Funded by the Open Society Foundations’ Early Childhood Programme (ECP), INTRAC provided support to strengthening the organisational and financial sustainability of International Step by Step (SbS) Association member NGOs in 19 countries in central eastern Europe.

The capacity strengthening support was designed to be delivered primarily through qualified national capacity building providers identified in each country, supported as necessary by a small core team of INTRAC consultants specialised in organisational development and resource mobilisation.

There were three Phases to the INTRAC programme.

  • Phase I (2013/14) – a review of the network’s strengths, challenges and needs related to its durability and development of an organisational sustainability self-assessment tool and process for sustainability strengthening, piloted in 2 countries.
  • Phase II (2014/2016) – roll out of the process and capacity building tools with SbS NGOs in an additional 10 countries, with a focus on strategic planning and the development of resource mobilisation strategies.
  • Phase III (2016/18) – extension of the programme to a further 7 SbS NGOs in the region. Consolidation and further sharing of lessons learned across the ISSA network.

Learning from the programme was shared across the network with the aim of informing OSF’s future investments in capacity building of the ISSA network, in accordance with its 2016-2020 strategy and its commitment to developing strong, independent SbS organisations. The programme continues to complement INTRAC’s ongoing research into issues of CSO sustainability.

The Step by Step programme was launched in 1994 by George Soros, founder of the Open Society Foundations. It was inspired by emerging research on the lifelong economic and social benefits of quality early childhood development and has grown into an independent network of early childhood NGOs united in their vision to promote the right of each child to meet their potential.