Final workshop of the project incubator on Ukrainian EU association completed – project groups are ready to implement!

In order to ensure and strengthen civil society partic­i­pation in the Ukrainian EU associ­ation process, the Institut für Europäische Politik (IEP) has developed a ‘Civic School for Sound EU Practice’ (CiSEP), a training programme that trains repre­sen­ta­tives of civil society organi­za­tions in EU associ­ation issues as multi­pliers and critical voices within the reform and monitoring process.

In October 2019, the project incubator started as part of the latest CiSEP project phase with the aim of supporting alumni in devel­oping and imple­menting promising project ideas. For six months, the CiSEP project incubator guided alumni project groups step by step on their way from the first idea to a final concept and action plan. The training series, which took place in October 2019 in Chernihiv and in December 2019 and March 2020 in Odessa, lasting three consec­utive days each, themat­i­cally linked previous trainings.

Five project groups had been selected for the incubator — all of them working on highly relevant and diverse EU associ­ation topics, ranging from food safety, data protection, and intel­lectual property, to regional and sustainable community devel­opment. During the workshops the project groups received expert input on central aspects of project management. This guided them through the whole process of project devel­opment – from the first idea to a well-planned project ready for imple­men­tation. In addition, they received tailored advice regarding the speci­ficities of their projects at all stages of their work. Most impor­tantly, the workshops also provided the groups with the oppor­tunity to work together in a face-to-face setting, giving their often dispersed living members time and space to concen­trate on their projects while at the same time being in a supportive profes­sional environment. Between the workshop phases, the project groups received technical and method­ological mentoring with regards to objective setting, activity planning, and budgeting, as well as monitoring and risk assessment.

During the third and final workshop, which took place in Odessa from 9 to 11 March 2020, the partic­i­pants finalised the conceptual and strategic aspects of their projects by planning the imple­men­tation of their project using a detailed work plan matrix. They also prepared their monitoring and contin­gency plans to make sure they will stay on track, even in the face of adver­sities and unforeseen circum­stances. Being well-equipped to take their projects to the next level, they spent the last day and a half of the workshop drafting their commu­ni­cation strategies to reach out to their target audiences and relevant stake­holders. After six months of intensive prepa­ration, the projects are now ready to be imple­mented and the groups are eager to get started. To ensure the successful realization of their plans, the groups will now also receive the micro-grants as seed funding for their activ­ities. During the imple­men­tation phase, which is starting now until mid-May, the groups will continue to receive on-going support by the CiSEP team and the local partners and experts where needed.

The CiSEP project incubator series is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office and is imple­mented in cooper­ation with the Polissya Foundation for Inter­na­tional and Regional Studies (PFIRS) and the Odessa Regional Agency for Recon­struction and Devel­opment (ORARD).