Växjö (Sweden)-JB Marks (South Africa)
PLATFORMA has decided to reward the best city to city and region to region international cooperation projects. Twelve projects have been shortlisted out of 25 applications. This is how Växjö (Sweden) is presenting its project with JB Marks (South Africa):
The partnership between the City of Växjö, Region Kronoberg and JB Marks Local Municipality started already in 2005/2006. Today’s partnership builds on the historical links from the 19th Century, when poor people from the southern part of Sweden left for South Africa with the dream to find better life opportunities.
Since the start of the partnership, it has resulted in 38 joint projects and pre-studies addressing thematic areas such as; adult education, social services, PR/communication, city planning, sports and culture, democracy, gender equality, disability, human resources, health care, rescue services, budget/finance and business development. The overall aim of the program is to build public capacity and efficiency and, in turn, reduce poverty and social inequalities.
The fundament of the partnership is mutuality and the win-win perspective in the sense that all three partners have got much to learn – much to win. The 38 joint projects and pre-studies are all based upon bench-marking, studying of best practices but obviously also the will to bring home international learnings/methods to apply at local level. From 12 years, there are several ‘hard outputs’ but also many ‘soft outputs’ to list, such as new contacts, personal empowerment, new ways to think and to act – professionally but also in private life.
The City of Växjö, Region Kronoberg and JB Marks Local Municipality address international partnership and cooperation as vital paths to go in order to create global friendship and understanding, but also to strengthen and renew local working methods in the most practical sense.
In order to reach good results, the three formal partners have involved additional partners and stakeholders along the way; such as the province, police service, university, private actors and civil society.
Today’s partnership is solid and regulated through the jointly signed Memorandum of Understanding. The particular cooperation is one of the oldest and most comprehensive ICLD funded program in Sweden and used as a key to ‘think global – act local’. Over the years, some 100 international visits have been conducted in Sweden and South Africa, with totally 600-650 project delegates going; teachers, doctors, nurses, scholars, police officers, librarians, culture workers, politicians and civil servants.
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