Start & End Date: July 2018 – December 2018
Place: Erfurt, Weimar and Halle, Germany and St.Petersburg, Leningrad Oblast, Russia
Participating Countries: Germany and Russia
Project Partners: Centre for Independent Social Research
Number of Participants: 12 participants

Grant Giver: Auswärtiges Amt
Funding Program: German Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Auswärtiges Amt
Grant Amount: 65,000 EUR

The project “Stadt im Dialog 3: P2P Learning’s Growth of Urban Activism in Small Russian Cities” addresses the importance of physical infrastructure, media infrastructure and economic infrastructure. Key elements of the project are communication and cooperation between civil society, local policies and economies to facilitate joint actions and projects. For sustainable development, younger civil society actors rely on key resources and support from local and other economic actors. The project has already laid the foundations for dialogue. Great interest was shown by private and public actors.

This project includes 7 activities:

Kick-Off-Meeting

On 04.07.2018 Oleg Pachenkov, Liliia Voronkova, Irina Pavlova, Marina Tsai and Zafar Saydaliev held a meeting in Berlin to discuss the key points for the project set.

The results of this meeting were:

  • Detailed design of the project including the objectives of the project, division of tasks in the team and definition of activities;
  • The schedule of the project has been determined;
  • A prototype of the log frame has been created;
  • The detailed budget of each activity was calculated;
  • Coordination of tasks and schedules as well as the selection process.

Project Presentation

In July 2018, 4 settlements in at least 2 different LenObl districts were visited by RU coordinators and experts and acquired for the project.

By using several media channels, the project was presented and promoted in the Leningrad region, during July 2018. The target group should identify with the project, feel involved and be motivated to participate. Regarding the size of the settlement, we wanted to reach 20-50 active people per presentation.

As a result, 4 settlements were selected as part of the project. After presenting the project in the settlements, the organising team conducted several interviews with interested local people. In the subsequent first team meetings and first ideas about possible groups consisting of 3 people from different settlements, age and education were developed. In the end, the project consisted of 12 participants from 4 different settlements.

Lectures and Workshops

From August to October 2018, with the help of the invited experts, workshops were held in the selected settlements. These include the presentation of lectures by the RU experts offered to participants from the 4 settlements, as well as the preparation of workshops by the participants for the regional society.

During the activity, participants will learn about the peer-to-peer method and horizontal planning. They also learn more about their rights and opportunities to actively participate in urban development. In summary, they get the tools to influence and shape urban development as they see fit.

As a result, local communities are reached and their skills strengthened to influence and improve the urban environment. In addition, the knowledge of the peer-to-peer and learning-by-doing activities is passed on among the residents and the horizontal networking activities in the Oblast region of Leningrad are strengthened.

P2P Workshops

This activity was done on the 22nd of September 2018. The aim was to show the participants the potential of P2P strategies in the exchange of knowledge gained. With the help of P2P workshops presented by the people involved in the previous activities (2,3), we wanted to reach more people from LenObl and St. Petersburg.

We want to increase the expertise of residents of LonObl and St. Petersburg about possible ways and bottom-up tools for improving the urban and suburban environment. In addition, the foundations for horizontal networking for people from LenObl and St. Petersburg were established. During the fourth activity, the team monitors the active people to identify the core group, which is the best choice for the follow-up activities. This includes the study trip to Germany in October.

Round-table Discussions

In order to have a successful dialogue leading to collaborations and actions in the various settlements, we planned round-table discussions and workshops with various actors in the region. We wanted to have at least one discussion round in each of the selected settlements from past activities. This was carried out during October 2018.

In order to have an big impact and a strong position in the discussion, the participants are asked in advance to form possible teams and to discuss actions that should change the urban or suburban environment in the settlements of LenObl. The concrete measures also aim to empower local people and draw their attention to the need for dialogue with stakeholders and dialogue techniques in order to achieve success in urban development and sustainable cooperation.

After the successful discussions teams were formed for the implementation of the actions / projects and consisted of 3-4 local people as well as other persons from previous activities and involved stakeholders.

Study Trip to Germany

In this activity, planned for November 10-16, the core group of previous activities is invited to a study trip to Germany, which is planned and carried out by the CGE team. The Russian participants will receive an introduction to German projects that have been realised and proven themselves. They learn more about the infrastructure and the integration of rural areas into the cities. In addition, the Russian participants start and deepen the horizontal networking among each other and with the German experts, who are invited to the study visit and can report more about the impact of local German projects.

The Russian participants gain new knowledge and skills about possible ways to improve the urban / suburban environment that can be transferred to their settlements and their inhabitants. During the study trip, the Russian participants work together and strengthen their networking activities. One possible outcome could be a joint project involving several settlements.

Together, they begin to develop ideas that fit into their settlements. It is also conceivable that the Russian participants and German experts work together and establish a sustainable contact.

Final Workshop

At the beginning of December, the participants of the project will present their findings in the various participating regions of LenObl and thus receive the attention of the local community. The final event of the seventh activity will take place in St. Petersburg.

The direct participants of the final conference are the main participants from the previous activities and the various LenObl settlements, the German and Russian organisational team, the German and Russian experts and the stakeholders involved in the various projects. In addition, all residents LenObl and St. Petersburg are invited, who are interested in urban development.

The participants share the basic idea of their projects and their previous experience in project planning. In addition, each participant gives an outlook on future steps in regional development. In addition to the inspirational ideas that are offered to the audience, the video guide is shared with all online platforms and YouTube to enhance the impact and reach a broad audience.

Method:
With the help of this project, we want to clarify the problems and challenges small provincial cities have in comparison to larger cities in the context of urban development. The guiding principle of the project “Stadt im Dialog 3: Growth of urban activism in small Russian cities through P2P learning” is therefore the development of a model of interconnectedness and capacity-building infrastructure for urban activists and citizens from Russian small town regions. The main objective of the project is to enhance expertise by developing skills and knowledge, multiplying experiences, networking and involvement in horizontal urban development processes.

Region:
The test region for this project is Leningradskaya oblast, which has a typical structure that is representative for all of Russia. It is about 500 km long and 320 km wide. The population of the region is 1.8 million people. The region surrounds St. Petersburg as the second largest city in Russia with 5.5 million inhabitants. The region comprises 17 districts, consisting of 64 cities and 135 villages.

Aim:
The problems of urban development affect all areas of life in the regional cities, including civic movements and bottom-up activities. Some active people living and working in regional towns and villages feel isolated and insignificant. This situation inhibits active people in the regions and impairs bottom-up activism. Therefore, our project aims to strengthen bottom-up activities and activists in the region. This is achieved through a strengthened horizontal link between active people from different regions and the broadening of their expertise.