Kodukant (ing.k.)

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Estonian Village Movement Kodukant

Contents All Estonia shall live.....................................3 How it all started... ......................................4 Kodukant CV- some milestones in our history.....5 Cooperation with the Government..................8 Kodukant Training Centre (KTC)......................9 Traditions.................................................10 Strategic Directions....................................12 Publications..............................................14

All Estonia shall live! Sirje Vinni Member of Kodukant board

Kodukant is the first village movement in Eastern Europe. Decades of occupation had left Estonian villages and rural people devastated. The motivation to start a civil association was to improve the living conditions in the countryside. Village people started organizing community reunions, discussions on rural development and learning how to make their own decisions. We were clever enough to involve the decisionmakers of different levels in our building-up process from the very beginning (Estonian Ministry of Agriculture, Uppsala University, County governments from Sweden and Estonia). At the outset the energy was concentrated on creating a network which now is our „trade mark”. Independent associations are formed at each level, but are connected through the umbrella of the movement. This enables Kodukant to operate more effectively across the country, and also be connected to the decision-making process at each formal administrative level. Along with that the international activities were also of great importance to get to know what was going on in other countries. But sure, the most important happens on the grass-root level - everything that is agreed on national or local level has to be implemented in the villages. This is done by our „sparks” and „nuts” - volunteer people of amazing energy and devotion. We will be glad if this book inspires also people in other countries!

How it all started... Mikk Sarv and Kaja Kaur The former Presidents of Kodukant I Rural Parliament of Estonian Villages in East-Estonia, Narva-Jõesuu, 1996

The village movement idea seeded in the early 1990-s has grown into a strong rural development organisation whose aim is to support local initiative, small entrepreneurship and creating and maintaining networks on different levels. The key role is always with the grassroot level who knows the local needs best. It all started actually 10 years before the official date. Rapla and Viljandi Counties, who both had twin counties in Sweden, were the pilots of „moving villages”. A great help was the Swedish Village Movement „All Sweden shall live!” and Swedish fund for foreign aid SIDA. Soon the idea spread all over Estonia and was taken to the government and parliament. We succeeded in making the government see that our own, Estonian financial village development program was badly needed and in 1996 it was started to support local village projects. In 1996 the first Rural Parliament of Estonian villages assembled. Workgroup discussions ended in decision to found an organisation of Kodukant which happened just before the II Rural Parliament, on the 9 October 1997. A year later we were already involved in the international relationships hosting a European traveling exhibition as a touchstone. Village movement and Kodukant mean a lot of people who are really interested in the welfare of their home place. “Moving villages” has been and still is swimming against the tide - living in towns is more popular than in the countryside. The more we have to appreciate the people who have spent their energy, time and money on the sustainability and maintenance of rural life. We are glad we have succeeded in it during the years of our activities, and that Kodukant has become the largest organisation in Estonia taking care of rural people.


Rural Parliament General Assembly Board of 7 members Office

Council of TC

Training Centre

Kodukant is an association of non-governmental organisations, structured at 3 levels:

Member of the Board Sirje Vinni with Kodukant flag

1 National Association made up of the County Associations and 5 other NGOs 15 independent County Associations, one in each Estonian county Village Associations (about 5000 individuals)

Kodukant CV - some milestones in our history: In 1996 first Rural Parliament of Estonian villages assembled. Workgroup discussions ended in decision to found the association of Kodukant. The Local Initiatives Program, a national fund for rural initiatives, in which Kodukant was an initiator, was opened in 1996 (1, 1 mil EEK - 68 000 ) for rural projects all over Estonia, has now grown to 24 millions (1,5 mil ). Estonian Movement of Villages and small towns Kodukant (the name was changed into Estonian Village Movement Kodukant in 2005) was officially established as an association of non-governmental organisations on 9 October 1997. 5

In 1998 Kodukant was already involved in the international relationships hosting a European traveling exhibition as a touchstone. Traveling Workshop (in Estonia and Sweden) in 1999 brought representatives from EU and candidate states, from NGOs, local authorities and ministries to seminars in 10 Estonian villages to talk about partnership between local initiatives and governments. The seminar had an effect on SAPARD activities and started the rural life cooperation program of the candidate states PREPARE. In 2001 Kodukant was selected the NGO of the Year (2000) by Network of Estonian Nonprofit Organisations. Participants of the project Learning Village introducing their product - whetstone

On the proposal of Kodukant a supportive Local Initiative Group in Estonian Parliament was established in 2001. It consists of members of all parties represented in the Parliament and helps with solving rural problems. In 2002 the first financially sizable project E-Villages was started (3,7 m EEK) during which 169 Estonian villages wrote their development plans and consultation centres were established in all county organisations. By the beginning of March 2003 Kodukant member associations were established in all 15 counties. In 2003, 29 November Kodukant Training Centre, a private school was established.

