Member Exchange and Travel Fund

      Table of contents

       

      1. Purpose of the METF

      The APC Member Exchange and Travel Fund (METF) aims to support member-driven skills sharing, internships, and planning for collaboration among APC members, as well as members’ travel to and participation in events organised by others.

      Online collaboration can be very powerful, but it has limitations. Over the decades, the APC network has grown significantly in size and geographic reach. And while this increases opportunities for working together, it makes effectively facilitating collaboration and exchange more challenging. The METF supports APC member and staff travel and face-to-face meetings when effective collaboration requires it. Its goal is to make it possible for members to:

      a) Meet for activities such as:

      • Skills sharing or training

      • Emergency technical assistance

      • Problem solving

      • Technical development

      • Project planning and development

      • Strategic planning

      • Service and product development.

      b) Attend events organised by others (e.g. conferences and workshops) where members’ participation in these events contributes to strengthening and/or diversifying the APC network and to achieving APC’s strategic priorities.

       

      2. What does the METF support?

      The scope of METF support is described in detail in the table below.

        Item Support available? Notes/exceptions
      (YES) or (NO) between brackets means that exceptions are possible under specific circumstances - see the "Notes/exceptions" column.
      1 Long distance travel YES  
      2 Accommodation costs YES Members can request support for their accommodation costs. However, the members applying must demonstrate that they are requesting support for accommodation in a reasonably priced hotel (for a given location). Members must use the fund's resources responsibly and with consideration. Arrangements for shared accommodation, solidarity lodging, etc. are always highly encouraged.
      3 Visa costs YES The cost of a visa can be requested from the METF.
      4 Travel insurance YES The cost of travel insurance for the duration of the METF-supported event can be requested from the METF. APC does not expect anyone to travel without proper travel insurance.
      5 Vaccination costs YES The cost of vaccinations needed for travel to a given country can be requested from the METF.
      6 Local travel (YES) The METF can be used to support local travel (e.g. to/from the airport) only when the cost exceeds USD 50. In these cases, the first USD 50 for local travel must be covered by the member, and the METF can cover the difference.
      7 Per diems (NO) In principle, the METF does not cover per diems. However, when members travel to countries where daily expenses are high, they can request support from APC to compensate for the high cost. It is the members' responsibility to cover the first USD 50/day, but when the per diem rate for a given country exceeds USD 50, members can request METF support to cover the difference. For example: if the per diem rate for New York s USD 80/day, the METF can pay for USD 80-50=30/day. APC staff will make per diem rates for the most common travel destinations available to members, and the APC finance team can be consulted on rates for any other location.
      8 Participation of several representatives of a member organisation in an event (NO) The METF only funds the participation of one representative per member organisation in any given event. However, when travel costs are low, funding of more than one representative can be requested.
      9 Meeting venue rental NO The METF does not provide support for meeting venue rental costs.
      10 Equipment and office supplies NO The METF does not provide support for equipment and office supplies.
      11 Personal time (salaries) NO Members should be benefiting from METF-supported travel itself in a number of ways. Their work hours/time spent while traveling is not paid for by the METF.

      Exceptions

      When it is difficult for members to cover their part of the costs associated with travel (costs that are not covered by the METF), they can request additional support as an exception. However, the overall cost of travel is the main factor taken into consideration to determine whether or not such an exception is made. In other words, where the total costs paid by the METF are low (e.g. under USD 1,000), it is more likely that support for additional expenses will be approved. The purpose of this provision is to ensure that the distribution of METF support is balanced and fair. 

       

      3. Who is eligible for METF support?

      METF support is available only to APC member organisations.

      Only APC members in good standing are eligible for METF support. This means that the member organisation must not owe APC any of the following: dues or other outstanding funds, contractual work paid for but not yet delivered, financial or narrative reports from activities previously supported by APC.

       

      4. General principles guiding usage of the METF

      Individual awards are not expected to exceed USD 2,500 per individual involved in a member exchange or travelling to an event organised by others. However, exceptions can be made in cases where evidence is provided that even the most economical airfare and accommodation will exceed this amount, and such extra costs are justified.

      • The principle of the METF budget is one of shared responsibility and commitment. In practice, this means that members are encouraged to contribute as much as they can to the costs of participation in an event or member exchange.

      • The METF covers the costs of a return airfare (discounted economy) and accommodation in a reasonably priced hotel (for a given location). See table above for details on accommodation.

