“We can begin changing things…”: The 2017 Guide Program through the eyes of our participants

Our 2017 Guide Program, part of our Viadukt program, encompassed a series of learning workshops for people working on community projects. Some of the partipants wanted to learn how to start their community projects effectively. Others were looking for new ideas and inspiration to help them continue their work.

14 individuals attended 9 workshops from January to September that were focused on various aspects of community work, including the legal, financial and organizational aspects of setting up a non-profit organization as well as strategic planning, project management, working with volunteers, teamwork, fundraising and financing.

The workshops were led by lecturers with many years of practical experience in the given topics and experience in sharing them with others. The one-day workshops combined the theoretical underpinnings with examples from professional exprience and gave participants opportunities to try out the learning first-hand.

Participants’ responses to what they learned

“The Guide Program helped us start motivating each other as a team and we found that it really works. The small things are most important. We learned that you have to start with the little things, because you can’t change the big things overnight. But we can start changing things here at Palacky University, then in the city of Olomouc, then maybe at the regional level and then we’ll see what happens next,” Martina L., Sustainable Palacký student initiative

“The Guide Program rid me of my naive illusions about how things were going to work. Now I have a manual to guide me and that’s what I follow. It is a slower process than I thought it would be but nonetheless my project is gradually taking off. We just started working with two schools and they’re thrilled that we initiated something with them. We’re talking about what else they could do and they are excited and thankful – even though we are really adding to their workload,”.

Since its inception in 2014, the Viadukt program has provided systematic learning opportunities to 97 people from the non-profit sector.

In 2018 Via Foundation will introduce a new learning concept. Based on feedback from our grantees, we have developed a complex system of learning and development support that will enable participants to gradually grow in their community engagement work and their ability to do it meaningfully.

We will offer a spectrum of activities designed for various target groups, from people just starting a community initiative to people who are the matadors of community engagement in their areas. We will offer various formats, including a community festival to regional meetings (Via Café) and short-term options (study visits, workshops and seminars) and long-term learning opportunities as well as individual support to selected community leaders.