Gret – a non-governmental organization, professional unit of solidarity and international cooperation

 

 

Founded in 1976, GRET is a French NGO fighting poverty and inequalities in the field and in policy. Its professionals intervene in a broad range of subjects to provide lasting, innovative solutions for fair development of professionals for fair development. Active in 30 countries in 2011, GRET has 12 permanent branch offices in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

 

GRET acts on a range of 16 complementary themes that, together, contribute to the development of developing countries: climate change, international trade and trade negotiations, agricultural development and food security, urban social development and housing, drinking water and sanitation, energy, agrifood commodity chains and consumption, land tenure, information management and ICTs, natural resource management, media, microinsurance (health and agriculture), microfinance, nutrition, strengthening the actors of social change, and business development services, training and vocational insertion.

 

Intervention Areas and Methods – Geography

 

GRET combines the roles of project practitioner or co-practitioner, expert and producer/distributor of development references. It mobilizes the skills of its professional teams and has the experience and references necessary to properly conduct its development missions. GRET:

  • Designs and Implements Field Projects: Innovative project implementer, it acts as delegated contract manager and contracting authority. It provides the technical, methodological and managerial support necessary for proper operations, and shares its know-how.
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  • Provides Expertise: It conducts and shares crucial expertise in a wide range of areas—“projects and organization” (feasibility, monitoring, assessment, institutional support, etc.), “policy” (development policy definition support, etc.), and “scientific knowledge” (economics, engineering, agronomy, hygiene, etc.)—based on the results of applied research, experience and excellent knowledge of the field.
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  • Runs Networks and Defends Ideas: It networks expert actors and researchers, it speaks in international forums, and pleads actively in favor of sustainable development, providing a unique contribution thanks to its dual roots in the field and in policy.
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  • Produces and Disseminates References: It analyzes and documents its own development experiences, taking an objective look at its practices, and learns lessons from them to improve its modes of intervention and disseminate knowledge, know-how and methods that have been tested and improved in the field.

It acts as a service provider for public contracting authorities and private contracting bodies. It also initiates projects itself, often in partnerships, for which it secures financial backing and ensures implementation. Regardless of their specific modalities, all of the activities in which GRET is involved contribute to sustainable and fair development and the reduction of poverty and inequalities. They aim to lastingly improve populations’ incomes and access to essential services, and aim to help build the capacities of actors and civil societies and advance public governance.


To conduct relevant and effective actions that provide sustainable solutions, GRET:

  • Brings together teams of committed and skilled professionals (economists, sociologists, engineers, agronomists, urban planners, etc.) able to mobilize proven technical and methodological know-how in diverse socio-economic and political contexts;
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  • Favors technical and institutional choices that are suited to the material and social situations of the greatest number and that mobilize local resources; and;
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  • Works in dialogue and cooperation with the local actors, emphasizing experimentation and innovation, strengthening local and national institutions (whether public, private or associative), and local intermediary organizations in particular.

Resources – Partners and Donors

 

GRET’s turnover in 2011 was 23 million euros. Its primary project donors are the European Union, the Agence Française de Développement, and the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs. It also acts for:

 

- international agencies (the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, CGAP, UNICEF, IFAD, UNDP);

 

- other French public institutions (the Ministry of Research, territorial governments such as the regional councils of the Île-de-France, Nord-Pas de Calais, Brittany, and Centre Regions); and;

 

- bilateral agencies (GTZ, Canadian development assistance), the public organizations of the countries where it is active (Senegalese Ministry of Trade, Florestas do Amazonas – Brazil) and major international NGOs (CCFD, CORDAID, Concern) ;

 

- GRET receives financing from companies and corporate foundations (Véolia, Suez Environnement, Fondation Orange, Fondation Ensemble).

 

GRET works in partnership with institutions of various types

 

- Research Institutes / Universities: Centre International de Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement (CIRAD), Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), the Universities of Paris I, Paris XI, Aix-Marseille, the Institut Français d’Urbanisme (IFU), SupAgro Montpellier.

 

- Public Institutions / Local Governments: Ministry of the Environment (Amazonas State, Brazil), Ministry of Public Works, Transportation and Communication (Haiti), Vientiane Province (Laos), Urban Community of Nouakchott (Mauritania), Saint-Louis and Louga Region (Senegal), National Institute for Nutrition (NIN, Vietnam),

 

- NGOs: Réseau Action Climat (France), International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED, United Kingdom), ENDA-GRAF (Senegal), CEDAC (Cambodia), Journalistes en Danger (Central Africa), CEBEDES (Benin), CITE (Madagascar).

 

- Professional Organizations: ESAFF (Eastern and Southern Africa Small Scale Farmers’ Forum), ROPPA (Réseau des Organisations Paysannes et des Producteurs Agricoles d’Afrique de l’Ouest – West Africa network of farmers’ and agricultural producers’ organizations), FPFD (Fédération des Producteurs du Fouta Djallon – Fouta Djallon farmers’ federation, Guinea), ADAFAX (Brazil), FETRAF (Brazil), GMAC (Garment Manufacturer Association of Cambodia, Cambodia).

 

Governance and Management

 

GRET is an association whose governing bodies consist of:

  • a board of directors that approves and votes on the annual budgets.
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  • an assembly that votes annually to approve the financial accounts based on the registered auditor’s report; and.
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  • an administrative and financial department (DAF) made up of an administrative and financial director, three management officers and two accountants.

 

GRET’s general accounting complies with the official Chart of Accounts under French law. Simultaneously, GRET’s analytic and budgetary accounting allows it to (1) allocate each item of spending to the appropriate contract, and (2) verify spending in relation to budgeted amounts.

 

For this, GRET has obtained several financial management and accounting tools:

  • computer accounting software.
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  • a software package for project budget management and time management; and.
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  • an in-house management procedure handbook.

 

In the field, the accounts are kept by the program manager. The accounts are sent to headquarters every quarter and validated by the DAF before the field accounts are integrated into the accounts at headquarters. The DAF staff regularly conducts internal audits of GRET’s field operations.

 

The DAF also issues accounting records, and designs and distributes financial reports.

 

Finally, all spending commitments above 3,500 euros are validated by three levels of oversight: the project manager, the cluster coordinator, and the financial director.

 

GRET’s articles of association include an obligation to use a registered auditor; every year, a certified public accountant verifies the year-end account closing and GRET’s compliance with its fiscal and labor obligations. The registered auditor writes a report based on the audit of the accounts and validates the accounts if they are accurate.

 

GRET’s annual accounts are available and provided on request of appropriate authorities and institutions.

 

GRET, as manager of public funds, may also be subject to verification by the Cour des Comptes. This was the case in 2004, during a Cour des Comptes audit of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

 

In its contracting authority assistance role with local institutions (local governments, the state), GRET has developed know-how in the field of granting government contracts both in designing the terms of invitations to tender and implementing calls for tender.

 

For all contract procedures, GRET complies with the laws of the countries where it is active and the regulations required by donors; it only undertakes contract procedures that comply fully with legal and administrative procedures.

 

Human Resources

 

In 2011, GRET employs more than 100 volunteers and salaried staff under French law, more than one third in the field and less than two thirds at headquarters (short expertise missions, field project supervision and elaboration, administration). Its projects mobilize 600 some national staff.

 

 

 

 

 

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