Caritas Europa held a two-day workshop on the last days of April in Czech Republic to help its members improve their financial sustainability. The participants, who met in Caritas Czech’s training centre in Prague, included Caritas from 14 countries – Georgia, Ukraine, Armenia, Slovakia, Albania, Azerbaijan, Romania, Turkey, Lithuania, Kosovo, Serbia, Estonia, Bulgaria and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
These member organisations receive funds from the Caritas Europa’s European Solidarity Fund to cover their structural costs. The training was held to help them learn about alternative funding solutions since these funds are reducing yearly.
Caritas Europa organised this to help members in charge of the ESF in their organisation gain financial knowledge and build their confidence.
“Our trainer was excellent and made the whole workshop very interactive, teaching a lot of methods and techniques on planning financial strategies and financial sustainability,” said Caritas Europa’s institutional development officer, Annamaria Vrzackova.
“We also had an interesting presentation done by Jacob Winter (the director of finance and administration of Caritas Internationalis) who talked about the developments on Caritas Internationalis’ programme on capacity building in financial management and accountability, emphasizing in this matter the fruitful collaboration between Caritas Europa and Caritas Internationalis,” she added.
The training was held by Ms Sara Holloway of Mango, a UK registered charity which aims at strengthening the financial management and accountability of non-governmental organisations. She helped assess and manage the organisations’ main financial risks and helped them develop a financial strategy and associated policies. A case study was designed and used throughout the training sessions to bring out the key messages.
During the training on the second day participants had to develop their own financial strategies, based on what they had learned the previous day. Each participant focused on an area of their financial strategy that had been identified as a difficult issue. Participants received a course handbook and workbook from Mango, who will also provide them with follow up support via email for one year.
The event was supported by the European Community Programme for Employment and Social Solidarity, which financially supports the EU’s objectives in employment and social affairs set out in its Social Agenda. It was supported by INCLUSION.
Anatoliy Kozak, Secretary General of Caritas Ukraine, said: “I was impressed by the level and preparation for this training. Lots of practical experience, instructive information, clear directions to non-governmental organizations how to improve its own financial strategy, to secure the future.
The ideal financial strategy combines financial stability and sustainability, but each organization has its differences caused by different objective and subjective peculiarities. The reality differs from theory, and it’s both good and bad news”.