HOSTING SABA MEETINGS

SABA, or officially called the South African Braille Authority, is the standard setting body for braille in South Africa and focuses on the coordination and oversight of all braille related matters.

To do this, its members need to meet regularly to discuss any braille related matters which just cannot be sorted out by means of correspondence.

For this purpose several meetings must be held in various locations and must be hosted by a member or some other institution.

HOW DOES AN ORGANISATION HOST ANY SABA MEETINGS?

Firstly let me explain: According to the SABA Constitution, at least one so-called General Assembly meeting must be held during the year where members can discuss braille related matters. In the past it was the habit to hold two such meetings every year; one in the southern and another in the northern parts of the country. This was done so that not the same people always have the expense of travelling to such meetings.

The culture of hosting SABA meetings comes a long way. You see, before SABA was set up in 2012, Braille SA, a partnership body of the time, usually attended to braille matters and it was this Braille SA that set the culture of where meetings are held.

So to host a meeting, various organisations, now called members of SABA, will invite SABA to hold its next General Assembly meeting at its head quarters or some venue close to it.

If the invitation is accepted, the host will also be responsible for the catering and other costs as SABA is just not capable to pay for all of these additional costs as it only receives membership and registration fees from its members. At present money no other funding is received as donations.

WHAT IS REQUIRED FROM TRANSPORT?

The SABA Secretariat will request a schedule from the host regarding available transport for delegates from mainly airports, buses etc. This schedule is then circulated to delegations who respond directly to the hosting institution for their own transport arrangements. Depending on the distances to be travelled, delegations can be asked to be responsible for the transport cost.

WHAT ABOUT ACCOMMODATION?

Similarly the hosting institution is expected to provide the Secretariat with a list of affordable accommodation in its area. The accommodation can include hotels and guest houses with varying price ranges and must obviously be within a reasonable distance from the conference venue for ease of transport.

WHAT VENUES ARE SUITABLE FOR SABA MEETINGS?

The ideal venue is a middle sized hall that can accommodate up to 50 delegates at class room type tables with a head table.

It is important that the venue should have good acoustics firstly for recording purposes but also to make it easier for delegates to hear speakers. A public address system will make things much easier for recording and listening.

WHAT ABOUT THE CATERING FOR MEETINGS?

The catering required is normally mid morning tea and coffee with snacks and a light lunch. The General Assembly usually runs from 09:00 on the first day to 17:00 and then on the second day from 09:00 to 13:00 followed by lunch.

WHAT DOCUMENTATION WILL BE REQUIRED?

As the majority of the delegates are braille readers, most of the documentation should be transcribed into braille and distributed at the beginning of the meeting. This will at least be the agenda, the minutes of the previous meeting and the fixed reports mainly financial and chairpersons’ reports from committees. All of the former would have been circulated to members in an electronic format before the meeting but braille is still required for most delegations. The cost for this is also usually borne by the host.

These are the most important matters regarding the hosting of a SABA meeting but any further information can be requested from the SABA Secretariat at:

secretary@sabrailleauthority.org.za

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