From the Field: East-East Cooperation
4.4 Experienced benefits of East-East cooperation
The benefits mentioned in this paragraph are positive experiences
of the NGOs with East-East cooperation. First the cooperation
gave them advantages for their organization and their projects.
This means the East-East cooperation turned out to be a useful
tool in better mobilizing their resources. Second positive personal
experiences are mentioned.
The motivation for East-East cooperation existed in one or another
way before starting the exchange of experiences or running a joint
project. The organizational benefits are mainly the results of
the motivation the NGOs had before. Below a brief description
of the experienced benefits follows.
The personal benefits are based on the fact that East-East cooperation
is usually personal cooperation. East-East cooperation starts
with willing persons, who search for cooperative partners or use
their existing personal contacts abroad. Later on their organizations
might step into the relationship. But the latter not always happens.
Not seldom it is just cooperation of activists instead of cooperation
Experienced organizational benefits are the following six points.
- Successful projects run together, for example dealing with a border nature conservation area, like the Society for Sustainable Living does in the White Carpathians.
- Receiving useful information for the own organization.
- Gaining useful experiences from other groups dealing with the same environmental issues or organizational problems, for example within the bankwatch project network which is a project under supervision of the Polish Ecological Club.
- Learning from each other, by getting information, sharing experiences, using each others skills and so on, for example the Ecobaltic Foundation which found out (unexpectedly) that they can learn a lot from the ideas of their Baltic partners.
- Receiving more and/or bigger funds.
- Getting more self-confidence because of being able to help other NGOs; an example of this benefit is the Slovakian organization Strom Zivota which tries to educate and train Ukrainian NGO leaders and participants. Because of successful training projects last years Strom Zivota's participants feel themselves strong and more important. As a Central European NGO they can pass through the modified Western information they received themselves just after the changes.
The overall profit of the above mentioned experienced benefits
is that the NGO itself becomes more sustainable and gets more
capacity and influence. The latter in respect to both governments
(local and national) and within the NGO community in the country.
Experienced personal benefits are:
- visiting other countries;
- getting international friends;
- finding congenial spirits;
These personal profits are very important, because East-East cooperation
seems to be mainly a matter of personal willing of the involved
NGO participants. Without a positive evaluation of personal experiences
with East-East cooperation, it might be hard to continue the contacts.
East-East cooperation is not only cooperation among organizations,
it is in several cases mainly cooperation among individuals.
REC * PUBLICATIONS * BEYOND BORDERS * FROM THE FIELD: EAST-EAST COOPERATION IN REALITY * EXPERIENCED BENEFITS OF EAST-EAST COOPERATION