In the course of the last two months, EU TACSO 3 organised and conducted four training programmes for CSOs, all directly or indirectly related to CSO’s work in the unusual circumstances during the pandemic of COVID-19. The topics were ranging from evidence-based advocacy, through volunteering and social change, information activism, data collection and data management to mentoring and coaching skills.

About 130 participants attended the training sessions dispersed in 2-3 days on-line events tailored to the needs of the CSO’s being expressed during a thorough consultation process. During the training sessions, adapted to the new on-line normal, they expressed their satisfaction with the provided know-how, the possibility to exchanging experience with their CSO peers and opportunities for networking.

“Although we have a lot of experience in the field of research and advocating and preparing position papers, this training helped me in regards to upgrading my knowledge, learning from the experience of other organizations, acknowledging the problems and needs of the citizens in our country on a wider scale including the youth, no matter if its youth from rural areas, marginalized youth etc. What was especially useful for us was that we were learning while working. Cohesion was created in our group, so we continued communicating amongst each other even after the training”, said Monika Ilioska Kantardjioska, from the Coalition of Youth Organisations SEGA, attendee of the training on Research and Evidence-Based Advocacy.

On 26 and 27 October, about 30 CSO’s representatives from seven countries of the Western Balkans region and Turkey attended the on-line training programme on Mentoring and Coaching Skills. CSOs that deliver capacity building services and work on the development of civil society in the WBT, such as National Resource Centres (NRCs), national and regional networks, sub-granting organisations and others were present at the first module. The topics discussed ranged from adult learning to mentoring and coaching as capacity building interventions. The next, second module, is scheduled for 1st and 2nd December and will be dedicated to questions such as when and how to apply mentoring and coaching, as well as the process and skills. Similar as REBA training, the programme envisaged practical work is conducted between the two modules so that participants could harvest on the learning in module 1 and put it into practical use.

The first training module on Research and Evidence-Based Advocacy (2 modules) was held on 28 and 29 October, aimed at preparing participants to design and implement research, provide knowledge and methods for data collection, analysis and presentation, and create space for networking among the participating CSOs. The next module will be held on 23 and 24 November and will cover the topics related to utilising research data and evidence in advocacy, effective policy documents their structure and content, communicating policy proposals and networking for advocacy.  In between two modules, participants were working on using their knowledge gained in module 1.

On 9 and 10 November, representatives from the CSO’s in Albania, attended the online Training Programme on Volunteering for Social Change, organized by EU TACSO 3. The training aimed to increase the knowledge and skills of CSOs in Albania to comply with the legal requirement on volunteerism, to increase their capacities to engage citizens in volunteerism projects and programmes and promote activism. Again, participants received mentoring and coaching support after the training to be able to put received knowledge to practical use.

The first part (advanced training) on Information Activism and Data Collection/Data Management, was held on 3, 4 and 5 November. Representatives of CSO’s in Turkey, joined the three days of training consisted of practical guidance to CSOs on data collection and data management practices which may correspond with their internal and external monitoring and advocacy practices. It is considered that the training programme will have an added value as a part of mitigation measures following the COVID-19 pandemic that would serve for monitoring of rights violations during pandemic at local and national level.

The second part dedicated to CSOs with none or limited experience in data collection and data management strategies was conducted on 10-11 November. Both trainings will be complemented by downloadable manuals to be developed after the trainings are completed and a follow-up networking event taking place on 25, 26 and 27 November aimed at exchanging of good practices on data management, different data collection methodologies and advocacy strategies in Turkey.

EU TACSO 3 continues to organise trainings for the CSO’s in Western Balkans and Turkey in the next period, so do follow our website and social media to possibly join and benefit from one of the future capacity development opportunities being offered by the project.