Thursday, November 28, 2013

Stichting Oikosnet - policy plan 2012 - 2014, Workplan, Composition of the Board


 1. Brief History

OIKOSNET is a global network of Christian laity retreat centres, academies and movements of social concern working for inclusive, just, participatory and sustainable communities. OIKOSNET was founded in 1972, as part of the development of the ecumenical movement. Stichting OIKOSNET as the legal entity in the Netherlands was founded in 2007.

Since its inception, OIKOSNET has been closely connected with the World Council of Churches (WCC) through the Education and Ecumenical Formation Program. OIKOSNET's theme for 2000-2010, "Nurturing Peace, Overcoming Violence," was the same one as the one which was embraced by the WCC.

OIKOSNET is the expression of collaboration between the following 6 regional associations with a common identity:

  • Oikosnet Africa - African Christian Lay Centres Association
  • Oikosnet América Latina - Red Ecuménica de Centros Laicos (Ecumenical Network of Lay Centres)
  • Oikosnet Asia - Association of Centres and Institutions of Social Concerns in Asia
  • Oikosnet Europe - Ecumenical Association of Academies and Laity Centres in Europe 
  • Oikosnet Middle East - Middle East Association of Training and Retreat Centres
  • Oikosnet North America - North American Retreats Centres Association 

Our network embodies a variety of organisations with trained teams and qualified professionals, working on different issues, enriching one another and nurturing their development processes. This provides an invaluable means of cooperation which enables members to exchange information, share resources, and participate in projects, as well as to share strategies that contribute to improve the life of those living in exclusion, poverty and social inequality.

This global network brings together more than 200 different organisations and centres across five continents, trained to carry out joint actions at local, national, regional and international levels. The management skills that we have developed enable us to run projects supported by government sources and multilateral cooperation organisations, as well as by private and ecumenical development agencies.

As one of the global partners in the ecumenical world, OIKOSNET understands that the current international context and the resulting perspectives are an invitation to renew the calling and ecumenical commitment in order to contribute from its mission and vision to peace-building and the defence of those who are suffering the most.


2. Mission and Vision Statements


OIKOSNET International embodies the global commitment of six regional networks working together to foster dialogue, peaceful change, sustainability and ecumenical formation.

It is a dynamic interface for advocating and promoting the issues and concerns in question and translating them into actions, from the local context to the global context, and vice versa.


Oikosnet is a strategic partner in the ecumenical and interfaith arena, whose work is recognised by other partners in civil society who share our values.


·   Equity in Diversity.  Equity: Seeing to it that every person receives their share, ensuring equal opportunities for all and promoting a differential distribution so that the specific needs of individuals or communities are met. Diversity: We are an inclusive organisation that welcomes all kind of people regardless of race, age, gender, sexual preferences, ethnic origin or social background.

·   Solidarity. Exercising solidarity by acting in a comprehensive manner, embracing the causes, interests and needs of the vulnerable people and communities as our own. 

·   Accountability. We value our stakeholders and we are committed to managing our programs and resources in an ethical and accountable manner. Accountability is the process by which we hold ourselves responsible for what we believe in, for what we do or do not do, for what we say, for how we say it, and for the things we choose not to say, in ways that show the involvement of all concerned parties and engage them in active response. Transparency: we are committed to being as transparent and open as possible by disclosing information regarding projects, programme evaluations and audits. Transparency is about providing information, speaking openly and honestly about what we do/do not do, about how we do it, and about the resources we use.

·   Sustainability. Sustainable development enhances the capacity of individuals and communities to determine their own future and to tap into the local financial and human resources available.

 3. Programmes and Priorities

Stichting OIKOSNET is the umbrella of regional associations, which are umbrellas for centres and communities in their respective regions. Our major assets are the people which do the work. Exchange and encouragement: learning opportunities come through face to face exchanges, then can continue electronically/virtual. Our role is to provide safe spaces for support and encouragement, to identify what is working in each region, to share the information with the rest of membership, to collect stories on struggles of centres in different regions, to share information on innovative activities and to promote linkages among centres around interesting projects and ideas.

