As a stakeholder in the social and solidarity economy, GRET sets itself standards in terms of transparency and internal democracy. Its orientations are defined by the General Assembly, which takes place twice a year. GRET’s membership in its countries of operation and permanent representation is increasing on a yearly basis. In 2015, 165 people of 12 different nationalities were members of GRET: Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, France, Haiti, Madagascar, Mauritania, Myanmar, Niger, Senegal, and Vietnam.
The Management Board, of which the chairperson is elected for a renewable three year mandate, is made up of staff representatives and development experts. GRET works under the operational responsibility of a Managing Director, elected for a three-year mandate that can be renewed once. Olivier Bruyeron is the managing director in 2016. Pierre Jacquemot was reelected chairperson of GRET for a second three-year mandate, and Thierry Mathieussent was re-elected administrator for a third mandate. In September 2015, Alain Billan of Cirad replaced Pierre Fabre as observer.
In some of its representation countries, GRET benefits from the support of a Strategic Committee. In Haiti for example, the Strategic Committee is made up of former GRET representatives and managers, academics, strategic partners and advisers with whom it has developed close links down through the years.
Composition of the Board of Directors
Under the chairmanship of Pierre Jacquemot, a former French ambassador to three African countries, the board members are:
- Outside members: Thierry Matthieussent (GRET treasurer, retired, former assignment manager with the AFD); Xavier Benoist (assistant managing director of the Pact-Arim Federation); François Doligez (agricultural engineer with the IRAM, adjunct professor at the University of Rennes), Jacques Lejeune (retired, former company director in the tourism and hotel industries), Cécile Sportis (director of CS Conseil) and Serge Michailof (research fellow at the IRIS-French Institute for International and strategic Affairs).
- Members chosen by and representing the employees: Damien Lagandré and Julien Cerqueira.
- Observers: Anne Bauer, Alain Billan, Benoît de Juvigny, Virginie Rachmuhl, Henri Rouillé d’Orfeuil.
Participation in the Governance of Partner Structures
GRET staff also contribute to the governance of partner structures:
- Director of NGO groups and networks: PS-eau, Groupe initiatives, A2DM, Coalition eau, Cerise, CFSI-French Committee for International Solidarity, Aliss.
- Member or shareholder in companies in the social and solidarity economy whose values GRET shares and whose development it wants to see become reality: Altermondes in France, Nutri’zaza in Madagascar, Isea in Cambodia.
Testimony of Cécile Sportis, GRET Board of Directors member
For a large part of my working life, I’ve had, as main partners, NGOs of varying size and professionalism, with very diverse objectives, but often with a rare devotion and intellectual honesty, and a creativity that the bureaucrat in me envies. I’ve accompanied several as a ‘fellow traveller’ but joining the board of directors of a large NGOs whose work on water access issues in Haiti I’d followed since the 1980s made me both proud and humble. What could I add?
I went to the my first general assembly in January 2014 with more questions than answers—I was a fish out of water, a Huron in a foreign land. At GRET, I discovered a form of participatory democracy that is far from formal and unknown in any government structure. This breeds a tangible, deep and communicative vitality. I know that differences must exist but these operational modes reveal a collective intelligence.