In order to be as efficient as possible in work, a lot of investment is needed in the development of the capacities of those who work and volunteer in civil society organizations.

The design and implementation of nature protection projects require expertise related to research, monitoring and management of endangered species and habitats. However, managing teams that will implement project activities requires a whole additional set of knowledge and skills that are not taught at natural sciences faculties.

Without this knowledge, there are neither successful projects nor sustainable organizations.

“At Sunce, this year we decided to devote ourselves to strengthening our knowledge and skills related to leadership, giving feedback, mentoring, project management and stress management in the workplace. At first glance, this knowledge has nothing to do with environmental protection, but it is essential for the successful work of the team and the implementation of all our projects. The support of the BioNET network allowed us to engage external experts who will help us in this and to develop ways for the internal transfer of what we have learned” they said in this organization.

In order to develop a mentoring system in Sunce, head of the Nature Protection Program Zrinka Jakl, thanks to the support of the BioNET network, joined the EuroNatur Stiftung’s ‘Mentoring for Effective Nature Conservation’ training. During the next ten months, together with representatives of European organizations for nature protection, she will investigate how mentoring helps to strengthen the capacity to implement effective projects and achieve positive changes.

Today there are numerous methods of learning and developing skills. Mentoring is a newer approach to learning that deviates quite a bit from our traditional understanding of the term. A mentor is not someone who learns by sharing his knowledge and providing solutions to problems. He encourages, supports and guides the mentored person so that he/she strengthens his leadership skills and realizes his maximum potential in the work he does. Mentors can enhance and complement formal forms of learning by supporting mentees to reflect on what they have learned in order to apply what they have learned in practice. The mentor is not expected to take on the traditional role of a teacher, but rather a collaborator in learning who does not give answers but asks the right questions and thus helps the person go through the process of thinking about how to apply what he has learned through other forms of learning (formal education, trainings, professional literature etc.).

Mentoring focuses on a long-term relationship between mentor and “student” based on trust. Holistically, it focuses on the person as a whole as well as on the work they do. The mentor is a fellow entrepreneur or owner/leader of a company/organization and does not expect financial compensation for mentoring. This is a mutually beneficial engagement for the mentor and the one being “taught”, which encourages, supports, connects and helps in gaining different perspectives.

You can find out more about what mentoring is at What is Mentoring (, or register for the education on mentoring in nature protection that EuroNatur conducts every year

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