Diversifying Membership and Building Inclusion in Governance: Lessons from Plan International’s Experience

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Given its lessons from Thailand, India, Colombia and Brazil – and the opportunity to learn from and possibly advance beyond some peer INGOs – Plan International confronts an interesting set of opportunities and challenges. External conditions are signaling the need to become a truly international organization (rather than an organization dominated by northern powers), and internal appetite is growing for a more inclusive organization where southern perspectives are represented in the upper reaches of governance. Thus far, creating FCNOs has been seen mainly as a country-by-country process. What is evident is that the choice of broadening the number of countries in transition, as well as expediting the process of transition, amounts to a transformation of the global organization (not just a transformation of country offices). Visionary leadership is required to paint a picture of why such change is required, how it will make the organization more effective, and what it will take to get there. In the absence of such visionary leadership, fundamental disagreements about the change required – or the need to change at all – can persist. Given that such disagreements over FCNOs are already evident among members of Plan International, it is worth taking the time to build consensus on the need for change and the broad dimensions of change required. Although it is tempting to minimize the amount of change required, it is vital (to long-term success) to establish a sense of urgency, acknowledge the implications of change, plan systematically and manage the change process deliberately.

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Last updated on 05/01/2015