Between 3-8 May 2019, OBESSU and its organisations from the Southern and Central Eastern Europe (SEE-CEE) region kicked off the first face-to-face activity of the Stronger School Student Unions project! During 4 productive days in Novi Sad, Serbia, the group had the opportunity to discuss challenges in the field of funding and communications in their school student organisations, and shared best practices and possible solutions.

Since it was a peer learning activity and not a traditional capacity building, a lot of learning happened thanks to the participants who shared their experiences, best practices or ideas for solutions. We have learnt a lot from each other, not only in the area of communications and financial management but also about organisational structures (both volunteer structures and paid staff), which is something OBESSU member organisations vary in and so it always allows for interesting sharing and learning opportunities.

We spent most of our time on discussing and learning about financial management. We looked at different aspects of financial management and funding in school student organisations : what funds are available to us, how do we apply, how do we attract donors, how do we manage a budget and how do we make a budget sustainable. You might think this sounds boring, but we made it a lot of fun thanks to the active participation of all the members!

Since we were in Novi Sad, we used the possibility to mean with OPENS – the team behind the Youth Capital 2019. They shared with us  how did they get where they are now, what are their main activities, how are their activities perceived by the public. We also learnt about their sources of funding, how did they attract the funders and we touched upon communications as well, such as the meaning of their visual identity and importance of a mission statement, giving a concrete example connected to the topics of our PLA.

Earlier this year we opened a renewed call for OBESSU alumni, and during the PLA we were able to bring the expertise of our alumnus, Sasa, whose background is not only in OBESSU as a Monitoring Committee member and member of the Pool of Trainers of OBESSU but also as a board member of UNSS (the Serbian School Student Union), which was valuable for the PLA and our group because he has an understanding of our membership. We are hoping to involve more alumni in the upcoming webinars (autumn 2019) and in other activities of the Stronger School Student Unions programme.

Last but not least, more  activities of the Stronger School Student Union programme are coming up, such as webinars, field visits and a second regional peer learning activity which will be open to the whole membership (January 2020). In case you want more information about SSSU in general or regarding any specific activity of the project, please contact dasa@obessu.org or giuseppe@obessu.org