Strategic and Action Plan
Mobile Online Cross-border Routes of Memory of Nations – pilot project
Three main project partners of the above quoted project called “Mobile Online Cross-border Routes of Memory of Nations – pilot project” have decided to cooperate in creation of the common project, which consist of 3 main parts.
In parallel, another project “Walking along the border trails of Czechoslovak and Polish dissidents” financed by the Czech-Polish Forum programme established of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, has been implemented as well. It is partially complementary in their goals and content. Both projects shall be completed in 2017.
One of the main 3 objectives of this International Visegrad Fund (IVF) financed project is “Strengthening the network of recent history, freedom and democratic values organizations in the Visegrad / Central European region”. For that purpose, 3 meetings are to be held between the project partners and with potential partners from other organizations in order to set up “Strategic plan and action plan”.
The main goal of the plans is to
- identify strategic goals and
- identify subsequent activities to be done
for further strengthening and facilitating mutual cooperation in saving the memories of our nations incl. its publicity, FR, PR and education.
First steps – meeting of partners in Bratislava and first draft of the plans
On 15-16 June, all 3 partners’ representatives have met in Bratislava in order to i.a. discuss the content of the Strategy and the subsequent Action plan. Here are the first results i.e. first draft of the SWOT analysis and subsequent proposal of strategic goals to be set up and proposal of concrete activities to be done in order to achieve the proposed goals.
Partners have identified the following strong and weak points, opportunities and threats, divided into internal and external ones. Thus we have gained a basic picture about the current situation of all 3 partners and, subsequently of all 3 countries in their perspective.
Human resources expertise – all three partners and other – potential – partners and stakeholders either employ or cooperate with experienced specialists and experts in their field, esp. historians, journalists, former and today’s activists. This gives us a unique comparative advantage.
Flexibility – most of the partners are pretty flexible in terms of human resources and time to be spent for implementation of given tasks. This is especially thanks to vast enthusiasm the employees and partners/suppliers have in their minds and hearts.
Clear mission and vision – all of us know that our common goal is to warn the younger generations of the dangers coming from populism, ignorance and lack of reasonable reflection of our own – not only recent – often non-freedom and totalitarian history. That’s why we try to save as much as possible memories of witnesses and convert them into attractive products as telling the personal stories broadcasted in radio, television, internet/social networks as reportages, virtual memorial routes in existing mobile application, educating young generations the deepest and widest possible.
Good reputation – partners are well respected by the societies they work in. They are principally apolitical (if not in majority financed by the public resources), but they are also active participants of the civic society, opening the information resources as wide as possible
Communication – all partners are capable to attract the attention of the wide part of the public with use of little financial resources.
Public interest in their own recent history – vast part of our societies are interested in our work, especially in the attractive ways of processing.
Low exchange of information about work being done by each partner
Lack of personal / time capacities for more frequent keeping updates on each others’ activities (in English, in native language)
No stable offices – the NGOs do not have stable ‘housing’, the collections have to be (CZ, SK) sometimes moved (not the case of Polish partner)
Difficulties in attracting the less educated, more passive and more manipulable people
Dispersion of information tools – databases, archives – held both by actual and potential partners
Unstable financing – most partners’ resources comes from public resources, which can be subject to change especially when political elites are changed. This causes impossibility to better plan the use of resources in the middle and long term perspective and consequently to employees’/partners’ fear from loss of their jobs.
Little mapped similar organizations/individuals dealing with the same or similar issues as recording the witnesses, databases of records in the region. They are not mapped in all IVF and other countries, it lacks widely recognized ‘roof’ international organization, which would deal with this coordination/cooperation.
Dispersed sources of financing in terms of coordination of the resources. Almost each city, region, country has its cultural heritage / social sciences / education focused grant programmes but they are weakly known across the countries and thus require much more human resources for potential coordination. Even commercial suppliers are not so specifically focused so they would provide necessary information for reasonable price.
Low awareness about the projects in each country, region and in Europe in general. Most of our organization ¨suffer’ from lack of awareness while each of us can use ‘lessons learnt’ mutually and also develop Common Communication strategy to improve our visibility both individually and in common.
