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PCU awarded a Visegrad grant to develop a programme for NGO communities

by Larissa Petryca, on 16 November 2023 13:54:07 CET

Prague City University, in partnership with the Centre for International Relations Foundation in Poland, the Ukrainian Center of the Future in Ukraine, and the Ukrainian House Žilina in Slovakia have won a grant from the Visegrad Fund for a collaborative project aimed at providing support to non-governmental organisation (NGO) communities.

Visegrad Four (V4)

The Visegrad grant is supported by the Visegrad Four (V4) countries, which consists of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia. These countries have a shared history of cooperation, particularly in their efforts to join the European Union in 2004. They continue to collaborate on various initiatives that promote democratic values, transparency, safety and economic cooperation.

Dr Bruce Gahir, Dr Marek Merhaut, Dr Stefano Cavagnetto and Peter Howe
Dr Bruce Gahir, Dr Marek Merhaut, Dr Stefano Cavagnetto and Peter Howe

Building International Bridges

Russian aggression has had a significant impact on various sectors in Ukraine, as well as the economies of European countries, particularly those in the neighbouring Visegrad Group. While the government handles most of these issues, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) also play a crucial role in addressing them as well.

Research shows that the war has amplified the challenges that NGOs had previously faced. These difficulties include obstacles in forming successful partnerships, obtaining financial support, coordinating team efforts, and effectively engaging with other organisations. The project organisers believe that it is essential to begin collaboration between Ukrainian and European NGOs by providing them with expert knowledge, educational assistance, and a connected communication platform, especially now that Ukraine has been accepted as an EU candidate.

Skills Programme for NGO’s

PCU will participate along with the other three partners in developing a collaborative skills development programme as part of the project. The programme will focus on integrating participants and will contribute to the overall goal by establishing a platform for cooperation among non-governmental organisations.

NGO employees will receive training on:

  • ways to improve activities
  • team & time management
  • obtaining grants
  • collaboration within a team
  • maintaining psychological health in times of uncertainty
  • crisis management
  • effective communication and appropriate platforms

The skills building programme aims to transfer knowledge and enhance understanding of the culture and working methods of NGOs from various countries, opening up new perspectives and opportunities for participants.

Connecting Visegrad NGOs

Moreover, implementing a chat-bot on the project webpage will further facilitate collaboration between NGOs and extend the learning to international communities, linking participants to professional networks that they can use for the benefit of the NGO they work for.

In this networking phase of the project, PCU will be contributing to its promotion and the creation of a database of participants by engaging with Czech NGOs supporting and working with Ukraine.

Academic Involvement

School of Business lecturers, Stefano Cavagnetto, Bruce Gahir and Marek Merhaut are involved in designing and delivering skill-building sessions for NGOs in the areas of economic strategy, and effective business strategy during times of crisis. The academic team will also participate in two international panel discussions on Media Literacy: NGO’s role in combating fakes and manipulation, and Communication and negotiation in time of crisis: new challenges and best practices. They will also conduct a 4 hour workshop on negotiation and communication in times of crisis that will be held in Warsaw in 2024.

Building collaboration among the V4 countries

The project aims not only to enhance the competence of NGO representatives but also to foster stronger friendship and cooperation between the countries of the Visegrad Group and Ukraine. With the increasing polarisation of European Union society, it is time for joint action, joint vision and joint pursuits.

Future Plans

After completion of the project, the group plan to organise a second edition on a more extensive scale comprised of three training groups:

  • NGOs
  • Local Government Officials
  • Entrepreneurs

This will make it easier to establish new connections and share experiences with representatives of other countries. It will also provide the chance to gain fresh insights and knowledge. Together, the group aims to enhance the work of non-governmental organisations, which play a fundamental role in a democratic society.

Topics:Academic PartnersResearch & Creative PracticeGlobal EngagementSchool of Business