Participants of the project Enterprising young people in the villages Helen Pullinen and Paula Saarem채e at a training in Meeri community house


In 2005 Kodukant in collaboration with Estonian Rural Tourism launched a new product - Village tourism (community-based tourism). In 2006 the project Community services initiated development of multifunctional service centres in village community houses. In close cooperation with Finnish Village Movement SYTY and Estonian Ministry of Agriculture Kodukant trained rural people about LEADER starting from 2005. Project Learning village (2007-2008) which main idea was to create centres of lifelong learning in the community houses of remote villages, worked out a new method in adult training - study enterprises. The project was awarded the first prize at the contest "Recognise promoters of enterprise 2008" by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and was sent to the European Enterprise Awards´ contest.

Kodukant Youth camp 2008 (Active youth - active village)

During the same project the standard for community advisor was being worked out, finalised and accepted by the Vocational Chamber by the end of year 2008. In 2008 a team of 12 young people as a part of project Enterprising Young people in the villages had several workshops to create Kodukant Youth Program (finalised in 2009 and added to Kodukant strategy). Kodukant actively collaborated in the process of forming National Foundation of Civil Society (est.2008). In October 2008 first Kodukant Youth Days took place. In 2008 Kodukant was accredited the right to be a sending organisation for European voluntary service. Village elders´ first summer school was organised in August 2008. Innovation year 2009 has brought changes to Kodukant web site - the database of village services and E-help have been put up.


Cooperation with the Government The Speaker of Estonian Parliament Ene Ergma at the 10th jubilee of Kodukant in 2007

As a result of contacts on the governmental level Kodukant has naturally become a mediator between villages and the government through training, advocacy and lobbying. Since its foundation Kodukant has always been ready for a partner´s role to the public sector in the development of rural Estonia. In order to improve and continue the relationship with the government, Kodukant repeatedly invites MPs, ministers or ministry representatives to its events. Furthermore, representatives of Kodukant are also members of committees of different kind on national, regional, and local level. We try to open up the views and needs of small rural communities to the policy-makers at all levels.

Two persons "the most guilty" of founding Kodukant: Kaja Kaur and our "Godfather" Staffan Bond from Sweden


Kodukant Training Centre (KTC) Kodukant Training Centre is a private school established by Kodukant in 2003. KTC offers training all over Estonia through different projects and by order. KTC is an adult education centre whose main aim is to organize non-formal educational training and retraining, providing the basis for the development of a versatile rural community.

Workshop of the Village tourism project in Seljametsa 2005.

KTC is managed by a director and led by the Council in close cooperation with Kodukant Board and the managing director. Its aim is to take the education as close to the target group as possible. Its strengths are the readiness to act all over Estonia and the long-term experience in the field of civil society development. We consider experience as well as sharing it and learning from the experience very important. We aim at practical results in longer trainings and activating our learners by using different active teaching methods. One of the main activities is to initiate development projects according to different national and international programmes, also find partners for the projects. KTC is ready to participate in various EU and other educational and development projects. For our foreign partners we have courses on our experiences in developing village movement -participation and co-operation with decision-making level and development of local resources; but also support and advice for organising study trips to Estonia concentrating on different themes like community based services, participation in village life, youth action in villages etc.

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." T. Roosevelt

Inspiring thoughts from Kodukant trainings!


Traditions Rural Parliament of Estonian Villages

A village made of bread for the participants of the V Rural Parliament in West-Viru County 2003

Kodukant's Rural Parliament (Maap채ev) is unique due to the fact that participants from all sectors all over Estonia are brought together to discuss the problems of the countryside. Rural Parliament plays an important role in setting overall strategic direction for Kodukant, and making links with the membership and government. Since 1996, Kodukant has sponsored Rural Parliaments to bring together village members, organizations, and local and national representatives with the aim to discuss collaboratively and seek for solutions to issues facing rural development. The outcome of the workshops will be presented to local and national authorities, other organizations and to general public. About 400 village members and representatives, NGO leaders, government representatives, international partners, and experts in the field of rural development are usually expected to attend the Rural Parliament of Estonian Villages. Rural Parliament is organised every two years in summer.


