By Jamal Berih  

14 May 2005

  “Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together”. (Author: Vincent Van Gogh

I would like to make the following suggestions to the newly elected leadership, members and potential members of the Eritrean Community in Australia – Melbourne. I believe the title applies to the Eritrean leadership’s experience in general

1.      Membership: – the last annual meeting decision which imposed membership fee was over run by a so called general meeting that decided only those who contributed to the rent of the community centre as members. This needs to be reviewed and clear membership conditions established.

2.      It has always being that the leaders always take the burden of executing community activities. Since everyone has personal commitments and limited community resources, I suggest the following: Interested volunteers to be assigned in advance to the tasks they like to work on. This leads to next point.

3.      All leadership tried to achieve on different issues but ended up only celebrating September and Independence Day. Thus it is important to focus mainly only on one goal for their term. It is better if this comes from members (you can put your suggestions). Once this decided volunteers would be recruited who are willing to help achieve it. Also this will be what the leadership will be reporting about at the end of its term. Members and leadership will be speaking the same language. From this goal leadership members will be allocated their tasks and assessed upon.

4.      Tasks to volunteers, others activities should not be allocated to people who “get along well” with influential leadership member or members but for their knowledge and /or skill.

5.      Conflict in leadership is very common in most terms. A procedure needs to be written on how to resolve it. In future there can be a semi-permanent committee that overlooks the community activity and be able to resolve any issue before it raised to the surface and becomes a real problem and personal.

6.      Finance:- it is high time to find ways the community to be financially self-reliant. In our struggle for independence with our scare resources our self-reliance was a big factor in our struggle. Now that we can even purchase bottled water when there is tap water how we are failing and wait for fund!!!! I have the following suggestions.

·        To utilize the communities centre as much as possible for activities (engagements, ceremonies, mourning, meetings, etc). This should not disturb those members who are not interested or involved on the occasion. Once it is on notice board and place allocated no one should approach members who are say having a chat or meal and remind them or persuade them to join the activity. Also members should be encouraged to feel free and enjoy what they are doing. This should be very clear. Charges allocated, space and time should be standardized and understood. In making these suggestions to some interested active members who approached me on the community issues a point was raised in one occasion. He thinks that because he pays his contribution to the rent of the centre, he got the right to practice his political stand about Eritrean politics there. If the new theme is to keep the community free from politics (indulging community in politics advantage and disadvantage is a big subject by itself) better such issues and membership issues mentioned above are clarified.

·        Our mothers they do make financial contributions to mourning families.  If the mourning for men is in the centre donations need to be collected to cover charge from individuals (members/non members) who come to pay condolence

·        There are more suggestions, which will be forwarded on the right time. The hardest person I have to deal with is myself. I had to push hard to sit down and write. It was written in a very short time just to start the habit of writing, Please ignore any mistakes.

Lastly I like to share this quote with you

We are approaching a new age of synthesis. Knowledge cannot be merely a degree or a skill. It demands a broader vision, capabilities in critical thinking and logical deduction without which we cannot have constructive progress.”
  LI Ka Shing

Jamal Berih

Melbourne, Australia

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