Strengthening good communication, virtual and face to face, about what is happening where. Centres have newsletters, websites, electronic newsletters, etc. to exchange information; without communication and knowing about each other, other things will not work. Also regions' representatives should bring the stories: ears and eyes open. Sharing need take place at all levels. Also communication training is necessary.

We need to communicate internally first, and figure out the best way to do that, and think about how to communicate effectively, establish good qualitative method and guidelines. Serve as conduit for ideas: highlight a couple of examples of good practice in centres that fit in our priorities, share information about it.  If each member chooses two a year from their region, that is manageable.

Communications levels needed: a) internal intentional: global mailing list and Google drive; b) outside public: blog and website with centres directory/identity of organizations/links to specifics; c) public informal: Facebook and Twitter; c) internal board: Facebook group, Google drive and Skype d) guidelines; e) global communications team (one per region); f) printed three-fold flyer; g) meetings summary send to regions and centres.

Expand frequency of meetings to 18 months. Meet next early 2014: dates and venue to be proposed by Oikosnet Africa. 



Board – elected in June 2012

President – Jean Richardson (North America)

Secretary – Afia Darkwa Amanor (Africa)

Treasurer – Jaap van der Sar (Europe)                    

Members – German Zarate (Latin America), John Zechariah (Asia)

Auditor – Walter Lüssi (Europe)

Coordinator – German Zijlstra (Latin America) – until the end of 2013.

Work plan for 2013 and 2014

At the meeting in the United States in June 2012, the Board discussed the new situation of Stichting Oikosnet. Until 2010 there were regularly funds coming in from donor-agencies, mainly from Europe. They changed their policies regarding the funding of global organisations. As a consequence Oikosnet International was not eligible anymore for these organisations so general funding is not a reality for the near future. This forced the Board of Oikosnet International to review the policy-plan, having in mind that still some funds are available for the support of our work.

 As a result of this review, the Board of Oikosnet International decided:

a)      To concentrate on the communication among the regions. This was translated into the promise to support different ways of communication among the regional bodies of Oikosnet. The promise was specified in more detailed tasks for the different members of the Board.

b)      To support members of the different associations, be it individual persons of member-organisations. We recognised that several of our members found themselves in challenging situations, both in their region as well as in their own organisations within their country. We recognised that more than once nothing can be done from people and organisations abroad. And yet it is important to be in contact with representatives of these organisations. The decision was taken that this type of support would be organised in such a way that – in case anyone in difficult or very challenging situations is determined – one of the other members can be asked to have the function as a contact person for that organisation in need. The person in charge will function as the linking pint between Oikosnet International and the identified member.

c)      To organise the exchange of experiences among the members. This is realised through offering opportunities to participate in different activities. In addition to this a regular meeting of Oikosnet International will be organised. The first is scheduled for 2014. The continent in which this event will take place is Africa. As a consequence the General Secretary of Africa will function as the organiser for that meeting, asking for help for any assistance from other Board members of Oikosnet International.

d)      The funds, which are available for Oikosnet International, will mainly be used for organising the meetings among the representatives of different regions. After the end of 2013, the person who organises the next meeting will act as the coordinator of Oikosnet International until the venue for the next meeting is determined. 

Wageningen, July 2012, updated November 2013.

