Program aims and expected outcomes
The local CSOs empowerment program (Social leaders program) is aimed to provide targeted capacity-building support for local leaders in Lithuanian regions, thus ensuring effective outreach of the ACF to small local CSOs working in the under-served geographic areas and with vulnerable groups.
The Program offers to its participants a long-term learning process (12 months) accompanied by mentoring and individual counseling activities aimed at enabling participants to become agents of change in their communities.
From a longer-term perspective, the PDP aims to lead to a strengthened CSO sector at the local level, empowering smaller organizations to implement their missions and become essential partners in the public policy decision-making processes at a local level. Adapting tools and strategies widely used in social entrepreneurship organizations (e.g., incubation of the ideas, coaching, mentoring, etc.), leadership and active engagement of CSOs’ members into the development and implementation of the CSOs enhancement strategies will be encouraged.
It is planned that 90 non-governmental organizations will strengthen their capacities; 30 organizations will develop and test social leadership plans for CSO/community strengthening, and 30 – plans for CSO development and long-term sustainability. The project will be implemented in two rounds (February 2020 – August 2021 and August 2021 – February 2023). Each round will have four phases.
Pre-selection of participants. Two rounds of open call (2020 and 2021) will be announced, each aiming at the selection of 45 participants. Priority will be given to the participation of young people/leaders of youth NGOs and candidates coming from the under-served geographical areas (e.g., rural areas; areas with a high concentration of national minorities) or target groups (e.g., representatives of national minority) or those working with social inclusion and vulnerable groups.
Intensive training course (3-4 days) that combines situation analysis, identification of change expected and learning needs and training inputs on cause-effect analysis, a theory of change, financial sustainability, marketing, and communication, etc. Design thinking and social business canvas patterns will also be employed. This training shall also serve as the final participants’ recruitment for the next phase of the Program: out of 45 participants, 30 will be selected for the next phase.
Selected participants will be able to choose between two capacity-building options - “Social leaders development program” and “Incubation program”:
Local social leader development program aims at enhancing participants’ capacities to be the innovative leaders of change within their local CSOs and local communities. The long-term Program will be composed of the series of regional thematic workshops, training modules, practical strategy building addressing the topics of human resource and process management, teamwork, social innovation, networking, income diversification and participation in the public policy, including advocacy, inter-sectoral cooperation, etc. After accomplishing this Program, each participant will have a social leadership plan for his/her CSO/community strengthening prepared.
Representatives of small CSOs, especially those working with social inclusion and vulnerable groups, will attend the Incubation program. The Program will contribute to their organizational development and long-term sustainability. It will consist of regular one-to-one meetings, tailor-made training and working sessions guiding and supporting them in their organizational development, developing and following their theory of change plan as well as advising on additional measures to raise funds, establish new partnerships (public/private), develop innovative products/services and engage citizens. After accomplishing this Program, each participant will have CSO development and long-term sustainability plan prepared.
Follow-up/evaluation meeting with participants to reflect/provide feedback on the process and quality of the Program, results achieved by the participants, changes in the organizations introduced, and prognostic impact of these changes.
Impact of the Program
The local CSOs empowerment program will be specific and tailored to the needs of the target groups according to their operational scope and current level of development. The expected outcome is enhanced competencies necessary for individual, organizational development, and thereby strengthened organizational capacity. It is anticipated that this long-term Program will contribute to the capacity building of leaders and active members of local CSOs, will provide them with knowledge, know-how and tools, that could ensure the effective functioning of the organization in the future.
This Program also seeks partnership among civil society organizations, local business and public institutions. It is expected that cross-sectorial cooperation would go beyond the frame of this Program, thus ensuring the sustainability of this innovative model.