Both internal and external
Non-frequent personal meetings and coordination at both national and international level. This leads to mutual isolation of potential partners and loss of possibility to use joint forces for implementing similar ideas and consequently suitable resources.
Sharing the ideas and know-how for further mutual cooperation – saving costs resources
Setting-up key communication contact persons
Making regular and frequent meetings either within the smaller partnership or via conferences/meetings of wider scope (sharing the invitations)
New (innovative) education methods using new (social) media – each of us produces their own methods and they are not shared. They can be potentially compared, merged, translated (as youtube edu-videos etc.) into national languages, enriching neighbours knowledge on their pasts.
Shared events and fundraising calendar – set up or join suitable calendar for gaining better overview on possible meetings (incl. content, ways of financing, participation conditions etc.) Forums for keeping the partners updated about their actual work
Shared database of contacts/partners – sharing the contacts, enabling fast questioning/calling for suitable partners in our countries
International Visegrad Fund (follow-up project – ‘Vrba-Wetzler route’)
Interreg Cross-border cooperation (ongoing calls)
Central Europe Interreg programme (upcoming Call in Autumn 2017)
Creative Europe programme – creating platforms/networks for common cooperation (upcoming call in Autumn 2017)
Mapping ‘other/similar’ resources
Beyond the Central Europe potential sources of funding, esp. USA (targeting our ethnic minorities in America) – gaining 501(c)(3) certification
New media / tools – communicating with people is much easier and cheaper than years ago, especial via internet and smart phones / mobile applications. It can more easily shape the people’s opinions
2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage – https://ec.europa.eu/culture/european-year-cultural-heritage-2018_en – let’s join it! How?
Europe for Citizens grants received by 2 partners (CZ, SK) with another
Doubling the work where cooperation can lead to substantial savings of human, time and financial resources.
Loss of high quality experts due to either lack of resources (internal) or political pressures (external)
Loss of good reputation due to any mistake
Political instability – this is relevant in all three countries as the threat of prevailing populistic and non-democratic movements in our countries may threaten the further work of all 3 partners. This especially relates to those being in majority financed from the state budget and/or from the state subsidies and grants.
Dispersed sources of financing – each country has various ways of potential financing and only few of them are ‘common’ as IVF. This project is an example of potential ‘matching’ the funds but this is rather exceptional than typical
Ignorance and fear of unknown – people, majority, are less educated and have less trust to serious traditional (respected) media and they incline to follow ‘alternative’ media. These ‘new’ alternative media are tending to publish disinformation even intentionally. Also social networks like Facebook allow – mostly unintentionally – disseminating false information but especially less educated and globalization trends worrying people tend to trust the unverified information and/or misinterpretations. These ‘followers’ may threaten our organizations even physically if our facts do not fit to their way of thinking/persuasion.
Bad historical education – young people are weakly educated about the recent history, especially the 20th century. They little know the recent (+25 years old) history of their own nation(s) and almost nothing about the neighbour countries history (nothing if going further on). Some media, politicians and even some scientists even interpret the history in a way of even advocating atrocities as Stalin, Hitler and other dictators allowed or requested.
Democracy disillusion – in new and also in old democracies more and more people are either passive/ or even disgusted with the way democracy and human rights are practiced in Europe. They hate further bureaucratization, personal limitations of their freedom, less accepting that their freedom ends where others’ freedom begins, tending to verbal and even physical insulting, using violence instead of constructive discussion if problem arises. Immorality and political irresponsibility of democratically elected politicians even encourages the members of the society to behave so, too.
Nationalism, hatred, xenophobia – people tend to be aggressive if they do not understand the situation, even though, in case of our 3 countries, are less ‘practical’ reasons to be afraid when the mass resources of the fear ‘goes around’ (mass migration from Africa and Middle East). Motivation is mostly fear and bad experience with own minorities from past and today.
