History and objectives
The International Solidarity Foundation of the Company of Mary Our Lady (Fundación Internacional de Solidaridad Compañía de María, or FISC) was conceived at the General Assembly the order held in Japan in 1994, and officially incorporated on 27 January 1995.
The Company of Mary Our Lady built FISC on a foundation of Christian faith rooted in solidarity, which for four centuries has served as the driving force behind the order’s efforts to promote development in impoverished countries and communities through education.
The primary aims of the foundation, as laid down in our bylaws, are:
To raise public awareness of poverty in developing countries and build international solidarity with marginalised countries and communities suffering from extreme poverty.
To finance and carry out activities and projects that help improve conditions (as relates to materials, health, education, culture, sport, spirituality and the environment) in developing countries and promote research and volunteering in these regions in order to foster the comprehensive, balanced development of their residents and help promote fellowship among all human beings.
The foundation’s history can be divided into phases:
The initial start-up phase consisted of laying the structural foundation of the organisation, building relationships with other organisations and local partners, and opening regional offices, or ‘delegations’.
The second stage is one of growth and consolidation, in which the foundation has reinforced its organisational structure and run dozens of projects and programmes in the areas of development cooperation and education for development, eventually expanding its presence into 24 different countries.
What we do:
Development Cooperation: Our development cooperation work consists of funding activities and projects that engage local stakeholders in improving the living conditions of marginalised groups in impoverished countries. We are committed to consistently pursuing distributive justice in all our efforts.
Education for Development: We work to implement education for development to increase people’s awareness of problems related to poverty and build solidarity with extremely impoverished countries and communities and those that have been forgotten, marginalised and left without a voice. We pledge to consistently denounce situations of injustice.
FISC, the development NGO of the Company of Mary, is committed to achieving development through education and cooperation; it focuses on human rights, gender equity and helping people and communities develop their capacity to collaborate in building a society that is just, participatory and committed to defending peace and freedom.
- Through education for development and development cooperation, we strive to collaborate in building a world in which men and women have the resources and opportunities to achieve personal growth and strengthen the social fabric that is essential to fighting poverty and injustice.
- We would like our commitment to driving social change by promoting gender equity and empowering women to exercise their rights to serve as a model for other organisations.
- We participate in networks with other institutions in order to advocate for policy change to defend human rights and build a socio-economic model in which men and women can live with dignity, a model that is rooted in the values of solidarity, justice, freedom, gender equity and environmental sustainability.
- We strive to achieve excellence in our work and ensure that our organisation is well managed and has a strong structure that guarantees gender equity in the foundation itself and in our activities. We will maintain a participatory environment that fosters creativity and innovation and engages staff and members.
- We strive to maintain an accounting system with effective controls that guarantee transparency and accountability, as well as a system for evaluating the processes and results of the foundation’s projects, based on indicators that ensure that these projects are socially responsible, reflect our commitment to gender equity and use resources appropriately.
- We aim to expand our development NGO’s international presence by opening new regional offices in the different countries in which the Company of Mary our Lady serves and strengthening collaboration and relationships between offices.
- TO REINFORCE EDUCATION FOR DEVELOPMENT IN THE NORTH AND THE SOUTH (RAISING AWARENESS, PROMOTING UNDERSTANDING AND INSPIRING CIVIC-MINDED ATTITUDES).
- TO SUPPORT SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES AND PROJECTS THAT INSPIRE CHANGE AND ADDRESS PROBLEMS RELATED TO POVERTY AND SOCIAL EXCLUSION IN ACCORDANCE WITH FISC’S MISSION AND CRITERIA.
- TO CONTINUE TO PARTICIPATE IN NETWORKS WITH OTHER INSTITUTIONS AND GROUPS IN ORDER TO POSITIVELY IMPACT POLICY IN AREAS RELATED TO POVERTY AND INJUSTICE AND FOSTER DEVELOPMENT.
- TO INCREASE ENGAGEMENT WITH LOCAL STAKEHOLDERS BY BEING RECEPTIVE, LISTENING TO THEM AND GIVING THEM ON-GOING SUPPORT.
- TO DEVELOP THE STRATEGIC ACTION PLAN FOR IMPLEMENTING GENDER EQUITY IN OUR ORGANISATIONAL CULTURE .
- TO INCREASE EFFICIENCY IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF PROJECTS.
- TO EXPAND, ENGAGE AND CULTIVATE THE LOYALTY OF OUR TEAM (VOLUNTEERS, MEMBERS AND PARTNERS).
- TO ACQUIRE MORE SOURCES OF BOTH PUBLIC AND PRIVATE FUNDING AND STRENGTHEN OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE GOVERNMENT AND OTHER INSTITUTIONS.
- TO BE TRUSTWORTHY AND TRANSPARENT IN EVERYTHING WE DO.
- TO WORK AS A TEAM, IMPROVING COORDINATION AND DIALOGUE BETWEEN THE DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE ORGANISATION.
- TO GIVE MORE PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT TRAINING TO FISC PERSONNEL.
- TO CONTINUE TO INCREASE FISC’S INTERNATIONAL PRESENCE. TO IDENTIFY AND STRENGTHEN CHANNELS OF COMMUNICATION WITH THE OTHER DEVELOPMENT NGOS RUN BY THE COMPANY OF MARY OUR LADY.
- TO ADAPT FISC’S STRUCTURE TO THE CURRENT CIRCUMSTANCES.
A description of FISC’s strategic plan can be found here: Strategic Plan, 2011-15
FISC strives to advance the following values in all its relationships:
Solidarity. Understanding the social context and engaging in transforming it through analysis, action and dedication.
Social equity, gender equity and the defence of human rights. Promoting social justice by fighting all types of inequality.
Engagement. Being committed to actively intervening to help ensure that the social and educational needs of marginalised populations are met.
Interculturalism. Understanding, respecting and appreciating cultural diversity and involving people from different cultural and personal backgrounds in the foundation’s social and educational activities.
Participation. Participating in reflection and remaining in continuous contact with the people involved at all levels of the foundation.
Reciprocity. Learning from each other and learning together.
Comprehensive education. Achieving all-around personal growth.
Code of conduct: The FISC foundation adheres to the code of conduct of the Federation of NGDOs of Spain.
The Board of Trustees
‘The Board of Trustees is responsible for governing, managing and representing the foundation. It is charged with managing and overseeing the foundation to ensure that the organisation’s objectives are met . . . The Board of Trustees will also manage the property and interests that comprise the assets of the Foundation’ (Art. 6).
The Board of Trustees is the driving force behind the foundation. Its mission is to provide strategic thinking and drive the foundation’s vision, developing specific short- and long-term goals and action strategies to be implemented by FISC’s president and Management Committee.
FISC's Management Committee
The members of the Management Committee are charged with carrying out the responsibilities laid down in Article 14 of the foundation’s bylaws, under the direction of the FISC foundation.
The Board of Trustees appoints an executive director, who has such responsibilities as deemed appropriate by the Board, within legal limits.
Education for Development
Communications and Marketing
Our regional offices, set up in accordance with Article 17 if the foundation’s bylaws, are charged with:
- Carrying out the work of the NGDO in all regions
- Raising awareness among local residents about the meaning of education for development and development cooperation
- Identifying financing channels for our projects
- Training volunteers
- Working with local groups and associations
Education for Development