Thematic Groups

Terms of reference Tango Thematic Working Group

Background

The rationale for the creation of the thematic groups is to empower TANGO as a coalition to effectively influence public policy and ensure coordinated development work in the Gambia. TANGO is not a thematic coalition; rather it has a diverse membership of various themes. Thematic groups comprising TANGO and non-members have therefore been created to bring about better coordination, information sharing and partnership building and ultimately ensure that the NGO community is recognized as a champion in policy and development work in the Gambia. The creation of the groups also serves as capacity building and accountability mechanism for TANGO as an organization to encourage peer review and critical assessment of one another’s interventions, programs and chart a way forward collectively and individually. It is envisaged that the rejuvenation and effective functioning of these groups will further demonstrate the relevance and value of TANGO in national development processes.

The five thematic working groups are as follows:

Purpose

The thematic working groups are centered on key governance and development issues in cognizance of the Gambia’s development blueprint, the Program for Accelerated Growth and Employment (PAGE), an offshoot and consolidation of the erstwhile MDG-based Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, as well as the challenges it faces. Five years to the MDGs, achievement of all the goals remains a challenge as the country continues to be classified as a least developed country.

According to the UNDP Human Development Report 2010, poverty levels stand at 54%, while youth unemployment is pegged at 8.5%; life expectancy at 56.6%; maternal mortality at 690 and infant mortality stands at 106, which are among the highest in the sub region.

The thematic working groups are in recognition of the governance and development challenges confronting the country which cuts across all sectors, and aims to add value and strengthen current interventions. Through the working groups, the NGO community is expected to identify, define and offer strategic solutions to the needs of the people and the country. Thus the value of the thematic groups is to generate enlightened discourse and engagement among NGOs who are already working in these areas. It presents NGOs a better and stronger platform to engage all stakeholders as well as providing strategic direction for policy formulation and design, program implementation, and monitoring and evaluation. Thematic groups create the environment for holistic approaches to policy and programming, as well as enable NGOs to play their watchdog role of holding both the government and development partners accountable.

Aims and Objectives

The aims and objectives of the thematic working groups are as follows:

  • Generate discourse on the thematic area in  to highlight key issues, best practices and new trends;
  • Share information and experiences on the thematic area among members of the working group as well as with the wider NGO community, development partners, the government and the general public;
  • Develop and share with NGOs, development partners and the government  innovative ideas and methods in public policy formulation and design, program/project management, implementation and development monitoring and evaluation;
  • Facilitate the participation and engagement of NGOs in national development processes and provide feedback on the state of national development;
  • Facilitate the participation of NGOs in policy formulation, analysis and monitoring with a view to improve the policy and legal environment for national development;
  • Promote and track good governance, gender mainstreaming and women’s empowerment as means of attaining national development objectives;
  • Encourage the adoption of human-rights based approaches to national development by both the government and non-state actors;
  • Provide direction, encourage harmonization,  reduce duplication and waste of resources and create effective partnership in development work among NGOs, development partners and the government;
  • Serve as the focal point and take leadership role for the respective thematic area within the NGO community;
  • Encourage and strengthen learning and knowledge development, evidenced-based research and advocacy as well as policy analysis among NGOs and development workers in general.
  • Address and or highlight capacity constraints and encourage mentoring schemes for partners.

Program of Work

The thematic working groups center on the five areas that have been identified. Each group will identify a chair among them as well as a secretary, and determine their mode of work. TANGO will offer other logistical and operations support. The groups are expected to meet at TANGO; however they will also be encouraged to meet at other locations for the convenience and effective functioning of the groups. The working groups will adopt the following mode of work:

  1. Meet once quarterly, and if need be on many occasions within the quarter;
  2. Produce a quarterly report of its activities to be submitted to TANGO;
  3. Produce a quarterly policy statement that will highlight and provide analysis of the key issues of the theme, new development or trends taking place and a propose way forward;
  4. Propose a policy study or survey to seek or inquire into new developments or establish development baselines as needs be;
  5. TANGO will consolidate quarterly reports and policy statements of all the groups into a journal for publication and dissemination.
  6. Convene a policy dialogue around any subject found to be relevant and necessary.

General Matters

In order to ensure effective functioning, impact and value of the thematic working groups, the following provisions will be observed.

  1. The thematic groups are composed of only NGOs operating in the Gambia.
  2. Members of the groups may include NGOs who are not TANGO members. The working groups may also invite other stakeholders for specific occasions or purposes.
  3. Membership is voluntary.
  4. The thematic working groups are independent of TANGO as far as their area of discussion and interventions are concerned. Statements and reports issued by the groups are considered as the product of the respective thematic groups, and not necessarily the views and opinions of TANGO General Membership or the Secretariat.
  5. TANGO is required to facilitate and create the enabling environment as much as possible for the effective operations of the thematic working groups;
  6. Each and every thematic working group is expected to adopt democratic, professional and nonviolent practices in the functioning and operations of the group.
  7. Each and every thematic working group is expected to abide by the values and principles of human rights such as empowerment, participation, inclusion and non-discrimination, accountability and transparency, and ownership in its operations, as well as promote gender sensitivity and freedom of expression and opinion.
  8. The thematic working groups are professional and development-oriented platforms for engagement, partnership and the creation of centers of excellence in development work in all its facets.
See the Groupings