On the 13th and 14th June 2017, members of Development for Peace Education (DPE) held regional annual general meetings in the eight areas where the organisation works. Regional annual general meetings were held following regional committee meetings. A total of ninety-five (95) community based organisations affiliated to DPE in the areas of Hloahloeng, Kuebunyane, Senekane, Seate, Mekaling, Seforong, Khoelenya and ‘Mamaebana participated in the regional annual general meetings. The objectives were to prepare for DPE’s own annual general meeting to be held on the 26th June 2017; elect new regional committees or renew the mandate of existing committees; and give members to make input into the drafting of the organisation’s strategic plan for 2017 to 2020. Each organisation was represented by between two and three members and the discussions included the specific support that the members want to see from DPE in the next three years.
The members recommended that DPE should support the regional committees with training skills so that the committees are able to provide support and guidance to the other organisations; they also said that people who have received training should be mandated to support the other members and organisations; that DPE should support the member organisations with fundraising and identifying opportunities for fundraising; that DPE should support organisations that have already raised their own funds with skills and tips on how to invest the funds; and that DPE should continue to support organisations to legally register their constitutions.
The member organisations also strongly recommended that DPE should facilitate their relationship with the Members of Parliament in their areas and key government officials. They requested DPE to ensure that Members of Parliament are held accountable by facilitating regular meetings and discussions between the Members and their constituents; ensuring that the questions, inquiries and requests of different areas, made to their representatives are responded to by the responsible minister in Parliament. The members continue to be very positive with the platform provided by Community Parliament in terms of their development needs and allowing for discussions between representative of communities and cabinet ministers, senior government officials and elected local government officials.
In terms of what they want to see DPE doing in the next three to five years, the members want DPE to continue to advocate for the enactment of a Public Participation Act that will give citizens a say in governance. They also said that Parliament should be legally required to hold public discussions and allow public input into the making of any bill before it is passed as law. The members are also concerned that the local government decentralisation is going at a very slow pace and therefore the benefits of local governance are not being felt by citizens. In addition, the members asked DPE to strongly take up on their behalf advocacy in support of extensive subsidies to small-holder farmers to allow them to live on what they produce. According to DPE and its members, small-holder farmers are defined as those farmers that are solely dependent on agricultural production.
Five representatives from each of the regions, representing women, men, youth and people with disability will attend DPE annual general meeting on Monday the 26th June 2017. The annual general meeting will discuss reports of DPE work, financial accounts, review and accept the strategic plan and fill positions of outgoing members of the National Executive Committee. Expiry of the membership in the Committee is comes at different times so that at no material time the governing structure will have either all new or all old members.