“Boring”, “Routine at work” and “not very interesting people”…
Certainly, these words cannot be used to describe work in an NGO that works in the field of non-formal education, youth and international cooperation. Every day is an adventure, and crisis situation is just a minor challenge.
When planning the WIDE project, none of us and our partners, even in the darkest scenario, imagined that it would take us three years to implement, during which we would experience lockdown, border closures, the inability of volunteers hosted by the ESC Program to return to their home countries, an influx of refugees from Ukraine, the closure of partner organizations, and a very intensive implementation of online project implementation methods.
You are probably asking yourself whether it was possible to accomplish all this knowing what has happened in the World and Europe in the last 3 years and what all the people of this Globe have been going through…
I can confidently say that we managed to do it thanks to the resistance and resilience of the EFM staff, the Polish National Agency and the partner organizations.
In retrospect (it may be a very bold statement – but I’ll use it anyway), this project was carried out at the right time and in the right places.
All these events have shown us the strengths and weaknesses of our organization and the institutions with which we cooperate and the environment in which we operate, exposed the shortcomings of the entire crisis management system worldwide and proved the great value of a cohesive team of people with whom we work and cooperate.
Job shadowing is a good way to meet new interesting people, places and to develop professionally and personally, as EFM employees have found out while implementing the WIDE project in Italy, UK and Cyprus.
While preparing the final report, I began to reflect on what the WIDE project has given me, and I can safely say that it is a project whose implementation I will never forget because of:
The stress that it's implementation brought
– or rather the lack of it for a very long time – was still rather small when compared to the stress I experienced when a colleague from the office, during the mobility in Cyprus, wanted to “jump into the fire” to see if everyone was evacuated from the Russian Cultural Center after the explosion that happened before our eyes as, at the time, we and the staff of the partner organization were in very close proximity to the scene of the fire
Coordination challenge due to the prevailing situation in the World and Europe
Relief when the pandemic ended and it was again possible to implement the project
and even greater relief when the relevant services at the Russian Cultural Center showed up and it turned out that no one was hurt and everyone was evacuated
A new perspective on the activities of our organization
Acquisition of new crisis management skills
Implementing new digital tools for project management at EFM
Meeting interesting people and new places
I think after what you have read you are wondering if it was worth pursuing this project?
The answer is, very shortly, YES, it was worth it!
This project completely changed my point of view. I gained new experience and knowledge in the field of crisis management. It allowed me to gain distance from everyday work, meet interesting people and acquire new skills and confirmed that the most important thing is creative and well-trained employees when the whole system fails and you have to act in unusual situations.
WIDE NGO by the eyes of Marzena Pitus
President of EFM Poland