Transparency and Accountability Should Be The Hallmark of Any Oromo Nonprofits Organizations: Has MWMF Surpassed Such Threshold?
BY THE EDITORIAL BOARD OF OromoTV.com
Here is a challenge, stop for a second and think about how many times Oromo organizations irrelevant of their goal have asked for funding through donations. Whether we reside in Minneapolis, Washington DC, Seattle, Atlanta, Toronto, Melbourne, London or Oslo, wherever a concentrated Oromo community exists the need to raise money has always been a part of the Diaspora community. While some causes are noble and worthy of every penny we donate, others have been less than stellar at best and downright fraudulent at worst.
For example, consider how many times you have been asked to donate to an organization without really knowing how much money the organization has raised or what their overhead costs are?
So with transparency in mind, we were grateful to have had an incredible opportunity to wittiness on 22nd of March, one of the leading Media, Madda Walaabuu Media Foundation annual summery report posted on Social Media. Not great but good enough for its first start to disclose how much money they raised in the year of 2014 and an itemized description of MWMF broadcasting programs. Their new program includes an, “Oromia Insight English Program”, which was begun to air since January of this year.
To further understand we went on to dig deeper into the MWMF and reached out Mr. Aliye Geleto Anota, one of the founders of MWMF and the Executive Director of MWMF. A resident of Melbourne Australia, an IT lecturer, Mr. Geleto, was very polite and gracious enough to speak to OromoTV.com Editorial Member on social media. Perhaps, he spoke openly and willing to share their powerpoint presentation that helped us to examine pertinent details of MWMF’s annual repost.
According to their website, MWMF is a non-governmental, non-partisan and non-profit organization, co-opted their vision in Washington, D. C. and founded in 2013 (across Australia and USA) by a broad based coalition of human rights advocates, civic society leaders, journalists and community members who are committed to the principles of democracy, human rights, freedom and justice.
Their three times a week radio broadcasting program known as “Oromo Voice Radio”, airs to Oromia on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Mondays at 7:00 PM local time has been gaining attraction.
Their recent disclosure of yearly summery report, since its inception roughly a year ago, should be regarded as — noteworthy — for setting the standard to all Oromo nonprofits organizations, particularly nonprofits media based institutions.
Ironically, for people stripped of their established — a just and genuinely democratic order of lifestyle known as “Gada System” more than a century ago, nonprofits organizations have always been the way to sustain Oromos’ movement for generations. Whether media based — small and big — or — any communal institutions set-out to be a voice to the voiceless in any community setting — transparency and accountably should be the moral set toward communal progression. In fact, MWMF’s recent annual summery report may raise a ringing indictment of other Oromo nonprofits organizations that has shown little to no financial transparency.
Now this bring us to the question — Why transparency and accountably is imperative?
It is a no-brainer that transparency means telling the truth about your organization, and your mission. It also means disclosing how every aspects of your work, and precisely how and when funds are being raised and disbursed accordingly.
According to America’s Nonprofits advocates — the National Council of Nonprofits — all nonprofit community must earn the public’s trust every day not only by complying with the law but also by modeling and promoting integrity, transparency, and accountability. In fact, it is considered as, “A BADGE OF HONOR” — for those nonprofits organizations make disclosure and openness their core principle.
Ever so often, a common complaint that too many nonprofits fail to address among Oromo society is ignoring constituent feedback. Just like any other sectors of world society, Oromos are not immune to common ethical problems involving gray areas of activities such as fraud and misconduct. No matter how difficult to disclose every parts of fundraised resources — all Oromo nonprofits organizations must continue to pursue aggressively in promoting ethical conduct and financial transparency.
After all, the public deserve to know how their money is being spent. More importantly, the Oromo people should demand such disclosure all the time. This is very important for people to know their rights — to insist an organization of full disclosure. Because, this in-turn would propel an organization to succeed, once trust cultivated through transparency and accountability, the crucial component of equal partnership develops between public and such organization. Whenever the due-payers are not asking for transparency and accountability the chances of an organization to succumb to a failure is enormous.
Let’s back to MWMF…
The little step they set out after a year in business means a lot to make their donors comfortable enough to pledge more in the future. When contributors feel like they are part of a campaign it is important that the campaign or organization openly share all aspects of the operation, from how much has been raised to how much support they will need in the future. This allows the contributors to be part of the decision making process not just give their money and feel like they are being kicked to the curb.
As a result, MWMF open and transparent policy is not only setting an example for future campaigns and organizations, it is the future for our community. Up to this point we have not had an open nonprofits organization that is based for media purpose like that of MWMF. However, we would like to congratulate their attempt to be open and transparent to their donors. No matter what this is a baby step, we encourage their leadership to do more on their next year report. They have made tremendous progress and it is certainly no easy task to have come as far as they have within a year. But what makes their organization unique is making their institution as transparent as possible. Let us leave you with their organizational philosophy we found on their powerpoint presentation, “Our institutional wisdom is to reflect, connect, build confidence, model a willingness to improve, manage our performance & resources well and model transparency, accountability.”
We would like to give our deepest gratitude to Aliye Geleto for sharing their annual report powerpoint.
(A4O, October 18, 2013) After extensive consultation, over several months, with various segments of Oromo society, a group of community leaders, human rights activists, feminists, journalists and attorneys who are committed to the principle of democracy, human rights, freedom and justice, formed the Madda Walaabuu Media Foundation (MWMF).
According to Ayyaantuu.com, the foundation is committed to creating relevant media outlets (website, radio, TV, etc.) for the purpose of elevating knowledge about the Oromo people and its neighbors in the Horn of Africa. “The MWMF media outlets will specifically focus on the flagrant human right violations – past and present – against the Oromo people and other marginalized nationalities in the region.”
The name “Madda Walaabuu” encapsulates the deepest meaning enshrined in Oromo democratic values as manifested in its democratic institutions – Gadaa, Qaalluu, Ateete, Jaarsummaa. In Oromo language, the word Madda means “source” and the word Walabuu means “independence” and hence, the founders of MWMF adopted the name Madda Walaabuu to embody the essence of these values in this new critical initiative.
MWMF is a non-governmental, non-partisan, and non-profit organization, incorporated and registered in Washington, D. C., USA. It is operated by board of directors and administrative staff under the direction of Executive Director. The MWMF media outlets are run by experienced journalists. It is a membership based organization, which seeks the support and participation of all interested and committed Oromo and all persons of goodwill who have the desire to empower the Oromo, so that they can confront the 21st century in their own terms.
The Oromo, although constitute the most populace nationality in the Horn and Sub-Saharan Africa, – there are about 50 million Oromo in the region – have remained the invisible majority due to the legacy of conquest, colonization, and continued marginalization. At the present time, the Oromo people do not have access to any source of independent media, which has the capacity to inform, educate them about their basic needs and their fundamental rights. MWMF believes that having access to independent media is an essential requirement for the survival of any indigenous nation in the 21st Century.
MWMF is committed to creating relevant media outlets (website, radio, TV, etc.) for the purpose of elevating knowledge about the Oromo people and its neighbors in the Horn of Africa. The MWMF media outlets will specifically focus on the flagrant human right violations – past and present – against the Oromo people and other marginalized nationalities in the region. It will also work towards making people aware of their environment and social concerns like education, health and others. It proposes to engage the Oromo at home and abroad relative to the issues, which will have profound impact on their future.
In addition, it proposes to engage Oromo neighbors regarding common interests and common strategies in facing the 21stcentury. It will engage Oromo community leaders, human rights activities, journalists, feminists and scholars in promoting Oromummaa and Oromo national unity.