LGBTQI+ Resilience Project

Strengthening psycho-social resilience & holistic security with LGBTQI+ organisations from Central and Eastern Europe, Western Balkans and other post-soviet countries.

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       Photo credit | Agata Kubis/OKO.press

The LGBTQI+ community is a target for the rising far-right. Nationalist populist movements are using anti-LGBTQI+ narratives as a weapon in their culture war. These narratives, in turn, become hate crimes, repressive laws, and breed intolerance. This makes the environment that LGBTQI+ organisations in Eastern Europe and post-soviet countries work in increasingly hostile and prejudiced. They are working daily with high levels of stress, media attacks, and repression driven by state and non-state actors. For activists, this political repression combines with exposure to constant discrimination and aggressions in personal lives.

Through training and capacity building work, this programme aims to strengthen the resilience of LGBTQI+ communities to resist repression and to strengthen networks and movements in the struggle for social justice and basic human rights. 

Organisations and activists will receive training and coaching around tools and practices for working with social, political and state repression, dealing with stress, burn-out prevention, risk assessment and creating resilient organisational cultures.

Project Aims

  • Strengthening the LGBTQI+ movement in Eastern Europe and post-soviet countries through networking and experience exchange
  • Equipping the organisations, groups and activists with the tools to:
    -build personal, organisational and movement level resilience
    -assess risks and build creative strategies for facing repression
    -understand stress, burnout and trauma mechanisms so to be prepared to recognize and holistically approach those on personal, organisational and movement level
  • Create a vibrant network of mutual support and inspiration across the region
  • Support organisations, coalitions and groups to implement changes in their strategies and organisational cultures towards a sustainable model of engagement in social change

       Photo Credit | Agata Kubis/OKO.press

“The environment we are working in is extremely hostile and there is a lot to be done. We need more people in the team, but we don’t have a way to invite new people in a way that’s safe for us. We are all the time thinking about security. We need opportunities to grow and gain new skills, as we don’t have them here, locally.”

For over a decade, Ulex trainers have been working on psycho-social resilience training for activists. In recent years we have been developing a curriculum aimed specifically at the LGBTQI+ community, alongside supporting social movements in Eastern & Central Europe. Our trainers’ pool includes both folks from LGBTQI+ communities, as well as eastern Europeans. We’ve designed this programme based on many conversations and interviews with numerous organisations in Belarus, Poland, Ukraine, Romania, Slovakia, Albania, Serbia and Hungary.

Programme May 2020 to December 2021 

International training and skillshares – Two international gatherings, bringing together LGBTQI+ organisations from Belarus, Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia and Turkey will take place in the region. We will explore the dynamics of repression and violence, alliances building and organisational/movement resilience.

Immersive learning maria blankResidential training for trainers – Three trainings will take place at our centre, creating opportunities for key members of groups and organisations to participate in a long, residential workshop and to skill-up local trainers and facilitators, who can take the work back into the region.

Organisational and regional workshops – Shorter workshops (one to two days) for organisations or groups of organisations from specific regions/countries. These deliver tailored content and enable methods and practices to be adapted to local contexts. We will look at topics such as:

  • Burnout & mental/physical health
  • Emotional literacy in working with fear, demotivation, and stress
  • Cultures of collective and self-care
  • Regenerative practices in groups
  • Understanding risk and threats
  • Regenerative organisational culture
  • Skills for mental effectiveness
  • Conflict and communication

Coaching, consultation and support – The Programme offers organisational specific accompaniment. Accompaniment process will happen over in-person meetings, online webinars, online communities of praxis, online consultations and troubleshooting sessions.

Development and translation of supporting resources – To complete the project, we will create Psycho-Social Resilience materials in the form of a booklet, translated into several regional languages.

For more information, please contact Eweryst – eweryst (at) ulexproject.org

Header image photo credit: Agata Kubis/OKO.press