As a part of its efforts to support the civil society as crucial actors in promoting reforms and democratic changes in the Eastern Partnership region, the European Union’s Eastern Partnership Civil Society Facility – Regional Actions project is launching a new course for leaders of civil society organisations (CSOs).

Objective of the course and target trainee audience

This Digital Competences for CSOs course aims to support CSOs in harnessing the potential of digital technologies to innovate and improve their interaction with their beneficiaries, constituencies and partners, as well as to improve the efficiency of their work and the quality and format of services offered to citizens.

Designed for CSO executives – formal leaders and decision makers from local organisation and communities, the three-module course will help them assess the current level of their organisations’ digital development, identify gaps and areas for improvement, and build the organisations’ development strategies and plan new activities accordingly.  

The Project team is piloting this capacity building course first in three EaP countries – Belarus, Georgia and Ukraine, aiming at leaders of CSOs that can characterise their current level of digital capacities as ‘early intermediate’ and would like to improve it to ‘early / well advanced’. It means that within the course, the participating CSOs will increase their skills from performing simple tasks within an existing set-up and under guidance when needed, to performing different tasks and addressing problems, guiding others and being able to adapt in a complex context.

Leaders of CSOs from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Moldova interested in taking the course may also apply to the current Call for Applications. Shall they meet other eligibility criteria and be selected, they will be invited to attend the face-to-face trainings in one of three hosting countries. However, the interested applicants from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Moldova shall bear in mind that the country-specific content of the course is based on tools, cases and examples from the three pilot countries: Belarus, Georgia and Ukraine.

75 executives of civil society organisations and activists’ groups from the EaP countries will be selected to participate in the course, with the majority of  participants expected to come from the course hosting countries – Belarus, Georgia and Ukraine.

Format, content and timing of the course

This Digital Competences for CSOs course is a blended course: it uses both online and offline capacity building exercises, including an online self-assessment test, three face-to-face workshops, each followed by individual homework and webinars, and online assessment tests.

To achieve the expected level of digital proficiency by the end of the course, participants need to build their competences in five main areas: team collaboration and project management, digital safety and security, online communication, work with beneficiaries and other stakeholders, and utilisation of existing e-Democracy and e-Government tools.

The indicative structure and timeline of the Digital Competences for CSOs course is the following:

  1. Online self-assessment tool to define the current digital capacities of applying CSOs and the gaps
  2. One week of introductory e-learning course ‘IT for CSOs’, to equip the participants with basic knowledge on the topics to be further explored within the three offline modules (18-23 March)
  3. Module #1: IT for CSO Workflow (27 March – 13 April)
    • Face-to-face Workshop #1 (1.5 days)
    • Online training sessions
    • Facilitated by trainers’ homework on the Project’s e-learning hub
    • The follow-up webinars
    • Online test /practical assignment
  4. Module #2: IT for Efficient Communications (15 April – 4 May)
    • Online training session
    • Face-to-face Workshop #2 (1.5 days)
    • Facilitated by trainers’ homework on the Project’s e-learning hub
    • The follow-up webinar
    • Online test /practical assignment
  5. Module #3: IT for Working with Beneficiaries and Stakeholders (6-28 May)
    • Face-to-face Workshop #3 (1.5 days)
    • Online training sessions
    • Facilitated by trainers’ homework on the Project’s e-learning hub
    • The follow-up webinars
    • Online test /practical assignment
  6. Final assignment, results’ assessment and awarding certificate (29 May – 20 June)

The selected participants shall participate in all online and offline capacity building activities within the course. Those participants who fail to participate in any of the trainings, will be expelled, as the CSOs represented by them.

As this course is designed for CSO executives, only one person per organisation shall participate in all training modules. However, if the applying organisation has a chief communication officer in its staff, this person may participate in Module #2 as a substitute for the organisation’s formal leader and the main applicant.

The total duration of the course is 12 weeks (from March until June 2019). The working languages of the course are English (with simultaneous translation to Russian in Belarus and Ukraine) and Russian.

Cost of participation

Participation in the Digital Competences for CSOs blended course is free. The Project also covers the accommodation of successful applicants for the three offline workshops in Minsk (Belarus), Kyiv (Ukraine) or Tbilisi (Georgia), depending on the applicant’s residence and base of operations, and catering during the workshops (lunches and coffee-breaks).

Local participants (i.e. residing in the country of the training) shall cover all their travel expenses related to the participation in the workshop.

Eligibility criteria

Participation in the course is open to any leader of a civil society organisation from an Eastern Partnership country, shall (s)he and the organisation meet the following eligibility criteria:

  1. For a civil society organisation:
    • Be located and actively work in one of the EaP countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova or Ukraine;
    • Be a formally registered civil society organisation, a not-for-profit media or an informal group of activists;
    • Be committed to values associated with respect for fundamental rights;
    • Not be involved in actions supporting political parties or actions including proselytism.
  2. For a leader of a CSO:
    • Be a national and/or a resident in one of the EaP countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova or Ukraine;
    • Be a formal leader of the CSO or the informal group of activists;
    • Have decision-making authority and powers within the organisation / group in question;
    • Have a good command of English and/or Russian.

Selection of participants

Participants will be selected based on the application form and motivation letter.

The results of the two self-assessments will also be taken into account during the selection process. Preference will be given to organisations having scored between 1.9 and 2.4 with the online self-assessment tool, showing an intermediate level of digital competences in the organisation, and to individuals having scored between 1.9 and 2.4 with the online self-assessment tool, showing an intermediate level of personal digital competences.

How to apply and what procedures to follow

To apply for participation in the Digital Competences for CSOs blended course, the applicants need:

  1. Check he/she fulfils the eligibility criteria and that the organisation/ group fulfils the eligibility criteria.
  2. Take the online self-assessments, as described above.
  3. Fill in the online application form at link and submit it before 23:00 (CET) on Sunday, March 3, 2019

Applications may be submitted in English or Russian.

Applications must be submitted in accordance with the instructions in the Digital Competence for CSOs course application form and the present Guidelines for Applicants. The provided application form in Annex B is included for information purposes only. In order to submit an application, an applicant should fill in the online application form at http://dc.eapcivilsociety.eu/ and provide the link to the results of his/her results of the online self-assessment.

Questions may be sent by e-mail no later than one working day before the deadline for the submission of applications to [email protected].

To ensure equal treatment of applicants, the organisers cannot give a prior opinion on the eligibility of applicants.

No individual replies will be given to questions. All questions and answers as well as other important notices to applicants during the course of the procedure, will be published at http://dc.eapcivilsociety.eu/, as appropriate. It is therefore advisable to consult the abovementioned website regularly in order to be informed of the questions and answers published.