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CISV bubbles 2009.

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An update to the CISV statistics database.

I've been fiddling with this for a while, and not everything is where I'd like it to be: Entering new data turns our to be more work than I had hoped for, and also my good old five-year old PowerBook is challenged with so much data and a memory-thirsty GoogleDocs. Nevertheless I've added many more numbers to the spreadsheet, including the Balcony Index calculated for every year, EEC representation and indiviual programme hosting numbers. Most of the numbers are from the Annual Report, others were sent to me by Bebbe (thanks!), 2010, of course is not yet included. 

Here's the link to the raw data, and as usual, a more comprehensive way of looking at it, using Gapminder's great visualization software:

(Click here for a bigger view

I still have more numbers that date back to 1996 and I hope that it will be even more interesting looking at CISVs development over a longer timespan.   

I'm not attaching any kind of interpretation this time - these things will show up in future posts, when I look at specific questions.


Portugese Power.

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Almost unnoticed (to me), CISV Portugal is looking back to a decade of incredible development.

Last week, Martha and I joined Anna to Lisbon, where she held the staff training for the upcoming IPP in Mozambique. We extended our stay to a week and enjoyed the hospitality of the nice, friendly, caring and partying people of CISV Portugal.

One night as we were having dinner, Joao (currently CISV Portugal's president) admitted, that recently they had become a little obsessed with continuously increasing the number of participants sent to international CISV programmes. This had gone so far that they regularly spent Friday afternoons nervously awaiting the IO update, to check for new available spots, which they'd immediatly apply for and usually manage to fill in no time.

After spending so much time with CISVs numbers in the past, I wondered how it could have sliped my eyes how succesful CISV Portugal had recently been. But when you check the Balcony Index, there's no doubt, CISV Portugal is reaching for the stars:


It gets even more impressive if you look at the number of international participants, for which my data reaches back to 1996:


From a low-point of 40 participants in 2000, they climbed up to 186 in 2008 (and more than 200 in 2009) - reversing a falling trend that possibly started before 1996. Incredibly, meanwhile they're hosting every programme each year, with the exception of Seminar Camp and IPP that are hosted alternately.

Here at FTB we've briefly discussed the fairytale of CISV Austria before, which had a similar period of growth from 1997 to 2003 and seems to be sustaining that position ever since. One of the reasons mentioned here, was that CISV Austria restructured and split 1 into 4 chapters. But CISV Portugal has done all this with more or less one single chapter.

So how did they pull it off? Joao agreed to an interview, that I will post here shortly, so  stay tuned.

Berners-Lee on data.

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I've talked about using data within CISV before and received a bit of criticism in the comments thread regarding effort, usefulness and practicability. But, I'm still convinced that there's more in it for CISV.

Here's Tim Berners-Lee (yes, AKA the inventor of the internet), talking about how govenment data can be used to generate mash-ups:

And here's a friendly reminder that all the hosting data Bebbe gave me is available online and available, if anybody out there is in a mash-up mood.
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Introducing the "Balcony Index".

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A tentative tool to measure the strength and sustainability of an NA.

I've been writing here a lot about strong and weak NAs, hosting numbers and statistics. Now, how do you define a strong NA? To measure whether an NA is strong, sustainable and supports the rest of the organization, I would suggest the following four criteria:

1.) Hosting numbers: Sending a delegation is way easier than organizing a camp, so I guess on counting hosted programmes is better than counting sent delegates. 
2.) Number of chapters: The more chapters, the more sustainable an NA is. If one chapter goes down the drain, another one may grow instead. If one goes bankrupt, another may help out. The more (independent) chapters, the better.
3.) EEC members: A strong NA should be able to contribute to the international work done. This becomes most obvious in the people that are in the top leadership positions of the organization.
4.) Mosaic: International camps are a matter of hosting and sending delegations. A strong NA runs a year-round programs for locals as well. If a kerosin-tax is introduced, international travel gets more expensive, international camps will go down. Mosaic will stay.

Now, many organizations use indexes to measure criteria that are otherwise hard to grasp:
ESPN recently presented the Soccer Power Index to rank national teams. Transparency International regularly sorts country by the Corruption Perception Index and The Economist invented the famous Big Mac Index.

