Strategies & Planning

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Strategic Plan 2013-15

 

Table of Contents
Foreword 4
Mission & Purpose 6
Our Vision 6
Our Principles & Core Values 6
Our Approach 6
Strategic Planning Process Followed 8
SWOT Analysis 8
Strategic Direction 12
Management Systems 14
Annex: Participants of the strategic planning exercise : 17

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Foreword:

IRC has come a long way since its inception in August 2000. We started off with interactive theatre but soon moved into other directions like media, using technology for transformation. Engaging youth from various educational institutes have also added a new insight our work.

Today, the communities we work with as well as the fraternity of civil society actors accept us as a credible facilitator of change and thus we are working with communities throughout the country in collaboration with several networks and organizations like The Asia Foundation, The Actionaid Pakistan, CIDA Pakistan, Catholic Resource Center, Oxfam, Trocaire, CIDA-PIF, GTZ, UNDP, NED and Fund for Global Human Right, Human Rights commission of Pakistan, Joint Action Committee for Peace and Democracy, Pakistan India Peoples Forum for Peace and Democracy and Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund.

We have been credited to strengthen work of our partners through our unique interactive communication techniques and working with both urban and rural communities as well with the mainstream media. Our uniqueness is attributed to our ability to give visual images to social issues. These images are created in the form of interactive theatre, participatory videos/ documentaries, information material, etc. We have developed more than 150 theatre groups throughout the country and developed the skills of more than 100 people in video documentaries in 25 districts of the country, who are working in their respective districts as human rights watchdog.

Our first strategic plan covering 2006-11 was developed during a strategy planning workshop held in Murree from April 30 to May 2, 2006. The planning workshop was participated by IRC staff, Board Members, and representatives from other stakeholders and partner NGOs.

 

This first Strategic Plan period has been a time of IRC’s consolidation and strengthening. While taking on new and bigger challenges, we were able to consolidate our operations, internal policies and systems related to finance, administration and human resource management.  We believe this strategic plan covering a period of 2013-15 will also guide us through this time of changing external environment, our ambitious strategic vision and management plans.

 

The organization is now set to take on bigger challenges, increase its reach and effectiveness. At this stage of development a strategic plan is deemed essential to map out organizational objectives as well as strategies for achieving them. The planning process to be followed was designed towards articulation of mission, vision, values and critical success factors of the organization. This is a medium term plan covering a time span of three years up to end of 2015.

 

I strongly believe that IRC is poised to take on a dramatically new role as the working environment in the country changes significantly throwing new challenges and opportunities for civil society activist organizations. This expression of IRC’s aspirations and vision of our role in the coming days is an important milestone to guide the journey and find our way forward.

 

This strategic plan has also been developed through a consultative process with the key stakeholders and partners, our Board and the IRC staff. I wish to take this opportunity to thank all the participating partners for their contribution, staff of IRC who have dedicated their undivided time, the technical stewardship of Ayyaz Kiani to ensure quality of this document.

 

I would urge my team to make it their responsibility to move towards the goals set in this strategy document. Let us share the vision to change the world around us in the way we have jointly articulated in this document.

 

 

Mohammad Waseem

Director, IRC

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Mission & Purpose:

Interactive Resource Center (IRC) is a non-profit, non-governmental and non-political organization dedicated to strengthen the process of social development and empowerment of the disadvantaged sections of the society through art-based development approach. The organization materializes its raison d’être through interactive theatre and media as a tool for change without espousing political, ethnic, religious, gender or any other biases.

Our guiding mission is to bring about a social change through rights based art development approach manifested through interactive theatre, participatory video, video documentaries, puppets and information material, as tools for the targeted change. These tools are designed to give visual images to social issues. Our art based activities are designed to initiate dialogue on issues regarding rights and social issues of the disadvantaged, marginalized, vulnerable and disempowered communities. The community involvement, participation, and ownership brought about with these activities, we believe, are cornerstones of sustainable development.

 

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Our Vision:

The raison d’être of IRC is to promote democratic, peaceful and just society.

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Our Principles & Core Values

1. All humans are equal and have right to fundamental freedom.

2. All cultures/religions are equally respected.

3. Non -discriminatory and inclusive environment.

4. Non violent conflict resolution.

5. Social transformation.

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Our Approach:
Our approach is to work with the local communities, civil society networks, building capacities of university students and local incumbents in theatrical skills, mobile phone and documentary making. Our citizen journalism approaches have been best demonstrated in the form of our Maati tv project which is the first of its kind initiative in Pakistan.IRC development approach is rights based and in our activities we collaborate and develop partnerships with all likeminded organizations working on human rights and discrimination against marginalized sections of the society. Untitled-2

We strive to develop linkages with the mainstream media to highlight the issues and keep them on board on these issues. For this we have developed more than 150 theatre groups throughout the country and developed the skills of more than 50 people in video documentaries in 15 districts of the country, who are working in their respective districts as human rights watchdog.

