The FAD is yours!
In 2015 the Field Associative Debates were reformed for missions to take more control and ownership over the FADs and test out new ways of doing their debates. The objective is that FADs 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; they 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 are a forum for local discussions, which is why coordination teams are invited to participate in the debates and discuss with the teams on the best way to follow up on FAD conclusions at field level. 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 mid-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. 
Missions are invited to provide the dates of their 2017 FADs by 10 December 2016, if possible with a basic idea of the topic they would like to discuss. This way we hope to be able to identify the international participants (called FAD Associates) that can best contribute to your FAD, ensuring there is a fair and balanced distribution of FAD associates across all MSF missions, with no mission left out this year.

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’.  Associative teams around the movement as well as boards can 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 – organised by theme - will be available online at www.association.msf.org/2017FADs  (login: msf / password: iga) so missions can get inspiration from others and so background documents can be shared as necessary. Missions should inform their association coordinators of their topic as soon as possible and no later than 15 January. Again, this is to allow associative teams and board members to best support field missions and get in touch with the FAD Associates that can best participate in your discussions. 

The selection of participants to a FAD remains under the control of the missions. In big missions and/or places where movements may be an issue, it is highly recommended, where possible, to organise mini or pre-FADs at project level to facilitate the involvement of a large group of (staff) members in the discussions. Broad participation in the (intersectional) FAD 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 keep in mind: 
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 is 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. There are alternative ways to proactively promote change within the mission or more broadly, both with regard to operations and associative matters. More information about the specific conditions under which you should write a motion (and how to write it) is included in the motions toolkit. Please read it in parallel to the FAD toolkit.
6.    The conclusions of the FADs, included in the report form, should be a tool for the missions first. FAD organisers should plan a dedicated 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. These should be included in the FAD report, which focuses on outcomes that can be used at field level and on implementation and follow up planned in the missions. Coordination teams are therefore strongly invited to take part in these exchanges. 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 help ensure follow-up on the FAD outcomes to the field. A synthesis of FAD outcomes will be shared widely with field teams. As missions discuss their own challenges, the outcomes of their discussions may not necessarily be debated at other levels, though they can of course feed into other discussions within the association as relevant, and contribute to setting the agenda of other associative discussions. It is also up to FAD participants to follow up on their discussions with HQ after the FAD.
8.    To that end, missions are invited during the FAD to identify one or several volunteers that will during the year gather and compile relevant feedback and follow-up, both coming from the field and other levels, and ensure this information reaches everyone in the mission. 
9.    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. 
10.   International FAD Associates have a clear role with identified responsibilities and expectations before, during and after the FAD. They are notably requested to discuss with the field coordination the conclusions that are of concern to the mission, and how to follow up on them. 
11.   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.

Updated December 2016 



By: Anna Borg