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SFPA update

Report type
Research and reports
Issue date
TUC Strategic Framework Partnership Arrangement (SFPA) update

January 2009


This brief covers the key achievements of the TUC's Strategic Framework Partnership Arrangement (SFPA) with the Department for International Development (DFID) from the period of September 2008 - January 2009. These include:

Assisting two union bids to DFID's Development Awareness Fund (DAF) in late 2008

Running for the third time, the International Development Learning Fund Project Proposal training course

'internationalising' union work through international development education courses both classroom and on-line and the Global Learning Union Group

Advice to TUC regions, forums and affiliates on how to access the Mini Grant Scheme

The brief also touches on key plans for the final five months of the SFPA including:

holding a half day funding seminar

running a new intensive 2-3 day Project Monitoring and Implementation training course

updating the TUC's development education materials and holding another Global Learning Union Group

continuing to advise and fund, union activities on international development awareness raising and partnership work, including assisting two unions to submit 'credible' CSCF concept notes to DFID and where asked, assist them to implement current DFID projects

securing a third new funding 'deal' with DFID

organising the TUC's fifth International Women's Day celebration

International development awareness

Two affiliates submitted DAF proposals in November 2008, while two others commenced their International Development Learning Fund (IDLF) activities with the aim of submitting proposals to the DAF in 2009.

Despite DFID recognising Unite's 2008 DAF proposal as good, due to the competitiveness of the scheme, it was unsuccessful. Since then, due to popular demand and commitment, Unite have since run 10 Globalisation schools and two international schools and in 2009 are committed to running more Globalisation schools and a new Advanced Globalisation school. They have also resubmitted their DAF application.

After successfully completing their pilot International Development Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Programme, the NUT developed their proposal and submitted it to the DAF. If successful the NUT's Teacher2Teacher Learning on the Global Stage CPD programme intends to directly assist 360 teachers to become global agents of change by enhancing their knowledge, skills and teaching strategies in relation to global interdependence and consequences of poverty. This would lead to the empowering of teachers within participating schools; strengthening the wider development education community; and engaging in relevant central and local government department policy debate.

PCS successfully received IDLF funding from the TUC Aid Trustees in March and have begun rolling out their international development awareness programme with the intention of submitting a proposal to DFID during 2009. They have recruited a part-time project worker, set up their project steering committee, carried out a very informative membership survey and are now organising a range of training and other consultative exercises in order to define their unique role in international development.

The ATL successfully applied to the IDLF in September 2008 with the purpose of establishing a culture and initial structures for its members to be involved in international development work. Key objectives within this will be gaining an insight into member's current interests and activities; establishing an e-bulletin; raising general levels of awareness; piloting activities at branch level; undertaking activities during annual conference and identifying a sister union to build a relationship with. The ATL aim to submit a proposal to the DAF in October 2009.

The TUC itself, with some assistance from the IDLF, submitted a project proposal to DFID's DAF in November 09, which intends to build its capacity to raise awareness about workers in the Olympics merchandising and sponsorship supply chain in the run up to and during the 2012 London Olympics.

The TUC, NUT and Unite are all expecting to hear the outcome of their submissions to DFID before the end of March 09.

Building partnerships with unions in the developing world.
A key objective of the SFPA is to increase the engagement of UK trade unions with their sister unions in the developing world.

The TSSA union won funds and support from the IDLF in September 08 to twin with the Zimbabwe Amalgamated Rail Worker's Union (ZARWU). The purpose of the project is to establish a sustainable, long-term relationship with ZARWU in order to support the union in the challenges it faces in servicing its members and contributing towards the rebuilding of the economic and social fabric of Zimbabwe. The aim is to submit a credible proposal to the CSCF in June 2009. A research study is underway prior to a background needs analysis visit and the unions are developing trusted methods of communications to assist in exchanges of information and relationship building.

The GMB London Region also won funds and support from the IDLF to build solid relationships with the Guyana Agricultural Workers Union and National Association of Agricultural (GAWU), Commercial and Industrial Employees (NAACIE), who both represent workers in the Sugar Industry. The aim of the project is to undertake activities that will assist in developing a credible CSCF proposal to be submitted in June 2009. The activities include commissioning background research to inform a joint needs analysis visit and workshop in Guyana, a return visit from the Guyana trade unionists to finalise the proposal and awareness raising materials and workshops within the region. The GMB is the first union to have one of its Regional Offices submitting a proposal to the IDLF.

