Fund successfully completed in Latvia
The 27 projects financed by the Short Term Expert Fund of the Norway Grants have now been completed. The fund has aimed to raise the level of knowledge and develop professional skills in the Latvian public sector.
With €1.1 million in support from Norway, the Short Term Expert Fund has sought to increase efficiency, capacity and performance of services within public sector institutions and organisations in Latvia, and strengthen principles of good governance. Strengthening administrative capacity is an important precondition for sustainable development of public sector institutions and social partners, and for increasing effectiveness of performance of public services and achieving good governance principles.
The Short Term Expert Fund has awarded grants to 27 sub-projects outlining regional development strategies, supporting entrepreneurship and focusing on training, research, and transfer of knowledge and exchange of good practices that further relations between Latvia, Norway and other European Economic Area countries. In addition, the fund has also financed work visits and the organisation of seminars and workshops.
400 experts received training
Thanks to financial support from the fund, more than 400 experts from various fields have undergone training, 45 research projects have been carried out, and 300 work visits, courses, seminars and working groups have been organised. Altogether, 12 seminars were conducted by the projects receiving financial support from the fund, gathering a total of 600 participants. The seminars focused on a wide range of topics, including cultural heritage in an urban environment, the involvement of the local population in spatial planning, sustainable regional planning, large cities as development promoters, the role of NGOs in social care, e-health, the potential for renewable energy in Latvian municipalities, the development of knowledge transfer centres, language use in diasporas, research and the future of Latvian cultural history, rural domestic producers and creative industries.
The fund’s final conference was held on 15 December 2010. This was entitled “Good practice and knowledge transfer – co-operation possibilities”, and outlined the existing and future possibilities for co-operation between Latvia and Norway, as well as other EEA countries. About 70 people participated, mainly from local governments, academic institutions and NGOs.
Great ideas aired on television
The fund operator, the State Regional Development Agency, has also organised a publicity campaign about the fund and the projects supported by it. The campaign was entitled “A small project for a great idea”, and resulted in the publishing of a book in Latvian describing all the sub-projects financed by the Fund, the organisation of 12 thematic seminars, and 11 short videos about the projects, which were broadcasted on the Latvian State Television Channel 1.
Picture: People receiving training at the seminar about the role of NGOs in social care. Photo courtesy of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.