Stichting Oikosnet Contact information

Contact information


Address in the Netherlands

Stichting Oikosnet

c/o J. van der Sar

Veerweg 51

NL – 6707 CN  Wageningen

Tel +31 (0) 317 417774



Chamber of Commerce

KvK-Number     09168030

RSIN               817750277

Name              Stichting Oikosnet

Founded          05-02-2007


Bank information

Name of the Bank      Rabo Bank

                                P.O. Box 21

                                NL – 6710 BA Ede

Accountholder           Stichting Oikosnet

                                Veerweg 51

                                NL – 6703 CN  Wageningen

Account (IBAN)         NL72 RABO 0130 7439 92

Stichting Oikosnet Annual Account 2012 and Balance 31 December 2012

Stichting Oikosnet 2012

Annual Account and Balance 31 December 2012

Income 2011 2012   Expenses 2011 2012

Interest about the reported year € 1.212,50 € 880,56   Chamber of Commerce    
Private donations € 26,64 € 24,08    registration in the records  € 26,64 € 24,08

    Bank cost of having (Dutch) accounts € 195,84 € 158,97
        Costs coordination € 12.000,00 € 11.000,00
        Sharepoint website € 176,92  
        Visacost ACLCA € 400,00  
        Boardmeeting Buenos Aires € 4.000,00  
        Boardmeeting New York in USA, several costs   € 6.542,62
        Interest   € 0,61
Deficit € 15.560,26 € 16.821,64        
Total € 16.799,40 € 17.726,28   Total € 16.799,40 € 17.726,28

Balance 31 December 

Assets 2011 2012   Liabilities 2011 2012
Bank accounts

  Capital € 66.443,58 € 49.621,94
Savings account € 66.422,70 € 49.503,26        
Normal account for transfers € 20,88 € 118,68        
Total € 66.443,58 € 49.621,94   Total € 66.443,58 € 49.621,94

Friday, July 6, 2012


Hay gente que aún espera que lo que está ocurriendo 
no sea más que una ficción, como las de Roa Bastos. 
Hay gente que espera, porque la mayor virtud del Paraguay 
es su larga paciencia, su capacidad de espera.
Lo siento por ti, pero también esperamos contigo.
No te servirá de consuelo ni una más de las palabras.
Pero nos tienes a todos en ti.
Toda América Latina en tus entrañas.
[Francisco Javier Sancho Más]

“Qué hermoso es ver al que llega por las colinas
trayendo buenas noticias;
noticias de paz, noticias de salvación,
y le dice a Jerusalén, ¡Tu Dios reina!”
(Isaías 52, 7)

La Red Ecuménica de Centros Laicos – Oikosnet América Latina, siente con profundo dolor y angustia el sufrimiento del pueblo de Paraguay a raíz de los hechos acaecidos en los últimos días en ese país.

Durante los años de existencia de nuestra red hemos recibido como uno de los principales aportes vivencias populares compartidas a través del CIPAE (Comité de Iglesias para Ayudas de Emergencia), de las luchas y procesos de transformación generados por ellos y otras organizaciones sociales y de fe, en la ruta esperanzadora de la construcción de futuros más justos y promisorios para todos y todas, dignos de imitarse en el resto de nuestro continente latinoamericano.

Ahora nos enteramos por diferentes medios que ese pueblo sufre por la mala cizaña sembrada por sectores con mucho poder pero desesperados de ver que lo que solían hacer en tiempos de ejercicio injusto de ese poder, lo están perdiendo e intentan mantener estructuras de pecado que no agradan a Dios y que contradicen su plan de justicia y buen vivir para la humanidad.

Es un pueblo rico en recursos naturales pero hay quienes sólo lo observan como parte de un botín por ganar. No les interesa su pueblo ni la necesidad de ser justos y generar justicia. Les interesa sólo aumentar sus arcas para sentirse superiores a los demás, jamás reconociendo que el fruto de la justicia es la paz.

Deseamos de todo corazón, que quienes intentan “volver a los viejos tiempos”, entiendan que todas las cosas han sido y siguen siendo nuevas para quienes creen las promesas justas de Dios. Y El quiere lo mejor para su pueblo. Por eso ha hecho una opción preferencial por los empobrecidos y oprimidos.

En nuestra esperanza en Dios, sólo queremos ver llegar a quien trae buenas noticias de paz, ahora especialmente para el pueblo de Paraguay. Rogamos a Dios que redima el corazón de los necios y los convierta en corazones justos, devolviendo lo que han obtenido fraudulentamente, inclusive justificando su tenencia como “voluntad” divina.