So, to bring all those criteria listed above that characterize a strong NA together in one number, I herby suggest the use of the "Balcony Index (BI)". It shall be calculated as follows:

BI = Hosted International Camps + Chapters + EEC-Members + Mosaic Projects

And here are the results for 2008, reduced to the top 20 (full table here):

USA    58
SWE    48
ITA    45
NOR    32
BRA    31
CAN    27
FRA    27
GER    27
DEN    26
AUT    15
PHI    14
FIN    13
ESP    12
POR    11
COL    10
JPN    10
EGY    8
GBR    8
MEX    7
NDL    6

The ranking goes pretty much inline with my personal impression regarding the "strength" of the NAs - just France seems  little too high up there. Interestingly there is somewhat of a gap after Denmark, so I think it's reasonable to speak of a G9, representing the strongest NAs: USA, Sweden, Italy, Norway, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany and Denmark.

Obviously, the BI has a few flaws:

- Interchange isn't represented at all.
- The four factors are not independent, in fact they depend on each other
- "financial strength" is not part of it, which may play a huge role in sustainability.
- Also there is no criterion for something as "brand awareness", "publicity" or "media attention".

 Any suggestions for improvement are welcome.

Sidenote: When I presented the idea of the Balcony Index to Bebbe from IO during the RTF in Hamburg earlier this year, he suggested adding "number of cisv-shirts printed.", which I thought was funny and even a bit logical, but hard to track down.

Bubbles Update.

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A graphic representation of CISV's development from 1996-2008

Anna brought the Annual Review from Guatemala, so I decided to update the Motion Graphic Chart of CISV's development (see original post): It now displays the development of CISV in all NAs since 1996. Just press the play button:

A few interesting facts:
  • Look at the two dinosaurs in CISV, Canada and Brazil: With about the same amount of chapters and same amount of hosted camps, Brazil sends almost twice as many participants abroad!
  • The only two countries that seem to make some significant growth in the last 10+ years are Austria and China
  • Did you see the dive that Canada took in 2003 - that was when their insurance broke.
  • The size of the bubble represents the number of chapters - Australia's bubble is way bigger than the other chapters in their area - so apparently their chapters are all very small.
  • It comes as no surprise that Africa is hardly detectable in this graphical representation of CISV.
Of course it would be even more interesting, to look back beyond 1996 and also into the development of the individual programmes. I'm working on it!

Also, I found another brilliant speech by Gapminder's Hans Rosling at TED - 18 minutes of pure greatness and plus a surprise ending:

EEC nationalities.

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At last years AIM there was a discussion in the German delegation on the importance of having a representation inside the Expanded Executive Committee = EEC- which consists of the IEC (INternational Executive Committee = the "bosses") and the chairs of international committees. At the moment Germany has nobody in the EEC. I remember back in 2000 we were 4 Germans during the EEC sessions.

To see how this changed over the years, I checked the numbers in the Annual Reports and created a graph to represent how many people from one country where in the EEC:

(The legend is exactly the other way around than the graph, don't be confused) It's interesting to see that the EEC has grown over the years, by adding new committees, but also the IJRs haven't always been part. Also quite remarkable is Norway's rise in recent years, with even two IEC members (Arne-Christian and Lene) today. On the other end is Great Britain that used to have two members for a long stretch, but hasn't had anybody in the EEC since 1999. Now, if you take all those years and count the "EEC-membership-person-years" (EECpy) and sort them by country you get another interesting picture:

(Unfortunately the software auto-selected different colors this time.)

Like with the IJR-elections it's Canada who turns up as number one, followed by USA, Sweden, Germany and Italy, 5 of our biggest NAs. But does the number of EEC-members stand in line with the size of the NA? Does the EEC representation reflect the size of the NA? To answer this question, I compared the EECpy with the total amount of participants sent to international programmes and expresse this with a ratio - a kind of quota, I'd like to call P/EEC (Participants/EEC member):

So here you can see, how many participants a country sends to international programmes to recruit on person to stay in the EEC for one year. The bigger the number, the less leadership compared to the NA size. Quite amazing to find Israel (119 participants per EEC year), Portugal (128 P/EEC) and Costa Rica (132 P/EEC) in the first places here.

But what to make out of all this?

  • The NAs with the most people in the EEC are obviously investing in the international structure: It takes time and money to send somebody to AIM, until that person is qualified to take over a leadership position (when costs are covered by IO).
  • NAs with members in the EEC probably also profit by a) gaining influence in the decision making process and b) getting first-hand information delivered back to their chapters. On the other hand you could argue, that these NAs are "wasting" human resources in the top structures instead of having them working on the grassroots level, i.e. on a chapter board. Often, when a committee chair's term is over, that person really needs a break from CISV, and is no use back in the chapter level.
  • As usual, the numbers are a bit small to be significant. Take Israel: Without Iris (former SCC chair) and Richard (former ERC chair) Israel would be nowhere on this list. Two people can make a difference. Then again, with Noam as the new village chair, they have another leader lined Loads of leaderhshis for a small NA.

