“Building local and regional ecosystems in Vestland” – Our experience
Written by Kleoniki Tsiougkou and Vicky Goutha, Municipality of Larissa
The training titled “Building local and regional ecosystems in Vestland” took place between 18. to 20. of May 2022. Kleoniki Tsiougou and Vicky Goutha, from the Municipality of Larissa, travelled to Bergen, Norway, as external collaborators of the Hellenic Adult Education Association and described their experiences and thoughts.
“Throughout the three-day training, local projects were presented on how local and regional ecosystems can be built for adult education. In addition, best practices were presented by the Vestland County with an emphasis on the smooth integration of migrants in collaboration with stakeholders in adult education. Working groups were set up to explore new ideas in order to improve the programs provided. It was a really creative and constructive procedure, with lots of experience and knowledge sharing.
The host organized our visits to the Amalie Skram and Åsane Upper Secondary Schools (USS) in the Vestland fylkeskommune, the Bergen Public Library, the KODE Art Museum and the Employment Directorate in the municipality of Alver where we saw up close their work and had the chance for a productive dialogue. Our participation in the educational activity fulfilled our expectations as it gave us the opportunity to meet interesting professionals in the field of integration, to see up close the methodical and excellent organization of services in the city as well as the excellent cooperation between the services. We exchanged very useful experiences and visited educational structures to observe how they work, which is a good practice for us that we will transfer to our city.
Of course we would suggest to other colleagues to attend similar activities. The exchange of experiences and good practices, the broadening of the perspective regarding the targeting, the organization and implementation of actions as well as the operation of the corresponding structures, the networking and extroversion of the institutions, the contact with people of different cultures are all reasons to follow similar activities.
Collaboration between services and teamwork, in general, has the best results in the Vestland area. The culture of cooperation is always in demand in our work as well. The cultivation of extroversion, the willingness to recognize any shortcomings and not to hesitate to seek new ideas (as was done during the workshops in Bergen) are elements that will also be used in our work. Among the good practices, we highlighted the mode of operation of the schools we visited which was an excellent example of what in Greece we call “Open School”.
The implementation of similar mobility programs is very important for all the above reasons. In addition, the participation of Municipalities as partners will further enhance the dynamics of these programs and will contribute to the planning and implementation of joint actions (municipalities, agencies, NGOs) for vulnerable groups, with even better results.”