Looking Forward: Our Strategy for 2023 and Beyond
By Lisa Coll, EF President
In 2022, Eurasia Foundation marked 30 years of operations. While we celebrated this milestone, we also spent much of the year providing support and resources to our staff and partners facing extraordinary hardships. In the face of war, mass displacement, brutal government crackdowns on peaceful protests, and shrinking space for civic engagement, as we enter 2023, our directive is clear: civic actors around the globe need our support now more than ever.
It is these challenges that informed our thinking as we embarked on strategic planning this summer. Our team designed a new organizational strategy for strengthening resilient and responsive societies over the next four years. This process calibrates our approach to development to the shifting political landscapes across the regions where we work.
The world has changed dramatically since our last strategic planning in 2018. Communities across the globe have faced the shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic, economic downturn, and democratic backsliding. This year was no exception, as Russia waged an unprovoked and ruthless war against Ukraine and governments across Eurasia clamped down on free speech and the political, economic, and social sovereignty of women and minorities.
Yet through each challenge, our programs have proved resilient. The civil society groups and local leaders that we champion faced each hurdle with ingenuity, flexibility, and an unshakeable belief in a brighter future.
Our e-governance initiatives united governments and constituents to weather the pandemic together with cutting-edge digital tools that delivered critical support payments and public services directly to users’ computer or smartphone. Our changemaker courses made online spaces feel like home, providing safety and solidarity where many thought it impossible. And our exchange programs built lasting bridges between countries in a time of intensifying isolation.
We began crafting our new vision for the future in May 2022. Staff across Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and North America contributed to this strategy, from the most senior to junior levels. We encouraged each team member to take ownership of this process, and many of our youngest staff stepped up to lead discussion groups. Together, we identified how our shared strengths and values can light our path forward.
Our Vision for 2026
Much like the civil society leaders we support, Eurasia Foundation’s success in these trying years has rested in the depth of our networks and the agility of our programming. For 30 years, EF has prioritized the needs and solutions of host country partners by drawing on expansive in-country networks and their deep understanding of local contexts. We trust these networks and, most importantly, they trust us. Grounded by these roots, we can be flexible in the face of threats and opportunities, advance cutting-edge solutions, and pilot new techniques.
“For 30 years, EF has prioritized the needs and solutions of host country partners by drawing on expansive in-country networks and their deep understanding of local contexts.”
In the next four years, Eurasia Foundation will continue to equip changemakers with the resources and skills to design their own futures. Our courses in media literacy, advocacy, and youth development will ready participants to engage actively and thoughtfully in civic life.
Our e-governance solutions will continue to pave a two-way street between governments and their constituents. Our government partners will meet their constituents’ needs through efficient online service delivery. Robust open data portals will equip constituents to promote transparency, push for accountability, and make their voices heard.
We will support government bodies, businesses, and individuals in Ukraine as they rebuild a free and flourishing country. We will champion locally led solutions every step of the way. Our e-governance expertise will continue to eliminate opportunities for corruption as international funds pour into the country.
We will connect advocates and community organizers with the resources to build diverse and resilient coalitions. We will design courses centered around the needs of underserved populations: people with disabilities, women, and youth. We will leverage technology and innovation to expand access to international exchanges and civic education.
Our new strategy is also a commitment to hold our organization and ourselves accountable for the values we espouse. Starting this year, we are asking each member of our team to take direct ownership of diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in their portfolio. Living out our values is critical to creating a fair and inclusive workplace, maintaining our partners’ and donors’ trust, and cultivating excellence in all that we do.
Thank you for your continued partnership and support. I remain optimistic that, together, we can foster peaceful, just, and responsive societies in 2023 and beyond. Happy new year!