As outgoing President of IAP2 SA, I’d like to take the opportunity to wish all our members, their friends and families a blessed year! It is my personal aspiration that IAP2 SA will take the standards of the practice of public participation to new heights, continue to lead with strong conviction, and shoulder challenges with passion and care! May 2013 lead IAP2 SA into a triumphant future!
Ms Toni Pietersen, outgoing President, IAP2 Southern Africa, and Stakeholder Engagement Specialist with Golder Associates Africa. Toni is a certified IAP2 Trainer with extensive experience in Public Participation.
That said, it is perhaps an opportune time to reflect on the successes and challenges of the past two years. I once read a quote by Alan Cohen that bolstered my ambitious thinking: “Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes the conditions perfect.”
Indeed, this is where the history of IAP2 SA started and it is, in so many ways, the secret of its future success! Those members that were involved at the time may remember the hours spent in brainstorming workshops under the expert leadership of Moira Deslandes, Executive Director of IAP2, and how this vibrant energy was channelled into making IAP2 SA happen: preparing the organisation towards acceptance by IAP2 as a regional affiliate and its eventual incorporation of the organisation under the Companies Act, 1973 (Act 61 of 1973) as a Section 21 not-for-profit company.
This achievement required a combination of intense effort on a number of fronts:
- many hours of open discussion by working group members towards developing the Articles of Association, ensuring they fit the Southern African context
- the dedicated creation of networking and professional development opportunities for public participation/social assessment professionals
- making the organisation come alive in the comfort of people’s homes and offices through social media
- growing our membership
- generating an income through membership support, and
- starting to grow IAP2 SA’s public profile, by engaging policy makers, practitioners and the private sector.
Since its inception, IAP2 SA has achieved all of the above and much more. Two triumphs in particular stand out: formally establishing IAP2 SA as a Section 21 company and successfully hosting the first ever Southern African Core Value Awards, which boasted entries of outstanding quality.
As said by Sandra Fowkes, a member of the Core Values Awards judging panel, and a keynote speaker at our Gala Event in November: “as an affiliate of only two years, IAP2 SA is punching above its weight.”
On the international front, we are immensely proud of Nomi Muthialu, IAP2 SA’s outgoing Vice-President and re-elected board member, who has been elected as Presiding Member of the International Federation Board of Directors of IAP2. This is a feather in Southern Africa’s cap, confirming it as a global leader in the field of stakeholder engagement!
All that we have achieved is as the result of the leadership and guidance invested by IAP2’s Executive Director, Moira Deslandes, the commitment from the international Federation Board of IAP2, the passion, dedication and support of fellow IAP2 SA Board Members and, importantly our members! Thank you from the bottom of my heart! As outgoing President of IAP2 SA, I would like to use this opportunity to congratulate the IAP2 SA community for taking hands and working together to leave a sustainable legacy for future practitioners. I also wish the new IAP2 SA Board the very best and I am confident that the organisation will soar on the wings of these principled and committed professionals.
I greet you with a quote from Winston Churchill: “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts!”