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EPF Capacity Building Programme: first assessment

As the EPF Capacity Building Programme (2012-2014) concludes its first year of operation, EPF takes stock of the progress with initial assessment of the outcomes.  National-level patient organisations from Romania completed the programme’s first phase which aimed at developing a strategic plan and undertaking a comprehensive organisational capacity assessment. EPF implemented the strategic planning process with 10 organisations in Romania, including our member COPAC, the national patients’ coalition in Romania. They consisted of large well-staffed and resourced patient groups such as MS Society and UNOPA, but also very small organisations which are still at their early stage of development.

All together they consolidated the environmental analysis, agreed on key challenges, brainstormed and developed the vision, mission, and value, and worked out all strategic goals with associated key action fields. “It is surprising to see how many things we need to do to fulfil our mission”, reacted one representative.

For most of the organisations, planning strategically was a novelty. For others it was an excellent opportunity to review the strategy taking into account what they have achieved since the adoption of the previous one, as well as changing external environment.

As for the needs assessment part, the participants identified as a priority the need for a first annual operational plan to implement the strategic plan. Other most urgent training needs for all organisations are fundraising, advocacy, communication and public relations.

“After completion of this first phase, several participants mentioned that this programme has brought patients’ organisations in Romania to another level. It helped them to be more professionals and to be seen as such externally - they are gaining more recognition as equal partners in healthcare by policy makers and other health stakeholders” concluded Walter Atzori, EPF Senior Programme Officer.

In total 20 patient organisations from Hungary and Romania and five pan-European disease-specific patient organisations started taking part in the programme in 2012. Drawing on the outcomes of the first phase of the programme, training modules will be provided in local languages to the various organisations in 2013 and 2014. Bulgaria, Poland and Slovakia joined the programme in 2013.

For more information, please contact either Walter Atzori, Senior Programme Officer, at walter.atzori@eu-patient.eu or Liuska Sanna, EPF Programme Manager, at liuska.sanna@eu-patient.eu.