It’s been one year since members proposed to work more closely at the project-country level, extending the benefits experienced as members of EU-CORD beyond the confines of Europe.
At the ‘Funding and Partnerships’ Forum in November 2022, a review of the in-country forums took place where each forum had the opportunity to share what had happened, what worked for them and advice they would give others.
Here are six learnings (of the many identified) that we are sharing in this article:
- Don’t underestimate the importance of getting to know each other and building trust through informal gatherings – some of the most successful groups bonded around samosa and chai.
- Invest time in understanding each organisation’s activities and programme direction. Some have used workshop meetings to explore common strengths, opportunities and areas of convergent specialisms and mutual interest. These have included shared thematic areas, mutual interest in certain donors and advocacy.
- Having someone to champion the start-up of each forum has been significant and having a coordinator to act as a contact point helps to keep the group moving forward.
- Support from the Head Office is a key contributor to success in encouraging people to participate in the meetings and supporting follow-up actions.
- All the groups have different needs. Identify what adds value in your context and work with people who buy into the shared vision. What success looks like for one forum might be very different for another.
While each of the Forums is on its own journey, everyone agreed that the strength of all is so much greater than the impact of any single agency working alone. We pray and hope that all be further encouraged, make new friends, and find inspiration and ideas to help shape initiatives in the future. Hopefully, new forum groups will come together where members work in the same country.
In 2023, support for the In-Country forums will remain a key objective for the network. Many of our activities, including review of funding trends and EU grant capacity building workshops, will be tailored to support these In-Country initiatives.
If you are an EU-CORD member and want to know more about this initiative, please contact the EU-CORD Secretariat. If you are not a member – but think you may be interested – look at our criteria for membership: https://www.eu-cord.org/about-us/join-us/