The Founder and Executive Director of ACCORD, Vasu Gounden, was invited to attend a ICCO-Kerkinactie Regional Consultation Meeting for Southern Africa, which was hosted by ICCO-Kerkinactie from the 25th to the 27th of August 2008, in Madagascar. ICCO-Kerkinactie is a Dutch funding agency, working in 50 countries around the world, including Southern Africa.
It is currently in the middle of an innovation process which will see it change from a 100% Dutch and centralized working organisation into an international, decentralized operating, network organisation. The three main changes for the partner countries are: (i) co-responsibility; (ii) decentralization and (iii) a programmatic approach. This will see 11 Regional Councils and Regional Offices established in the South. In the North the International Office (Utrecht) will be supported by an International Advisory Council.
In 2007 ICCO-Kerkinactie started this process in 4 pilot regions: West Africa, South Asia, Central Asia, and Central America. The above meeting was therefore a continuation of this process. In Southern Africa five countries will be involved: Madagascar, South Africa, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Angola. The meeting aimed to investigate how to implement the innovation process in the Southern Africa region and Mr. Gounden was invited to be part of this investigation.
In 2007 Mr. Gounden was invited by the Dutch United Nations Student Association Utrecht (DUNSA-Utrecht) to be the Keynote speaker at their conference on international conflicts entitled “A Struggle for Peace”. He was also invited by the National Committee for International Cooperation and Sustainable Development (NCDO) to be a resource person at the Dutch Africa Day, presenting the keynote address in the workshop on “African Solutions to African Conflicts”. In 2008 Mr. Gounden was one of two speakers from the South invited to be a resource person at the “Ontwikkeling is Verandering” (Development is Change): Dialogue about the Future Conference hosted by the Royal Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). This meeting was part of the interactive dialogue process started by the MFA with Dutch civil society organisations about the future of the Dutch co-financing system.