The formal organization and the working processes are elaborated in the Alliance Guidelines. This document can be seen as the 'law' of GALE. It describes decision procedures and ideal working processes. The chapters are:
Draft, 20 September 2007
Mission and objectives
- The learning community is called the Global Alliance for LGBT Education. It may be abbreviated by the acronym GALE.
- It is legally a foundation, located in The Hague.
- The mission statement of the Global Alliance for LGBT Education is: We promote the full inclusion of people who are disadvantaged because or their sexual orientation or sexual identity by identifying, enhancing and sharing educational expertise
- The goals of the Alliance are: to promote the full inclusion of people who are disadvantaged because or their sexual orientation or sexual identity, to combat discrimination of people who are disadvantaged because or their sexual orientation or sexual identity, to promote public education policies which have the aforementioned aims.
- The Alliance uses the following methods to achieve the aims: identifying, enhancing and sharing methods for access to general institutions, identifying, enhancing and sharing for training, identifying, enhancing and sharing to integrate LGBT-specific aspects into mainstream organizations, sharing experiences, guiding members and partners to be more effective
- The Alliance self defines as a learning community.
- The learning community consists of individual members.
- The learning community intends to keep the working arrangements of the learning community transparent and as simple and informal as possible. Formal arrangements, like in these Guidelines will, in practice, mainly serve as a framework to fall back on, in case of procedural conflicts.
- The Alliance starts a virtual learning community, the membership of which is open to every individual who is actively involved in education about LGBT issues. Membership is not open for organizations.
- Registration of membership is done through submission of a proposal to the website. The proposal will consist of the necessary information for the Alliance profile, including a statement of how the applicant is committed to education about LGBT issues and a declaration the applicant agrees with the Alliance Guidelines.
- One of the moderators considers the application and either agrees with it or rejects it, based on the information by the applicant and on a judgment whether the applicant is committed to be active in education about LGBT issues. This commitment should be seen in the context of: current work being done by the applicant, plans for future work, a reasonable estimate whether the applicant is willing and able to be actively involved in the Alliance
- The applicant is informed about the decision and in case of rejection, of the reasons.
- An applicant can appeal against rejection. The procedure for this is: the applicant writes an appeal to the Executive Director; the Executive Director makes a decision within a month, based on new or additional information provided by the applicant and informs the applicant; if the applicant does not agree, he or she can appeal through the Executive Director to the Advisory Board, which makes a final decision. This decision will be made at the latest at the next meeting of the Advisory Board. The applicant is informed as soon as possible.
- As soon as new members are accepted, their profile will be published on the website and they will receive the newsletter.
- Membership is prolonged for a year when the member pays his/her membership fee in the first year. If the members digital wallet (see below) is still below zero after the first year, membership will be ended, the members profile will be taken off-line and access to the members space will be denied.
- If a member whos membership has been revoked, wants to renew membership, s/he first needs to pay membership fees or carry out enough tasks to earn the missing virtual currency, before getting his/her membership reinstated. This procedure will be facilitated by a website moderator.
The Foundation Board
- The Foundation Board has 3 members: a representative of HIVOS, a representative of Empowerment Lifestyle Services and an independent member invited by the representatives.
- The Foundation Board facilitates the functioning of the learning community.
The Executive Council
- The Executive Council has two members and is appointed by the foundation board.
- The Executive Council coordinates the daily functioning of the learning community and of contracts initiated by the Alliance.
- The Executive Council supports the Alliance by framing the activities into a 4 year strategy plan and into annual working plans.
- The content of these will be checked with the members by opinion polls.
- The final draft plans are put forward for advice to the Advisory Board.
- The Executive Council is responsible for informing the Chairs of Working Groups about relevant developments and to involve relevant Working Groups in the development of strategy and working plans.
- The Executive Council will give a monthly update e-mail of the developments and activities.
The Advisory Board
- The Advisory Board advises the Executive Council.
- The Preliminary Board becomes the first Advisory Board of the foundation on October 6, 2007.
