May we introduce? The „Civic Initiative for Sound EU Practice“ is a network of CiSEP alumni, who in the last five years passed through the EU association training programme for active Ukrainian citizens and under its new name will go on to pool its competencies and use the potentials of cooperation for the further EU integration of the country and their regions.
While the CiSEP project is coming to an end, the participants of the network- and organisational development workshops are continuing to work on the formalisation of their network. The final conference „Shaping It Together: Our Future, Our Community, Our Responsibility“, that took place in June 2020, marks the as of yet highlight of the process. The 4‑day event provided the necessary framework to actively and efficiently think about the future of the network. Successfully so, as the statute and the strategic goals were accepted by the participants with one consent. Moreover, they elected the member of an interim initiative group, which in the upcoming months will introduce and delegate the first administrative steps.
It was a work-intensive path until the networks’s official hour of birth. While during the first two meetings fundamental questions concerning the motivation and the theory of network development were at the fore, the third workshop was very output-driven — the participants elaborated first drafts of the vision and mission and the network structure, analysed target groups and thought about the network’s products and services. Goran Bubalo, director of the „Network for Building Peace“ in Sarajevo accompanied the workshop as an expert and shared his wealth of experience from over 20 years of network development in the Western Balkans.
The process was halted by the breakout of the COVID-19 pandemic, but continued after the successful transition to an online format in the beginning of May. In the course of 20 virtual workshops, the participants worked out a strategic plan for 2020–2022. Fundamental questions regarding the formal organisation, structure and the registration of the network, resurfaced time after time and had to be renegotiated. During the online meetings the necessity of a stakeholder analysis became apparent and made further adjustments indispensible. Network development is a lenghty process, which did not end with the successful voting on the founding documents. The upcoming virtual sessions will revolve around fundraising strategy as well as internal and external communication. Impartial of project funds, certain administrative structures must remain in force and be financed. At the same time, the network has to communicate effectively in order to become THE voice of Ukrainian civil society in regard to questions related to the EU association of Ukraine. The question on how to make the network sustainable is the most pressing one to answer — in order to successfully implement planned activities and to accompany Ukraine’s EU association process as civil society.
We wish the network great success and look forward to the realization of their future ideas and projects!