The Ulex Project provides high-quality trainings and capacity building programmes to strengthen movement capacity for social justice and ecological integrity. They run a residential training centre, serving the needs of social movements for the long haul. They use a collaborative approach, working with and alongside movement actors to innovate social movement training in Europe that is responsive to needs and changing socio-political conditions.
The Ulex crew view themselves as a hub of collaboration that strengthens movement connections for pan-European solidarity and social movement resilience. They work with a wide range of movement actors and a large part of their work supports grassroots organising, but they also recognise the importance of a healthy movement ecology that includes other types of actors. They focus on supporting organisations and groups who are working towards the structural transformations needed to address key irrationalities and injustices in the current socio-economic system.
Ulex operates under a ‘solidarity economy’. This means that they never charge individuals for training and are committed to economic inclusion. The economic ethos of their training provision is
‘give what you can, take what you need’.
To make this possible they receive donations and have put great effort into leveraging EU funding in recent years. Primarily they have developed the skills to use EU funding for adult education to support these initiatives. They have a strong supporter base made up of the hundreds of people who have benefited from the trainings. In 2017 they were able to draw on this support to raise €40,000 towards renovations at the training centre.
Being aware of the scarcity of resources amongst many of the groups they support, Ulex crew dedicate team-time to supporting smaller organisations access funds to meet their capacity building needs.
With the EU funding programme entering a transition year in 2021, their current strategy involves a shift in the reliance on EU funds towards a more diversified funding model. This will be made up of a higher level of individual support, foundation grants, and continued use of EU funding streams (as the restructuring of these becomes clear in late 2020).
An important part of our economic model is our collective structure. As a collective based in an intentional radical community, they are able to maintain very low overheads (shared living costs, off-grid, no office rent). This has always enabled them to make the most of their funding, achieving a lot with minimal core costs.
The Guerrilla Grant
Our funding will go towards the Psycho-Social Resilience Programme for LGBTQI activists and organisers from Eastern Europe and post-soviet countries.
The team carried out a needs-assessment process through meetings and interviews with organisations in Belarus, Poland, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Czech Republic, Croatia and Hungary. Based on those needs assessments they set out the following project priorities:
– Strengthening resilience in the LGBTQI+ movement in Eastern Europe and post-soviet countries facing repression and attack through networking, exchange, and training.
– Equipping 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 in order to be prepared to recognize and holistically approach those on personal, organisational and movement levels.
– 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 resilient model of engagement in social change.
For the activism, grantmaking and project management nerds, to achieve these goals, they will carry out an 18 month long programme (running March 2020 – September 2021), that will involve:
– 2 international trainings and networking skillshares in the regions (spring and autumn 2020)
– Organisational and region specific workshops (winter 2020-21)
– Residential trainings for trainers at Ulex Project (autumn 2020)
– Organisational accompaniment: Coaching and support (autumn 2020 – summer 2021)
– Webinars and online communities of praxis (autumn 2020 – autumn 2021)
– Support building regional capacity in resilience training (autumn 2020 – summer 2021)
– Development and translation of supporting resources (Training and implementation guide)
To asses the success in implementing the project they will apply a range of methods. Each training, workshop, gathering and online module will be followed up by participant evaluation. They will carry out a mid-term review of the project, as well as a final project review with all the partner organisations two months after the project has ended.
The indicators that will be monitored are as follows:
– The burnout rate decrease and general well-being increase among the partner organisations staff
– The decrease of turnover of the staff, volunteers and members in the partner organisations
– Shifts in working and organising cultures, implementation of new tools and approaches
– Quality of relationships among the staff, volunteers and members in the partner organisations
– New international and regional cooperation and projects
– Implementation of risk assessment systems and psychosocial resilience strategies