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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Members vote to dissolve the Euforic Cooperative

After nearly 15 years the Euforic Cooperative will disappear. Twenty-four members (out of 34) represented at the special general meeting of members, held on 26 November 2009 in Brussels, voted for the dissolution of the Cooperative.

Fifteen years ago, when the Internet started to become a key tool in information and communication, a diverse group of organizations in development cooperation acknowledged its importance for communication and collaboration and constituted Europe's Forum on International Cooperation (Euforic). Euforic was founded by ECDPM - independent, funded by governmental donors -, Clong, Eurostep, CIDSE and APRODEV - all NGOnetworks - and the ACP Secretariat - representing southern governments. The current group of members remains very diverse, including also a number of research networks and institutions.

In a joint effort the Web was used to communicate and to collaborate. Initially the focus was on sharing and disseminating information, over the last years Euforic supported members in using Internet interactively (Web 2.0) in support of networking and collaboration. Euforic always remained on the forefront in working with members on innovative projects and supporting them through training and consulting.

More recently, Euforic supported ICCO’s Compart project that uses Web 2.0 for collaboration and learning within ICCO and with its partners. With ILEIA a similar project was undertaken on a smaller scale. Euforic was also involved with CABI in setting up a repository storing products of all DFID funded research – Research for Development (R4D). In the process of transforming D-Groups, Euforic associates played a critical role. Similarly Euforic has been a partner in support of CTA’s Brussels Briefings since 2007. With NIAS and DDRN Euforic worked in 2009 on using Web 2.0 for communication of research. Campaigns and events were promoted through social reporting, working with FAO, GDN, Concord, IDS, Helvetas and CTA. In training sessions - either open, or targeted for specific clients – Euforic has been building capacities among a diverse groups of staff of member organizations. Euforic staff will work until mid December to transfer outputs of projects and completing work on the IKM-Vines project and the Brussels Briefings.

Funding Euforic has always been a complex issue. As a Cooperative it had limited income from membership fees which were always kept low as the Cooperative was supposed to earn its keep. The combination of a first class, independent public information service on Europe’s development cooperation while at the same time servicing the diverse membership as well as working with individual members on a project basis was not always easy to manage. Over a period of years deficits accumulated, a loan from one of the members allowed a re-start in 2006 but eventually the members agreed that there was no structural viability to the organization, at least not in this form.

To enable the Cooperative to pay all its outstanding debts and close with a zero balance, ICCO, ECDPM and EADI committed ad hoc contributions, at the same time APRODEV, CIDSE, Bernard van Leer Foundation and ISS doubled their membership contribution over 2009.

While the Cooperative is dissolved, there are also indications that – besides project outcomes and capacity development activities over the years - Euforic's heritage will live on: EADI has agreed to host the public information services that are provided through www.euforic.org. Also former Euforic staff and associates will continue to provide training and consulting services under the name 'Euforic Services' communicating through this blog euforic.blogspot.com.

Note: the liquidation also includes the sale of office furniture. For those interested, please click here.

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