The IFES Living Stones Vision highlights good governance as a firm foundation upon which healthy, growing national student movements are sustained. In 2010, general secretaries of IFES national movements identified governance as one of the areas in which there was the greatest need for assistance. They also said it was a contributing factor to high staff turnover in some situations. In response to their plea for help in this area, IFES launched the national movement Governance Development Program in 2011.
From 2011-2014, during the first phase of the program development, IFES developed, refined, and translated governance training materials in conjunction with external and internal specialists. These were then delivered by an international, multi-lingual team of 20+ trainers in the format of three-day in-country trainings to national boards.
By the end of 2015 101 national movements had been trained, and six more movements have already booked training for 2016. Over 930 board members have been trained. Training has been conducted in five major languages: English, French, Spanish, Arabic and Russian
Mirek Pieszka, Governance Development Program Director
Mirek was a pioneer and founding member of ChSA Poland. He spent a number of years as part of the IFES Europe regional team before becoming Director for the Governance Development Program. He travels to different national movements and IFES regions as a speaker and trainer of the Governance Program, promoting the good governance culture development across IFES. Together with the Governance Development Program Team, he is moving the program from a one-off training phase to an on-going program that places governance development as an integral part of regional and national events. By recruiting Regional Champions and the next cohort of trainers from across the IFES regions and cultures, Mirek is moving toward his goal of promoting good governance that fits the national context. He is still passionate about and leadership development at all levels of the ministry, from student leaders to the national boards. Mirek is married to Ewa, they have three grown-up children.
Governance Development Program Team
Christy Jutare, General Secretary IVCF Philippines
David Bahena, Regional Secretary for Latin America
Klaingar Ngarial, Francophone Africa Regional Team Member
Howard Spencer, senior staff AFES Australia
Ania Szymczak, long-term associate of ChSA Poland
The team produces resources such as ready-to-deliver modules on important governance issues and evaluation tools to stimulate the growth of a board’s effectiveness. In addition they provide direct assistance to the national Boards through the follow-up visits.
Aims and activities
The aim of the Governance Development Program is to ensure each national movement can be a wisely-governed, well-structured, and God-honouring ministry. We want to build a strong culture of good governance for each national movement, governance that is relational, Bible-centered, expertise-based, strategy-focused and equips for impactful ministry.
Many newly formed boards and newly appointed board members have a great enthusiasm for supporting student work, but little experience or knowledge in governance. This ministry provides training sessions and materials to national movement boards and board members all over the world, teaching appropriate procedures, decision-making processes, distribution of power, record-keeping and fair leadership.
Training weekends often include times of prayer and Bible study, as well as training on such topics as commitment to good governance, practical functioning of the board, clarity of roles and relationships. In addition there is time to discuss the application of governance principles in different legal and cultural contexts.
In response to a Phase I evaluation survey completed by 377 trained board members from 85 countries, the Governance Development Program is currently investigating next steps to provide more on-going support beyond large trainings.
Current plans are to finish Phase I trainings (approximately 30 boards remain to have initial training), to finalize, translate and distribute new modules on the issues important for good governance development that can be used by boards at regular board meetings, to train a new cohort of trainers in May 2016 and equip them with coaching skills for ongoing follow-up and support of national movements who have already been trained.
‘The commitment of IFES to developing good governance has been exemplary. This has been a thoughtfully designed programme which brings well-researched governance principles and practices together within a biblical framework.’
Jenny Charteris, Organisational Consultant, Gracewell Consulting
National movement participants who received training said they especially felt the benefit in the following ways: clarifying of roles and responsibilities, increased confidence and commitment of board members, improved relationships between the Board and the general secretary, better understanding of strategic planning, new ideas for practical functioning of the Board and a generally better understanding of and commitment to good governance.
‘We did not realise the extent of impact and strategic importance a board has in defining and summarising the policies and missions that are carried out by the general secretary and staff. We have also been taught a set of useful and practical procedures for board meetings.’
Germain L N Kabou, Board Chair, GBUSS Senegal
‘This training perfectly answered the questions we had been facing as a board. It is a great tool, was brilliantly brought to us and we are grateful to God for this work on governance made available.’
Board member, GBU Portugal
‘The governance training has marked a “before” and “after” in the life of CCUH Honduras! I encourage all movements to take this training, to get to know the manual, apply the principles it describes and incorporate each teaching in the movement’s work agenda.’ CCUH Honduras! I encourage all movements to take this training, to get to know the manual, apply the principles it describes and incorporate each teaching in the movement’s work agenda.’
Betuel Ayes, General Secretary CCUH Honduras
Support this ministry
This strategic work depends on the prayerful support and financial gifts of our supporters.
Here are some ways you can pray for this ministry:
- The 100th governance training took place in Ukraine at the beginning of December 2015. This number exceeds by far the originally planned trainings. Praise God for all the trainings that have taken place so far!
- Pray for positive and long lasting effects of the trainings – for the impact on student ministry and on the financial sustainability of the national movements.
- Pray for God’s guidance in the recruitment of a new cohort of trainers for the Governance Development Program and for the scheduling of requested training.
Please also consider making a one-time or regular gift to support this ministry.
‘God gives space for us to work together with him, and this is also true in good governance development. Good governance is not a given. We need to work on it and to care for it. Growing a good governance culture and practice is a process. It takes time and requires commitment and faithfulness.’
Mirek Pieszka, Governance Development Program Director