Networking is important - for the work of action alliances and movements as well as for other civil society actors. Building and maintaining a network helps to spread ideas, programmes and projects, to mobilise people for action and to inspire others to join and contribute.

The project "Create with dedication", has given us the interesting task of supporting the development of a network of young and dedicated people in North Rhine-Westphalia with strategy workshops. The idea arose during the "Young Islam Conference NRW" project. Even back then, we could sense the potential in an ongoing exchange among the participants.

In the current project, everything is geared to the needs of the young volunteers: on the one hand, there are competence building and qualification opportunities, on the other hand, the opportunity to participate in strategy workshops on identity, values, goals and the concrete design of the network. We offer a (digital) space for this ongoing process. Here, the participants exchange ideas, reveal their personal networks and interests, define the next joint steps, realise their visions for the future and get to know each other better. The strategy work is documented on a digital whiteboard - a huge advantage in a longer-term process such as this, allowing every person involved access to previous considerations and quickly find out about the current status of the project.

In order to move the process forward in a purposeful way, we have developed methodologically balanced, interlinked interactive workshop concepts. This way we ensure that at the end of each workshop there are concrete results and work assignments while not losing sight of the bigger picture. It is important to strike a balance between providing a framework and structure on the one hand and ensuring the greatest possible openness and freedom on the other, so that the workshop results actually reflect the ideas developed by the participants together. 

Between the workshops, we distribute small impulses to the network so that the concrete networking steps decided upon do not get lost in the daily routine. In the future, this reminder service should no longer be necessary - because a network stands and falls with its active members. 

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