On 27th September 2018 Youth Work Ireland invited other Youth NGOs as well as key stakeholders in the field of CSR and SMEs to their offices to meet and work together as part of the CoOp project.
These included representatives from government, business associations, universities, and of course many NGOs. The day started with an introduction to the CoOp Project given by Anne L’Henoret CoOp Project Manager for Ireland. This was followed by a small groups brainstorming session on the ‘Motivations and Challenges’ that present themselves to both Youth NGOs and SMEs in relation to CSR collaborations.
Those group discussions confirmed many of the impressions and facts gathered during the CoOp Research, in particular that there is a lot of misunderstanding and fears around this idea from both sides, due in part to the underlying assumption that the cultures of the NGOs and companies would not work well together.
The government and business associations representatives then presented their perspectives and their proposed plans around CSR. The participants broke into groups again and discussed themes such as how an NGO can research potential CSR partners; what benefits NGOs can offer their CSR partners; how SMEs differ from larger corporates in terms of barriers and opportunities…
After those break-out groups reported back, YWI presented further details of the CoOp project, starting with the Research Report findings, followed by a number of Case Studies from around the Partner countries; this last section was of particular interest to the participants who were surprised and interested to see the variety of ways in which Youth NGOs and SMEs can successfully cooperate, including some innovative 3-way Partnerships etc. Throughout the event the participants had very open and enlightening discussions and reported getting great value from the day.
Many have stayed in contact in order to support each other in this new area of activity and some went onto to participate in the COOP International Training.