The POINT! Supporting Healthy Civil Society Leaders (Phase I.)

The project will improve and strengthen the capacity and networks of professional trainers and consultants from the CEE/EP/WB regions through the development of the POINT network. In project Phase I, training for trainers and webinar modules will allow senior experts to gain new knowledge and practice experiential learning methods to equip them for training civil society leaders in their regions.

Project POINT is supported by Visegrad Fund.

Public confidence in CSOs has dropped dramatically since the years of the economic crisis, reaching the extremely low current levels. In this context, CSOs are being called upon to demonstrate strong leadership, establish relationships of trust, create new measures of accountability, and to find new solutions to increasingly challenging and complex issues in the CEE/EP/WB space. Working for more than 20 years with CSOs, we have witnessed the following challenges:

In many cases, organizations seem to lack leadership skills, abilities and attributes that will help them be resilient and adaptive.
Organizations suffer from sustainability issues related to lack of strategic leadership guidance and organizational planning
Many organizations have become overly dependent on a limited number of donors, because their leaders lack the confidence and skills to pursue other development opportunities
CSOss face difficulty in retaining their staff, because they are not able to engage them properly and to help them grow for the benefit of the organizations and the communities they serve.

There is a real need to grow the capacity of local experts who have worked in the CSO context in CEE/EP/WB and to design and deliver an affordable leadership development program that will help current and emerging leaders to build their skills.This program will bring together prominent leaders and experienced trainers, who have worked with numerous organizations in their regions and across the world and have accumulated knowledge and experience in the field of CSO leadership development.

There are three areas for the communities and civil society organizations (CSOs) today that would contribute to democratization and positive transformation processes: sustainability, accountability and leadership. If we address the issue of leadership, we address all three. Although there is a strong need for leadership development in the civil society sector, there are not many opportunities to build leadership skills.There is a limited number of leadership training for CSOs, and not all of them are accessible and/or engage international top trainers in the field. Other leadership training is designed and tailored to corporate environments and they lack deep understanding of the needs and challenges facing civil society. Most training is focused more on managerial topics rather than on supporting the key hard and soft skills for the 21st century. Very few trainers and educational institutions in the region are aware and have expertise in proper educational methods to improve skills and attitudes (like experiential learning, learning by doing, adventure education, gamification etc.). Most of these experts are from the international arena and are not able to deliver training in local languages. This challenge is even bigger when moving the educational process to the on-line space where methodological tools are more limited than in personal meetings. We propose bringing our expertise in experiential learning to new audiences in Central and Eastern Europe, the Western Balkans and the Eastern Partnership ( CEE, EP, WB) and build the capacity of local trainers and consultants.

The POINT (Platform for Opportunities and Ideas in Non-Profit Training) - - which has been developed thanks to the support of the Visegrad Fund - is a network of local expert trainers, facilitators, coaches and consultants focused on civil sector development in CEE, EP regions (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Moldova, Romania, Georgia and Ukraine). The POINT yields specific benefits in developing in-country expertise focused on leadership and capacity building. The stress on networking elements ensures that this is not a one-off intervention but a continued effort to build resource mobilization capacity, expertise and leadership across the region. This capacity is embodied in a group of active trainers and consultants working – individually and together – to benefit CSOs in their countries. Experience and expertise are exchanged, offering inspiration from the world and opportunities to grow. During the project we would like to invite to the POINT network partners from the Western Balkans and support trainers’ and consultants’ expertise within the CEE, EP, and WB regions to provide high quality adult education reflecting the needs for the 21st century.The outcome will be the development of key skills and beneficial attitudes of civil society leaders. The project will also bring substantial opportunity for networking, sharing and joint planning of future events. An advanced training for trainers program will target the key senior experts and trainers from the target regions to enable them to replicate and adapt the program locally.