Why civil society organizations established in the times of war need mentors

December 15, 2022

What are the specifics of organizations that emerged after February 24, 2022? And is it time for the teams that have come together to overcome the challenges of war to seek mentor support and think about organizational development?

Olena Matviichuk, Organizational Development Expert and Coordinator of the CEDEM Mentorship Program, talked about how mentors can help civil society organizations that started working after the full-scale invasion.

What is the specificity of CSOs established in the context of the full-scale invasion? 

Civil society organizations that have been created in the context of the full-scale invasion are primarily organizations that have responded quickly to challenges. 

“Mostly these are those who already had some experience in volunteering or some team interaction, had contacts and the opportunity to quickly respond to the challenges we encountered,” says Olena Matviichuk.

According to her, first of all we are talking about relocation, evacuation, assistance to the military and civilians. 

“Here we should not talk about CSOs in the form of NGOs with a long-term activity strategy. It is important to emphasize that now the NGOs which were established and legally registered in the context of the challenge play more of a role of a tool to achieve specific tactical goals related to the war. This is neither good nor bad, just a fact we need to factor in.”

What kind of competencies can be developed with the support of mentors? 

Olena Matviichuk is convinced: It’s worth distinguishing between organizations that were established in the context of war, and those that added new areas of activity due to the needs caused by the full-scale invasion.

According to her, the competences of mentors that can come in handy are, first of all, setting up work, systematization, assistance in repurposing or in generally seeing a point of growth.

“Our mentors are organizations that have also responded very quickly to the challenges of the full-scale invasion. But since they have a lot of experience and knowledge, they stabilized their activities quite quickly. Therefore, it is quite likely that mentoring support may be not only about the development or the issue of advocacy capacity, fundraising, gender-inclusive approach, but also about setting up work within the team,” explains the coordinator of the Mentorship Program. 

In the new environment, many organizations have sprawled because of the corresponding needs, and some organizations have increased the number of employees. 

“Obviously, previous management processes or solutions may not work now,” says Ms. Olena. “It is important to think about which management solutions can help, on the one hand, to streamline work, to set it up, and on the other hand, to make it more efficient, so as not to lose people and give them the opportunity for development.”

And these are the goals that organizations can achieve, for example, as participants in the Mentorship Program 4.0.

How and where can we find a mentor for the organization?

Previously, we discussed about how to determine who an organization needs – a mentor or a coach.

If the organization has decided to seek mentoring support, Olena Matviichuk advises to contact mentors who have received training during three previous Mentorship Programs

Mentorship Program 3.0 officially started on February 23, 2022, ran for 7 months as planned, and ended. We rebooted it in the face of the full-scale invasion, so all of our mentors had dual objectives and they all met those objectives.” 

In the Mentorship Program, to strengthen advocacy and other capacities, mentors are organizations that delegate specific people who become mentors. 

“So we have a double effect: On the one hand, the mentee organization gets a specific person to communicate with who has tremendous experience, and on the other hand, it can learn from the entire organization to develop its own future and itself.”

We want to remind you that the enrollment of mentees for this year’s Mentorship Program 4.0 has already started. To participate in the competition you need to fill out a participant’s form by December 17, 2022 (inclusive). Read more here.

The material was prepared by Kseniia Ditchuk

Mentorship Program is implemented as part of the Project Ukraine Civil Society Sectoral Support Activityimplemented by the Initiative Center to Support Social Action “Ednannia” in partnership with the Ukrainian Center for Independent Political Research (UCIPR) and Centre for Democracy and Rule of Law with the sincere support of the American people through United States Agency for International Development.