Member Conversations at the assembly provide space for ACT members to engage in critical conversations relating to some topical, and sometimes controversial, issues facing the alliance.  Recommendations will be developed in the sessions to help the alliance move forward in a constructive way together.  Participants from ACT members choose one member conversation to participate in:

Member Conversation 1:  New ways of working – strengthening the intentional nexus between ACT’s humanitarian, development and advocacy mandates

In promoting a just, inclusive and sustainable world, ACT Alliance will implement effective humanitarian, development and advocacy work at national, regional and global levels. During this strategic period, ACT will focus on the relationship between these three pillars of work to promote an integrated response to the fast changing and volatile global context through strengthening the linkages between its broad humanitarian, development and advocacy work, particularly in the five thematic and programmatic priority areas of this strategy.  Come to this member conversation to discuss which experiences we have as an alliance with new and integrated ways of working; how this can be accomplished in the thematic and programmatic priority areas foreseen in the ACT Global Strategy; and what we can recommend to the alliance to help breakdown the silos.

Member Conversation 2:  Shrinking Space for Civil Society – Our role as churches and ACT members to promote a public space that is safe and just for all

In the last years, we have all experienced a shrinking and closing space for civil society actors. The space has closed in many parts of the world due to restrictive administrative laws and other measures, which have minimized the possibilities to freely associate, assemble, express oneself, and participate in public life and even to access funding. The space has also closed through violent, political actions against civil society actors or organisations, reflecting an increasing clampdown in societies of any form of dissent.  As faith based organizations we have been sometimes targeted as such, but we have also seen many secular partner organizations of ACT and other civil society organizations who have had this threatening experience. In these contexts, what is the role of the church and faith-based actors to advocate for public space that is just and safe for all and to support organisations or individuals who are targeted?

Member Conversation 3:  Youth Participation – How can ACT make a step change in enabling youth participation across the work of the alliance?

Youth under the age of 30 make up nearly half of the world’s population today and nearly 90 percent of them currently live in the global south. Yet ACT as an alliance has not had a focus on youth participation until now. Not only do youth have to be included in the considerations of projects, but youth participation has to be a key component in the governance and working groups of the Alliance.  Come to this member conversation on Youth Participation to hear from our expert panel and explore together what concrete steps we can take as an alliance to promote greater youth participation.

Member Conversation 4:  Principles of Partnership – Are steady, faithful and loving partnerships possible between members of ACT Alliance?

What do partnerships look like between members of ACT Alliance?  What do models of good partnership look like and how do we enhance these in the Alliance?  The Principles of Partnership, endorsed by the Global Humanitarian Platform and signed up to by ACT Alliance, include: Equality, Transparency, using a Results-Orientated Approach, Responsibility and Complementarity.  But the reality is that for some members, they experience an ACT community that is fragmented, where free market competition is practiced day in and day out.  We live in a world where brand and bottom line rules, and true partnership has moved to the back burner.  Is this global reality affecting our ACT partnerships?  As ACT members, we are committed to the Principles of Partnership in theory – but what about in practice?  We will explore some stories of challenge and stories of success in terms of how we have partnered together as members over recent years.  We will explore examples of good partnerships from across the sector and see what we can learn from these.  As we embark on a new strategic period and in order to maximise impact and leverage our collective abilities, we need to re-affirm our practical commitment to the Principles of Partnership.  Join us as we explore the issue of Partnerships in this Member Conversation.

Member Conversation 5:  Private sector accountability – towards a shared understanding of its role in development and humanitarian response

This conversation, will take a look at private sector accountability and engagement from the different perspectives that ACT members and partners have experienced. It will discuss and make visible some of the sticky issues, and make tentative recommendations for future work in the alliance. Some of the issues that will be discussed and presented are private sector in the context of business and human rights; the private sector, SDGs and development financing; and role of churches and faith based organizations in private sector accountability. The conversation will be designed as a hybrid of a role play (featuring rights holder and private sector perspectives), interview of experts, panel discussion and debate, with active participation from the floor.

Member Conversation 6:  Duty of Care – Putting people first in our work: how do we keep our staff safe, our programming effective and our alliance engaged where we are needed most?

As ACT Alliance members we ask a lot from our staff, our volunteers and partners. We ask them to suffer far more stress than most people face in their work; we send them to work in communities challenged by disaster, war, poverty, injustice and disease. They often must face security forces or other violent actors who don’t understand or even accept their presence. The toll our work takes on their lives and that of their families can be severe. How do we support and protect our staff as best we can? Because without our people we cannot help anyone.

Member Conversation 7:  A Forum Driven Alliance –  How does it look and what does it feel like?

The 2019 – 2026 ACT Alliance Global Strategy puts the forums at the centre of ACT Alliance work; they will be the engine that drives our work at national, sub-regional and regional levels.   ACT forums are the meeting point where all ACT members operating in specific countries and regions come together as equals to work collaboratively on humanitarian response, sustainable development and advocacy initiatives and programmes, leveraging the skills and expertise of individual members and linking with local churches and organizations as key partners in advancing this work. This member conversation seeks to discern together what works well, based on the experiences to date, and our vision for how forums need to coordinate and collaborate in a coherent way to implement the new strategy in the future. Come and join this member conversation to hear experiences from three forums that are working well, including winner of the first ACT forum award, as well as the experience of a forum which is finding it hard to excel.  Together we will work towards some concrete recommendations to strengthen ACT Forums in the next strategic period.