Oramos para que el presidente Fernando Lugo y su gobierno, que fueron elegidos por el pueblo, puedan terminar su mandato también dado por el pueblo. Que se entienda que no se pueden torcer las leyes para beneficio de los que pecaminosamente creen que pueden hacerlo para satisfacer sus egoístas necesidades...

Nos solidarizamos con todas las personas de bien y las organizaciones que están luchando contra toda esperanza por la paz con justicia y respeto a los derechos de todos los ciudadanos y ciudadanas, especialmente de los más excluidos en los contornos del campo y la ciudad.

Coordinación de la Red Ecuménica de
Centros Laicos – Oikosnet América Latina

Centros miembros de la Red:

Argentina: Centro Nueva Tierra – CNT
Centro Ecuménico Cristiano de Córdoba – CECC
Comunidad Teológica “Rajab” – CTR
Brasil: ISSER Assessoria
Centro Ecuménico de Capacitación y Assessoria – CECA
Centro de Estudios Bíblicos – CEBI
Colombia: Centro Regional de Formación – Universidad Reformada IPC
Centro de Estudios y Desarrollo de los Derechos Humanos – CEDERHNOS
Cuba: Centro Memorial Martin Luther King – CMLK
Chile: Servicio Evangélico para el Desarrollo – SEPADE
Centro Ecuménico Diego de Medellín – CEDM
Colectivo Cons-pirando
Ecuador: Fundación de Desarrollo y Servicio Comunitario “Vertiente de Vida”
El Salvador: Yek Ineme
Paraguay: Comité de Iglesias para Ayudas de Emergencia – CIPAE
Perú: Proceso Kairós
Centro Cristiano de Promoción y Servicio – CEPS
Uruguay: Centro de Investigación y Promoción Franciscano y Ecológico – CIPFE
Centro Emmanuel
Venezuela: Acción Ecuménica

Miembro de OIKOSNET Internacional.

Friday, June 8, 2012

"Big eyes and big ears" for bottom-up inspiration - Oikosnet International Board Meeting 2012 in the US

What can we learn from the inspiring new activities of our colleagues in ecumenical centres all over the world? That is the focus for Oikosnet International and its regional associations in different continents. This was the main focus of the work during the Board meeting of Oikosnet International, which was held from June 2 to 6 at Kirkridge Retreat Centre, Pennsylvania, USA.

It is obvious that our members in all continents are facing big challenges, not least regarding their funding. Times have changed towards a much tougher situation for many or them. However, this does not apply to the enthusiasm and creativity of many colleagues all over the world. They develop new activities, find innovative strategies and methods, since the world changes and the way to react has to adapt as well. In the coming years, Oikosnet International will concentrate on communicating such initiatives and methods that have  proven to be helpful in certain situations. The sooner and the better such activities are known by colleagues elsewhere, the more they can learn from it and apply some of the learnings, thus at the same time joining the global community of learning and practice that Oikosnet International can offer. Developing "big eyes and big ears" for sharing first hand contextual knowledge and practice in the global community of Oikosnet International describes the vision for the coming years. Creating a communication environment without bottlenecks that supports this vision is therefore a priority. This is also crucial for staying in contact and supporting Oikosnet members who are facing hard situations. The Board heard dramatic reports about the present situation in Syria and discussed the challenges to a continued presence of Christians in the Middle East . This and reports about other troubled places highlighted the importance of mutual exchange and encouragement, of using our "big eyes and big ears" for designing - if small - transformative steps towards a more just and peaceful world.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Mitri Raheb receives prestigious German media award

Mitri Raheb, director of the Diyar Consortium in Bethlehem (member of Oikosnet Middle East, MEATRC) will receive the prestigious "Deutscher Medienpreis", together with three other "silent peace builders" on February 24 in Baden-Baden. The laudatio will be held by former German president Roman Herzog. Congratulations!