Introducing SKOP – The National Platform of Maltese NGDOs
The Platform was set up in October 2000 on the initiative of Kopin (Koperazzjoni Internazzjonali – Malta), after a need was felt to bring together all NGOs operating in the development sector, to work together on a common front.
The vision of SKOP is to contribute, through the cooperative efforts of its Members, to a just world where basic needs are met, where people are empowered, where there is equity in the management and distribution of resources and where human rights are respected.
SKOP brings together Maltese Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) involved in development and relief overseas and/or in the provision of development education – hereby called Non Governmental Development Organisations (NGDOs). The Maltese NGDO Platform aims to provide a forum for consultation and co-operation between its members as well as wherever possible to help them speak with a single voice on development issues.
In furtherance of its vision, SKOP aims to:
- promote the just interests of the peoples of the South in key areas of Maltese and European policy.
- promote the achievement of the United Nations’ target of 0.7% of GNP for Maltese official development aid.
- promote, through development and global education, an understanding of the causes and a commitment to correcting, the effects of social and economic inequalities.
- provide a forum for member organizations to share information, ideas and experiences.
Membership is open to non-profit making NGDOs independently established and located in Malta which consider international development cooperation (including development education) as an important aspect of their aims and work.
SKOP is funded through a minimum donation of €30 yearly from member organisations and €15 yearly from affiliate member organisations. The Platform can also seek other funds, as long as it does not accept aid from any source which might jeopardise the aims of the organisation.
SKOP is governed by its members, through the Annual General Meeting, which elects a Board of up to six members to manage the network on behalf of the members. The Board can have a maximum of six members but not less than three. The Board also retains the right to co-opt members if it needs to, but the co-opted members do not have a right to vote not even in exceptional circumstances. The Board is assisted by a Secretariat, which is responsible for the day-to-day business of the organisation.
The election for the board will be held by secret ballot and each member organisation shall be entitled to one vote at meetings of the AGM. Since some of the member organisations have very few members there can be cross-nominations.
The nomination papers of candidates bearing signatures of the proposer and seconder, who are bonafidemembers of one of the Platform member organizations, shall be submitted to the secretariat one week before the election date.
At the election for the Board, the representative of each member organisations shall vote for up to six candidates and those candidates receiving the highest number of votes shall be declared elected. Any vacancy on the board may be filled until the next annual general meeting by a member appointed by the elected members.
Role of the Board
The Board is responsible and accountable for governing and managing the organisation. Members of the Board are appointed in a voluntary capacity and serve as Directors of the Organisation. The Board elects a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson, and a Treasurer. The Board delegates responsibility to the Secretariat for the day-to-day management of the organisation. The main responsibilities of the Board are:
- Provide the framework for the organisation’s actions and operations
- Ensure effective organisational planning and the acquisition of sufficient resources for the proper functioning of the NGDO Platform
- Represent the Platform to all important stakeholders
- Govern the organisation
- Ensure the organisation’s sustainability
- Safeguard the Platform’s core values and principles
- Determine and monitor the organisation’s activities
- Account to the public for the work of the Platform
- Evaluate the performance of the Secretariat
- Provide continuity for the organisation
- Develop the long-term vision to lead the organisation in strategic directions
- Guide and support the Secretariat in its role
The term of office of a Board Member is Two Years. The Board may, from time to time, decide to invite other organisations and individuals to attend its meetings in an observer capacity. Chairpersons of the Platform’s Working Groups can be invited to attend meetings of the Board in an observer capacity.
The NGDO Platform meets a minimum of twice yearly as well as whenever necessary and/or desirable.
The NGDO Platform produces an annual report, published not later that the second week of February, which is distributed to all member organizations as well as to other interested groups and organisations. The annual report includes a financial report, information on the activities of the Platform, as well as details of forthcoming priorities, meetings and events.
A working definition of Non-Governmental Development Organisations (NGDOs)*
NGDOs are voluntary, autonomous, non-profit and non-governmental organisations working within the framework of international development cooperation. They are concerned with poverty reduction and eradication, social justice, human rights and the problems of marginalisation within society, particularly with regard to women.
Some characteristics of NGDOs:
• They are not set up to generate profit. Therefore, any surplus would not be distributed to the staff or members of the particular organisation;
• Their existence is not sanctioned or hindered by law, but results from the self-chosen voluntary initiative of a number of individuals pursuing a shared interest or concern;
• Formed by private initiative, they are independent – they are not part of government or controlled by a public body;
• They are governed by the terms of whichever legislation they choose to be registered under;
• They are legitimised by the existence of the world’s poor and powerless, by the circumstances these live in, and the injustices they experience;
• By and large, NGDOs act as intermediaries, providing support to those who legitimise them. They are not mutual benefit organisations or associations;
• They retain voluntary values and principles as the primary driving force in their working practice.
The Platform members believe in the following values:
• Social justice, equity and respect for human rights;
• The participation of the people with whom they are working;
• The centrality of civil society in development cooperation;
• Working with southern organisations – aiming for common development goals;
• Equality of opportunity.
The Platform members believe in the following approach to development cooperation:
• Taking a professional approach in their work;
• Providing support to southern partners to help increase their capacities;
• Supporting the empowerment of disadvantaged groups in particular.
• Working to reduce gender inequalities;
• Using responsible fund-raising methods;
• Ensuring that their actions produce sustainable results;
• Engaging in development education, awareness raising, and advocacy in the North;
• Using their bridging capacity to link different sectors of society.
The organisations must be:
• Non-profit distributing;
• Non-partisan: the organisation must be motivated by broadly humanitarian and developmental objectives, which should not be secondary to political or religious agendas having partisan tendencies. Such an organisation would be a legal entity registered in Malta. Such organisations must not seek to serve the interests of a commercial or profit-making organisation.
* This Document is based on points taken from Alan Fowler, Striking a Balance – A Guide to Enhancing the Effectiveness of Non-Governmental Organisations in International Development.