4. Form Local Branches
4. Form Local Branches
Most IFUW national federations and associations are comprised of local groups or sections, often called branches. These local units are linked together in the national body, which in turn is affiliated with IFUW. IFUW’s communication is with the national federation or association and through it to the local branches and individual members.
National affiliates need to make a clear distinction between the national and local levels. The national organisation should be a separate, distinct body in which all branches throughout the country participate on an equal basis. All of the branches together form the national organisation, decide on the national programme and elect national leaders. Even if the national association is started in a single city, provision should be made from the beginning for both a national and a local structure (using electronic communication, for example).
One example is France, where there are local groups in Paris, Dijon, Bordeaux, Strasbourg and other cities. The French Association has a fixed national headquarters in Paris that is separate from the Paris branch. One term the national president may be from Paris and the CIR from Grenoble; another term the President may be from Dijon and the CIR from Bordeaux.
Another example is the New Zealand Federation, which moves its national headquarters every three years. One triennium the headquarters is in Christchurch, another triennium in Wellington, and another time in Auckland. There are five branches in New Zealand and the order of the rotation of the headquarters is written down in the organisation’s constitution.
In Germany, for practical reasons, the national headquarters often moves to the town where the branch of the national president is located. Branches should be formed in as many cities as possible, including the capital city. It is possible to have more than one branch in the same city, especially in large urban areas. This allows for greater ease of access and accommodation of a wider range of interests. Individual branches have their own officers and local programmes, but cooperate with the other branches in joint action around national goals and programmes.
The steps for creating local branches are exactly the same as those described for a national association or federation: identifying and bringing together interested women graduates, envisioning the aims and purpose of the branch, developing a local programme and establishing the structure.
Members-at-large should be included in national/local activities wherever possible.