Testimonial from Justina Kaluinaite, Lithuanian NGDO Platform (participant of the Leadership Development Program – Cycle 3 – October 2019– Dakar, Senegal) 

The LDP was an insightful learning and sharing experience in both professional and personal development of skills, knowledge and competencies. Starting with very insightful presentations from national and regional platforms and the exchange of best practices in the field and challenges faced. The sharing and discussions allowed me to understand better where we all came from, how and where we started and how many similarities, we share in what we are doing.  

I appreciate that during LDP program we were changing our “hats and roles” and reflecting not only as individuals from NGO sector or members of Platform, but variating among the levels of local-national-regional-international as well as stepping in the shoes of individual at local level-NGO-national platform – regional platform – global network. The aspect of changing roles and reflecting from various perspectives encouraged me to truly consider various important aspects in terms of importance of relationship, inclusion, networking and balance.   

 The exceptional part of LDP for me was the way how it was structured. I would not call it another “training” program. Rather than feeling that I am in “training” I felt more than I am part of deeply reflective, inclusive team together in supervised journey – the importance of not waiting for “trainer” to explain you everything and show the “right” ways but engage, motivate and create equal opportunities for each team member from day one to contribute, share all the energy and more than it listen and participate equally.  

I was inspired by the high level of very deep contributions of both – personal and professional experiences, insights and thoughts that occurred during the program.  

 Moreover I personally appreciated the space to open up and tackle some of very sensitive and complex topics as impact of NGOs, social change and society, balance of power in NGOs and networks, the thin line between NGO policy and politics, the specific thematic discussions about balance between the strategy of the Platform in line with vision of members, the need and purpose of the networks and defining and / or monitoring the contribution and impact we create (both positive or negative). Focused on space to reflect about various topics and share the personal and professional challenges, worries or experiences was a very without having a goal to find the concrete answers and solutions to everything but more importantly reflect, share and support each other in the process made a valuable impact to me in rethinking personal and professional choices and decisions I have made.  

This safe reflection space and no limitation to go into the challenging or sensitive topics was very delightful and encouraging for me as a member of Forus meaning that I have a space and a team I could trust and count on for support or advice in no matter what situation. This is a very important distinguish point for me being in LDP as normally in other trainings or meeting organized, I have a feeling the time is running and topics are limited so let’s focus on something  strategic, concrete and preferably outstanding later on to note in results. Here in LPD I felt that no matter of limited time and such a rich diversity of knowledge and experiences we have time to open the floor for any concerns and are not pushed into another nice looking ABS training result but seeking for a deeper and longer lasting results from the partnership created.  

 Now during the period of 6 months after the training, I feel I did take a step further within and out of LDP 3 program. As we still continuously reflect and share among the LDP 3 group I appreciate the focus on longer process rather than just a face to face program itself. I find it very useful and encouraging to come back and share/listed to other LDP members about their new experiences, small or large actions, impact, reflection, and insights about what we gained during the program and how it benefits us in daily works. I integrated some points of LDP best practices into daily works in terms of membership, communication, and balance and certain best practices now in renewal of strategic plan and our code of conduct.  

More than that I appreciate the new partnerships, friendships which came during and after the program and the important feeling of being a team and being a member of the team no matter on distance.  

The LDP allowed me to feel that I can grow within this group, my voice matters and the learnings I take with me are based on very honest share of knowledge, experiences, skills, and competencies rather than theoretical ABC steps and recommendations for perfection.  

Finally, dear LPD colleagues and friends, Forus team and members I would like to thank you for each of you for your openness, passion, sharing and contributions for make the LDP journey such an inclusive and valuable experience. 

Find HERE the 4 LDP videos (available in English/French/Spanish & Portuguese)