Rural development policy in Germany and Europe has undergone considerable change over the last 10 years. In conjunction with traditional measures for the improvement of infrastructure, we find more projects being initiated, planned and realised by community and other groups. Methodological innovation accompanied preparations for the EU program “LEADER+”, which began in 2002. The idea is to elaborate a regional development concept that efficiently integrates participatory, local projects into an effective overall regional development vision. While the implementation of the single project is the domain of the local stakeholders, the responsibility for the realisation of the overall vision is usually passed to professional regional managers. These managers, who are selected by the local stakeholders, co-ordinate and integrate the activities of the projects and give methodological and technical backstopping to the implementing groups.
PACTeam, together with our partners, have elaborated participatory regional development concepts as well as offered training and capacity building support to regional development managers/promoters. In 2001 PACTeam worked with the “Landwirtschaftskammer Weser-Ems” to elaborate a regional development concept for the Oldenburg region in northern Germany. Together with the “Regionalverband Rhein-Neckar-Odenwald” we devised a regional development concept that fit within the national programme “Regionen aktiv” of the German government.
Given PACTeam experiences and our strengths in the design and accompaniment of participatory processes, we have cooperated for several years with the “Akademie der katholischen Landjugend”, an institution that conducts a 2-year training for regional managers/promoters. On behalf of the national LEADER+ co-ordination office, we have offered training and accompaniment support services to the regional managers who are implementing their respective regional concepts in some 150 regions throughout Germany.
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