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April 2015

Picture: CBP training on strategic communications © EPF

EPF CAPACITY BUILDING PROGRAMME: BUILDING THE CAPACITY OF PATIENT ORGANISATIONS IN EUROPE

2015 showed real advances within the EPF Capacity Building Programme. Strategic and operational plans were finalised and new training modules have been launched in participating countries and for our European members. An evaluation of the programme was also carried out and its outcomes were used to reflect on the training achievements and approaches used, to strengthen the programme activities and impact.

The Capacity Building Programme (CBP) was launched in 2012 to support the development of organisational capacities and advocacy skills of national and European patient organisations. In 2015 training modules on fundraising and communication were rolled-out in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia, and a training module was organised for European members. In Cyprus, we facilitated the development of the first strategic and operational plan of our Cypriot member.

March and April provided a key opportunity to reflect on the gains of the programme and to plan activities in 2015 and beyond. An evaluation of the strategic and operational planning modules implemented across the participating countries was carried out. Focus groups were conducted with participating organisations, to collect their feedback on the programme activities and to assess the approaches used to delive the training. Feedback from the local experts contributing to the programme activities was also sought.

Participating organisations welcomed the programme activities and acknowledge the benefits of the CBP to their organisations. In Romania, a participant noted that ‘before we were very disorganised and we would talk about our activities for hours. Now I remind my co-workers about how we worked with FDSC [local experts providing the training in Romania] and when we discuss work we do it with our feet on the ground, we are more realistic, focused and outcome oriented. The operational plan moved us towards monitoring and evaluation for the first time’.

The feedback received from participants paved the way for developing hands-on training modules on communication and fundraising, as well as new training modules, to increasingly meet participants’ needs. Future training modules will promote a more hands-on practical approach to the training, providing participants with an opportunity not only to develop strategies for their organisations but also to work on a project of their choice. This will allow participants to put into practice the knowledge acquired during the training, as well as to learn from others experiences and practices.

In Hungary, Romania and Slovakia a thematic training module on fundraising is currently being implemented. In Bulgaria, the focus is on strategic communication, which reflected the focus of our second thematic training module for European members. The new training modules offer participants the opportunity to meet, exchange good practices and network, as this was considered to be an important element of the CBP activities. As mentioned by a participant in the focus group in Hungary ‘we learnt how to do it [developing fundraising plans] in a professional manner. It was also important to meet other leaders and the networking is very helpful’.

In 2016 the programme will continue to build on the learning and experiences of participating organisations. Activities will continue to provide organisations with opportunities to strengthen their capacity on specific areas of work, as well as to strengthen networks at local and European level. “It is always nice to exchange experiences and help each other out, because we are all trying to achieve great things for our organisations”, commented Lore Dupont from the Flemish Patients’ Platform after the communication training for European organisations.

Contact: Walter Atzori, EPF Director of Programmes and Operations, walter.atzori@eu-patient.eu