Summer school for village activists in Jäneda

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On 10.-11. September 2016 the Estonian Village Movement Kodukant organized a summer school that took place at the Rural Economy Research Centre in Jäneda. The meeting focused on the question how to deal with changes on the community level? The points of discussion were the possibilities to enlarge the knowledge on the municipal administrative reform under the guidance of village elders, development initiatives and to expand one’s role and influence when arguing for the interest of the local community – in one’s own village as well as in Estonia general. The discussion program also included a debate on “How does the voice of the community reach to the government in enlarged municipalities and which role can the Village Movement Kodukant take”? The participants of the debate were the Minister of Public Administration Arto Aas, the Chairman of the Management Board of Kodukant Pärnumaa and Surju Municipality Council Chairman Kadr-Aija Viik, sociologist and expert in Kodukant’s Advisory Committee Ivi Proos and Geomedia consultant Rivo Noorkõiv. It was confirmed that in order to fight peripheralization and a disentanglement from political power it is important to decentralize leadership. What kind of concrete management model to choose from, depends on the local administrative culture and the exact challenges the community is faced with. Moreover, the program included lectures on the results of the administrative reforms in Finland and Latvia and discussion rounds following the open space method. Geomedia consultant Rivo Noorkõiv was one of the moderators of a debate focusing on the role of village elders through the course of time. Altogether, more than 100 local activists and village movement leaders from all Estonian counties as well as representatives from local governments and public officials participated at the summer school.

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