Statement on Monitoring of SJF Projects
November 22, 2002
Passed by the SJF Board of Directors in March 2002
The CAW Social Justice Fund, partners with organizations that can be as close as downtown Toronto or as far away as rural Mozambique or East Timor.
While distance can obviously make on site monitoring more difficult all SJF projects domestic and overseas alike, require monitoring on a systematic basis.
The CAW-SJF is a registered charity and as such must be accountable for the disbursements it makes to partner organizations. Through our collaboration with the CAW Accounting Department, this is a regular part of our work. In addition the SJF is subject to annual outside audits.
Even more important is our obligation to be accountable to our membership in whose name and in whose interest the SJF is bargained with the respective employers.
The CAW staff responsible for SJF projects require a regular accounting from our project partners that the expenditure of all monies conforms to the original project budget. We are fully respectful of changes that could occur in the timing or orientation of the project due to circumstances beyond anyone's control and for that reason regularly confer with project partners to ensure that all such changes are known and done in cooperation with SJF staff.
For projects that are international the CAW-SJF always has a written contract, signed by both parties, that specifies the timing and size of the disbursements from our office and the timing and nature of the reporting requirements. This means that the contract usually sets out partial payments with each subsequent payment dependant on a satisfactory interim report. This has worked well over the years.
Through prior knowledge or trusted recommendation of our partner organization, a precondition of funding projects in the first place, we are able to acquire enough familiarity with our partner to reassure that no corrupt, anti democratic or discriminatory practices characterise their activities.
As often as possible, North-South exchanges of CAW and project partner members are facilitated. On occasion SJF or CAW staff will visit a project. This is sometimes for the direct purpose of seeing a project and sometimes during the course of other business in the region. Rank and file leadership are included, whenever possible, in delegations to meet our partners at the location of the project.
Every advantage is taken of the opportunity to include international partners in educational events here in Canada so that CAW members can hear first hand about the project. Whether it is our partners actually participating in CAW programs such as Paid Education Leave, Women's Leadership, Health and Safety or Globalization and Solidarity or speaking at conferences, the direct contact is invaluable to giving transparency to the projects we support.
We are often visited and briefed by partners, at our offices and invite other staff to hear the report. These visits are usually part of a tour that a partner is making to thank supporters and our members have the opportunity to hear from them in their communities.
Through the Global Unions, such as the International Metalworkers Federation, International Transport Workers Federation, International Union of Food, Agricultural, hotel and Allied Workers and Union Network International all of which we are affiliated to; or other NGOs (Canadian and non-Canadian) that we know well, we are often assisted in making contact with and evaluating the progress being made by a partner organization during the course of a project.
For example the Global Unions and many NGOs have staff in other countries or have staff who regularly tour a region. We often ask them to visit the project and meet with our partners while they are there.
In addition, through our participation in the Labour International Development Committee we can exchange information with the Canadian Labour Congress International Department, the Steelworkers Humanity Fund or the CEP Humanity Fund about regions where we have projects.
The SJF is committed to monitoring our projects to the best of our ability but monitoring SJF projects is about much more than just preventing unacceptable practices and must strengthen the North-South relationships we continue to seek out. It has to be grounded in a mutual respect and ensure maximum benefit for both parties. We seek to avoid the donor-funder relationship that often confines us to a charitable approach to North-South work instead of the conscious building of solidarity between workers.
We are committed to continuing the monitoring of projects that has resulted in the excellent reputation that our Fund, established in 1990 and having supported over 500 projects, has around the world.
November 22, 2002