This training gave me the opportunity to deepen my knowledge about the national platforms and about social change” (Dayasagar Shrestha – NFN, Nepal)
For myself-inflexion, caring out the vision is very important and also learning from others, what works and what does not work” (Lewis Mwape – ZCSD, Zambia)
I didn’t expect this course to be so good, because I learned that in all continents we have the same challenges and we share a lot of issues” (Inese Vaivare – LAPAS, Latvia)
What I think about this program, first of all, that is very different of what I have ever done before because it has a very interesting approach, especially in using a more personal approach” (Lola Loveita – INFID, Indonesia)

The quotes above are from a few leaders of national platforms who participated in the first cycle of the Leadership Development Program.

Forus steers the first edition of the Leadership Development Program for CSOs!
The International Forum of National NGO Platforms (Forus) developed a Leadership Development Program for CSO leaders. It was facilitated by the Community Development Resource Association (CDRA). The Program started with online exchanges, then a 4-day face to face workshop in Dhulikhel, Nepal, followed by online exchanges and a back-home project.

The Leadership Development Program aims to stimulate debate and peer exchange on leadership, social change and the evolving roles of national NGO platforms. Its first cycle brought together 12 CSO platform leaders, from Zambia, Indonesia, Slovenia, Chez Republic, India, Nepal, Latvia, Brazil, Seychelles, Nigeria and Uganda, with the goal of stimulating a collective reflection within these social change actors. The entire program, including the 4-day workshop, was facilitated by Ms Nomvula Dlamini, the Director of CDRA.

The Leadership Development Program is highly participative, engaging the participants’ own experiences. The aim is to challenge them to develop, ask and answer their own questions. The facilitator’s techniques for this goal are free writing, levels of listening, asking better questions, World Café, games and simulations, small group work, large group dialogue, daily review groups, artistic exercises.

Four main topics were covered during the workshop:

1) Surfacing and sharing experiences. In order to propose a very concrete and critical Program, the participants were invited to share their own knowledge acquired within their practice and experiences. This part was also based on the research previously conducted by participants guided by questions such as “How does social change take place?”; “What CSOs in the world are stimulating transformative change beyond donor-driven projects?” and How to increase impact in working with a range of innovative aims, initiatives and relationships with different stakeholders?”

2) Understanding social change; exploring how change happens and sharing different models of change. Social change includes ideals, and those need to be lived. Moreover, social change needs to be understood, its framework and dynamics, since the way change happens is tightly linked with the context in which change happens. Finally, transformative social change strives to create new material conditions based on values such as the transformation of the political, economic, and social systems and institutions so as to achieve a just and equitable society.

3) Social change and the role of NGO Platforms. NGO Platforms have the potential to play a critical role in bringing about social change. For that, it is crucial that they are always questioning themselves on “what is the social change we are aiming to bring?”. Other key issues are the organization legitimacy and base of members, its strategic relations with policymakers and other institutional leaders, the need to establish their space (invited space or invented space), the management of the diversity within its membership and the focus on providing networking space meaningful enough to keeping the social change agenda alive.

4) Leadership required to support the real work of NGO Platforms. Leadership of an NGO Platform is complex and requires a complete analysis to create direction, alignment and commitment. Leadership can be viewed as a function or position, but it must promote collaboration, mutual learning and shared roles. CSO platforms need to take into consideration the leadership dimension when aiming for social change.

In conclusion, the Leadership Development Program has created an opportunity where CSO leaders discussed in detail the current and future leadership dynamics within the sector. As Nomvula from CDRA stated, “Leadership is about the ability to connect with your power”.

If you would like more information on how to apply for the second cycle starting in January 2018, please feel free to write to ldp@forus-international.org. Please note only individuals working with a Forus member (as staff or part of the decision-making bodies) are eligible.

More info on Forus Leadership Program :

Over the period of three years, thirty-six current and emerging national NGO platforms leaders will benefit from a Leadership Development Program, developing them as social change actors and preparing the next generation of leaders, who would steer the role of national NGO platforms toward social change. The overall program will consist of 3 cycles, each with a cohort of 12 participants, held over 3 consecutive years, combing webinars, workshops and projects. This will culminate in a final 4th workshop/write shop, bringing together a selection of participants, to launch the writing of a toolkit focusing on NGO Platforms, networks and alliances building.

The Leadership Development Program will facilitate peer-to-peer learning and innovation in leadership skills & techniques. It will encourage NGO platforms leaders to reflect on their role for a social change and bring the debate in their national contexts, with individual NGOs members of the platforms also. It will incentivize new communities/groupings of NGOs inclined to work more with other CSOs and other stakeholders, capable to adapt and respond to new challenges. It will encourage leaders and emerging leaders of NGO platforms to work on issues of capacity development, social change and the role of national NGO platforms.