      • In general, METF only funds the participation of one member representative in any given event, but under certain circumstances, the funding of more than one representative could be possible (for example, if the costs of participation are relatively low for each representative).

      • In general, METF will only fund a member for participation in one event in any given calendar year. However, under certain circumstances (such as under-utilised funds), a member may apply to the fund for a second time.

      • Members whose travel has been supported by the METF must comply with the sharing/reporting obligations to the network within three weeks after the event has concluded. See section “7.2 Sharing outcomes of collaboration and travel supported by the METF” for details.

       

      5. When and how to apply

      • Applications can be sent at any time. Applications for emergency technical support should be clearly marked.

      • Applications for member exchanges should be submitted by completing the online form (in English). Write to mef-at-apc.org if you are not sure how to access it.

      • For reasons of accountability, all applications must be submitted by the member’s first representative to the APC Council.

      • Applications are reviewed by members of the APC Board of Directors with the support of APC staff. We aim to have a fast turnaround time. We estimate the review and notification process should take no longer than two to three weeks from the date that all the required information has been received.

      • It is recommended that you apply for METF support no less than four weeks before your planned travel. Particularly when METF reviewers need to assess multiple applications at the same time, we cannot guarantee that your application will be reviewed on time.

      • Updates on applications to the METF and awards made by the METF will be included in internal member spaces on apc.org.

      5.1 Eligibility criteria for submitting applications
      • Only APC members who are up to date with their member obligations qualify for application.

      • In the case of applications for member exchanges, applications must be submitted by all the members participating in the exchange.

      • Members applying for METF support must be willing to formally commit themselves to sharing the outcomes of their travel with the rest of the network, by submitting a report, contributing a blog post to APC.org, organising a webinar, or sharing outcomes in another agreed format.

      • Travel support is provided only for travel to events that are directly related to APC-wide initiatives and contribute to APC's strategic priorities (particularly events where joint strategies are being planned, where the travelling member represents several members or the whole network, etc.).

      • Applicants for travel support are strongly encouraged to explore opportunities for their travel to contribute to further networking and collaboration in APC. Such plans should be clearly stated in the application.

      5.2 What information should be in the application?

      The applicant or applicants should demonstrate clearly what need/s the exchange will address, or how their travel to a given event benefits the network. Applicants should state how the exchange or travel to an event will:

      • Increase the capacities of all or one of the participating organisations

      • Help solve problems

      • Respond to a technical or other emergency

      • Help to develop collaborative project/s

      • Be of benefit in any other way to the participating organisation/s

      • Help APC to engage in a new initiative or partnership (in the case of support for travel to events)

      • Further APC’s work in any of its strategic priority areas.

      *Member exchanges are expected to address as many of the needs listed as possible, but not necessarily all of them.*

      In the case of member exchanges/meetings, the applicants should explain clearly why face-to-face collaboration as opposed to online collaboration is required, and how online collaboration will be used for preparation and follow-up. A basic draft plan for the member exchange/meeting should be provided with the application. This draft should include a description of how the participating members are planning to share the outcomes of the meeting with the rest of APC.

       

      6. How does the selection process work?

      6.1 METF support criteria

      All applications that meet the METF criteria and include all the required information be supported, provided there is sufficient funding available. APC staff will assist applicants in ensuring that all the necessary information is included before the application is submitted to the review team.

      The main selection criteria which impact on awarding METF grants, particularly when funds are low and some applications have to be prioritised, are as follows:

      • Contribution of member participation in a given event to APC’s strategic priorities

      • Demonstrated benefits of member’s participation for their own organisation and for the APC network

      • Quality of the plan for sharing outcomes of METF-supported travel with the APC network

      • METF support in past years

      Organisations who have not yet used resources from the METF will be favoured when their application is evaluated. That does not mean that members who have previously used the fund should not apply. Some projects may obviously require follow-up meetings and collaboration. Nevertheless, when available funds are not sufficient to comply with all requests, those who have not previously benefited from the METF will be given preference.

      - Regional balance

      Reviewers will try to ensure that regional balance is maintained over the longer term. However, we do anticipate that collaboration will not always be equally intense in all regions at the same time. For example, after a regional member meeting, several requests from that region should be expected.

      If your member exchange application is not granted support at any given time, you can re-apply once the fund has been replenished.

      6.2 Transparency in the application process

      The METF working group is an advisory committee, established by the APC Board of Directors. It is composed of volunteers from the APC Board of Directors and APC Council, the APC executive director, the APC director of operations, and other support staff. The group’s work is coordinated by the APC network development coordinator. It is responsible for reviewing METF applications, discussing them and making decisions about eventual support from the METF. The METF coordinator often works with members on METF applications before they are submitted for review.