- The functions of the Advisory Board are: to advise about the position of the Executive Council (appointment, monitor functioning, resignation), to monitor the activities of the Alliance and the Foundation (advise on budget and financial evaluation), to advise the Executive Council on strategy and activities, to decide about their own affairs (appointment, resignation), to advise on projects which are carried as contracts between local organizations, HIVOS and Empowerment Lifestyle Services
- The recruitment of new members for the Advisory Board will be done by drafting a profile and open application procedures.
- An Advisory Board member can be expelled when s/he does not function properly any more. This decision can be made in the meeting of the Advisory Board and after the Advisory Board member has been asked informally to voluntarily give up his or her seat in the Advisory Board.
- The Advisory Board will have 3 telephone conference calls a year.
- The Advisory Board will meet at least once a year. This will preferably be done in conjunction with a regular event in order to combine scholarships/costs.
- Members may organize themselves in Working Groups. Any three members may start a working group.
- The three members form a Steering Committee which is composed of a Chair, a Secretary and a Volunteer Manager. The Chair takes initiative to call online meetings, makes the agenda, monitors if and how tasks are carried out, and stimulates members to be active. S/he is the internal and external spokesperson and the liaison with the coordinator. The Secretary handles the post, makes meeting, annual and project reports, publishes them on the website and has regular contact with the moderators about publication of information which was collected by the Working Group. The Volunteer Manager handles the membership/mailing list, the task list, the awarding of edus for taking part in the Working Group and, if necessary, possible financial affairs. Formal delegation of financial responsibility to the Volunteer Manager may be agreed upon by the Executive Director.
- The proposal to start a Working Group must be put forward to the Executive Director, who responds within a month, makes the technical arrangements for a working space and a mailing list.
- Members of a Working Group are appointed and if necessary expelled by the Steering Committee. Members may approach the Volunteer Manager if they want to join a Working Group. The Volunteer Manager agrees with the applicant the terms of participation, including awarding a volunteer profile, code of conduct, tasks (or just a monitoring or expert position), possible awarding of edus and a date of evaluation of the participation.
- When the wish of a member to participate in a Working Group is rejected by the Volunteer Manager, the applicant is informed about the decision and of the reasons.
- A Working Group member can be expelled when s/he does not function properly any more. This decision can be made by the full Steering Committee and after the Working Group member has been asked informally to leave the Group.
- A Working Group applicant can appeal against rejection or against being expelled. The procedure for this is described in the Appeal Procedure.
- When a Working Group is defunct for a longer period, the website moderators will delete it, taking care that useful information is kept in the digital archive.
- There will be 3 kinds of working groups: Internal Groups which deal with the internal organization, Development Groups which focus on improving the content of education programs and implementation / effect, and Local Strategy Groups which focus on local strategy and collaboration in projects.
- The Working Group may meet online at set times. Between these virtual meetings, communication happens by e-mail list.
- As soon as a Working Group starts, this is communicated to the Executive Council.
- The first aim of the starting group is then to formulate a mission statement, objectives for the first year, a draft strategy plan, and profiles for the members.
- When enough members have been recruited and registered, the draft strategy plan is finalized and put forward to the Executive Council. The group proceeds to divide tasks and to carry out the strategy plan. However, if the Executive Council thinks problems might arise from this, he may veto (with arguments) parts of the plan, which then have to be put on hold.
Exchange of Virtual Currency
- The virtual currency of the Alliance is the edu, the value of which is roughly equivalent to one US Dollar.
- Every member has a virtual wallet, which is displayed in the private space of their profile. The number of edu in wallets can only be changed by website moderators with these specific rights.
- Membership costs 60 edu per annum.
- When a member enters the Alliance, the value of the members wallet becomes minus 60.
- Edus can be paid in kind by performing tasks or by payment of dollars.
- Payment in dollars can be made by transferring the amount of dollars, equivalent the required edus, to the account of the Alliance. This should be done with the explicit text: gale membership, (year), (members name as in profile)
- On the members space of the Alliance website, a list will be provided with Alliance tasks and the number of edu which will be paid upon completion of each task.
