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.
Once a year, Civic Space plans to launch a call for the Exchange Initiative programme applications. Each cycle will be open for applications in partnership with 2 CSOs, one from the northern part of Cyprus and the other from the Republic of Cyprus. 3-4 partnerships will be supported, meaning that 6-8 CSOs will be selected in each cycle within given selection criteria that would be publicly announced in the call for applications. CSOs would be able to use the partnership help desk support from Civic Space if they do not already have partners.
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, the supported partnerships will be expected to develop a tool, method and/or process on their focus capacity area. Following the end of the first cycle, Civic Space will make an assessment regarding the need, benefit, effectiveness and demand for such a programme, and if the assessment proves to be positive, then a second cycle of the Exchange Initiative will be launched.
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.
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 the mentoring support to each partnership on the topic they will identify, Civic Space will provide help desk support on other capacity topics when and if required by the partnership. The help desk support will be available in an ongoing manner till May 2023 on a demand-basis.
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 budget support to strengthen or realise their aims, they will be encouraged and supported to request Grow Civic support. For their joint actions in Cyprus, they will be able to request support under category B (up to 4,000 EUR), and for their joint actions to exchange information or hold a study visit to an EU MS, they will be able to request support under category D (up to 10,000 EUR). The selected exchange initiative beneficiaries will be given priority in Grow Civic eligibility process.
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.
- Dialogue, Conflict Management
- External Communication / Outreach
- Event Organization
- Financial Management
- 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
The exchange initiative requires a partnership of 2 CSOs, one from the northern part of Cyprus and one from the Republic of Cyprus. Each partner should meet the following eligibility criteria:
- Operating as a registered (e.g., associations, foundations, non-profit companies) or unregistered citizen’s initiatives working in Cyprus for the public good;
- 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;
- Presence in Cyprus throughout the mentoring 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.