Background

It is a a regional NGO working in twenty-one Eastern and Southern African (ESA) countries and specializing in building African capacity to better negotiate at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and other trade negotiating fora. The Southern and Eastern African Trade, Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI) was established in 1996, and 2014 as SEATINI Zimbabwe. It is registered as a Trust in Zimbabwe. The reasons behind the formation of SEATINI were capacity building on issues of trade, agriculture, livelihoods; global health diplomacy, social movement building; and extractives and resource governance. It is currently present in four countries. Geographically, it focuses on the District, Provincial, National, Sub-regional (West, East Africa), Regional (Africa), and Global levels. The setting of the vision and mission is done by the Board of Trustees/Directors and senior management. The vision is strengthening Africa in World Trade with the view of having fair and sustainable trade. The mission is “Strengthening the capacity of African trade negotiators and other stakeholders to take a more effective part in the global trading system, better manage the process of globalization and offer Eastern and Southern African countries viable alternative options to the neo-liberal development strategy (NLDS)”. To achieve its mission, SEATINI engages in

  • research and knowledge generation,
  • policy analysis and advocacy,
  • convening/dialogue(s),
  • mobilisation/movement building, and
  • collaboration/partnership.

Policies within the organisation include Human Resources and Staff Development, IT, and Conflict of Interest policies. The organisation carries out annual external audits. 

Organisational Structure

SEATINI has a Board of Trustees/Directors and Founder(s) leading the organisation.  The secretariat comprises of the Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, Finance Director/Manager, Accountant, and Programs Directors/Managers.  

Organisational Interventions

The organisation’s strategy is developed by the internal team, management, and an external consultant. In line with the strategy, SEATINI focuses on Social Justice, Economic Justice/Governance, Gender and Women’s rights, and Health.

1. Social justice

Under social justice, focus is on:

  • Research and advocacy for improved access, and
  • training on Social Justice with respect to education, housing, health, food security and sanitation.

Knowledge Product Generation and Research

In the last three years, SEATINI produced organisational newsletter/quarterly reports, policy briefs/insights, white papers, reports, and journal articles. Research at SEATINI is done by the internal team and consultants, and it includes desktop, field based (survey), and policy research. In addition, SEATINI does popular research where it gives communities a chance to research with its guidance. SEATINI uses its website, official launches, and circulation through email list servers to disseminate its research. The organisation also had, in the past three years, convenings and workshops with CSOs, NGOs, embassies, business sector, government, political parties, donor agencies, and general citizens. SEATINI was also involved in dialogues with CSOs, NGOs, embassies, business sector, government, political parties, donor agencies, and general citizens and between one and five book/ tool launch events with the same actors In advocacy efforts, SEATINI seeks to influence policy change across levels, at local (community/municipality), national, sub-regional (e.g. SADC, COMESA), regional (e.g. AU), and global levels. Advocacy actions include preparation of policy briefs to support policy positions, analysis and communication of policy gaps and suggestions on new models, engagements with policy makers, and mobilising network(s) seeking policy change. Within the organisation, advocacy is the responsibility of the Board of Trustees, senior management, the Executive Director/CEO, Advocacy Unit within the organisation, and Network members.

Constituency and Movement Building Collaborations

Beneficiaries of the work of SEATINI include

  • local community,
  • local NGOs,
  • international NGOs,
  • social movements,
  • CBOs,
  • government departments,
  • think tanks with technical expertise,
  • multilateral agencies, for example UN agencies, and
  • farmers, business, SME’s, the disabled, and women and youth also benefit as specific special interest communities.

Benefits include training support, use of evidence generated by SEATINI for policy advocacy, leverage on the name of SEATINI to enhancing their interventions, and using SEATINI’s online materials in developing their programs. the beneficiaries of contributed to SEATINI’s strategy/focus areas by suggesting areas of focus and being involved in mapping the problems the organisation focuses on. Collaborative work by SEATINI involves partnering with CBOs, local NGOs, international NGOs, government departments, think-tank with technical expertise, and multilateral Agencies (e.g. UN agencies). Such collaborations are done in jointly implementing similar projects, providing research-based evidence to advocacy focused partners, and receiving research-based evidence from research organisations. SEATINI is part of a network of like organisations, collaborating at the community/local, national, sub-regional, regional, and global levels. This has helped increase the visibility of the organisation’s work, enabling access to vital platforms, affording training opportunities, access to information, and access to resources. 

Measure of Effectiveness

Consultants and donors measure the impact of SEATINI. To measure effectiveness of interventions, SEATINI commissions regular evaluations, does ongoing internal monitoring, and promote feedback from partners. Documented evidence of the impact of the organisation’s interventions to date is in external report citing its work and written/recorded affirmation by beneficiaries. The organisation engages with the media through TV appearances, radio features, and newspapers. 

Financial Sustainability

SEATINI has an annual budget of US$200,000, 75% of which goes towards programs/projects 75 and 25% towards institutional support (administration costs). The organisation funds its own work through fundraising. Fundraising contributes 70% while consultancy income accounts for 30%. It does not have a finance/funding strategy and does not own any immovable assets/property (e.g. residential, commercial, land).

External Environment

On a scale of 1- 10, one being the least impact and 10 the most, SEATINI identified funding situation, limited number of collaborating partners, cultural practices, information technology, literacy levels, and the economic situation as top factors that affect its work.