On April 23, the Centre for Democracy and Rule of Law (CEDEM) launched the first Mentorship Program in Ukraine to strengthen the advocacy capacity of civil society organizations (CSOs) from different regions of Ukraine: from Zakarpattia to Luhansk Region.
For 6 months, from April to September 2020, 15 sustainable and experienced civil society organizations will be mentors for the selected 15 young CSOs (mentees). It will help develop and strengthen their advocacy and organizational skills. During the first meeting, which took place by video conference, the program participants got to know each other and the organizers.
The Mentorship Program is implemented by and Centre for Democracy and Rule of Law (CEDEM) within the Ukraine Civil Society Sectoral Support Activity, which is implemented by the Consortium of the Initiative Center to Support Social Action “Ednannia” and Ukrainian Center for Independent Political Research (UCIPR) by the generous support of of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Alona Matviychuk became the coordinator of the Mentorship Program and the event moderator. As part of the organizing team, she will ensure comfortable cooperation and development for both mentees and mentors.
According to Tetiana Sira, a representative of the United States Agency for International Development, the program will enable organizations to work together to bring together different experiences, help each other, and gain new capabilities: “I wish you all that young organizations gain experience from the sustainable, developed partners, and that those who already have practices and experience in influencing the authorities find partners in the regions. These new connections are mutually beneficial for both parties, so learn and share experiences!”
The Mentorship Program includes not only a series of training and meetings but a training system that will help each mentee organization to develop individual abilities, said Volodymyr Sheyhus, Executive Director of the Initiative Center to Support Social Action “Ednannia.”
“This program brings together strong mentoring organizations, as well as newcomers who have been working for some time and already have some achievements but have a chance to take a step in their growth. I hope that in the future, based on this experience, we will be able to offer CSOs to share this practice and provide other organizations with training opportunities,” he said.
Taras Shevchenko, Director of the Centre for Democracy and Rule of Law, thanked the mentors for their participation and stressed the importance of working in associations and coalitions for the public sector.
“I am glad that we are launching a new, innovative and interesting project. We all managed to refocus and implement this program under quarantine quickly. And this is one of the public sector tips: consider new opportunities and prepare for any possible scenario. From the positive one, where we will be able to see each other in person soon, to the more difficult one, where the meeting will take place in the autumn,” said CEDEM Director.
Training within the Mentorship Program will continue in several formats at the same time. Each mentee organization will have a mentor assigned to it so that they will work in pairs. In this way, members of young CSOs will find out about their colleagues’ experiences. It is not only about advocacy cases but also about internal mechanisms, arranging daily work. The mentor and the mentee will hold 8 online sessions, scheduled and face-to-face meetings.
“The basic idea is that sustainable organizations will be mentors for newly established young ones, helping them to shape and strengthen their advocacy skills. The Mentorship Program will have several creators: mentees, mentors who will share their experience, and a team of organizers. This is a joint project that not only provides knowledge but also motivates us to become stronger,” said Olesia Kholopik, CEDEM Deputy Director.
Advocacy will be the main focus of training. Participants in the Mentorship Program will conduct three training modules, including lectures and workshops on advocacy, icebreaker, team-building activities, and mentoring sessions to strengthen cooperation between organizations. Here, CSOs will receive tools to create an advocacy plan (including step-by-step guidelines).
Another task mentioned by the organizers is developing an actual advocacy campaign, carried out by the mentee organization putting its training into practice. They will create it together with mentors. At the end of the program, participants will summarize and present their own research. The value of the project will also lie in the cooperation of public activists.
“Another task of the Program is to form a community. We are convinced that we will help build networks between experienced civil society organizations and those that are developing and can grow into sustainable projects,” said Olesia Kholopik.
For a journal of information about mentors and mentors, see the link.
The Mentorship Program is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) within the Ukraine Civil Society Sectoral Support Activity implemented by Initiative Center to Support Social Action “Ednannia” in partnership with the Ukrainian Center for Independent Political Research (UCIPR) and the Centre for Democracy and Rule of Law (CEDEM).