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Minutes of Garstang And New Koforidua Linking Association (GANKLA) Inaugural Meeting 27th March 2006

Present: Bruce Crowther, Tom Bamber, Robin, Graham, Richard Watts, Geoff Markland, Gillian Lamb, David Greenwood and Steve Lane.
Apologies: Chris Barlow, Gwyneth Bough, Gail O’Brien, Peter Lane, Graham and Laurie Hulme.

1. Introduction – Bruce welcomed and thanked those attending this inaugural meeting and we briefly discussed why there is a need to form GANKLA. Bruce proposed two questions:
• Does the Garstang ‘community’ want the link (Who are the ‘community’?)
• If so, what do we want to do with it?

If we want to continue with the link and strengthen it there is a need to:
• Form a separate group that can focus solely on link i.e. GANKLA This should be primarily an Email group with only 1 –2 meetings/year.
• Improve communication with New Koforidua by setting up an IT link.
• Develop a strong, lasting Partnership Agreement.

2. Constitution – Bruce was elected as Chair, Steve as Secretary and Tom as Treasurer.
The draft constitution was discussed and the amended document is attached with these minutes. Please report any objections or amendments to the Constitution to Bruce before April 21st. If no amendments are made the Constitution will be signed and formalised on this date.
Bruce is to open a GANKLA bank account with the Co-op bank. For convenience Bruce will be the sole signatory but further signatories can be added at a future date if necessary. The Garstang Fairtrade Steering Group has kindly donated £50 to help kick start GANKLA and has also agreed to pay the Ghana Exchange debt of £45.39 owed to Bruce. Bruce will donate this to GANKLA therefore opening the account with £95.39. It was agreed that Bruce would make an application for funding from the Garstang Area Partnership. On looking into this it seems unlikely that the bid would be successful for such a new Group and bearing in mind the limited time available and restrictions on Bruce’s time, Bruce has decided not to proceed with this. If anyone in the Group wishes to take on this task please inform Bruce ASAP.

3. Partnership Agreement
Forming a strong Partnership Agreement is essential if this link is to continue and strengthen. But the process of forming this agreement is as important as the signing of the agreement itself so this process should not be rushed. GANKLA will hold a meeting in the summer to initiate this process. It is hoped that all individuals and representatives from organisations who wish to be involved in the link will be present at this meeting. Joe Human from the Keswick Fairtrade Group and Cumbria Fairtrade Network will be asked to facilitate the meeting.
The question to be considered by individuals and organisations that make up the Garstang community is:
What would we like to achieve from our linking between Garstang and New Koforidua?

The following extract from the BUILD coalition should be considered:
At the community level, in the context of community partnerships the ‘Partnership Agreement’ or ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ (MOU) is an essential tool for developing trust and collaboration between the partners. This MOU should start with a sharing of fundamental beliefs about the nature of poverty and development. It should then include a section on the nature of the relationship. Is this a partnership or is it the rich giving to the poor? The latter does nothing for the self-confidence of the poor. The agenda for development must be set by the poor themselves, not by their governments and not by the donors. Once the agenda has been agreed through a participatory process at community level then the strategy for the next few years can be agreed and the roles and responsibilities, means of accountability and transparency and “what happens if everything goes pear-shaped” can also be agreed. The development of the MOU should not be hurried. Working on the MOU is in itself a means to the development of trust.

There needs to be a crucial change of attitude by donors getting away from the three or even five year funded project cycle.  Development does not take place in three year cycles. There needs to be a long-term commitment between recipient and donor.

“We’re in it for life, accompanying each other as trusted friends and colleagues within the framework which the MOU, which is visited at regular agreed intervals, provides”!

The BUILD website at www.build-online.org.uk/index.asp and particularly the ‘toolkit of good practice’ which can be found by clicking on ‘Activities’ may be useful as a reference.

This meeting will be held at the Crown Pub at 7.30pm on Wednesday 16th August.
Please note that this is a change of date from that proposed at the meeting but due to the more than ample advance warning it is hoped that all individuals and organisations that wish to be involved in the link would be able to attend or find a suitable alternative representative. If there is any concern over this date please contact Bruce ASAP.

Following this meeting the process will be repeated in New Koforidua when Bruce, Tom and Robin visit in August. Again an independent facilitator will be used. Hopefully the conclusions from both meetings can then be brought together to form the basis of a Partnership Agreement.

4. Visit to New Koforidua August 2006 – Bruce, Tom and Robin will visit New Koforidua from August 25th – September 6th. Bruce and Tom’s flights have been funded by Lancaster district Quakers and Robin is self-funded. All are welcome to accompany them on the visit and anyone interested should contact Bruce.   
The main aims of the visit are:  
i. Further develop Partnership Agreement as above.
ii. Set up IT link between Garstang and New Koforidua. Computer equipment has been donated by the Lancaster WI and Bruce is in communication with Garstang High School regarding overhauling and improving the equipment. A new flat screen is required and anyone who can help in this matter please contact Bruce. IT assistance in Ghana will be provided by the organisation FLAME based in Kumasi.
iii. Generally strengthen the link.

5. A.O.B. – Gillian was to contact David Marl from St.Thomas’s re a possibility that he may wish to accompany the visit to New Koforidua in August.

6. Date of next Meeting – To initiate development of the Partnership Agreement. In Crown Pub on Wednesday 16th August at 7.30pm. PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF DATE.

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