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The organisational structure

The organisational structure of St. Martin is different from usual ones. Unlike many other visual presentations of a decision-making structure, ours looks like it is presented upside down. This has been done on purpose. Originally, the structure looked like any other, with the directors and trustees on top. However the structure did not reflect the real identity of the organisation. We saw ourselves differently from what the chart represented.

Organisational structure of Saint Martin
 

As a result, the structure was redone upside down with the community volunteers placed at the top and the directors, management board and trustees placed at the bottom. This new set-up visualises St. Martin’s approach. It shows that the weight of the work lies with the people in the communities. These people, the community volunteers, form the heart of the organization. They have to take the initiative and develop appropriate strategies that solve the problems. They are the most important people, since they are actually the ones who increase the solidarity and love in the community and improve the lives of the people who are in need. The staff and administration only support the efforts of the community. They play a facilitating role, helping the community to address their own problems, making them realise that they have resources and potentials.

The community is not only involved at the grass roots level, but also at the decision-making level of the organisation. Each programme of St. Martin is managed by a committee of volunteers, who represent the community. The organisation is managed by a board, consisting of the chairpersons of all programme management committees and six other community representatives, all volunteers. This set-up guarantees that indeed the community takes the lead in developing the programmes and strategies that are required to address the problems of vulnerable people among them.

 
volunteer meeting
 

This organisational structure is also more in line with the St. Martin community prayer: “the greatest is the one who serves more and the first is the last of all” Indeed, it is the community volunteers who serve more. The people that visit their neighbour, suffering from AIDS, every evening to wash the dirt from the body, to feed, to hold hands and to give love, acceptance and encouragement: these are the people who deserve to be put in the place of honour.

The department for spiritual formation has been given a central position in the structure. It is a department that is crucial for the functioning of staff and volunteers as it has to ensure that competence is coupled with a loving heart. It has to keep on inspiring people: keeping their motivation high and making them united in work. It helps St. Martin staff and volunteers becoming a real community, which can celebrate together but which also provides space for mutual correction. It helps people to accept their weaknesses, find ways to cope with them and discover their value. The department plays an important role in bringing out the best in people.

St.Martin CSA Annual Reports

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