From the 22nd to the 26th November 2019 the 5th NG Europe Training Course on “Green and Social NGO Leadership“ took place in Graz, Austria, with participants from Austria, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, and Spain.
The first day of the training course started with a field trip to an NGO called “Lerncafe” which offers after school care for children. It was a great opportunity to see and understand how this NGO works. Additionally, trainers and participants met for the first time, got to know each other and discussed the course contents. The trainers responded to the wishes and suggestions of the participants.
When asked what exactly the participants expected from this course, many replied that they did not have much prior knowledge about NGOs: "I only have basic knowledge about NGOs and everything to do with them and I hope to learn as much as possible about them during these days". They also said that they did not have clear expectations about the course: "I do not expect anything concrete, but I am open to new knowledge".
To conclude the first day, and after a short stroll through the city centre, the trainees and trainers were invited to the town hall of Graz. They were welcomed by Dr. Peter Piffl-Percevic, a municipal councillor, and by a breathtaking view over the main square of Graz with its popular Christmas market. The evening ended with good food, a pleasant atmosphere and great conversations in the town hall.
During the following course days, the many facets of NGO work were discussed, with a special and different focus every day. Topics such as From traditional to social entrepreneurship, The basics of social and green NGOs and The first steps for setting up an NGO were covered. The last aspect was particularly interesting for participants who are considering founding their own NGO, but also for those who are simply interested in the procedure.
The participants also got insights into the tools needed for founding, managing and supporting an NGO. For all these actions it is important to be aware of your own skills and fears and to know how to balance them. This is why the training course includes exercises to practise these skills. The NGEurope trainers make sure that knowledge transfer as well as a practical application and exchange of opinions between the participants takes place.
In addition to this, the training course curriculum includes a session about learning how to draw a business plan and create interesting project presentations.
Another highly important aspects is the importance of networking which concerns everyone, no matter if you want to found an NGO, start your own business or if you are looking for a new job.
Thanks to the many different aspects covered by the NGEurope training course, participants with various backgrounds and a variety of ambitions find what they are interested in – those who want to set up their own NGO, as well as those who want to work on their skills and abilities and expand their general knowledge about green and social NGO leadership.
In the final feedback session one participant put their experience in a nutshell by saying: "At the beginning of the training course I had some questions and hoped to get answers to them. My questions were not only answered, but I return home with much more knowledge, for which I am very grateful. I am rich in knowledge, experiences and beautiful memories with extraordinary people."