Manara Network, established in year 2009 and registered in Lebanon, is not for profit, nonpartisan network of 11 organizations working in 9 countries in the Middle East and North Africa to secure child rights, child participation, and child rights governance. We, in Manara Network build coalitions in critical areas of strategy and policy both on national and regional level and build powerful partnership and networks to elevate child rights and child protection in the Arab World. We operate in conflict affected countries and humanitarian context to ensure that child rights are respected at all times. We have members in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Yemen, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and Mauritania, and we aspire to expand to Occupied Territories of Palestine, Sudan, and Libya.
Vision: Children in the Middle East and North Africa region can fully participate and enjoy their rights.
Mission: Advocating, supporting and raising the levels of awareness of civil society organizations to defend children's rights, participation and protection.
Relations between members:
Although joining the Network is voluntary, the relations between members should be based on mutual trust and on a professional contract that adopts the Child Protection Policy (written policies attached to the Concept Paper). This is in order to empower the mutual accountability according to the Child’s best interest. The member organizations undertake to not do anything that harms the other organizations and to keep strong connections between each other in order to develop the Network’s work.
The Efficiency and maintenance of the Network:
In order to ensure efficiency, the Network should be willing to learn and improve. It should also have a proper funding raised by all the member organizations. But the funding should not be conditioned or for political reasons. The Network’s leadership should be wise and capable of uniting its members and well managing the resources and relations with the funders. It should also create a work friendly environment. Its structure should be diverse, dynamic and democratic in its decisions and executions. The Network should also create assessment tools in order to always review its goals and activities.
The members of the Network should commit to working with children according to the principles and morals of the Child rights: no discrimination, gender equity, respecting the child’s dignity and privacy and the child’s active participation in the Network and on different levels, according to his best interests.
A specialized committee should be part of the Network’s structure to help executing the Network’s strategy. Later on, this committee can become active on its own on regional and international levels, having, in the same time, an exhaustive understanding of the work and a decentralization strategy.
Concerning the Network as an organization, the added value of the specialized committees is in the active engagement in dealing with a big number of its members and benefiting of their experience and knowledge.
Relations between the funders:
Funding from funders who share the Network’s same goals and ambitions are necessary. But this does not mean the funders can be part of the Network. The relation between the funder and the Network should be flexible comparing to what is knows about the traditional relations between the funders and the NGOs. The golden rule for the Network’s success is to count on its own resources in order to maintain its independency and courage in speeches. The continuity of the Network is not a goal on its own. Acting as if the continuity is the goal influences the Network’s work and speeches; it can become driven by the funders.
The Benefits and Inconvenient of Joining the Network:
The benefits of the membership can be:
1- Obtaining experience, knowledge and information, and organizing them.
2- Obtaining more experiences and financial resources.
3- Increasing the competence and ability of the member organizations to communicate and influence, especially in the fields of pressure and advocacy.
4- Increasing the influence in writing policies and strategies on the national and regional levels.
5- Developing collective projects and increasing chances of starting new projects.
6- Increasing the legality of the member organizations, decreasing their isolation and the dangers they might face, thank to their solidarity.
7- Increasing the influence over the decision, policy and practice makers on local, national, regional and international levels.
But there are also inconvenient for being member in the Network: fear of losing a part of their sovereignty, confusion of responsibilities between the members, especially if there were no clear accountability structures, as well as fearing bad leadership and domination of the more active members.