions first. FAD organisers are invited to save time at the end of the FAD for participants to commonly agree both on conclusions and on the way they want to follow up on these. The new report therefore focuses on outcomes that can be used at field level and on implementation and follow up planned in the missions. It can of course be adapted in its content to best suit the needs of field teams. FAD participants are
    invited to also highlight the conclusions they want to share with others within the movement in this
    report.
  7. Each OC will decide how to provide feedback to the field, but each international FAD Associate should ensure follow-up on the FAD outcomes to the field. The synthesis of FAD outcomes will be shared widely with field teams.
  8. The FAD evaluation should be completed by every participant to the FAD. Like the report, it should be first a relevant tool for the missions to assess their own FAD and therefore it can be adapted by the FAD organisers as they wish. 
  9. International FAD Associates have a clear role with identified responsibilities and expectations before, during and after the FAD.
  10. FAD participants are encouraged to dedicate some time during the FAD to discuss and/or plan associative life and activities in their mission/project during the year.

 

By: Rebecca Cederholm