EU TACSO 3 Supports CSOs through On-Line Trainings and Mentoring Despite the COVID-19 Pandemic Continuation

Excellent, helpful, interesting, motivating, inspiring, perfectly balanced with theory, practice and active discussion, new perspectives, broadened visions, are some of the comments EU TACSO 3 received by participants of its trainings organised during November and beginning December for the CSO representatives from the Western Balkans and Turkey.

Lectures, debates, discussions, exercises, evaluations, mentoring and coaching, were the methods that highly experienced and dedicated trainers used in providing knowledge on – hand and tailored to the needs of 130 representatives from CSOs. As the COVID-19 pandemics persisted, the trainings were delivered on-line. Still, the main EU TACSO 3 capacity building approach was maintained; i.e. all activities were implemented in combination of training and mentoring support to allow for us much tailor-made and practical assistance to CSOs in using the gained knowledge and skills.

“Research and Evidence-Based Advocacy”, ”Information Activism and Data Collection/Data Management”, “Mentoring and Coaching Skills” were the training topics addressed during the period organised by EU TACSO 3. Moreover, “Emergency Response: CSOs’ Response to Complex Humanitarian Crisis” training was organized in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic challenges faced by CSOs and will enable the organizations in updating and preparing emergency plans.

To read more about trainings held in September and October read here.

This, in a way, second round events started with the online basic training on Information Activism, Data Collection and Data Management for CSO’s in Turkey held from 10-11 November. The training was a practical guidance to CSOs on data collection and data management practices which correspond with their internal and external monitoring and advocacy practices. The training was also considered relevant in the emergency situation as an added value to the mitigation measures following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Next was the regional three day on-line Training Programme on Emergency Response: CSOs’ Response to Complex Humanitarian Crisis held from 18 to 20 November. The training was focused on Crisis management, practical steps on how to minimize adverse outcomes and support business continuity and exercise about definition, estimated dynamics and the main characteristics of the COVID-19 pandemic. Productive discussions took place about context analysis related to the environmental, actors, organizational and operational and risk analysis consisted of threats, probabilities, vulnerabilities, risks and mitigation. Other topics have been related to the organizational risks – defining response/mitigation measures, business continuation plan and Preparation of the elements for the Play through COVID-19 scenarios.

The second module of the training Research and Evidence-Based Advocacy for CSOs in North Macedonia was held on 23 and 24 November. The participants presented the research plans developed in the period between the two modules. Interactive session was also held regarding the data analysis and presentation modalities. Trainers provided insights about utilising research data and evidence in advocacy, effective policy documents, structure and content of different policy documents, how to communicate policy proposals and advocacy networking. In addition, examples of policy documents from the region and EU were presented.

On 25 November started the follow-up networking event on Information Activism and Data Collection/Data Management. The purpose of this three half-day networking event for CSOs) in Turkey was supporting CSOs in the process of their data collection and data management strategies. The event practically provided a platform for experience sharing as well as mutual learning about different methodologies adopted by CSOs regarding data collection and data management. The former particular in following areas: data literacy and data collection, different monitoring and mapping strategies, evidence-based advocacy and reporting, challenges and lessons-learnt in conducting rights-based research and data collection and monitoring as a method of working.

“This follow – up meeting has brought in a new perspective on how to present data related to our works”, said Merve Ergenç, from the Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants (SGDD-ASAM). Berivan Yıldız, from TOÇEV (Tüvana Children Education Foundation) emphasized that she learned much about how to disseminate the outputs of our projects. “This meeting has broaden my vision”, she added.

“When to apply mentoring and coaching in the CSO capacity building practice, “How to apply mentoring and coaching, “Mentoring and coaching process and skills”, were the topics discussed during the second module of the on-line Training programme on mentoring and coaching skills, organised on 1-2 December for seven countries in the Western Balkans region and Turkey.

The programme design has been inspired by three facts: 1) when asked about the most effective capacity development methods, CSOs in the WBT pointed out to the need of tailored, individualised approaches 2) mentoring and coaching are being mentioned more often by providers of capacity building support in the WBT as desirable methods of work; 3) these methods have not been practiced extensively so far among CSOs in the WBT.

“The training was an excellent opportunity to deepen my knowledge in couching and mentoring, particularly the various tools and methods presented. Although on-line, the group-works gave us plenty of chances to share experiences and to meeting other organisations from the region”, noted Valentina Atanasovska from the Resource Center North Macedonia.

The second module of the Training Programme on Emergency Response tailored for the needs of CSOs from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia brought together 23 participants. Held on 9-11 December this training module was adapted to the specific needs of those 3 countries when it comes to responding to immediate emergency caused by COVID-19. It was three-day hands-on training, with practical know-how transfer by an experienced emergency response expert in the field.

“Our small team will absolutely apply all the exercises on its own organization and will use the methodological approach further in order to respond in a timely manner and prepare for new crisis challenges”, emphasized Snezana Zivadinovic, President of the Board Society for the Development of Creativity from Aleksinac,  Serbia.

In addition to the trainings EU TACSO 3, for the needs of EU office in Kosovo (EUOK), organised an online meeting to launch the consultation regarding the IPA Civil Society Facility and Media Programme 2021–23, Action for Kosovo, on 9 December. Over 45 organizations from Kosovo, attended and discussed, commented and posted valuable questions regarding the draft Programme.