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BIS and SED meet to share projects and ideas

18/04/2006: Spain

While Br. Cesar Henriquez was in his third week of UN mechanism studies in Geneva, the rest of the BIS staff traveled to Spain to meet with SED, the Marist NGO of Spain. This annual event, usually held in December, was later this year due to changes in BIS personnel. Angela Petenzi, the new Project Coordinator, began her work with BIS in January. After three months of getting used to our Marist world and the current project schedule, it was felt that the time was right for a meeting with SED.

This year’s meeting was also a first for Sara Panciroli, our Administrative Assistant. After a year with BIS, it was important for her to also meet SED and to become more familiar with its work and operating procedures. BIS was without a Project Coordinator for just about a year. It was Sara, along with Br. Dominick, who handled much of the correspondence with donors and project holders before Angela was hired and was able to leave her previous commitment with VIS, the Salesians
International Volunteer NGO.

The meeting gave the BIS and SED staffs a chance to review each others’ project lists, discuss possible collaborations, and to talk about issues of common concern. We also talked about each others’ differences and limitations. SED is an NGO recognized by the Spanish Government. It has a set of statutes which governs its decision making regarding project funding and coordination and record keeping. Being an NGO, it is able to access public funding, can maintain its own banking accounts and funds, and has strict reporting and accounting procedures it must follow to justify its distribution of grants.

BIS on the other hand is not an NGO. It is an office of the General Administration. It does not have its own funds or bank account. Its funding guidelines and funding procedures are governed by the decisions of the General Council. It assists the General Council and other offices of the General Administration, Provincials and District leaders, individual brothers and partners with micro-funding grants, project coordination with the private donors and funding agencies, animation materials and information.

While visiting SED, the BIS staff took the opportunity to visit with MANOS UNIDAS and FERE, two Madrid based NGOs that have helped the Institute with two major projects recently. With the assistance of FERE, the brothers in India were able to secure funding through the Commune of Castilla-La Mancha (€ 75,572) for the construction of a new school in Mangamanuthu for dalits (untouchables). The school, built for 300 students, was completed in December 2005. In September, MANOS UNIDAS provided a grant (€16,633) for the Lavalla School in Cambodia. This school is an apostolic work of the Sydney Province, and serves young people with handicapping conditions. The grant was to help with the development of a farm and trade and skill workshops that will give these children marketable skills they can use later in life.

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