Proposed main Strategic goals
As it is pretty clear from the previous SWOT analysis, the main obstacles for improving the alarming situation not only in the Visegrad region, but also in wider extent, can be defined as need to:
- improve mutual cooperation on various levels
- share the ideas and potential cooperation opportunities including fundraising resources in a wider forum
- improve use of new media tools
- improve use and share of existing information resources
The Strategic goals are further described as follows:
1 – improve mutual cooperation on various levels
All sides realize that the mutual cooperation is useful and, in the end, necessary for all participants, even for the price of potential initial misunderstandings, which may arise due to, for example, different sources of gained information. Therefore the cooperation has to be intensified in order to avoid the mistakes and to provide the audience, both professional and amateur, accurate information or information, which will clearly show the arguments and sources of different views.
Cooperation shall come at these levels
- mutual sharing memories of witnesses, sources, archives, databases
- mutual sharing information on the upcoming
- activities of each partner on at least quarterly basis
- fundraising sources and campaigns (see more in Strategic Goal 2)
- using the media tools – regular sharing the experiences (lessons learnt) (see more in Strategic Goal 3)
- better using and sharing the existing information resources (see more in Strategic Goal 4)
2 – share the ideas and potential cooperation opportunities including fundraising resources in a wider forum
All partners see the need to both deepen and widen cooperation in terms of creating cooperative projects and gaining suitable resources of financing, especially those which are crossing our national borders. This is more important for non-governmental organizations while also the others – established and financed mostly from public resources – realize these sources are incentives widening the outreach of our activities towards public audience. Therefore, the partners will:
- Establish a common internal on-line database of potential financial resources in which various possible filtering will be allowed including keeping individual information on the use of these resources by various partners allowed to use the database (only active participants are expected – both searching for suitable resources and adding new ones, too).
- Create an on-line forum for calling potential partners to join specific projects in specific calls
- Consider/reflect potential individual/new methods of fundraising (crowdfunding etc.) in mutual cooperation
It is expected the number partners will gradually rise across the region and also number of applied, successfully awarded and also finally implemented projects will grow up. All partners will invite their relevant partners to join this ‘opportunities network’.
3 – improve use of new media tools
The new media – especially the mobile phones applications and social networks – are actually the leading media tools while traditional media – TV, Radio, printed newspapers – are weakening, though not disappearing yet (except some newspapers). The media get more regionalized and more thematically and opinion divided thus they ask for more intensive work with particular journalists. Experiences are similar but not the same in terms of the ways they should be used, what kind of information and way of their presentation more or less acceptable by the targeted audience. Therefore we shall develop Common Communication Strategy to:
- Exchange information about experiences with various tools/media we use, what their dis/advantages are and what the users should be aware of to avoid their mistakes (lessons learnt) – at least once a year some meeting shall be held in these terms
- At least quarterly inform partners about the new methods the partners either have replicated from other partners and what their experiences are (what has proved effective/efficient or useless etc.)
- Choose the most interesting media tools including their monitoring/impact measuring – preliminary one is the mobile application and the places/routes included there
4 – improve use and share of existing information resources
Partners know and use many of their own resources of information, which are in majority either freely available or easy/open to access. On the other side, not all of them are known to each partner and it is then a pitty to ‘search’ them many times individually when they might be available from ‘one’ ‘Visegrad / Central European Root Crossroad’ offering the partners easy ‘map’ of information resources. Such a ‘crossroad’ of even to other ‘crossroads’ of resources can improve communication, research, cooperation and – in the end – personal and financial resources in the whole region and even beyond. We shall therefore
- Design content of and set up an internet portal with rules of use, which will become such a ‘Visegrad / Central European Root Crossroad’
- Discussion forum on recent experiences with various resources included in the ‘Visegrad / Central European Root Crossroad’
- Establish a common ‘administrator’ and regular meetings, on which the use of the ‘Visegrad / Central European Root Crossroad’ shall be discussed and reviewed at least once a year
Proposed specific activities for reaching the above stated Strategic goals
Based on the above stated basic strategic goals, several activities are planned to be done during or after the IVF and Czech-Polish forum projects implementation, namely
Community of European Memory Statutes
Common Community of European Memory Statutes on mutual cooperation will be written, critically checked and potentially signed in order to ‘roof’ this Strategy and Action Plan in a wider extent. Memorandum shall be open to be joined by any similarly focused and interested potential partner.
