The Coalition of Women Business Associations (CAFA) in Romania was officially launched in January 2004 and comprising nine founding member organizations who wanted to become an important partner in the decision making process concerning the business environment.

CAFA is an informal coalition with no president or officers and with a three-leveled membership system: founding members (the nine task force representatives), full members (any women business association that would like to join), and supporters (women associations that have a business program or agenda).

CAFA has now 19 members which indicates that Romanian businesswomen are beginning to understand the importance of their role in the business and political arenas and how combining their efforts has a greater impact on local and central governments. The Coalition does not replace the particular activities of association members, but instead gets involved in major initiatives and events that require grassroots support such as public hearings, public debates, legislative proposals, amendments, and participation in governmental dialogues.

Advocacy Efforts

CIPE and CAFA organized a public debate on salary taxes with sponsorship from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Romania and Bucharest Municipality (CCIRB). More than 60 participants attended the event: CAFA members, other business associations (representing tourism and ITC sectors, as well as chambers of commerce), media representatives, Romanian Government delegates (Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Labor, National Agency of SME’s), Parliament representatives, as well as representatives of the Institute for Finance and Monetary Research which is part of the Romanian Academy. Prior to the event, CIPE and CAFA put together a draft comprehensive study on salary taxes and the Romanian Social Insurance System to assess the impact of future legislation: the amendments to the Fiscal Code that will come into force at the beginning of 2005, and the new employment systems within the new Labor Code. Participants’ opinions were included in a final document and forwarded for analysis to the relevant Ministries per the request of their representatives present at the event.

International Networking

With CIPE’s support over the last nine months, CAFA is seen now seen as a genuine representative of the community of women entrepreneurs and leaders in Romania. The following international organizations included CAFA in their network: International Association of Professional and Business Women in Bulgaria, Federation of Association for Women Entrepreneurs Tanzania, and National Women's Business Council (USA). The United Nation’s Development Program – Romania office and CAFA have also established a partnership. As a result, CAFA has been invited to participate in UNDP conferences and seminars, received information about business and training opportunities, newsletters, studies, and reports concerning gender issues.

Partnerships

CAFA has gained international recognition being represented by its members in international conferences and training events, such as: The Mediterranean Forum for Business Women, February, 2004, Barcelona, Spain; Accelerating Women Entrepreneurship Forum, June 4 – 7, 2004, Istanbul, Turkey; Business Women Training - "Business Management and Ownership Issues for Women Entrepreneurs", June 5-26, 2004, USA; International Forum “Competitiveness through public-private partnership: success stories and lessons learned”, September 26-28, Montreux, Switzerland.

Capacity Building

During the past year, CIPE and CAFA organized workshops on strategic planning, advocacy, public image, members’ involvement, and the third and the fourth edition of the Women in Business Conference. Over 150 women benefited from these trainings. By acquiring corporate & association sponsors CAFA proves that it can function as a self-sustained entity in the future.

STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES

  • CAFA supports the development of entrepreneurial spirit of women who want to start a business.
  • CAFA shall promote women in management positions, in government, public offices, administration and politics through lobby and advocacy activities.
  • CAFA aims at contributing to the improvement of the business environment in Romania.
  • CAFA will establish partnerships with other Romanian and international associations or business support organizations.

PRINCIPLES OF ACTION

1. Equal Chances
  • The Coalition supports the interests of the business community based on the principle of equal chances.
  • Participation in the public-private partnership. It is necessary to build the image of the Coalition as a strong supporter of the business environment so that the associations' members should be consulted and considered as a partner for dialogue, along with other associations.
  • Annual awards for personalities who observe this principle. Partnership with the media.
  • Lobby and advocacy activities during the election campaigns in order to contribute to an increased number of women in local government.
2. Corporate Citizenship
  • To increase the Corporate Citizenship of companies run by women.
  • To allocate existing funds for sponsorships for such projects rather than for other types of events (like sports contests).
  • To amend the Law on Sponsorship.

ORGANIZATIONAL ISSUSES

Coalition Secretariat:

  • The association members shall be in charge with the Coalition secretariat for a year on a rotation basis;
  • The association in charge with the secretariat shall designate one of its members to be responsible for ensuring communication with the Coalition members;
  • The association that is in charge with the secretariat shall cover all communication expenses (internet, fax, postage).
  • There will be a mailing list so that any proposal from an association regarding the development of new programs shall reach automatically all the Coalition members;

Representation: Each association has the right to decide who will represent it at the Coalition meetings and events on its behalf, depending on the topic and objectives. Members shall designate the Coalition representative by mutual agreement, depending on the nature of the event.

