At the beginning of January, FoRS – Czech Forum for Development Co-operation held a two day roundtable in Prague for the NGDO platforms from the Visegrád 4 (V4) – the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. The roundtable was organised in cooperation with Polish CASE – Center for Social and Economic Research, British ODI – Overseas Development Institute, and BOND – British Overseas NGOs for Development.
The objectives of the roundtable were:
- To discuss the opportunities and challenges for engagement of V4 NGDO platforms in the EU Elections
- To strengthen the knowledge and skills of NGDOs in the field of research for international development
The first day, focusing on the upcoming European Parliament (EP) elections, was held by Anders Dahlbeck, BOND EU Campaign Officer and Chairman of the CONCORD taskforce for the EU Elections. The participants gained knowledge on the role of the EP in development cooperation, on the last EP elections in 2004, on how to target (future) MEPs, and on the campaigns of CONCORD and BOND for the EP elections in June 2009. Furthermore, the platforms had the chance to share their experience with working with MEPs and to discuss the campaigning and advocacy possibilities for the next elections, including topics such as which issues to be discussed with the candidates for the EP, how to maintain the contact with elected MEPs, how to engage the media, and so on.
The second day was dedicated to research methods in development and conducted by Ajoy Datta from ODI. Research methods are one of a number of tools for development and the workshop was thus aimed at giving development practitioners a greater sense of control in using research within their work. This was a crucial moment for the NGDOs from the Visegrád countries to gain theoretical knowledge on quantitative, qualitative and participatory research methods and how to use them in the policy work of NGDOs. The presentation alternated with lively group discussions on how different research methods have been used in the work of NGDOs until now and how research can be included in the future.
This roundtable was part of the project "Fostering Global Responsibility. Building a Development Policy Knowledge Network to Enhance NGO Public Outreach Initiatives in EU New Member States" led by CASE and ODI with the participation of the V4 NGDO platforms and funded by the European Commission.
More information about the roundtable can be found at: http://www.development-network.eu/events/rt_ii_-_prague
Information provided by Zuzana Sladkova, FoRS