VI Rural Parliament - morning exercises while queuing for breakfast

Village of the Year The number of active and successful villages and rural societies has been increasing all over Estonia. They take part in local decision making processes, bring extra resources to the area and teach their members selfassertion. To compliment their activities Kodukant rewards the best villages with a title of honor The Village of the Year. These villages are all worth it because they are usually good examples of positive development and inner cooperation. An enterprising and active village usually has several projects and it collaborates with local authorities. All these villages have a development plan and they are also known at county or national levels. The first title was given in 2005. There are usually 15 nominants (from each county organisation) and the winner is announced at the Rural Parliament.


Strategic Directions Youth program AIM: Involving youth in local village associations and Kodukant youth projects for sustainability of rural areas and also for the development of Kodukant. Young people trying a village swing during a study trip in 2007

Since 2005 Kodukant has dedicated more attention to rural youth offering them regular training, innovative initiatives, events with the purpose of sharing experiences, and capacity building for organising local activities. The target group of Kodukant youth program are young people (15 -32) living in the countryside in the areas where the possibilities for free time activities are usually not offered. Kodukant youth program focuses on both active and passive young people. Kodukant Freshmen are young people who participate in Kodukant projects, are eager to learn, value country life and are ready to initiate activities in their home village.

Supporting enterprising people AIM: People living in rural areas have greater enterprising spirit; they are active in their village associations and have launched services for their communities. We instigate enterprising villages to offer local services and products, giving thus the members of the community new jobs and practical experience in business. Special focus is on local community houses that have become real multifunctional centres in many places. Kodukant also promotes the cooperation networks of rural companies and NGO-s to jointly offer products and to make the symbiotic marketing work.


Enterprising spirit has been supported by several projects: VILLAGE TOURISM ( community-based tourism) is a tourism product, which introduces life in Estonian villages: environment, common activities of village community, village culture and sights, products and services of village small entrepreneurs using local resources. It originates from the principles of sustainable tourism and is a part of rural tourism. COMMUNITY SERVICE is an immaterial quality which assists to the development of community and creating workplaces. Services are usually offered by NGO-s. STUDY ENTERPRISE is an entirely new initiative. During a year people create a common product or a service and while putting it into practice learn managing, communication, book-keeping etc skills. That helps them to get to the job market or start their own companies.

Doing sights in a barrel (East-Viru County)

Village heritage and living environment AIM: To use the heritage to enrich the quality of life of the communities, support and develop the activities of village elders as a part of village culture. Maintaining, preserving and carrying on cultural heritage and traditions is a development of social capital. Kodukant does this through training heritage developers and chroniclers. Together with these trainings it is important to support the ability of initiating new activities. Kodukant supports active network of village elders and raises rural people´s awareness of the elder´s role in implementing local democracy. Village elder can be a volunteer or partly compensated for his/her tasks. A local authority usually has a regulation to fix the tasks, responsibilities and reimbursement basis for village elders. Understanding the role of a village elder differs in different parts of Estonia. In some places village elder has a key role between the village and the local authority, in some other places it is just a representative body.

A badge and a pendant of a village elder


Publications Bimonthly magazine K端lakiri (Village Echo)- (starting from 2005) Summaries of Rural Parliaments of Estonian Villages (7) Handbooks for village elders (I,II,III -2001-2002) Strategy of Kodukant 2003-2008 (2002) Handbook for writing a village development plan (2004) A booklet about Kodukant (2005) Community-based tourism in Estonian Villages (tourism catalogue - 2005) Handbook From village to village (CD - How to write a good project?)- 2005 Community services by village associations (2006) A booklet of community services (2006) A booklet about Kodukant (2007) Cooperation between local authorities and village associations (2007) Enterprising young people in the villages - 30 successstories (2007) Experiences of European villages (CD 2007) Kodukant handbook for a member (2007) Recipies from Olustvere Food Fair - (2008) Jubilee book All Estonia shall live! - 10 years of Kodukant (2007) Handbook for village elders (CD - 2008) Handbook for village study enterprises (2008) Active youth - active village (2008) Model statute for village elders (2008) Kodukant handbook for a member (2009) Strategy of Kodukant 2008-2013 (2009) Services by villages (catalogue, 2009)


Finland Helsinki


Sweden Stockholm



Latvia Riga

Lithuania Vilnius

Publisher: Š Kodukant 2009 Editors: Sirje Vinni, Kai Krabo Translater: Sirje Vinni Photos: Kodukant arhive Design: Triinu Sarv Print: OĂœ Paar



All Estonia shall live!

V채ike-Ameerika 19-220 Tallinn Ph/fax +372 646 6636; GSM +372 5620 7176 kodukant@kodukant.ee www.kodukant.ee