Ulex Central and Eastern European Programme

a training and capacity building programme for central and eastern european social movements

Ulex Central and Eastern Europe Programme is an ongoing series of training and support designed and delivered by CEE based activist trainers for CEE based activists, organisers and their organisations. Through 2024 we run a pilot year of 6 trainings/gatherings, with the intention to help establish a long-term programme in the region.

The Ulex CEE programme aims to:

– Provide training and support to increase movement resilience and impact in CEE

– Increase regional capacity for providing high quality training and support

– Create regional infrastructure to support movement building

– Strengthen regional transnational networks

– Become a self-sustaining project independent of Ulex!

Running training and capacity building programmes for activists and organisers across Europe, Ulex has always tried to shape our training to respond to needs on the ground. It has become increasingly clear that activists in Central and Eastern Europe face current socio-political and historical conditions that can benefit from training work tailored to that context. The influence of the post-soviet legacy on social and political narrative and imagination, often hostile socio-political environments, the existence of authoritarian regimes, the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and a wide range of other cultural factors, all shape the context of activist work within. And, while there is still important diversity across the whole of CEE, it seems to us that a programme tailored to these conditions can be of real value.

Through 2022 and 2023 we engaged a wide network of organisations and actors in context analysis and needs assessments, to feel out the key challenges CEE movements and organisations face and how a training programme could help. This resulted in:

– Establishing a trainer group of 12 trainers all embedded in CEE movements

– The design of 6 events to run as a pilot year through 2024

Bringing the context and needs analysis together with Ulex capacity building methods we decided to run 6 events through 2024. The pilot programme takes into account the regional needs and the strategic approach that has informed Ulex work over recent years. This takes a holistic approach, which recognises the need to develop transformative strategies that address personal, organisational and movement level learning and development. It also recognises the importance of developing a range of social movement capabilities, including narrative, disruption, institutional, cooperation, prefiguration and resilience.

The pilot year

The pilot year will see us offer 6 events all hosted in a central and relatively accessible part of CEE. The events build on previous Ulex work and are adapted and redesigned for the CEE context by the CEE Programme Training Circle. The events are:

  • Resilient Organisations: Creating sustainable and resilient organisations with effective structures and practices for transformative collaboration (9-16 March 2024)
  • Holistic Security: Online and Offline Security and Psychosocial Resilience (4-11 May 2024)
  • Sustainable Organising and Regenerative Activism: Burnout prevention and mental health, intra-personal and inter-personal dimensions (15-22 June 2024)
  • Active Solidarity (equity, diversity, inclusion) in CEE movements: Transforming power and privilege dynamics in CEE activism (30-7 Sept 2024)
  • Ecology of Social Movements: Alliance building, movement building strategy and practice, deepr reflection for experienced activists (5-12 Oct 2024)
  • Rethinking CEE Legacy for Social Movements: A space for deeper reflection and analysis of CEE context, post-soviet legacy, and shifting narratives. It will be by invitation only and used by the project team to deepen understanding of how the project should be developed. (3-9 Nov 2024)

The programme is aimed at activists and organisers working in CEE countries. They should be embedded in groups and organisations and come with established experience of activism and organising. The trainings are not aimed at people new to activism or organising.

The long-term programme will aim to provide training tailored to the entire CEE region. However, in order to develop capacity gradually, during the first year the training team who are designing and delivering the programme are all based in EU member states and the design will be shaped by their experience and context. Anyone coming to the training from other parts of CEE with different socio-political conditions will need to feel happy that the programme might not adequately reflect some aspects of their movement context. We aim to expand the range of experience and profile of the training teams as the programme develops.

Trainings will be held in accessible, international English, but we will also try to ensure opportunities for people to work in other language groups where possible.

All trainings are offered in the spirit of a solidarity economy. We do need financial support, so if you can make contributions, please do. But the inability to make a financial contribution should not prevent you from attending. Similarly, we are doing our best to generate and distribute financial support for travel. If you are able to cover your own travel costs, please do, as this also supports others. If you need support with a travel bursary please contact Marina through the email below.

You’ll find more information on the pages for each event. And you can reach out to marina@ulexproject.org for other information.