Russian NGOs learn to lobby officialdom

How can civil society in Russia work more effectively with the authorities to achieve positive change? UNDEF funds an initiative to build skills among Russian NGOs that lack experience in interacting with officialdom and in communicating their message effectively. The project, implemented by the SocInvest Foundation, held a round table in Samara in April 2011, bringing together a range of organizers including the regional ministry of public health and social development; the partnership Lawyers for Civil Society; the Russian State Social University; and the regional NGO Youth, Education, Sport, Creation. The round table discussed ways of strengthening women's NGOs in effective lobbying; developing voluntary movements to address homelessness; involving youth in fighting poverty and supporting marginalized groups; and launching innovative pilot projects in art studios, street magazines, and legal self-representation. Participants came from civil society groups in St. Petersburg, Tosno, Vladimir, Penza, Cheboksary and Voronezh.