Our approach and methodology of art based activism has proved successful during the course of time and now government and donors have recognized as one of the most effective development communication and awareness raising tool.

IRC involves its beneficiaries and target group in monitoring our working. We have formed Social Action Groups comprising of journalists, writers, and other notables at district level. The social action groups not only support IRC in its advocacy programs but also critically monitor the performances and other activities of IRC in their target district and provide their comments in written format.

IRC promotes tripartite dialogue to promote public private partnerships. IRC works with community based organizations, schools, colleges and universities as well as the government agencies and line departments and trains members of communities from all over Pakistan in a variety of mediums, including interactive theatre, community videos, radio dramas and documentaries, video animation and puppet theater.

The following framework shows our working approaches and methods:

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While IRC’s primary focus for change remains at the community level (micro), we have been able to draw on the existing capacities in academia and civil society partners to provide the necessary support to our efforts to bring about the desired change.

Strategic Planning Process Followed:

The strategic planning exercise comprised of a number of meetings and workshops and involved every Trustee as well as staff member attended at least one of the sessions. Some stakeholders and partner organizations also attended.

The process was steered by a team including the following:

  • Mr Sharjeel, Member of BoT
  • Mr Mohhamad Wasim, Director
  • Mr Amir Karim, Finance Manager
  • Mr Ayyaz Kiani, Consultant

Here below are the milestones:

# Action Responsible Completed By
 1 Approval of concept note Consultant/ Director  28/07/12
 2 A detailed process and session plan for the meetings Consultant  17/9/12
 3 Letter outlining the process and inviting team members Director  20/9/12
 4 First meeting Consultant/ Director  26/9/12
 5 Second  meeting Consultant/ Director  8/10/12
 6 Third meeting Consultant/ Director  18/10/12
 7 Draft report circulated for review Consultant  26/10/12
 8 Final comments received Director  01/02/13
 9 Fourth Meeting Consultant/ Director  15-16/02/13
 10 Final report submission Consultant  17/02/13
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SWOT Analysis

Strengths:

1. Five Regional Offices:

Besides head office in Lahore and team of professional community film makers in 16 districts in all the four provinces, IRC has four regional offices in Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pukhton Khawa, in Balakot, Allai, Hyderabad, Multan, Islamabad.

2. Governance:

IRC is governed by the Board of Trustees as an open and transparent organization. It believes in public accountability. IRC holds its meetings with Board of Trustees after every six month. These meetings review financial management, program management and other governance matter of the organization. The Board of Trustees are also responsible to monitor performance of the Director of the organization. Moreover, annual plan and budget of the organization is approved by the Board. Beside internal financial audit services of external audit firm are hired to carry out the audit of the accounts annually.

3. Membership:

IRC is an active member of credible and well known groups like:

  • Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed (PTO), a global forum designed to promote critical thinking and social justice.
  • Member ‘FORMAAT, Forum Theatre and Workshops’, an international forum of theatre of the oppressed practitioners and activists
  • Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), a human rights watch organization
  • People’s Forum,
  • Joint Action Committee (JAC),
  • People for Peace
  • AASHA, a network for promoting women rights and bringing an end to sexual harassment

4. Trainers’ Pool: 

IRC has a pool of experienced trainers of interactive theatre and media. At present a team of 12 master trainers in interactive theatre skills and 5 trainers in media productions skills are associated with IRC.

5. Theatre Groups: 

IRC has formed and trained more than 150 theatre groups in 90 districts of Pakistan. From metropolitan cities like Lahore to remote areas such as Juhi, IRC has managed to mobilize non-actors from within the communities to voice out their problems through theatre performances. At present there are some 2,000 theatre activists trained by IRC including 50 % women from remote areas of Pakistan.

6. Media Groups: 

As an innovation to interactive theatre, IRC also introduced the concept of participatory community videos. The technical skill and community outreach of the graduates of the community video groups training has been acknowledged by BBC Urdu Service, ND TV India, Dawn.Com that is taking these community videos and posting them on their website for mass dissemination.