- The acquisition of edus follows the following procedure: a member looks on the website for a task which he or she can and wants to perform; he or she contacts an Article Moderator or a Volunteer Manager of a Working Group if he or she can do the task; the Article Moderator or Volunteer Manager agrees with this by sending an e-mail in which the number of agreed edus and the task is mentioned. The chart of values of tasks on the website is the standard for such transactions; if differences of opinion arise on edu-exchanges, which cannot be resolved by the Article Moderator of Volunteer Manager, the member can use the appeal procedure; or: a member pays the Alliance in dollars and receives an equal amount of edus.
- Edus will not be exchangeable to real currency. The Alliance does not have funding.
- The Advisory Board announces Board meetings and the agenda on the website, allowing members to put forward ideas and plans. The Advisory Board gives public feedback on these suggestions.
- The Advisory Board will check the content of the Four Year Strategy Plan (FYSP). The procedure is as follows: the Executive Council publishes a first FYSP Outline on the members space of the website and offers an opportunity for feedback (6 months before the meeting of the Advisory Board); the Outline is edited into a FYSP Draft; this draft is published on the members space of the website and offers an opportunity for feedback (4 months before the meeting of the Advisory Board); in addition, the Advisory Board may do an opinion poll on key aspects in the FYSP Draft (4 months before the meeting of the Advisory Board); the Draft is edited into a FYSP Decision Paper for the Advisory Board meeting, this Decision Paper is published on the members space of the website and offers an opportunity for feedback (1 month before the meeting of the Advisory Board); in addition, the Advisory Board may do an opinion poll on key decisions in the FYSP Decision Paper(1 month before the meeting of the Advisory Board).
- Any 10 members may ask the Executive Council to formulate an opinion poll among members on a subject at any time. The request for an opinion poll should be in writing and contain the exact question and time slot during which the poll will be open. The Executive Council may set a time limit to the execution of the opinion poll.
Members Code of Conduct
- Differences of opinion are a fact of life. However, such differences, especially when they relate to our sexual feelings, self identification or processes of emancipation, may create a high level of anxiety, anger or an feeling of being offended. Heterosexuals, homosexuals, bisexuals, transgenders and people who dont want to label themselves or label themselves in a more nuanced way, are all part of GALE. Religious members will work alongside agnostics. People who hide their sexual or gender identity take part, as well as members who are very open about it and may see this as the most important way to emancipate. The members of GALE commit themselves to respect differences and to try to see them as sources and challenges of diversity.
- The learning community in principle will deal with differences of opinion, lifestyle and strategy by defining them as learning issues. This will be done by formulating hypotheses, negotiating ways to test these, and developing methods to test effects in the real world. In discussing such strategies, we prefer to reach a working consensus.
- In contact between members on the website, through e-mail and in real life, members will respect each other with respect and dignity, and if possible, curiosity.
- If any of us feels offended, mistreated or wronged in any way, the first thing we do is inform the offender of how we feel and how we read her/his comment or behaviour. The offender will then have the opportunity to give feedback. Ideally, there will be an exchange to better understand each other or/and to agree on future conduct.
- The Appeal Procedure is warranted for day to day decisions about granting membership, submission, editing and translating articles and decisions in Working Groups. For more serious complaints about undesirable behavior, intimidation and harassment, the Complaint Procedure is applicable.
- The member or applicant who does not agree wit the decision taken by a Working Group Steering Committee, Moderator or Volunteer Manager, writes an appeal to the Executive Director. Such an appeal will be considered only if there is proof that the stakeholders have tried to resolve their difference of opinion before the appeal.
- The Executive Director makes a decision within a month, based on new or additional information provided by the member/applicant and the Steering Committee of the Working Group, and informs the member/applicant.
- If the member/applicant does not agree, he or she can make a further appeal through the Executive Director to the Advisory Board, which makes a final decision. This decision will be made at the latest at the next meeting of the Advisory Board. The member/applicant is informed as soon as possible.
- If the appeal concerns a decision by the Executive Director, the appeal will be considered by the other member of the Executive Council. If the decision of the Executive Director is confirmed, a further appeal to the Advisory Board is possible.