Efficient Leadership and Organizations for Cuban Civil Society / Dora Leonor Mesa

The Cuban Law Association, the Cuban Observatory of LGBT Rights, the Citizens Committee for Racial Integration … are some examples that serve to encourage pro-democracy activists and other civil society actors to continue to create spaces for civic activity and to expand their reach, because they can help ordinary citizens to take initial steps to raise the hope for positive change.

To have a vibrant civil society requires successful civil organizations. Success is possible even in hostile surroundings if promoters are trained properly in the types of leadership and efficient organizational structures.

Contingency theories emphasize situational factors, where the effectiveness of leadership depends on the situation. People become leaders not only for their personal traits, but because of situational factors. The motivation and the ability of the followers are among the factors that affect situational decisions.

Each civil society organization can use certain types of leadership but contingency theories emphasizing situational factors could be very useful in the current Cuban atmosphere, characterized by its dynamism and hostility.

The Fiedler contingency theory has helped develop an educational organization, the Cuban Association for the Development of Education (ACDEI), but the transformational theory of Bass and Leithwood allow a leader-follower relationship more effectively in the current Cuban environment and in particular in educational settings.

Our small NGO is currently working on a project called “ACDEI supports Private Nurseries,” whose target audience are owners and educators and the employees who work with them, and parents and families of children. It prepares teachers and unskilled caregivers, instructing them in modern educational techniques and the knowledge and use of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

In addition to educating the children of the nursery school, we emphasize in explanations to owners that their businesses provide an important service, where the initial cost is relatively low, but it is characterized by certain aspects that require certain skills and staff training.

In particular we reiterate that the beneficiaries of the service (the nursery school children) can not be considered as clients but as learners. Children who receive continuous stimuli in their environment later develop with better physical, psychosocial and cognitive outcomes (Umayahara, M., 2003).

The ACDEI NGO strives to provide both children and educators and caregivers education and training required by the standards of the Ministry of Education and UNICEF. To continue this line of work it is hoped that the articulation between preschool and primary education will more successful and thus improve children’s learning.

September 10 2011