Common Actions:The Coalition does not replace through its actions the particular activities of the associations; the associations shall carry out their specific programs. The Coalition shall get involved in major initiatives and events that require grassroots support (like public hearings, legislative proposals, participation in dialogue with government and trade unions and so on).

Principle of Simple Majority:The Coalition shall work based on the principle of simple majority.

CODE OF CONDUCT

1. Adhesion

Membership in the Coalition is open to the associations which apply in writing and which undertake to uphold the Coalition's Code of Conduct.

Depending on the type of the association that applies for membership, the founding members and the full members or supporting members of the Coalition will give an answer to the association's application.

The applying association must provide proof of its activities (submitting the activity report for the current year), the list of its members, its by-laws and its constitutive documents.

Coalition members may ask the applying association to take part in an interview in order to present the association's activity, as well as to allow participation in one of its own meetings and checking of its references.

Acceptance of a new association in the Coalition shall be made by direct vote, with a simple majority, founding members being entitled to 3 votes, full members to 2 votes and supporting members to 1 vote. In case of deadlock, the arguments for and against membership shall be debated again so that a majority decision may be reached.

2. Working principles

Membership categories

The Coalition has three membership categories:

  • Founding members: the associations which, together with CIPE, laid the foundation of the Coalition
  • Full members: women business associations
  • Supporting members: women associations, which also have programs intended to support business, but as a secondary concern, their main purpose being social, cultural, educational, etc.

Rights

  • All CAFA members are entitled to information about the programs and activities of the Coalition. Furthermore, the business opportunities, scholarships, events or international programs, etc., that are sent to the Coalition shall be forwarded in due time to all CAFA members.
  • The legislative agenda is drafted by founding members jointly with full members; the supporting members are to be subsequently informed of the points on the agenda.
  • Participation in programs and events is open to Coalition members. The number of participants from every association shall be established depending on the actual event, organizer and sponsor.
  • Every association member of the Coalition is entitled to be elected in order to represent the Coalition in national and international events. Nomination may be made either by the other members, by CIPE, or by the Coalition secretariat.
  • Founding members and full members are entitled to hold the Coalition secretariat, by rotation, for a period of 1 year.
  • Every Coalition member is entitled to be mentioned on the Coalition's web site, to have a link to its own web site, thus being promoted with the support of the Coalition.
  • Coalition members are entitled to mention such affiliation in their promotional materials, mentioning the category they belong to as well as the CAFA logo and contact information.
  • Depending on actual interests, the Coalition may create partnerships with other organizations or representatives of international agencies.

Responsibilities

  • To participate in the Coalition's activities, to undertake responsibilities without requesting any material consideration in exchange.
  • Not to act against the Coalition's objectives and principles.
  • To promote the Coalition in the community and in the events attended, clearly stating the status of the association inside the Coalition (founding member, full member or supporting member).

Withdrawal/ exclusion from the Coalition

  • Voluntary, at the request of the relevant association;
  • Following performance of activities which are harmful to the interests or the image of the Coalition (this shall be decided upon by a majority of the votes of the Coalition's members);
  • Following performance of voluntary criminal actions by the head of an association, in case such person is maintained in that position.

The Secretariat of the Coalition

  • By rotation, every founding member association and full member association is entitled to hold the Coalition Secretariat for a term of 1 year.
  • The association holding the Secretariat shall appoint a person in charge of such position and such person shall be responsible for answering to the requests, questions, etc., of Coalition members, the press, etc.
  • Due to the fact that holding the Secretariat implies organizational capacity and additional expenses, it shall constitute a right and not an obligation. The association undertaking such responsibility shall ascertain and satisfy the other members that it possesses the capacity required to support such activity during one year, both from an organizational point of view and from a financial one.
  • In this position, the relevant association shall be responsible for coordinating the Coalition's activity during that year, for operating as the Coalition's communications hub, receiving and sending information, proposals, invitations, etc., to all members.
  • The Coalition Secretariat shall be responsible for updating the Coalition's web site and preparing the newsletters (electronic or printed, as decided by the Coalition members).
  • In all activities under its coordination, the Secretariat shall seek the involvement and support of the other members of the Coalition, its mission being one of coordination and not one of implementation.
  • At the end of every year, Coalition members shall elect the association that shall hold the Secretariat during the following year.

 

 
Statement of Principles
 
Principles of Action
 
Organizational Issuses
 
Code of Conduct
 
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Last update: May 16th 2007
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