EPF Capacity Building during COVID-19

April 2020

Every year, EPF offers a variety of learning opportunities to its members and the European patient community at large.

At the beginning of this year, EPF launched the 2020 edition of its Empowering Leadership and Positive Governance Module as well as the third year of the Summer Training Course for Young Patients Advocates (STYPA). Both capacity building modules have an online and in person component.

The COVID-19 health crisis has put us, and many organisations, in the position of deciding to postpone or abstain from offering learning opportunities or be creative and find a way of digitalising the courses without compromising the quality and cutting on the vital human/peer learning dimension that is a key element of our offer. Being EPF we decided to take on the challenge!

Despite the setback, the Empowering Leadership and Positive Governance module was organised by EPF and the trainers (Your Ideas Matter) into a very successful first online 2-day training, focusing on:

  • Principles of effective leadership
  • Motivation and engagement of volunteers and board members
  • Internal and External Communication. Special focus on Team, Members and Stakeholder
  • Managing a patient organisation during COVID19
  • Leaders and volunteers’ Mental health

Participants are now developing their leadership project and participating in one-to-one coaching sessions, which will happen once a month for the next six months. We hope to be able to meet and harvest the fruits of their collective and hard work during the final face-to-face training to take place in Brussels at the end of September.

You can find here the EPF toolkit on Empowering Leadership and Positive Governance if you would like to improve your leadership skills.

Concerning the EPF Summer Training for Young Patients Advocates (STYPA), we decided to turn the whole programme into an online training. This is a great challenge, but also a great opportunity as it will allow us to increase the number of participants hence providing a greater opportunity to offer professional training to a wider net of young advocates.

The online webinars and gathering will commence in May and last until the end of October 2020. The sessions will alternate between intense and mild periods of group/personal work. Following a phase where participants will become more familiar with the advocacy work at national and European level, they will be split into teams to develop their advocacy projects following a system of challenges and rewards.

These are challenging times for patients and patient organisations. EPF has the duty and the power to stand strong and continue providing essential and high-quality training to its members and future generations of patient leaders, despites the challenges.

We are very grateful of all the IT tools that are out there that allow us to deliver high-quality, accessible learning opportunities despite the geographical challenges. We are also very lucky of working with amazing trainers (Your Ideas Matter and People.Dialogue.Change) and colleagues for whom a challenge is just another opportunity to experiment something new!