The World Food Programme (WFP) is a UN Agency, and the world’s largest humanitarian organisation. Its focus is on using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change. In 2020 it provided support to 100 million people in 88 countries. And its work was recognised with the award of the Nobel Peace Prize.
But WFP has historically been funded by governmental and institutional donations. There was desire to explore the area of private giving-individuals, foundations and corporations and to grow this area. But there was nervousness among the governing body about the wisdom of this approach. The solution was to have a series of facilitated meetings with 40 high-level diplomats in the Rome headquarters.
Under the inspirational leadership of Tim Hunter, Director of Private Sector Partnerships and Fundraising, WFP has been planning to expand its fundraising programme- focussing especially on growth in the private space with individuals, foundations and corporations. The plans involve ambitious growth powered by ambitious investment.
However among the members of the WFP governance structure, largely composed of ambassadors and diplomats from donor countries, there was nervousness about adopting such a radical and ambitious approach. There was a strategic stalemate with the leadership team unable to convince the members to sign off the strategy.
=mc consulting were asked to provide strategic facilitation of a series of workshops to address these concerns. The facilitation had the extra dimension of involving almost 40 senior government officials and their advisors, working in simultaneous translation, over a series of sessions in Rome.
As Bernard Ross, =mc consulting director said at the time; “this was the toughest, most complicated facilitation I’ve ever been asked to lead on.”
=mc consulting worked with the WFP senior leadership team to develop a series of facilitation interventions to help guide the strategy through- working out how to identify and address challenges.
The sessions were intense, and involved rapid changes of direction and focus to ensure that issues were addressed ‘live’ in the very large and formal room.
After the sessions the members of the governance board voted to adopt the strategy and to commit to the significant programme of investment that was needed.
The strategy is now being rolled out and in the coming three years should begin to deliver significant resources.
Among the agencies we’ve helped with complex facilitation projects are International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, International Committee of Red Cross, WaterAid, IDLO, World Animal Protection, Action Aid and Compassion in World Farming.