Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Dodging the KGB in Transnistria!

Well, while I was spending a windy Bank Holiday touring Nurseries in South London for bedding plants my colleagues, Filippo Addari and Ben Rattenbury were in Transnistria. Where that, I hear you say!

It's a breakaway republic in Moldova (where that?), once part of the USSR! Euclid, our European Third Sector Leaders Network has been running a Civil Society Leadership Development Programme funded by the United Nations.

The aim is to strengthen the relationship between Government and Civil Society in parts of Eastern Europe. The Ukrainian session will take place in three weeks.

The event gathered 50 participants, almost half of whom were from one of Europe's most challenging areas, Moldova's breakaway Republic of Transnistria. For the first time they spoke openly about their relationship with their 'Government'('illegal administration' if speaking to a Moldovan).

The event was broadcast live online, in its entirety. The stream had 50 hits, doubling the number of participants.

Filippo and Ben spent the weekend dodging the KGB in Transnistria, where they now have lots of influential friends who are keen to work with Euclid. It seems very few (domestic or international) organisations have managed to run successful projects there but local experts think there is much potential. What a tribute to the energy and commitment of my team that they give up their Bank Holiday for such work!

Meanwhile back in the dear old UK it was good to hear David Cameron giving such a strong endorsement to the third sector in running public services at the London Citizens Forum in Central Hall. The other parties seem equivocal about this but the logic of the deficit will mean more outsourcing of services whatever happens.

And I must say Gordon Brown seemed on top barnstorming form! He really is passionate about social justice and it's a shame when he gets caught up in all those lists he does when he speaks. If he kept to the broader picture he would do so much better!

And sticking to the international theme I'm spending the morning talking to the leaders of The Yemen's civil society organisations who are in the UK and making a beeline to ACEVO Towers! Such a shame the weather is so bad all those bedding plants are sitting in the living room...