Exchange Initiative

What is Exchange Initiative?

Civic Space is initiating a new tool to enhance dialogue further, collaboration and peer-to-¬peer learning with a view to strengthening civil society capacity in Cyprus. The Civic Space Exchange Initiative aims to bring two CSO/initiatives from the northern part of Cyprus and the Republic of Cyprus, to work in partnership on a chosen capacity building area determined by their particular organisational needs. Each partnership will be matched with a mentor specialised in the chosen area to provide further support and enable Civic Space to support and facilitate the learning process of participating CSOs. The exchange process will not only provide a variety of good practices and tools to the civil society in general, but it will also enhance inter communal cooperation.

How can you make use of it?

Civic Space plans to announce a call for applications for the Change Initiative once a year. In each cycle, partnerships consisting of one NGO from the northern part of Cyprus and one from the Republic of Cyprus will be eligible to apply. Each cycle will support 3-4 partnerships, meaning 6-8 NGOs will be selected for support. The selection process will be carried out in accordance with criteria publicly announced in the call for applications. NGOs that are not currently partners may receive support from the Civil Space support desk regarding partnerships. 

The Exchange Initiative will aim to strengthen one capacity area of the partner CSOs (e.g., fundraising, working with volunteers, advocacy, organisational governance, communication and outreach, strategic planning). Thereby, the applying partnership will be required to identify clearly on which capacity topic they plan to be jointly working on. Each cycle will last for 5 months, during which the selected partnership will be provided a mentor. In addition to the mentor, the partnership will be supported by Civic Space help desk and the trainings.  

At the end of each cycle, it will be expected that the supported partnerships have developed a tool, method, and/or process in their focused capacity area. After the conclusion of the first cycle, Civil Space will evaluate the need, benefits, effectiveness, and demand for such a program. If the assessment is positive, the second cycle of the Change Initiative will be initiated 

The tools mentioned could be diverse, based on the needs and topic of their choice, but can include tools/methods such as training curriculums, memorandum of understanding documents, do-it-yourself guidelines, strategy documents, manuals, films, etc.

How does Civic Space exchange initiative work?

At the beginning and at the end of each cycle, the 3 partnerships (6 CSOs) will come together in a launch event to create a peer learning and networking environment. In between these meetings, each partnership will decide their work rhythm and workflow by themselves, supported by their mentors and in constant communication with the Civic Space team. Civic Space, supported by senior NKEs, will receive regular oral and written reports from the mentors and the partnerships in the form of virtual and/or physical meetings during the process. 

Following the launch event, the partnerships will be provided with a mentor experienced on their work topic. Once matched, each partnership and their appointed mentor will begin their meetings and engagement in accordance with the procedure, form, and time frames they decide. The mentoring support is limited to a maximum time frame of 5 months and involves 8 to 10 hours of mentoring support per month. The mentor and the partnership will jointly decide how, when, where, and with whom the support will be scheduled.

In addition to mentorship support provided to each partnership on the topic they determine, Civic Space will also offer support desk assistance in other capacity areas in response to potential needs of the partnership. Support desk assistance by Civil Space will continue to be provided on a request basis not only during the duration of the Change Initiative but also until May 2023, for organizations as needed.

What benefits are provided by Civic Space exchange initiative?

The Exchange Initiative will provide the following benefits to the selected partnerships:

  • Mentoring support on the capacity building topic they will select;
  • Help desk support on other capacity building topics when/if required;
  • Priority in Civic Space trainings and other events;
  • Venue, transportation and catering costs for meetings.

If partnerships require budgetary support to achieve or strengthen their objectives, they will be encouraged to seek and will be supported by Civil Growth. Partnerships can request support under category B (up to 4,000 Euros) for joint activities they will carry out in Cyprus and under category D (up to 10,000 Euros) for information exchange or study visits with a Member State of the EU. Priority will be given to selected Change Initiative beneficiaries in the Civil Growth eligibility assessment process.

Which capacity areas are covered by the exchange initiative?

Exchange initiative partnerships can jointly work on one of the following capacity strengthening topics. Please contact us if you wish to work on an area that is not listed below.

  • Advocacy
  • Dialogue, Conflict Management
  • External Communication / Outreach
  • Event Organization
  • Financial Management
  • Fundraising
  • Internal Communications and Organizational Management
  • Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Networking / Partnerships
  • Organizational Information Management
  • Project Design, Drafting and Management
  • Risk Analysis and Planning
  • Social Media Management
  • Strategic Planning
  • Working with Volunteers
Who is eligible for Civic Space exchange initiative?

Partnerships consisting of one NGO from the northern part of Cyprus and one from the Republic of Cyprus can apply to the Change Initiative. Each partner must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • To operate as a registered entity (e.g., associations, foundations, non-profit companies) or as an unregistered citizen initiative working for the benefit of society in Cyprus;
  • Having at least 5 active members;
  • Committing at least 2 participants for continuous involvement in the exchange initiative process;
  • Committing to work with their partner on a capacity building topic and to jointly develop a tool/method/process/resource at the end of the process;
  • To be present in Cyprus throughout the mentorship process;
  • The decision-making mechanism and/or the whole team of the organization or initiative having the motivation, time, and capacity for capacity strengthening in the chosen issue area.