4u2 - For you too - Roland Brunner
A Visit to our Bonn Office , March 2001
by Helga Tempel – forumZiviler
Friedensdienst/Civil Peace Services
Looking through the last report of October 2000 I found
out that not too much new has happened around the ZFD in Germany.
May be it would be boaring for some of you to read
again of some small steps forward the Civil Peace Service has done during last
months. So I prefer to invite you for a short visit to the office of the
forumZFD to meet people working there.
Imagine a bit ldold and slim house in the center of
the city of Bonn, only two minutes from the mainstation. In the ground floor you
will find a travel agency, which of course is n o t (yet!!) working for the
forumZFD. Then you follow up steep and narrow steps: In the third floor you will
discover our office with only three rather small rooms plus a kitchenette
and a tiny bath-room.
Here you will meet Stefan, our fulltime Head of Office,
who is trying to keep up with lots of papers, mails and telephone calls. Since
some months he is mainly engaged in finding new sources for financing our work
and to win new sponsors.
His part time Assistant, Martina, is busy in dealing with
all the more technical work, keeping connections to normal members, member
organisations and Members of the Board and answering questions of
interested people and requests for material to be sent out for PR-work..
The person caring directly for the budget – which always
appears to be too low – is Birgit, the part time book-keeper. She is engaged
to keep the Board updated with our finances and to write kind and thankful
letters to donors.
If you are lucky you will also meet Maria who is caring for
the practical work in our ZFD-projects and keeping contacts to the field-workers.
Therefore she rather often is “on tour” visiting our teams in the South
Balkans. She is rather busy for we have twelve Peace Professionals
meanwhile working in and around former Yugoslavia as volunteers of the
governmental program “ZFD within the Development Work” in a sort of
public-private partership with the forumZFD.
May be you will also drop into Thomas who is helping Maria
in building up contacts between the teams and setting up a supporting
network for South East Europe; for this special task he is
employed for only six months.
And sometimes you might also meet one or two volunteers
looking for an empty table to send out letters or do any other sort of
But your visit will not be completed before climbing up to
the next floor, just under the roof, to find there the “Joint Working
Group/Arbeitsgemeinschaft Qualification” (“for conflict transformation / CPS),
which is responsible for the Training Course that is running for four
months two times the year and in which the forum is actively involved.
Here under the roof the rooms are even smaller, but nevertheless big enough to give space for three staff-people: the General Secretary, named Martin, who is organising the Training Courses, his assistant Angelika and a special book-keeping person, Birgitta. There are two more persons, Kurt and Anthea, as “chiefs” of the joint working group actively involved in the organisation of the training program, which means collecting applicants for the course, meeting and interviewing these people, discussing their admittance and deciding everything to make the courses run including selection of the trainers, finding the places for the course and the facilities for the practical phase of the Training. But these people normally work at home.
You perhaps may guess already that such a sort of pilot
program also needs a sort of pedagogical advice or supervision – but this is
done by experienced people specially engaged for that purpose. They keep contact
with the trainers, discuss the programm in advance and during the training and
pay visits to the running course.
I need not explain how difficult it is to ensure the
financial base for this bunch of work without which the program could not
be kept running. While most – not all -of the staff for the Training Course is
paid by the government we don´t get any institutional support for the general
ZFD office downstairs besides of a small percentage of the project funding that
does not at all cover the administrative costs. Therefore again and again
our main problem is how to raise the necessary money and to cover the tremendous
financial gap we ended up with last year.
This is where each single member of the Board is asked for
creative and inspiring ideas urgently. I will let you know about this part of
our work in my next report.
4your questions and contacts: rbr(at)4u2.ch