The program as a whole aims to nurture social change in local communities by supporting local community leaders as the drivers of such change. Thus, although local communities are our end target, our approach is based on working with local community leaders. Specifically, we will concentrate on developing their knowledge, skills and attitudes and giving them opportunities to reflect on their values and other aspects of personal development relevant to their work as local community leaders. Networking among local community leaders within the Central and Eastern European region will be another important component of the program. Finally, to strengthen the program’s impact on the local community and facilitate transfer of experience and competences, we will invite another team member to take part in the final meeting. For the same purpose we also open the call to a small number of participants from Western European countries.
The vision of the program is a CEE region with resilient local communities, in which residents are actively involved in community affairs.
The overall program aim is to strengthen local communities in the CEE region by supporting community leaders and local communities themselves in their efforts to make tangible positive changes at the local level which make use of existing community assets.
The program will work with leaders of local community-based initiatives from selected CEE countries. The leaders may be engaged in local initiatives or organizations or work with local public institutions such as libraries, galleries, etc., municipalities or social enterprises. We are looking for people who:
are able and motivated to take part in the entire program
have been engaged in local community work for at least 2 years
have high impact potential working for an explicitly formulated social change through their local community
are willing to take initiative and are ready to accept responsibility for their own professional and personal development
are highly motivated tomake positive changes in their local communities on a long-term basis
are ready to involve another member of their team in the program
are able to communicate in English in both written and spoken form (at least B2 level).
By a local community, we mean a group of people living in a geographically defined area (e.g. village, small town, city district, neighbourhood, etc.) that includes diverse people with diverse interests, lives and ages. In this understanding of a local community, people can develop personal face-to-face relationships and work together on tangible projects , in the “real” world.
The program is not designed to work with leaders of these types of communities: ad-hoc (e.g. festivals or gatherings), virtual (esp. online communities) and geographically dispersed (i.e., beyond the scope of a city), issue-based (i.e. working only on a specific issue such as the environment, healthcare or handicrafts) or interest-based (i.e. homogenous communities with interests, focused on a specific target group – i.e. young people, LGBT, minorities).
Objectives and basic components of ViabilityNet 3.0
The program’s specific objectives for local community leaders’ focus on development of competences (knowledge, skills and attitudes) while the objectives for local communities are two-fold: some of them are more project-based and serve the development of the local community, others are more learning-based and support the development of local community leaders and team members invited to take part in the program. For a detailed overview of objectives, please see the ViabilityNet website.
There are three topic areas that we will work with during the ViabilityNet 3.0 program to achieve these goals:
What are local communities: Perception of community and identity, local resources, power, wider community context, sustainability
How to be a local community leader: leadership style, personal capacity and work-life balance, working with a team, values and attitudes
How to work with local communities: Participatory approaches, motivation, transfer of competences to team members, communication, negotiation with different stakeholders, impact assessment, project management
The first cycle of the program was launched in August 2017 and will finish in June 2018. The second one starts in August 2018 and will finish in July 2019.
What will you gain from the program?
4 meetings to help you focus on what it means to be a local leader and to provide you with the competences to do so
4 site visits incorporated into the meetings to visit local communities in the CEE region
Grant of 60,000 CZK (approximately 2,300 EUR) to support further development and practice within the program
Travel grant for meetings covering 70% of the real expenses
Mentor for the duration of the program
Involvement and development of another team member
On-line resources related to the program topics
Overall time required: 21 days for meetings (excluding travel days) + 8 days of individual learning at home over the course of the program + variable number of days for implementation of your community project.
Meetings (4 x 5-6 days)
Participants will attend 4 international meetings designed to provide space for reflection and learning. The meetings will focus on key topics related to the role of a local community leader and to community development. Each meeting will include a site visit – i.e. visiting a local community that offers a specific approach and/or experience to learn from. In addition to the site visit, the meetings will include aspects of theory, reflection and skills training. We will base our work on the principles of non-formal education, also using different experiential exercises and the approach of learning by doing as well as sharing experiences among participants. Experts will also be invited to tackle specific topics relating to community work and to bring additional inspiration.
For the 4th meeting, in addition to the participants, a second member of each participant’s local community team will be invited. There will be specific themes to discover during the meeting so both the local community leaders already involved in the program and the first-time team members will be able to benefit and together strengthen the impact in their local community.
Each participant will receive a grant (60,000 CZK – approx. 2,300 EUR) expendable on a project that corresponds with the vision of his/her local community and ViabilityNet 3.0. For more information please see the Community Project Guidelines.
The grants are intended as additional resources for the testing and development of new approaches to strengthen the local community’s capability to achieve positive social change. In addition, the project should facilitate the participant’s further professional development through practice and incorporate what participants learn in the program.
TECHNICAL PARAMETERS OF VIABILITYNET
We will primarily seek participants from CEE countries, with the exception of Russia and Belarus.
To bring a greater variety of experiences into the group, we would also like to invite 2-3 participants from Western European countries. Eligible countries: Portugal, Spain, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Sweden,Finland, Norway, Switzerland, Austria
Affiliation with an organization
Participation in the program requires affiliation with a legal entity (such as a non-governmental non-for-profit organization, public institution, etc.) because grants within this program cannot be given to individuals. The organization must be able and willing to receive the community project grant on behalf of the participant and allow him or her to disburse the funding as required. Affiliation for the purposes of ViabilityNet does not mean that the participant must be an employee, member or an elected official of the organization. However, we do recommend that participants are well acquainted with how the organization works.
Confirmation of the affiliate organization’s bank account (a bank-issued document proving ownership or a copy of the contract indicating the organization’s name and account details – including the IBAN and SWIFT)
Proof of registration of the affiliate organization with a national authority (a print-out from an online registry is sufficient)
The selection consists of two rounds.
The first round is based on evaluation of the applications by a selection committee composed of Via Foundation staff and partnering organizations’ staff. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to the second round.
The second round consists of Skype interviews. Candidates selected to participate in the program will then be asked to complete a more detailed project proposal (see the Community Project Guidelines).
engaged in grassroots (local) community work for at least 2 years
Clear commitment and ability to take part in all ViabilityNet events in their full duration
Ability to bring another team member to one of the meetings
Agreement with an affiliate organization
Good level of English (B2)
Neither themselves nor another member of their organization have taken part in ViabilityNet Program before
Further criteria for selection are based on the quality of the application including the personal and local community elements of it. The country of residence is not an elementary formal selection criterion.
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