In the last series of #OrganizationDevelopmentFacilitation program, I went to Indramayu, a sleepy coastal town halfway from Jakarta to Semarang. There, I met Pak Budi, the General Secretary of Serikat Nelayan Indonesia (Indonesian fisher folk association) and his colleagues. Earlier, Pak Budi talked to me about his and other founders’ vision of SNI.
“To lead promoting, advocating and – whenever necessary – fighting for the rights of small-scale fisher folks.”
I’ve always been atracted to huge to nearly impossible ideas and – to my limited knowledge – SNI vision was somewhat too challenging to achieve. But that was what made this challenge more attractive.
As usual, there’s nothing usual about facilitating organization development. Even to other non profits and civil societies’ standard, SNI faced – or embraced – a unique challenge. That is, instead of only a doer, it also wanted to be a shaker, mover and leader in small-scale fisher folks’ rights.
Being in a resource-depleting business such as advocacy, my first question was how SNI planned to fund their activities. As if knowing what was in my mind, these guys came up to create business units in the form of a production-oriented cooperation. With several business ideas, and as in other social enterprises, I saw that one of the key issues were how to find a healthy balance between idealism and professionalism.
When asked how, my first answer was to create a codependent management between the non profit and profit units.
From this idea, discussion snowballed into business model canvas, supply chain, value chain and – at the heart of this program – aligning SNI idealism to business units’ objectives. One of the lessons that SNI members discovered in this exercise was how looking at problems from further away will provide a wider landscape of problems including the height and impact of what they called chronic problems.
For example, it was commonly known that small-scale fisher folks have always been am easy target for scams by irresponsible government officers such as having to pay for access to facilities that they never use or get benefit from. From this exercise, Pak Budi and his colleagues arrived at several agreements on practical practices to operationally align idealism and business objectives.
At the end of the program, one of SNI Indramayu members hopefully stated that he had much clearer – not easier – path to lead SNI into a more independent and sustainable organization.
From this two day visit to SNI Indramayu, I learned that, sometimes, the realistic answer to ‘acute’ problems might be to move to other, more meaningful and solvable problems.
What’s your similar experience on so-called chronic – or acute – problems?
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