The OC

(Good lord is this a day for blogging. I suppose sometimes the dam breaks and the thoughts spill out…)

Today I got a question from Jon:

What is OCA and OCP? MSF is getting into the acronym business like everyone else!

The simple answer: OC = Operating Centre, or Cell depending on the person.

  • OCB – Brussels
  • OCA – Amsterdam
  • OCBA – Barcelona/Athens
  • OCG – Geneva
  • OCP – The mythical Parisian OC, which does not exist as far as I know

An OC is supposed to be a reflection of the difference between the hosting section, which has a responsibility to communicate with the people of the country for temoinage and fundraising, recruit, etc and the OC, which has a responsibility to all of the donor sections that contribute to it to get the work done, and report back what got done, so that the donor section can explain to their constituency what got done with the $$.

MSF France, of course, rejects this model, because along with being fundamentally logical and democratic, it would also result in them having to actually listen to what MSF USA and AU think. The donors to OCB sit on a board and control the work plan of the OCB — MSF Belgium only has one seat on the board, just like MSF USA, MSF, Canada, and the other donors.

So, as far as I know, OCP is a figment of the imagination of whoever wrote it. People who don’t fundamentally understand the governance change with the rise of the OC’s often make the mistake of thinking that the OC’s are just new names for the operations departments of the hosting sections. In the case of “OCP”, that’s true — it is a new name for business as usual.

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