      In April 2018, the METF working group had the following members:

      • Anriette Esterhuysen

      • Chat Garcia Ramilo

      • Karel Novotný (METF coordinator)

      • Karen Banks

      • Lillian Nalwoga

      • Liz Probert

      • Osama Manzar

      • Valentina hvale pellizzer

       

      7. Conditions that apply once the award has been made

      7.1 Enabling other APC members to be involved

      * Members who wish to apply for METF support are encouraged to share their plans in appropriate APC lists at the early stages of their planning. That way they can maximise the benefits from eventual collaboration and potentially increase the involvement of other members.

      Members whose initiative has been awarded METF support should announce their plans in the [apc.members] list. That makes it possible for other APC members to consider the possibility of their own involvement in the exchange/meeting (where applicable). Although it is not always possible to incorporate other members with similar interests in a face-to-face meeting, there are usually other alternative means of involvement, ranging from real-time online participation to remote involvement and collaboration on preparations for the METF-supported exchange/meeting and follow-up initiatives that result from it.

      7.2 Sharing outcomes of collaboration and travel supported by the METF

      Members are responsible for sharing outcomes of their METF-supported travel with the network within three weeks after the end of the member exchange or the event attended. Consider developing a plan for sharing the outcomes and discussing it with APC knowledge sharing coordinator or the APC communications team. 

      The reason for this reporting is not love for bureaucracy. We take knowledge sharing in APC seriously and want to make sure that we find a balance where documenting your exchange or the event you attend is fun and useful to you without over-burdening your time, while the rest of the network gets a chance to learn from your experience and eventually join your initiative (if relevant and possible).

      7.2.1 Member exchanges/meetings

      Members involved in a member exchange/meeting who receive support from the METF are responsible for documenting the outcomes of their meeting and sharing them with the network. They are also expected to write a blog post about the exchange/meeting for publication on the APC website.

      The outcomes can include stories, training materials, documentation and lessons learned from project collaboration, or other forms of learning that can be documented and shared. Where relevant, it is highly recommended that members organise a thematic webinar as an effective way of sharing knowledge with the rest of the network. In this case they will be assisted by APC staff who can organise the logistics of the webinar.

      Members are also encouraged to share their experiences using the various thematic and regional APC mailing lists and/or the APC.org blog section. That way the APC network can not only benefit from the member exchange, but also potentially contribute to projects you are working on with your APC partners.

      7.2.2 Travel to events

      When using METF support for travel to events, members are asked to share learnings from the event with the rest of the network. This can be done through a blog post on APC.org, an internal report for members, or a webinar.

      When several members receive support to attend an event, they are encouraged to develop the report/blog post jointly, or to join efforts and organise a webinar dedicated to the event or some aspects of it.

      METF reports and other forms of sharing should focus on opportunities for members, interesting new initiatives or partnerships, trends and developments that members should learn about, etc.

      ---

      Failure to share the required report (or other learning outcomes) from your METF-supported travel will result in your organisation being considered "not in good standing with APC" and therefore ineligible for any further financial support from APC. It is equivalent to not being up to date with membership dues.

      7.3 Use of funds and financial reporting

      Members should use the METF resources strictly for the purposes stated in the application and provide APC with a brief financial report accompanied by copies of tickets and accommodation receipts. Purchases of services must comply with APC’s procurement policy.

      If an organisation that was granted support fails to provide all required receipts and reports without providing a reasonable explanation, that organisation may become ineligible to make future applications to the METF or other APC grants.

      Unspent funds

      Unspent funds (whether partial or whole) granted for member exchanges or travel to events must be returned to APC within one month of the completion of the METF-supported travel, unless agreed otherwise with the METF coordinator. This includes situations where some or all of the funds remain unspent due to, for example, participants finding cheaper travel and accommodation options, participants being unable to attend the meeting or event, and so on. For more information on the METF, write to mef-at-apc.org. 


      Programme 
      Network development

      Project team 
      Anriette Esterhuysen South Africa
      Karel Novotný Czech Republic
      Karen Banks Australia
      Chat Garcia Ramilo Philippines
      Valentina Hvale Pellizzer Bosnia and Herzegovina
      Osama Manzar India
      Liz Probert United Kingdom
      Lillian Nalwoga Uganda
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