Visiting Activist Programme – spend ten weeks working with grass-roots NGOs in the North Caucasus
Peacebuilding UK, which helps grass-roots NGOs build their organizational capacity and conduct child-focused programming in Russia’s North Caucasus region and in Ukraine, is proud to announce our first-ever Visiting Activist Programme http://peacebuildinguk.org/. We invite activists, non-profit professionals from around the world to spend 10 weeks with grass-roots NGOs in one of Russia’s most remote and most diverse regions, the North Caucasus, to share their skills and experience, work together day by day, and offer each other solidarity and inspiration.
In autumn and winter 2015/16, three activists from all over the world will travel to the North Caucasus republics of Ingushetia and Chechnya, where they will be hosted by local NGOs and contribute to these NGOs’ work, capacities and organizational growth, while becoming familiar with a region that is both fascinating and troubled, welcoming and struggling with multiple challenges. Situated along Russia’s southern border, the North Caucasus region is home to a large number of ethnic and religious minorities, a place where everyday life, history and culture can be quite different from the rest of Russia. The region came to the world’s attention in the 1990s and early 2000s as a result of a series of violent conflicts. While the republics of Chechnya and Ingushetia are today at peace and levels of residual violence have dropped rapidly in recent years, it remains Russia’s poorest region, with systemic challenges to the rule of law and citizens’ rights, and persistent social problems, not least those of women and girls.
In these difficult circumstances, local, grass-roots activists are showing great tenacity, resourcefulness and courage as they bring change to their communities, but due to their remote location and the marginalization caused by conflict, they are left out of global networks of activism and unaware of innovations in human rights work. We created the Visiting Activist Programme to help these civil society leaders become better integrated in global networks of activism, learn new best practices and experience support and inspiration from their peers around the world, while Visiting Activists will learn about this remote and captivating region, experience its legendary hospitality and make a significant contribution to the growth and power of grass-roots civil society.
In the course of the programme, Visiting Activists will work alongside local, grass-roots NGOs (typically, two or three NGOs will share hosting duties). These NGOs may work in areas such as human rights and legal assistance, women’s rights and empowerment, extracurricular programming for children and youth, disability rights, mental health etc. Their work is typically very hands-on, providing direct services and programming to beneficiaries and community outreach. A detailed description of host NGOs and their criteria for Visiting Applicants is available at http://peacebuildinguk.org/files/call_for_applicants_(Visiting_Activists)_AR.doc.
PBUK’s Visiting Activists Programme offers selected Visiting Activists:
- Placement with host organizations, which will develop a plan of action together with the activist
- All travel expenses from their home to their host location
- All expenses related to applying for a visa to the Russian Federation (if required)
- Housing for the duration of the program in an apartment (either on their own or shared with another Visiting Activist, based on each Visiting Activist’s preferences)
- A living expenses stipend of $750 per month
- Travellers’ insurance
- On the ground support by our local coordinator
All applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria:
- A minimum age of 25 at the time of application
- 3 or more years of experience as a full-time activist with grass-roots/local NGO in their country of origin
- Citizenship and permanent residence in a country of the “global South”/non-Western country: Latin and South America, MENA region, sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern/Central Europe (including EU member states admitted in or since 2004), South Asia, Southeast Asia, East Asia
- Good English skills
- At least basic Russian skills (since host NGOs’ staff generally do not speak English)
- Maturity, good judgment, reliability, diplomacy and ability to work independently
- Hold a valid passport at the time of application
- Must be able to commit to a programme period of 2.5 months, uninterrupted, starting in November/December 2015.
- Must be able to work with host NGOs full-time (40 hours per week) for the course of the programme
If you would like to learn more about the Visiting Activist Programme, read about the host NGOs and their requirements for Visiting Activists, and to apply, please go to http://peacebuildinguk.org/files/call_for_applicants_(Visiting_Activists)_AR.doc.
The deadline for applications is October 1, 2015. Application instructions are at http://peacebuildinguk.org/files/call_for_applicants_(Visiting_Activists)_AR.doc. If you have any questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The application form, including instructions on how to submit, can be downloaded at http://peacebuildinguk.org/files/Visiting_Activists_Programme_Application_Form.doc.
Host organizations and applicants’ eligibility criteria for the fall 2015 Visiting Activist Programme
For the fall 2015 Visiting Activist Programme, 2 hosts have been identified, each of them looking for a guest with a specific profile.
In Ingushetia, Russia’s smallest, newest and poorest republic, the following hosts are looking for a Visiting Activist. Each host represents a partnership of two local NGOs, which will jointly welcome and work with the Visiting Activist.
- Women’s empowerment and psychological support NGO/ disability rights NGO
These two NGOs were founded by strong women leaders 5-10 years ago and quickly established themselves as tireless, compassionate pillars of support for the most vulnerable in their communities and confident, vocal advocates for their rights. They offer a wide range of services (health, mental health, legal and socio-economic) to women, children, people with disabilities of all ages and speak out in the community for change. They are also committed to mobilizing local resources to finance the services and material support they provide to their beneficiaries.
Despite their successes, these the two NGOs face structural challenges, which are primarily caused by insufficient funding and the resulting staff and equipment shortages as well as by the conservative, patriarchal and discriminatory attitudes that are common to the region.
The two host organizations are looking for a Visiting Activist who is:
- a fast learner and a good teacher,;
- a creative and goal-oriented individual who is good at finding solutions to problems;
- someone who can analyze on-going programming and design new projects
- someone with experience in monitoring and evaluation methodology for human rights and social projects
- someone with either experience or strong interest in women’s rights and empowerment and disability rights
- someone with experience or interest in domestic resource mobilization and community outreach
- Women’s rights and legal services NGO/teachers’ association and youth-focused NGO
These two NGOs are comparatively young and still in the early stages of their development. They were founded and are led by young women who bring considerable professional expertise in their respective fields of human rights law and education and a great passion for their work. Their target audience are women (especially women suffering from gender-based discrimination and violence) as well as children, youth and teachers. The young leadership and members of these organizations are very serious about strengthening their organizations and creating a more stable financial and organizational basis for their work, as well as improving their own technical skills. They are innovative and embrace new forms of activism and organization.
Both organizations would like to turn their considerable skill and ability to mobilize volunteer input into more sustainable structures and programming. The issues they work on – women’s rights, improving education and opportunities for youth – present huge, complex challenges in their community.
These two host organizations are looking for:
- A strong communicator and expert on awareness-raising and public campaigns
- A “people person”, who can help them connect with their target audience and mobilize more volunteers and NGO members among the republic’s women and girls
- Someone with a strong background in women’s rights and empowerment
- Someone with a record of creating and strengthening organizations, who can offer support with strategic planning
- Someone with experience and skills in fact-finding and needs assessments in the community.