EPF continues strengthening patient organisations in Hungary and Poland


In October, EPF concluded the fourth module of its Capacity Building Programme in Hungary and its first module in Poland. In Hungary, eight organisations developed their communication strategies, while 18 Polish organisations received tailored support on developing their strategic plans.

Launched in 2012, the EPF Capacity Building Programme is designed to develop the capacity of both national and European level patient organisations through various training modules. At the moment, the programme is being deployed in Romania, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Poland.

Focus on Hungary

The training module on strategic communication is the fourth training module offered to Hungarian patient organisations as part of the EPF Capacity Building Programme. It follows on the strategic and operational planning module (2013 and 2014 respectively) and the first thematic training on fundraising (2015).

The overall objective of the training was to strengthen the capacity of eight participating organisations in the area of strategic communication, with the view to enable these organisations to create long-term communications planning and tools and achieve better visibility and sustainability.

Thanks to the capacity building module, the participating organisations were able to:

  • acquire knowledge on internal and external communications;
  • design or upgrade their communications strategies and plans;
  • enhance visibility at national and international level with communications tools;
  • identify communication approaches that best suit the organisation.

Raising the profile of Hungarian patient organisations

Thanks to this training, the Hungarian Celiac Society launched in early November a new, modern, easy to navigate website.

The Hungarian Federation of Rare and Congenital Diseases (HUFERDIS) organised a campaign to raise awareness of the challenges and difficult life conditions faced by Hungarian rare disease patients and their families, and to inform about the possibility of calling HUFERDIS helpline. Thanks to the campaign the number of phone calls increase of 80% in few months. At the same time, the organisation also worked on a communication campaign called “the rare disease of the month”, and produced posters, such as the one below:

The module proved to be highly useful for all the participating organisations, who highlighted the importance and value of being able to share experiences with fellow patient organisations.

Focus on Poland

Poland is the last country to have joined the EPF Capacity Building Programme. In March 2017, the first learning module was launched to support the participating organisations in:

  • developing a sustainability strategy (2-3 year-long) and plans that best suit the organisations’ capacities, priorities and resources, as well as the demands from the external environment;
  • implementing their sustainability plans, and/or specific mini-projects, using the skills and techniques learned during the training.

Thanks to the tailored approach of EPF Capacity Building Programme, the participating organisations could maximise the value of the module focusing on what it was most needed for their organisations. Some of them focused on the creation of a strategic plan and or implementation plan, membership recruitment and members’ activation, team building/ internal communications, negotiations skills, strategic communications.

Fostering a collaborative culture

During the course of this very practical module, organisations had to engage in a large number of practical activities: this contributed to enhance the organisations’ entrepreneurial and collaborative spirit. Beyond the intended outcomes of the training, the module also improved the collaborative culture of the community: “through the various face-to-face meetings, a trust-building process was initiated among patient organisations”, said Elena Balestra, EPF Membership & Capacity-Building Officer. Working together within the module also led them to take stock of  the added value of collaborating with the Federation of Polish Patients (FPP), EPF member and Polish national coalition. A detailed view on the progress made by each participating organisation can be found here.

As for the next steps, we are currently revisiting our current capacity building programme and developing new formats.

If you would like to know more about what is happening in each country, have a look at our website: (http://www.eu-patient.eu/whatwedo/capacity-building-programme/).

Contact person: Elena Balestra, Membership and Capacity Building Officer: elena.balestra@eu-patient.eu