In 2018, EMSP initiated a capacity building programme to work in regional clusters with its member organisations to empower the MS community to raise their voices, starting with the Baltic region. The programme allows us to get in-depth understanding of the activities undertaken by the MS societies, as well as the challenges they are facing at national level, and to strategize their advocacy efforts better for a greater impact. In 2019, the capacity building programme focused on the Balkan region including MS Societies from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey.
The activities included two regional meetings to strategize regional advocacy efforts and one peer study visit hosted by the MS society, in the United Kingdom, where participants learned the best practices in organisational management and MS campaigning with experts from the UK MS Society and the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation (MSIF).
As a practical outcome, we managed to agree with national MS associations in the region on a framework for a sustainable, long-term regional collaboration to strengthen the campaigning for improvement of the quality of life of people affected by MS. The programme also enabled us to align the priorities of MS societies and EMSP to become more influential and participative.
We also continued the Membership Communications Network activities, providing a unique internal platform to exchange best practices, as well as knowledge and information between EMSP and dedicated communication specialists from member societies.