7. Social Action Groups:

In sixteen districts where IRCs media groups exist, 16 Social Action Groups were formed. These groups comprise of doctors, lawyers, elected representatives, media personnel, human rights activists, etc. The main aim of formation of these groups is to act as safety net for members of media and theatre groups and provide them moral and legal support if required.

8. Maati WebTV:

A relatively new arm of IRC, ‘maati.tv’ is Pakistan’s first web based interactive video and eventually live streaming site of news and current affairs. Maati aims to become a mainstream but alternative voice of the people of South Asia and Pakistan to challenge the stereotyping and selective, sensational coverage of big stories and disasters, helping empower the affected to be partner in improving the Earth.

9. Interactive Theater Training:

The Interactive Resource Centre is functioning as a resource centre that equips other organizations with theatrical and advocacy skills.  In addition to the training, IRC’s performers develop and perform plays on various social issues. IRC regularly organizes Annual Theatre Festival to promote and flourish interactive theatre in Pakistan.

10. Media Unit:

IRC’s media unit is fully equipped with latest production and post production instruments.  The media unit owns a purpose-built hall for media productions, editing and sound room. IRC media unit team includes cameramen, editors, script writers and producers. The media unit has produced documentaries on women rights, election observation, missing voters, and bonded labour, Theatre of the Oppressed, children rights, and earthquake. It has also produced video recordings of various plays staged by IRC and other theatre groups. IRC has also developed video profiles of many NGOs in Pakistan.

11. Publications:

IRC regularly publish information material on theatre, media and social issues. Some of these publications are: First Step (Case study of people whose lives were changed due to interactive theatre); Theatre of the Oppressed (Urdu translation of Augusto Boal’s Book); Theatre of the Oppressed Training Manual (Michal Chang); Journey through the Lives of Courageous Women (A story of four real life heroes); Poster on Peace; A New Millennium (IRC”s Report, 2000-2002); IRC’s Annual Report (2003-2004); IRC Annual Report (2005-07); Video Shooting Manual; Theatre Scripts and Publications on IRC’s Annual Theatre of the Oppressed Festivals.

12. IRC’S Project Implementation Experience:

Since inception IRC has implemented various projects on Human Rights, Peoples Participation in Democratic Electoral Process, Election Observation, Democracy, Women’s Rights, Minority Rights, Accountability of Local Government for Better Service Delivery, Bonded Labour, Extremism, Disaster Risk Reduction, Rebuilding Hopes in Earthquake Area etc. for during last ten years. These projects were implemented with financial support of GEP-DFID, CIDA, Asia Foundation, Church World Service P/A, ActionAid Pakistan, National Endowment for Democracy, Save-the Children UK, CIDA-PIF, OXFAM, TroCaire, Catholic Relief Services, International Organization for Migration and Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund.

IRC has a team of program staff, finance and administration staff, trainers, media production staff, IT staff and support staff that are technically skilled and equipped with required resources to implement a project.

13. Employee and Gender Friendly Work Environment:

IRC staff has enjoyed a work environment conducive for female employment and openness of management policies and practices.

Weaknesses

  1. Inadequate ability to identify new partners: IRC has been working over the years with many partners especially those involved in funding the organization. However, it appears that the potential to attract new and diverse partners may not be fully utilized. This seems to arise from a sense of complacency about the success and potential of the organization over the years since its inception.

 

  1. Inadequate management structures: The management structure in IRC has been overly lean at the top which has resulted either lack of or inadequate delegation of responsibilities and induction of technical specialists.

 

  1. Lack of adequate communication within and outside the organization. IRC has been lagging in documentation and dissemination of success stories in the stakeholder communities. This has the potential effect of erosion of the positive image of the organization as well as a dent in the ability to connect with partners both new as well as existing.  There are also gaps in the internal communication whereby the staff is sometimes not clear about the organization’s policies and practices as well as the decisions taken at the management level. This leads to problems with understanding of the decision and programs as well as the expectations between the staff and the management.

 

  1. Staff capacity building and training: though some staff has cited the training opportunities within the organization as their main reason for continued association with the organization, others complain about the lack development opportunities in terms of attendance of formal training programs.

 

  1. Lack of implementation of standard operating policies: this has been a protracted problem in the organization and has to do partly with the deficiencies of internal communication where different sections and departments may not be fully coordinating to result in smooth operations.

