From 15 to 18 June 2020, the Collective Leadership Institute (Germany) hosted its first virtual study tour for the members of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum from Russia, Sweden, and Finland.

The tour called “Partnerships Matter” is funded by the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum and was originally planned to take place in Potsdam in April. Due to COVID-19 pandemic, this got impossible, but all partners agreed to innovate a virtual study tour instead. During the first two days of this online gathering, the participating four Russian NGOs, as well as one Swedish and one Finnish NGO learnt about tools and methodologies on how to engage with stakeholders. This training was based on phase one of CLI’s Dialogic Change Model for better stakeholder collaboration. On day 3 of the study tour, the participants had the chance to exchange with practitioners from the German NGOs Save the Children, MitOst, dvor, and Kreisau-Initiative on how they build partnerships and engage stakeholders. On the last day the impressions of the theoretical and practical input of the other days were consolidated with the Dialogic Change Model again and led to concrete next steps for the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum’s working group on “civic participation for sustainable development”, such as advocacy for the SDGs within the Forum, collaborating with other working groups like e.g. “environment”, and creating a pilot project on partnership tools and methodologies.

The participants appreciated the opportunity to travel virtually and exchange with their colleagues in times when this is hardly possible, and also made great contributions to make this study tour an unforgettable learning experience.

The position paper on “Effective Partnerships for Sustainable Development: Principles and Tools” that can be found here is an outcome of this online study tour.