eGA in cooperation with the Urban Lab and the Network of Estonian Nonprofit Organizations conducted a contest to find the best cooperation initiatives among local municipalities and communities. More than 30 examples from around Estonia were submitted to the good cooperation competition in early autumn. The six most cooperative people will be announced during the kick-off to Common Week – a forum on communities and municipalities taking place in Rakvere on 20 November.

One of the organisers, Madle Lippus, revealed some of the background to the competition: “The examples submitted ranged from one-off projects, such as opening a skate park, to local services and regular cooperation platforms such as round tables for village elders and municipality leaders. Several cooperation initiatives that had just been launched and showed a lot of promise and novelty, such as energy co-ops and a programme of health lessons, added some excitement.”

She added that the competition provided a good overview of the current state of cooperation in Estonia, including the areas and ways in which people are working together. “The examples submitted generally showed weak cooperation between municipalities and local residents, the main link being monetary contributions or moral support from the municipality,” she explained.

The jury preferred examples where the cooperation between the municipality and the residents, NGOs or companies took place in fields assigned to the municipality. This was done to emphasise the significance of local cooperation on local matters. Jury member Rainer Nõlvak said: “We want to highlight examples of cooperation where there was no financial support from the EU or other similar sources, but where local people found the resources themselves. We also considered it important to emphasise cooperative action that goes further than just basic cooperation, collective activities and regular information exchange in the form of round tables.”

The jury consisted of Rainer Nõlvak from the “Let’s Do It!” Foundation, Külli Taro from the Estonian Cooperation Assembly, MP Artur Talvik, Aljona Galazan from the Network of Estonian Nonprofit Organizations (NENO) and Anzori Barkalaja from the Estonian village movement Kodukant.

The competition was organised by the e-Governance Academy, NENO and the Urban Lab as part of the ‘Open government partnership in local municipalities’ project. The project is funded by the NGO Fund of EEA Grants via the Open Estonian Foundation. Further information about the project can be found online at avatudvalitsemine.ee