Opportunities

  1. Media commercialization: there are new opportunities arising in the environment which have opened new avenues for working with corporate entities both in the services as well as goods sector.
  1. Theatre commercial networking: There is a good potential to explore possibilities of developing linkages and joint working with commercial theater for mutual enrichment of the partners.
  1. Communication strengthening: IRC is a communication organization and it will be appropriate that they were able to improve the internal and external aspects of communication. For internal purposes, regular holding of staff and inner- as well as intra-departmental meetings will fill the communication gaps. For proactive external communication, emphasis should be increased to develop communication materials and messages aimed at the varied audiences and disseminate these through all possible liaison opportunities.

Threats

  1. Funding opportunities: IRC has been in continuous struggle to ensure uninterrupted availability of funds to sustain programs and activities. This has sometimes lead to necessary project closures, job losses and insecurity in the staff. Such an existentialist threat can hamper the organization’s ability to think freely and deliver at high performance.

 

  1. Political instability and terrorism: the prevailing situation in the country has had a limited effect on IRC’s ability to continue with the outreach activities. While the organization is trying its best to survive in the circumstances but further worsening of the situation, especially in the program areas could significantly hamper the ability to carry on.

 

Strategic Direction
# Strategic Goals Performance Goals
1 To enable and mobilize communities for effective engagement and advocacy for better governance.
  • Continually liaise with and assess the interests and needs of communities in order to better understand and serve the dynamic, diverse, and multifaceted needs of these communities.
  • Continuously work to provide core programs such as interactive theatre, mobile phone videos (citizen journalism), participatory videos, documentaries, puppetry, radio talk shows, and university alumni development.
  • Creating a collective demand from communities and doing advocacy through art based communication and advocacy tools.
  • Facilitation of tripartite dialogues between communities, government officials and public representatives, and media.
2 To develop innovative techniques in interactive communication to increase outreach and effectiveness of social change process.
  • Facilitate fulfillment of community demands by main streaming their voices through conventional as we all new media/social media.
  • To promote citizen journalism with the help of mobile video making and publication/streaming through conventional as we all social media.
  • Develop methods for and facilities for producing internet radio features, radio talk shows, photo-essays, and social media campaigns for larger public participation.
3 To create youth forums and support them with art based tools to exercise leadership to promote basic human rights, peace, and democratic values.
  • Providing platform to youth groups like www.maati.tv , vasak documentary festival and interactive theatre festival for promoting human rights, peace harmony and democratic values.
  • Through interactive communications tools like interactive theatre, documentaries, mobile phone videos, video testimonies, puppet shows and radio talk shows, a collective demand of communities will be presented in tripartite dialogues comprising communities, government officials/public representatives and media.
  • Start a youth leadership program to leverage the experience, capability and dedication of youth groups for advocacy.
4 To consolidate IRC’s management systems, human resources and participation in CSO networks to achieve organizational objective and effectively meet challenges of the changing environment
  • Strengthen human resource management and development functions in IRC through addition of a HR department.
  • Develop an executive office section in the organogram comprising HR, proposals development, internal audit and donor liaison. The team will work directly under the Director.
  • Develop a staff development and motivation plan and make it a priority in the management systems and policies.  
  • Maintain regularity in the monthly staff meetings and coordination meetings for improving internal communication and coordination.
  • Develop an alumni directory and records that would help in engaging alumni with IRC on ongoing basis.
  • Recognize communities, alumni and trainees for their community services and achievements and professional excellence in order to honor and showcase them within the country.
  • A new office will be established in Islamabad and existing regional offices will be further straightened. 
  • Plans to establish a peace building in Multan institute to promote peace through performing arts, interactive communications and cultural activities will be further developed.
  • Strengthen the IRC “brand” as an organization responsive to the needs of communities and having effectives tools of communication and mobilization for public- private partnership and good governess

 

Management Systems
  1. Staff development and motivation: a human resource development department will be initiated immediately by designing HR function and assigning it to an existing staff member. In the next one year this will be enhanced to a full department status. Presently the staff responsible for this function will report directly to the Director.
  2. Work on this has been initiated in earnest by developing a HRD policy, job descriptions and reporting lines, and training needs assessment.
  3. For strengthening internal financial control a position of internal auditor (IA) has been created to be filled through new recruitment. The IA will report directly to the Director.
  4. A new staff responsible for assisting the Director in proposals development and donor liaison, report writing, and maintaining external liaison for visibility and linkages will be hired.

The positions in 3 & 4 above will form the new Director’s office staff and are expected to assist the Director to improve effective effort towards sustainability and at the strategic level.

New Oraganogram

Legend:      Navy blocks: new positions to be filled

                        Red lines: Interim arrangements till new systems are in place.

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