Main responsible organization/person: Post Bellum, o.p.s., Mr. Martin Petrtýl
Cooperating organizations/persons: Post Bellum SK, Mrs. Sandra Polovková
Start date: 1.9.2017
End date: 30.11.2017
Allocated resources (personal time/finances):
Submit ‘Community of European Memory Network’ upgraded project to the Creative Europe Programme
Based on this Strategic plan, an application for financing the created network will be submitted to the Creative Europe programme as this is identified as probably the most fitting source of financing the establishment of the Networks focused on protecting the intangible cultural heritage of people in the Visegrad and wider European region. The proposal will be ‘roofed’ by the partners/members agreed and signed Community of European Memory Statutes.
Partners will discuss and contribute to the project proposal as much as possible so it would be a balanced and really useful proposal adequately reacting at the needs, weak points and threats identified by this Strategic document and, at the same time, using the strengths and opportunities identified as well.
Partners will also search for suitable funds to support this network either as whole or in specific activities, including IVF Fund (as a strategic project).
Main responsible organization/person: Post Bellum, o.p.s., Mr. Martin Petrtýl
Cooperating organizations/persons: Post Bellum SK
Start date: September 2017
Create overarching Visegrad / Central European Root Crossroad
Common virtual portal shall be created as a ‘roof’ to the below defined and other future activities of the Community to be created based on this Strategic document and the subsequent Action Plan. It will be designed so it was the most fitting to the needs of all partners, it will include the forum (possibly using the Facebook – see below) and present the externally open Community of European Memory ‘crossroad’. It’ll include an open list of organizations being either members or only sympathisers of this network and an open list of databases of witnesses recorded even beyond the boundaries of Europe. It will include an open and structured forum for discussions for registered users and for initiating new projects and/or their merging. The whole information/discussion system will be yearly reviewed and possible changes will be proposed and approved.
Create common databases
Database of resources and calls will be made, using its internal and external resources at all relevant levels. At the beginning, the databases will include information in excel sheet or similar form, sorting them on various pre-agreed and then possibly widened criteria. Databases will be both internally and externally used and each partner will have both rights to use it and obligation to update it for mutual benefit.
Database of past, actual and planned projects and ideas – physical, virtual and combined – will be created in order to make a clear picture on activities all the partners work on, especially in order to avoid doubling our work and to merge potentially similar projects, including the potential resources of their financing and joining them mutually.
Database of contact persons will be made, enabling initial and potential partners to join it and provide basic information about themselves in a structured form. Based on it, a forum for discussing structurally divided themes will be held, probably within Facebook or similar virtual social network.
Roof database of witnesses’ databases will be created – it will be done ideally in cooperation with My House of European History as potentially the best so far known project allowing this merging. The database will try to collect access to all known databases for further work at all relevant amateur/professional levels.
All the above mentioned databases will have their own specific rules of use and what content will be freely or restrictively available or based on specific criteria and gathered in the above mentioned Visegrad / Central European Root Crossroad.
Development of the Common Communication Strategy
The partners realize that their communication has to be improved while each partner has its good and also bad experiences they can share and learn for them. Therefore we will
- a) Exchange information about experiences with various tools/media we use, what their dis/advantages are and what the users should be aware of to avoid their mistakes (lessons learnt) – at least once a year some meeting shall be held in these terms
- b) At least quarterly inform partners about new methods they have replicated from other partners or elsewhere and what their experiences are (proved effective/efficient or useless, why etc.)
- c) Choose the most interesting media tools including their monitoring/impact measuring – preliminary one is the mobile application and the places/routes included there (see action below)
Upgrade and better share Sites of the Memory of Nations mobile application
In order to better get ‘in touch’ especially with the youngest generation it is a key point to get ‘under their skin’. Critical discussion shall be held in order to find out what measures/activities, which features and tools shall be made in order to make the application more interesting and – consequently – used by the target groups, especially teenagers. Consequently, suitable (both financial and technical) sources of financing will be discussed and agreed.