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History has persistently demonstrated that the most successful and powerful communities have always consisted of individuals who have had insatiable appetites for knowledge coupled with high moral values to sustain this position. Whilst the definition of success and power can be a subject of great debates, it can be easily argued that to instill knowledge and high moral values in individuals can only have a positive effect, and as the advancement in technology has made our world smaller, to seek and provide for such needs within our communities globally has become an important challenge for us.
The Zainabiya Child Sponsorship Scheme (ZCSS) is a project organized by the World Federation of KSIMC to meet one of the many facets of this challenge, i.e. providing means for secular and religious education to deserving children in the third world countries. In its approximately twenty years of existence, the administrators have identified and dealt with operational hurdles, cost analysis, and methods of overcoming most situations that can potentially interfere with the education of every individual child.
As a regional body, previous NASIMCO administrators had set out to participate in meeting this challenge on behalf of Shia Communities in North America with great initial success, but unfortunate administrative challenges, internally and externally, contributed to the cessation of the scheme. The new administration of NASIMCO has prioritized its revival as one of its many objectives, and to successfully achieve this goal, has sought to partner its efforts with those of The World Federation.
In the corporate world, rather than starting a new company, the acquisition of a well-run company at a good price, and expanding it, is more often the better choice towards predictable profitability. In this noble scheme, i.e. ZCSS, to duplicate the existing administrative costs by creating an independent body, would only drain away extremely valuable funds from where they are crucially needed, and where profit is going to be measured by the number of children receiving knowledge, the expansion of a well run scheme is the prudent approach.
Having this in mind, NASIMCO proposes the following:
- NASIMCO will work with all Jamaats in North America to be the sole agent for ZCSS, World Federation (ZCSS-WF).
- NASIMCO and ZCSS-WF will work together to promote and market this noble cause.
- ZCSS-WF will inform NASIMCO of any independent sponsor(s) originating from North America. Such information will be used by NASIMCO to evaluate its marketing and promotional strengths and weaknesses, as well as forming a ZCSS-WF specific quarterly and annual financial reports for scrutiny.
- Within a year of the beginning of this partnership, and/or after any measurable success, NASIMCO representatives will be invited to participate in ZCSS-WF meetings. If a need is established, the representative(s) can become part of the core administrative body.
- All ZCSS-WF financial reports will include the NASIMCO financial reports in its entirety, so that the sponsors can be traced back to representative Jamaats in North America.
- The operations of ZCSS through NASIMCO (ZCSS-NA) will have to be well planned to satisfy the needs of all concerned. The proposal contained herein is only theoretical, but is one that would give this partnership a structure to begin its operations. The final operational strategies will be determined by putting this plan into effect, and modifying it as practical needs arise.
- The nature of the scheme is one that would easily attract qualified individuals to voluntarily participate in its operations, and if the workload is distributed along a well defined and understood system, it is reasonable to argue that implementation can be achieved with a high level of efficiency. NASIMCO proposes that the management of ZCSS-NA be stratified into the following key components, i.e. NASIMCO, regional and Jamaat representation.
- This will be an individual selected within the NASIMCO elected council to oversee and manage the entire operation of ZCSS-NA whose duties will include but not limited to the following:
- To act as a liaison between NASIMCO and ZCSS-WF.
- To compile operational and financial reports for ZCSS-NA.
- To select regional representatives, and coordinate operational, communication, and marketing strategies with them.
These individuals will be selected by the NASIMCO representative to oversee and manage operations within the geographic region assigned to them. In order to maintain continuity, the representatives will be expected to continue their positions even after a change has occurred within the core NASIMCO administration, including the NASIMCO representative. Should a change become necessary, the representatives and NASIMCO administration will work together to facilitate a smooth transition to a replacement.
The expected duties of the regional representatives will include but not limited to the following:
- To identify Shia communities, including member Jamaats in the assigned geographical area.
- To select Jamaat or community representatives with whom operational and marketing schemes can be discussed and implemented.
- To be the liaison between Jamaats and NASIMCO representative.
- To compile operational and financial reports to be submitted to the NASIMCO representative.
- To discuss with the NASIMCO representative, any strengths and/or weaknesses identified in the operations for the purpose of overall improvement in the entire scheme in North America.
- To ensure the continuity of operations in all participating Jamaats, should circumstances create potentials for a lapse.
- Meaningful geographic areas can be determined by studying the distribution of Shia communities in North America. Dividing the United States of America into Eastern, Central and Western zones, and Canada into Eastern and Western zones would make a good start. This amounts to 5 regional representatives.
The regional representatives will select individuals from each community or member Jamaats in their geographical area to manage ZCSS-NA operations. The representative will be encouraged to work with the Jamaat treasurer to measure each Jamaat's participation in the scheme, as well as provide the obvious tax benefits. Representatives will be expected to maintain their positions as described above to maintain continuity.
Their duties will include but not limited to:
- To promote the ZCSS scheme in their localities.
- To maintain accurate records of pledges and collections from sponsor parents.
- To be the liaison between the sponsors and the regional representative.
- To compile operational and financial records for the regional representative.
- To ensure the continuity of the program under all circumstances. In making the above given selections, one should note that the World Federation would like to maintain the representatives it already has in North America. The placement of these proven dedicated individuals into the framework described above will bring about the needed experience into the beginning of ZCSS-NA, assets that should not be taken lightly. Names and suggestions from the ZCSS-WF should be taken into consideration before any decisions are made.
The success of ZCSS in North America is going to pivot around a sincere concern and dedication to the children who will benefit from it. All individuals who will be appointed to responsible positions in its operations will have to look beyond politics, personal egos, and forego personal criticisms, which are an inevitable part of such activities. NASIMCO administration should reflect unity and a strong sense of purpose in communicating its dedication to this cause.
Determining accomplishments of set goals and objectives can assess the performance of ZCSS-NA, which needs to be clearly defined at the onset. In the absence of any background, it is quite likely that the goals set herein may be unrealistic, or that the pessimist will be pleasantly surprised. Nevertheless, it is better then not having any at all.
The following objectives and goals are being put forth for approval:
- The scheme should be launched by NASIMCO on or before its next annual meeting in May 2004.
- At least 500 children should be added to this program by the next annual NASIMCO meeting in 2005.
- NASIMCO will call for a ZAINABIYA (a.s.) DAY across all the Shia communities in North America, in which, besides learning about this great personality, madressa-going children will participate in promoting the ZCSS program.
- As part of the NASIMCO website, or independently, a website will be launched for sponsors to monitor the performances of their student child**. This will be designed to maintain confidentiality in all respects, by assigning numbers instead of names to identify the person(s).
- NASIMCO will be represented in the core ZCSS administration.
- NASIMCO's affiliation with ZCSS should be well established in North America.
- ** The idea of submitting individual reports to sponsor parents seems laborious and cumbersome. Placing this information on a website which could be easily accessible will ease this task, and the information could be updated centrally, from London, or by NASIMCO. In addition, queries can be directed by e-mail to whoever is concerned. ZCSS-WF will have to play a role in this.
The three C's of the success of this mission, perhaps the first marketing cliché, are going to be Communication, Clarity of purpose, and Conviction. ZCSS has already established itself as a credible and successful operation with its major influence in United Kingdom. Not only does the partnership with NASIMCO add North America to the equation, it also sets a precedence of the potentials that Shia organizations worldwide have, when they put their resources together
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