A fundamental characteristic of ILGA-Europe’s capacity –building is that it is always based on the needs of our member organisations. We believe that the most effective and sustainable capacity-building activities are those that take as a starting point priorities that groups identify for themselves and that fully take into consideration the specific contexts in which they operate. This means that there are two crucial processes in which the ILGA-Europe team engages on an ongoing basis: needs assessment of member organisations to ensure a deep understanding of the realities in which our members work, and analysis of political and social trends at national, regional and European levels to have an overall picture of the environment that affects LGBTI groups in Europe.
There are various ways in which ILGA-Europe assesses the needs of its members on an ongoing basis.
- The Strategic Plan is adopted by ILGA-Europe’s members and details the overall direction of the organisation over the next five years. The plan is the result of an extensive organisational process involving members, board and staff and can thus be considered as a good reflection of the priorities of the European LGBTI movement. Collective engagement in the process ensured that there is a shared understanding and commitment within ILGA-Europe on the organisation’s priorities.
- Annual Work Plans are developed by ILGA-Europe staff on the basis of the Strategic Plan and approved by the Board. They are an assessment of internal and external developments, as well as various individual needs assessments. During each Annual Conference, members have the opportunity to make suggestions and comment on activities.
- Specific Needs Assessments include in-country visits as well as distance needs assessments that help assess the needs of for instance new member organisations more broadly. They help for instance with identifying needs for in-country support.
- Ongoing dialogue with members and other stakeholders informs the work of staff and board on a daily basis. Whilst this dialogue is not structured, it is extremely valuable in ensuring ILGA-Europe’s capacity to respond to developments.
- Activity Needs Assessments are pre-event questionnaires that are sent to participants of i.e. regional training courses. The information collected through this process informs the design of events
ILGA-Europe has developed various methodologies to assess the movements’ needs. These tools vary from structured questionnaires to material that supports staff in assessing the needs of the movement through more informal dialogue.
The need for movement building activities is always larger than ILGA-Europe’s capacity. This means that ILGA-Europe cannot meet all the requests that it gets in relation to capacity-building. To benefit as many people as possible, ILGA-Europe typically offers events at a regional level. This allows the organisation to bring more organisations together at the same time. When there are particular needs at the organisational or domestic level, ILGA-Europe will decide priorities on the basis of a set of guiding criteria set by the board and the availability of funding. The criteria clarify that activities need to fall within the scope of ILGA-Europe’s own strategic plan, and activities need to have a demonstrated added value.