Last week was very engaging and productive for WBYCP. With the support of Hanns Seidel Stiftung and together with the WBYCP partners and young representatives from the region, we held an Online Capacity Building Program with the primary focus on youth advocacy. The main organizer of the event was Cooperation and Development Institute (CDI), which also facilitated the whole process.
This programme followed the last year initiative "Through Youth Lens" and its final policy paper and recommendations to address the top pressing issues related to youth employability, education and participation in the Western Balkans. To prepare this paper, WBYCP partners made a large consultation with youth led organisations working in local level aiming to build an evidenced based youth action in the WB region. To ensure effective actions, WBYCP focused the Online Capacity Buiding Programme on: organizational management, teambuilding, strategic planning, fundraising, negotiation & lobby skills, communication, social media and digitalization.
Ms. Aleksandra Gligorovic, the trainer and co-moderator of the program, organised an interactive training to fulfill the needs of participants by inviting several guest speakers and utilizing the latest digital software and tools. The whole week was divided in eight webinars, each with a specific topic. During this period, participants had the chance to work in small groups and to pave the way for National and Regional Advocacy Plans targeting youth education, employment and participation.
The first webinar "WBYCP and US" was dedicated to the strengthening the networking and team building among members. The guest speakers Mr. Klaus Fiesinger, the Regional Director of Southeastern Europe of Hanns-Seidel Foundation and Krisela Hackaj, the Executive Director of Cooperation and Development Institute made the opening remarks highlighting their support and continuous cooperation in regional initiatives, and also the importance of the promotion of bottom-up youth led initiatives.
The second session "Networks and Coalitions" was focused on the importance and benefits of networks in youth work. It also highlighted the difference between types of cooperation such as: coalitions, alliances and networks. An important intervention was made by Ms. Mirela Rajkovic, the Executive Director of South East European Youth Network, which shared her long experience in this field and provided some tips and advices for the group.
The third webinar "Advocacy Steps and Strategic Planning" was focused on the steps of advocacy campaign and on how to build and advocacy strategy. As a speaker was invited Lidja Brnovic, expert on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), which shared several relevant documents, bringing to attention the monitoring process and increased accountability.
The following webinar "Formulating Message and Selection of Communication Channels" was of huge importance as one of the key steps for an effective advocacy campaign. A detailed analysis of different communication channels was done in order to understand which is the most relevant and effective. Social media and digitalization was an unavoidable part of the discussion, especially considering the distance of our work and special circumstances as the one created by COVID-19 spread during this year.
The second module of the training consisted of four webinars, three guest speakers and interactive group work. More focus was put to the drafting of National Advocacy Plans as the first step of the upcoming planned actions.
The fifth webinar "Creating Advocacy Plan" provided a detailed package on how to develop a successful campaign including steps and templates to the group. The last part of this session was more practical. The participants were divided in three main groups and generated the first ideas of the National and Regional Advocacy Plans.
The sixth webinar "Negotiation and lobby skills - Advocacy tips and tricks" aimed to increase the knowledge on negotiation and lobby especially toward public institutions. Two important interventions were done by: Ms. Daniela Vujosevic, representative form the Directorate of Youth in the Ministry of Sports and Youth of Montenegro and Mrs. Jelena Miljanic from the UN office in Montenegro. The speakers provided extra materials and information from everyday work and generated a lively discussion among the group answering all the questions coming from the participants representatives.
Following the work of previous sessions, the webinar 7 "Presentation of assignment - Results of Creating Advocacy Plan" was leaded by youth representatives leaving an open floor for them to speak and share their ideas, to take and give feedback and to get the support and advices of the trainer.
The last webinar, titled "Organizational Development and Sustainability" was developed to provide tips and strategies focused more on planning and fundraising. Mrs. Tanja Bjelanovic, from EU TACSO was the last speaker which concluded the capacity building program by sharing her experience with the group.
The work on the six national advocacy initiatives and regional advocacy plan will continue and we will update you in the upcoming weeks.