The CWU and GMB (head office) both submitted proposals to DFID's Civil Society Challenge Fund (CSCF) and are expecting the outcome to be announced before the end of March 09. The GMB's project proposal with the Mumbai Port Trust Dock and General Employee's Union (MPTDGEU) in India, aims to assist tens of thousands of ship breaking downstream workers who face some of the most dangerous and poorly paid work in the world. The CWU have recently submitted a concept note, outlining a project with their Philippine sister union to empower women and precarious communications workers throughout the Philippines. Assistance and funding received under the SFPA's International Development Learning Fund (IDLF) has been essential for these unions to build strong relationships with their sister unions, carry out necessary background research and design projects in a participatory way.

With IDLF assistance and funding, the NUT and the Sierra Leone Teacher's Union have run a pilot ICT skills course for women teachers. The pilot programme aims to empower women teachers in the classroom, their union and the community. There is more work to do in Sierra Leone during 2009 to meet the intended aims of the pilot and in 2010 the NUT intends to apply to the CSCF so that they can expand the programme.

Finally, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) are drafting an IDLF proposal to work with their counterpart union in Zimbabwe the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists. They aim to strengthen their ability to service their members in terms of professional training and resource centres. If successful, the NUJ will be the 11th and final TUC affiliate to gain funding from the IDLF before the project ends in June 2009.

Apart from IDLF funding, the TUC SFPA team advise and support a range of affiliate unions and TUC regions in building partnerships with unions in the developing world:

Aslef union have submitted a draft Mini Grant to develop their relationship with their Ugandan counterpart by inviting the General Secretary to take part in a programme of events surrounding their Annual Conference

The TUC Young Members Forum have also submitted a first draft which would enable them to invite a young developing country trade unionist to the UK to take part in a programme of events surrounding their Annual Conference.

Project training

A third four-day series of the successful IDLF training, to assist with project design and proposal writing is underway. By the end of the training, around 36 trade union officers from more than 10 affiliates will have been equipped with the skills to engage in DFID's competitive funding processes and simply put, to design better projects.

There are also plans underway for an intensive 2-3 day course in May 09 that will focus on Project Monitoring and Implementation. It will also begin to examine what it takes to prepare during the life cycle of the project for effective project evaluation once the project is finished.

Diversifying trade union development funding sources

Up until now the TUC, with DFID's encouragement and support has focused its efforts in assisting affiliates to apply to DFID's civil society funding streams. Now that capacity to gain funds for development activities is greater within the movement, it is time to diversify those funding sources. To help begin this process, a half day funding seminar is being planned for March 26th 09. The Seminar will include speakers from BOND, DFID and Comic Relief. There will also be an opportunity for affiliates to share their funding experiences and sources with one another.

Strengthening the TUC's international development awareness work

In response to feedback from a range of unions and tutors, the TUC is set up a development education group of trade unionists and interested NGOs to help share best practice, resources and methodologies on international development education and build a sustainable and active network. The network is called the Global Learning Union Group and it held its second meeting in November 08. Unite, UCU, Prospect, NUT, CWU trade union Education Officers and/or International Officers were represented as well as TUC tutors and the DEA. They considered the various methodological approaches used for trade union development education and also the TUC's existing trade union development education resources.

A two-day Gender, Globalisation and Poverty Reduction training course was piloted in early January 09. The course, for which there is an Officer and a Rep version, is designed for those interested in understanding how they can contribute to this issue, either through their trade union or workplace. With particular reference to women in developing countries, amongst other things, the course examines:

the difference between globalisation and international development

the ITUC's Decent Work for Decent Life for Women Campaign

promoting trade justice

the role of trade unions

The course is due to run a second time for Officers in July 09 and for Reps, for the first time in March 09.

The on-line course, 'Going global: on trade unions and international development' has just commenced with around 25 participants due to sign up. These participants are able to progress through this user-friendly and engaging introduction to international development and trade unionism in their own time. UnionLearn Scotland is due to run the course for the first time in February and the course will also run again in England in October 09.

Finally, whilst as a result of the TUC's 'agreements' with DFID, a wealth of materials on the trade union's and international development awareness now exists (see, some of those are out of date. Given that since they were first developed, so many affiliates have developed their own materials, there is a need to assess their usage, uptake and effectiveness. To this end, since December 09 an on-line survey has been promoted on the TUC, UnionLearn and Tutor's websites to gain feedback. There have also been a number of telephone interviews. Once the feedback has been analysed, the information will be used to decide how best to update the existing fact files and how else the TUC can best support its affiliates and tutors in this area.

The TUC's relationship with DFID

In the UK the objective of policy engagement is fulfilled through the regular DFID/TUC trade union forums. The TUC is currently also in talks with DFID over a new agreement to follow the SFPA.

For more information

Please contact Gemma Freedman, the TUC's SFPA Project Officer on 020 7467 1233 or by email:

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