Public information campaign training in Voronezh.

MiraMed has 14 years of Russia-specific experience in the design, development and implementation of grass roots programs for women and at-risk youth. Its focus is on training, education and capacity building of indigenous NGOs, building national NGO networks, community support coalitions and national/international governmental/NGO partnerships to the point where Russian NGOs become the self-sufficient, empowered representatives of civil society and voices for democracy in Russia .

NGO building in Veliki Novgorod.
Achieving these objectives requires an organization that can conceive as well as implement innovative programs and a staff that is multi-disciplinary and self-sufficient. MiraMed Institute is an organization that expects a lot from its employees. As a result of its unwavering focus on the social welfare of women and disadvantaged youth in Russia , MiraMed has developed an unusually well integrated managerial structure to maximize the unique skills of its team. Dr. Juliette Engel, its founding director, and Robert Aronson, the organization's program director, manage the enterprise and have worked together as a team for 8 years. Supporting them is the professional, well-experienced multi-lingual Moscow staff consisting of Finance Director Murat Vafin, with 10 years of experience working with U.S. government funded grants, Russia Director Vladislav Suprunov, who has been with the organization for 7 years; and Alexei Suprunov, who recently joined the organization as Assistant Director of Finance from his previous position as Chief of Finance of a large government program in Ukraine. Four of its five person management team also has extensive experience running their own businesses prior to joining MiraMed. This gives the team a unique understanding of the skill sets necessary for any organization to operate not just as a successful NGO, but as a successful enterprise.

MiraMed fulfills its mission by serving as facilitators, trainers and overseers of developing Russian NGOs with complimentary goals and missions. MiraMed is registered with the Russian Federation Ministry of Justice as a re-granting, training and oversight organization.

NGO organizational development
With over a decade of on the ground experience in Russia, MiraMed has partnered with over 100 Russian NGOs. Some are members of the Angel Coalition—a consortium of Russian NGO's founded in 1999 to combat sex trafficking from Russia . Others are human rights, social welfare, woman's rights, educational and other NGO's. The focus of our training for these NGO's is capacity-building—teaching NGO staff how to manage their organizations, make their work product more effective, build a network of local and regional relationships, and, become self-sufficient through grants and self-enterprise.

To encourage Russian NGO's to adopt a more business-like and financially “transparent” management system, MiraMed has designed organizational development workshops that use a combination of case-studies and “dissection” and “re-invention” of their current programs; how to use staff more effectively; stay focused on your core mission; program plan for self-sufficiency; etc. Training by MiraMed staff is augmented by Russian professionals working for American and European companies, as well as consultants from successful Russian NGO's. These training courses have been conducted in Moscow , Saratov and Veliki Novgorod.

These workshops usually can last from one to three days and are conducted by MiraMed staff and in some cases, Russian and/or American trainers who are part of our training grant.

Training on working with media
Although television is making huge inroads to the general population, Russia is still a nation of newspaper readers. Working with the media is very different in Russia than it is in the US because many newspapers have an unwritten policy of being paid for news articles. For under-funded Russian NGO's, this is impossible, so our media training workshops take them step by step on how to become an ally of the press; what it takes to become a credible source; when to ask for coverage and when not to; understanding the perspective of each media: radio, TV, print, other, etc. As part of these workshops, members of the working press are invited as participants so they can interact with NGO's in an off-the-record setting.

Community organizing and grass roots networking
Most Russian NGO's are small and under-staffed. Working together for common cause is still rare in Russia , so MiraMed workshops on how to network with “like minded” NGO's and other community groups focus on successful strategies which were used to create the Angel Coalition. Community-organizing techniques to develop public support for issues/actions are also taught based on successful models used in America and eastern Europe.