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Study visits for NGOs from East Europe and the Balkans

Capacity building for civil society

NGOs in new and candidate EU member states are being supported in strengthening civil society. For example by the Green Agenda trainingsprogramme of Milieukontakt International. Green Agenda is a participatory approach for sustainable development at local level with active participation of representatives from civil society. Study visits to EU institutions in Brussels and visits to projects in the practice (knowledge expeditions) are part of the trainings. Commissioned by Milieukontakt we have organised several of those knowledge expeditions to projects and parties in Brabant. This is one way we put in practice capacity building, network cooperation and partnership.

Visits to Brabant from East Europe and the Balkans

In 2007 NGO representatives from Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia took part in a knowledge expedition. A year later another group from several countries of the Balkans came to Brabant. And as a follow-up of the first study visit we have conducted an internship for the first LEADER Programme Coordinator of Croatia in 2009.
Participants in the exchanges wanted to hear and see the experiences of rural development and regional branding. Particular attention was paid to citizen participation and cooperation between public and private organisations. Each of the expeditions visited more than 15 different projects of entrepreneurs in catering, recreation and agriculture and of local governments or nature conservation organisations.

Mutual gains

Such visits appeared to be also interesting for local Brabant's stakeholders. They had to be succinctly in expressing the essence of often complex activities and projects. This contributed to better understanding their own context, not least by the questions of the participants. By inviting some Dutch practitioners and knowledge workers to each of the visited projects a broad exchange and review of principles, ideas and images arose.

More information

Report of the study visit from the Balkans (by Milieukontakt, 2008)

Report of the study visit from Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania (by Milieukontakt, 2007)



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