Macra na Feirme has today launched its new Strategic Plan for 2017 – 2023. Rurally Active, Engaging & Transforming sets out a vision for the organisation that will ensure it adapts to a changing rural Ireland to ensure we can serve the needs of Ireland’s Rural Youth better than ever before.
The strategic plan will allow Macra na Feirme to:
Focus on the continued significance the organisation places on Rural Ireland. We are Rurally Active, focusing on this theme within the strategic plan, we have the ambition to increase membership in the organisation and bring Macra na Feirme’s young farmer advocacy and youth work programmes in drama, public speaking and sports, to a wider audience of young farmers and rural young people.
Macra na Feirme is Engaging. Our ambition over the life of this strategic plan is to upskill more Macra na Feirme members to have deeper engagements with various community participation fora. We will do this through our own community involvement programme and through skilling our members to participate through other opportunities such as Public Participation Networks. Macra na Feirme is also engaged with sponsors, government departments, and supporters. During the life of this strategic plan, a focus on greater engagement and outreach is planned. The organisation recognises the financial constraints within which it operates, and part of that outreach and broader engagement is to secure new and diverse funding sources to support Macra na Feirme’s mission.
Macra na Feirme is Transforming. Members widely report the transformative effect that Macra membership has had on them. Youth work programmes within Macra na Feirme will continue to have capacity building and personal development at the core during the life of this plan. Transforming also reflects the impact of governance, regulatory compliance, and legal structures which are impacting upon all non-profit organisations across the youth sector, and again Macra na Feirme is not exempt from these. This strategic plan charts a course for implementation of the Governance Code for non-profit organisations, along with many other strategic goals, objectives and actions which will have a positive and transformative effect on the structure of the organisation.
Speaking at the launch Macra na Feirme National President James Healy said, "Ireland and the challenges facing our young people are continually changing but this plan shows that our members are keen to adapt and to meet them head on. As we approach Macra na Feirme's 75th anniversary, this strategic plan is a vital step towards ensuring that our organisation continues to be an important voice of all young farmers and rural youth.’’
Macra na Feirme Chief Executive Denis Duggan said, ‘‘In January 2017, Macra na Feirme embarked upon a series of consultation workshops with members led by our strategic planning consultants, Ciaran Lynch from Community Engagement Partners and Pat Bogue from Broadmore Research. There was also broad consultation with a significant amount of past and present members, staff, sponsors, funding departments, and other external stakeholders. This strategic plan is a result of all that work and I would like to thank everyone who contributed to this publication.’’
The strategic planning process consulted broadly with members, staff, past members, sponsors, funding departments and other partners. The feedback and input from all these important stakeholders has helped the organisation shape it’s vision for rural Ireland, and for Macra na Feirme for the next six years.
The mission of Macra na Feirme is to contribute to the sustainable development of rural communities in Ireland by supporting the social, economic, cultural, personal development and well-being of young people who have a rural connection including young farmers, by representing their interests in the development and implementation of relevant policies, programs and services at national, regional and local levels and by advocating on their behalf.
The vision of any organisation is closely related to its mission. The vision is divided into two parts – one for the organisation and one for the communities it serves – in this case Ireland’s rural communities. The vision refers to the place where an organisation wishes to get to in the longer term and it acts as a guiding star for an organisation’s activities.
Our strategic planning process has brought clarity to the vision for Macra na Feirme which is of a member-led organisation which is recognised by young people, decision-makers and society in general as a key resource for rural young people including young farmers and as their authentic voice; which provides a sense of belonging to an extensive and committed membership; and which is actively supported in fulfilling its mission by both the state and civil society.
Having regard to the mission of Macra na Feirme, the outcome of the strategic planning consultations undertaken and the nature and purpose of visions, the vision of Macra na Feirme for rural Ireland is to have rural and agricultural communities which are active and vibrant socially, economically and culturally, in which young people including young farmers play an active and recognised role and which are attractive and nurturing places in which to live and work.