Within the project SOCIETIES, partner organization Fenix from Tuzla, in cooperation with Information Center for Disabled Persons “Lotos” Tuzla organized two trainings: on Fundraising, held on 25-26 October and on Public relations on 15-16 November 2018 in Tuzla. “Lotos” Tuzla is a long-standing leader in the struggle for the rights of people with disabilities with abundance of experience in strengthening the capacity of people with disabilities. The aim of the trainings was to improve the knowledge and skills of Civil Society Organization (CSO) for fundraising and establishing good public relations for their social inclusion programs for people with disabilities and people with mental health problems.

For the Fundraising training, before the session, trainers provided questionnaires on how participants and the CSOs are raising funds in their organizations. Based on the responses collected, trainers have designed the training. Since the participants were representatives of small local organizations, the training focus was on raising funds at the local level. The trainer introduced fundraising techniques that suit the training participants, present sources of financing and funding opportunities in accordance with the capabilities and capacities of these organizations, the environment and context in which they operate. Presented are the main sources of funding such as other CSOs, government, public companies through sponsorship, membership fees, subscriptions, local sources of funding, etc. At the end of the training sessions, a fundraising manual was distributed to the participants, including all topics covered during the training.

During the training sessions for Public relations, trainers introduced the participants with methods of defining the contents of the public presentation, in relation to the target audience, basic presentation skills and public relations techniques in the NGO sector. Participants were presented with the experiences and recommendations from practice by representatives of Lotus and Fenix, who for many years conducted various campaigns to raise public awareness of the needs of people with disabilities.

Participants to the training were representatives of civil society organizations: Association “Zvonik” from Zvornik, Association of paraplegic patients with parental paralysis and other physical disabilities of Prijedor, Humanitarian organization Lotosica from Tuzla, Association of DLAN from Zenica, Association of persons with disabilities ZE-DO Canton, Apel Sanski Most Association, social enterprise Our vision from Zenica, Association Most from Vitez and members and beneficiaries of the Fenix association.

The overall conclusion after the training sessions was that in all organizations there is a lack of knowledge management. In many associations members are changing, there is an increasing number of new members lacking even basic knowledge and skills. Particularly in need are newly established associations in the field of mental health. Therefore, there is still a need to establish a permanent capacity-building program, tools and methods that will be available after completion of the training, some sort of online tools, so that other members of the association can also improve their capacities.