“Rural Partnership Selija” started

From November 1, 2014 the association “Rural Partnership Selija” started a new block of activities – besides working out the develpment plan for 2014 -2020, the association started the implementation of its project “Beyond the Skyline”. The project was going on until March 31, 2016. The main task of the project – “To improve the quality of life to the children of families with low income and families living in the countryside, as well as to the people living in the institutions of social care through widening their world outlook and education possibilities by means of involving them into the process of planning the development of their local territory.

The main target group of the project were children and their involvement in the process of development planning of the native village, pagasts and novads. All sets of activities took place in each of the 5 novads within the territory of “Rural Partnership Selija” – in the village of Ancene of Akniste novads; in the village of Dunava of Jekabpils novads; in the village of Vipe of Krustpils novads; in the village of Birzi of Sala novads and in the village of Rite of Viesite novads. In each of the villages the project groups were led by excellent local coordinators – Ilze Setkovska in Ancene, Vija Pazuha in Birži, Uģis Vārslavāns in Dunava, Daiga Vilcāne in Vīpe, Gunta Dobrovska un Aina in Rite. As it is the grown-ups who usually work on the development plans, but it is the children who witness their coming true. Consequently, there were 3 sets of activities in the project:

  • The set of activities called “Values”, in which the participants got a deeper insight into the interesting places of their village, its history and outstanding people.
  • The set of creative summer workshops called “Look Ahead!”, carried out during one most exciting  week in summer when the participants in each of the 5 villages had a possibility to get involved in the process of  doing and making things they had neither seen nor done before.
  • The set of activities called “Beyond the Skyline” with its main task – each participant makes his or her own presentation (model) called “The Future of My Village”.

In August, 2015 6 participants from each of the 5 groups took part in the cognitive experience exchange trip to Madona where they were hosted by the project partner organization – NGO “By the Cliff” and its youngsters. The children experienced both a stay in the Tourist Info Centre of the Lubana wetlands and a walk along the nature track in the Teirumnieki marsh followed by a visit to a modern shooting-gallery and a climbing wall in the well-equipped Madona Sports Centre.

One of the most exciting events during the project turned out to be setting up a track for active relaxation in the village of Vipe. Needless to say, it is a pity it could be done only in one of the project villages, nevertheless, the good example of the Vīpe track has inspired many active people within the territory of “Rural Partnership Selija” to think of developing similar kinds of active relaxation.

In November, 2015 the results of the project were presented at the final conference “Countryside – the Environment Worth Living In to All Generations” that took place in the Culture House of Birži. The participants got acquainted with a vast range of exhibits made by the children. The ideas implyed in the exhibition resent a rel bank of ideas for the grown-ups! Besides, with the opening of the new LEADER project call, there will be a real grounding for their implementation into life. In December and January the Travelling Exhibition was displayed in the social care institutions of Akniste, Jekabpils and Krustpils novads thus providing their inmates an access to the exciting ideas of the younger generation.

In January, 2016 the children enjoyed one more award – a cognitive trip to Riga, visiting Riga Zoo and the “LIDO” relaxation complex.

The finishing stage of the project was devoted to developing, publishing and dissemination of the methodological material “Thick Plans, Thin Plans”. Thanks to this material the project is going to have its continuation – work out of a new international project has been started including partners from Iceland, Finland and Estonia with its main idea being involvement of children in the process of development planning of the territory.

We are especially delighted for having been able to apply the childen`s opinion and some of their ideas expressed in the project “Beyond the Skyline” in our strategy plan for the new development period. Our acknowledgement to the self-governments of the above mentioned novads granting the necessary co-financing making up 10% of the total project sum. 90% of the project financing – EUR 39 510.46 was granted by EEA/Norwegian Financial Mechanism in the Program “The NGO Fund”.