On 23-24 February 2018, YMCA Belarus ran a training on Democratic Governance, which was co-funded by the European Union through its Eastern Partnership Civil Society Facility. 20 young people from 7 local branches of YMCA Belarus (Vitebsk, Brest, Volozhyn, Minsk, Bobruisk, Lida and Molodechno) participated in the training.

The event was organised for strengthening of YMCA Belarus as a CSO promoting democratic values through strengthening its system of governance. The training aimed at raising level of competences of YMCA Belarus’s leaders in the area of democratic governance.

The participants have raised their level of knowledge in the following spheres: human rights based approach and values of YMCA Belarus, structure of a CSO, division of power, functions of different governing bodies, effective communication in a CSO, main documents of a CSO, risks of absence of democratic governance in a CSO.

Olga Lukina, YMCA Belarus Project Manager and a trainer at this education event, mentions, that: “The current Strategic Plan of YMCA Belarus is focused on strengthening our local organizations, which should become real bearers of democratic values and providers of qualitative services for their target groups. So, National YMCA is working hard now to educate our leaders in different spheres. We understand that we have to start from ourselves, we should improve our internal governance system so to build an inclusive space and empower young people for participation. Passion is not enough for a CSO. We are obliged to think about sustainability and succession.”

Most of the participants say that the training was very relevant for them and for their YMCAs. The topics, which were highlighted as the most important ones, were “Risks of absence of democratic governance” and “Communication in YMCA Belarus”. The participants discussed different cases, which were close to reality and could see what consequences may occur if not to manage the current situations. The communication part included discussion on general communication theories, concrete channels and platform of communication in YMCA Belarus. The participants also acted a role play to see the flow of communication when different kinds of decisions are made.

YMCA Belarus is penetrating human rights based approach to different spheres of the organizations. It has introduced already changes in the content of programs: new topics “equality”, “active citizenship”, “human rights” have appeared; new internal procedures and policies have been elaborated. They claim, it is very important that they have the opportunity to educate their leaders and strengthen local YMCAs in the sphere of democratic governance.

This event was co-funded by the European Union through its Eastern Partnership Civil Society Facility. All photos are provided by YMCA Belarus. Learn more about YMCA Belarus and its activities: www.ymcabelarus.org