I was wondering which NAs have the strongest chapter(s). To answer this question I did an easy calculation: I divided the average number of programmes hosted in 1996-2007 by the average number of chapters an NA had during that time. So what I got, was the average number of programmes hosted per year by one chapter. The strongest chapter in the world would be the one hosting the most programmes per year.

Here is a display of the results in a graph:


These statistics count all programmes as equals, so one Village or one Interchange count as one. My thoughts:

  • Quite surprising to find the Netherlands, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Mexico and Hungary in the first 5 places. None of these NAs are generally considered "strong" NAs.
  • All the top NAs before Brazil each have one chapter, only.
  • As you may know, the NAs are structured quite differently, and the number of chapters say nothing about their size, or their organizational purpose. For example CISV Denmark has (or had?) a chapter,  for hosting Mosaics only. Also whereas the Netherlands and  Austria probably have more or less similar country sizes (in population and area), the former NA has one and the latter 4 chapters.
  • In some multi-chapter NAs the hosting is shared by the various chapters in quite unevenly. So some chapters host a lot of programmes, while others host only very little.
The remaining question is what size an ideal chapter would be? When does it make sense to break up a chapter into two, or consolidate two into one? Is it a question of "infrastructure", or geographical outreach?  
Google offers a website to analyze trends in website traffic. Being quasi a monopolist, Google gives an accurate picture of what people are interested in. Check out trends for Obama or SARS or even iphone.

Now here are the trends for CISV:


It does seem like a bit of a downward trend to me, which I find hard to understand. Let's look at out total number of sent participants as a comparison (unfortunately only up to 2007):

participation trends.png

So how come the slight growth in our participation during the same time period is not reflected in the "internet buzz"?

No profit from hosting an AIM?

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Just a few days ago at the ETG (European Trustee Gathering) it was decided to push forward CISV France as the host for the AIM (Annual International Meeting) in 2012. So if the trustees at the AIM in Guatemala agree, it will be "Je t'AIMe"...

Why do countries want to host an AIM? Some ideas have previously been discussed here at FTB when I presented the countries that hosted in the past. As one popular motivator for NAs was mentioned, that they hope to recruit lost CISVers, and boost the activities of their volunteers.

Now that I compiled the hosting and sending numbers into a spreadsheet and a wonderful graph, I though I could use these numbers to answer whether this "boost" rally happens. Lacking other ways of measuring the success of an NA, I took the number of hosted international activities to see, if NAs do host more following the year of the AIM. Now, here I present the results of the AIMs between 1999 and 2004:

I "indexed" the number of hosted activities as 1 in the year the NA hosted the AIM and plotted the 5 years prior and after the AIM relative to that. A few things are worth noting:

  • NAs don't seem to cancel out other camps in the year hosting an AIM. That's good.
  • Israel's numbers should probably be removed, simply because the amount of hosted programmes pretty much also depends on the safety situation.
  • Austria seems to be the only country that significantly hosted more after AIM - all other countries stayed the same or even hosted less (like Costa Rica).
Of course there are a few things to criticize about this graph: Motivation of volunteers can't only be measured in hosted camps. Also maybe 5 years is not long enough to see any effect. But altogether, I think NAs hosting an AIM should not expect too much of a boost to their activities. I do hope that we will find AIM hosts in the future, nonetheless.

Region's favourite camps

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Bebe sent me some statistics the other day on hosting trends in the past 5 years, so I started digging into them, because I was wondering, whether all regions like to host the same kind of porgamms.
Bild 12.png

In this graph you can see, which programmes were hosted by the respective regions in 2008. percentage-wise. I should also add the absolute numbers of camps hosted to give a better picture:

Americas: 97
Europe North: 77
Europe Central: 40
Europe South: 100
Asia-Pacific: 26

A few things are interesting:

- Youth Meeting remains pretty  much a "European thing".
- Asia-Pacific is very weak in Interchanges. This is sad, because I can see a huge potential for a cultural experience here.
- Mosaics seem to have caught on in the Asia-Pacific region pretty well. However, I think the Mosaic information distorts this graph a bit - simply by size and effort, I'm not sure they can be compared with the other programmes.
- In percent, Europe South hosts the least amount of villages but runs the most interchanges.

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