We were very happy to have the opportunity to had a rich discussion with Joe Szakos and Chuck Hirt, two community organizers from the USA, about what an NGO can do in terms of capacity building. We talked a lot about how to increase the social base of organizations.
These events are really useful, it is always instructive to take a different approach to professional issues. Getting to know and understand the different perspectives, methods and tools used, and often the fundamentally different way of thinking, helps us to improve, enhance and make our own work more effective.
For us, similar encounters with Dave Beckwith, another exceptional American community organiser, who died last year, were very decisive. Some of the principles we developed together with his help still have an impact on our work as a foundation.
Joe Szakos has been working as a community organiser since 1979. From 1981 to 1993, he was the coordinator of Kentuckians For The Commonwealth, founder of Virginia Organizing, and from 1994 to 2017, he served as its executive director. In 1993-94, he spent a year in Hungary, where he co-founded the Ökotárs Alapítvány
Chuck Hirt is an American community organizer based in Besztercebánya, Slovakia, founder of the Center for Community Organizing and the CEE Citizens Network. He has been instrumental in making the Civil Kollégium Alapítvány the pioneer of community organizing in Hungary.