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Legal Space helps young CSOs become successful
Session on Strategic Planning in Nyzhni Sirohozy. Photo by Volodymyr Orlovskyi/legalspace.org
Session on Strategic Planning in Nyzhni Sirohozy.

Registered in the spring of 2017, Legal Initiatives NGO from Kherson region trained in IRC “Legal Space”. Due to the expert support, the young team determined the vector and the main directions of activity.

The team of the Legal Initiatives NGO is young, but rather ambitious, confident in its own strength and the need to implement useful projects and initiatives in Nyzhni Sirohozy rayon.

The Chair of the Board of the organization, lawyer Aliona Shokareva and manager Svitlana Kharchenko - have experience in social work. Thus, Aliona worked as a volunteer from 2015, provided free legal aid to low-income and large families, ATO participants, servicemen and disabled persons. One of the successful stories can be found on Legal Space. Since 2014 Svitlana has participated in several public projects, which were embodied in the Kherson region.

So, having created in 2017 the Legal Initiatives NGO, its team decided to build its work competently and according to modern approaches.

Session on organizational development is a vector of movement to the right direction

Already in June this year, the Legal Initiatives NGO received the first grant for the organizational development of CSOs as part of the financing of the Cooperation Agreement between the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and ICAP "Unity". Due to this, Anna Martyniuk, a coach of IRC "Legal Space", was invited to Nyzhni Sirohozy to hold a strategic planning session. In two days, they identified values, outlined a mission and vision, formed the directions of work, products and target audience, analyzed resources. They acquired three integral components of the success of a CSO: an idea, team and resources. And most importantly, they began a step-by-step activity planning and developed a development strategy for the first year.


Svitlana Kharchenko (left) and Aliona Shokareva during the Strategic Planning Session. Photo by Volodymyr Orlovskyi/legalspace.org

“We decided to start our activities from organizational development. It was understood that good planning would help our team clearly understand how and where to move for the sake of its mission. Now we can focus on solving acute social problems in the Nyzhni Sirohozy community, we know where to start activities and attract new people to work", said Aliona Shokareva.

Step two: internship in Kherson

The lawyer recalls that their acquaintance with Kherson colleagues took place in February 2016, during psychological and legal seminar in Nyzhni Sirohozy, where the team of IRC "Legal Space" and Charitable Foundation "Source of Life" conducted one of 11 field seminars for the demobilized, their families, civil servants, local activists and volunteers.

Since then, the first meeting has grown into partnership, which resulted in a strategic session, and later - and internship at the office of Legal Space, which took place in late June 2017.

During the internship, guests got an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the basics of project management in practice. They saw how the transaction is executed, which package is sent to the donor, how the projects are executed and the report is being prepared. They learned how to keep records on the project, to provide its information support, to report on the implemented projects. They talked with experienced managers and heads of other non-governmental organizations about their approaches to a team formation; gained experience of resource management and core organization formation. Trainees saw how public reception centers work to provide free legal aid in other civic and charitable organizations.


Anna Martyniuk, co-director of the Legal Advocacy Center. Photo by Volodymyr Orlovskyi/legalspace.org

During the week, Anna Martyniuk provided 5 consultations on fundraising, strategic communications, marketing of non-profit organizations, advocacy, team building. She explained how to establish communication with key stakeholders and to declare themselves in the community.

"Every detail is important to our young organization, so we decided to take internship in the" Legal Space ". We received a valuable knowledge base to start our community activities. We sincerely thank the trainer Anna Martyniuk for the frankness and sincerity revealed to our team. We hope that a successful start will help the Legal Initiatives understand the problems of the community and solve them", noted Aliona Shokareva.

It should be noted that IRC "Legal Space" continues to provide mentor support to initiatives and projects of the Legal Initiatives. To date, the young organization faces new challenges, continues to provide free legal aid, conducts legal education activities for its fellow countrymen and dreams of entering Legal Development Network.

“The path of the Legal Initiatives is worthy of following by the newly established human rights organizations. The colleagues from Nyzhni Sirohozy did not invent a bike, but methodically and competently took up the development of the organization: they won a grant for training on organizational development, established cooperation with leading local and regional charity organizations, started preparing their own projects. I'm sure their hard work will quickly become visible and demanded in the community. And they will have high chances to join the Legal Development Network", Anna Martyniuk summarized.

The Information Resource Center "Legal Space" expresses its gratitude to the partner organizations: the Kherson regional organization "Committee of Voters of Ukraine", the Regional Center for free legal aid provision in Kherson region, the Kherson Mercy and Health Foundation, and Bilozerka Center for Regional Development, Rezhisser.ORG, Kherson Art Hub and Coordinator of media education film clubs DOCU/CLUB Tetiana Kulik for their time and rich content of the meetings that were held for representatives of the Legal Initiatives during the internship.

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