11 years ago, I joined with Global Mission Partners (GMP) in a vision. It was a vision to expand the lifechanging work of our partners by becoming fully accredited by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
Thanks to God’s provision, GMP has qualified for full accreditation. It has happened!
You may think that 11 years seems like a long time. Taking this time has been a blessing in many ways. It has enabled us to take all of GMP on the journey, changing and refining our thinking and systems. Churches of Christ Overseas Aid (COCOA) projects are ‘partner-led’, meaning we prioritise the experience and aspirations of partners over our own. That priority has been the focus of the accreditation journey. As the COCOA program expands, we look for God’s guidance in continuing to listen to the aspirations of partners and help them create change in their communities. Relating to partners and the communities that they serve must always be full of dignity and respect. This is God’s way, and it is critical to the development of whatever the next 11 years hold.
Full accreditation gives GMP access to several government programs. The most significant one is the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP), from which we receive funding.
Back in the 1990s, GMP, like most church agencies, received government funding. This was for a livelihoods project in Zimbabwe. When I started to manage the COCOA program in 2011, GMP was no longer receiving that government funding. So, we re-entered the accreditation process. Before my appointment as COCOA Director, the Executive Officer managed all GMP programs. This delegation of duties was the first of many steps toward full accreditation.
After five years of preparations, we were given base accreditation in 2016. This gave us a fixed annual grant which we spread across two COCOA projects. Base accreditation was a necessary step before applying for full accreditation.
With full accreditation, we will now receive a grant in proportion to the amount of money we send to COCOA projects overseas. We have committed to contribute $1 for every $5 we receive from the Australian Government. The Australian Government will fund up to 83% of these projects – the rest of the funds must come from GMP. When you give to one of the supported projects, you extend our partners’ work even further.
The grant amount has increased by over 300% from base to full accreditation! We will use the funds for four or five COCOA projects. This additional grant will support our partners’ work further and create the possibility to explore new partnerships.
We have been working with our partners to prepare them for full accreditation over the last couple of years. We have been asking them to start thinking about ways they could use more funding and working to build their capacity. We need to produce the kind of rigour in accountability and practice that the ANCP demands.
We have also been preparing the staff team. I have become full-time with the COCOA program and have handed my Partnership Coordinator role with NSW and ACT churches to Val Zerna in Adelaide (email: [email protected]). Jan Bayliss, our COCOA Education Officer, is working an additional day managing our policy administration, and we have employed a new COCOA Project Officer, Eva NtegeDhizaala, working with myself and Suzanne Hayes.
Your ongoing partnership has made this possible – thank you. Your gifts and prayers for these programs will help increase the impact and life-changing work of our partners. And, of course, our other projects still need your support, too.
Despite changes in process, compliance, and project scale, our purpose for applying hasn’t changed. We want to maintain an industry standard quality in the way we work, and we want to extend the benefits of that work further and further. As the COCOA program expands, we look for God’s guidance in continuing to listen to the aspirations of our partners and to help them create positive changes in their communities. Relating to partners, and the communities that they serve, must always be full of dignity and respect. This is God’s way, and it is critical to the development of whatever the next eleven years hold.
If you'd like to learn more about what full accreditation means for GMP, read our announcement here.