Get involved to change the place you live – for those who live in small towns or in rural areas, let’s work for: a modern countryside.
Rural areas and small cities also celebrated 30 years of post-communist life, and 12 years under the umbrella of the European Union.
We’ve seen many billboards promoting European projects these last 12 years, claiming that the place where you live is modernizing, growing and developing just like other nations.
And yet young people leave your village or your town every year, your village has no sewage system and the school where your children learn has a toilet in the schoolyard.
Don’t we deserve modernization? How can I get involved and make a difference? Where should I begin? What do I need to know? Let’s work together.
You can start by putting the place where you live, whether it is rural or a small town, under the microscope we propose. The questions we suggest you ask and answer will lead you to actions that will shape a modern countryside.
Where is your house?
Take a map and look at where your house is situated. Where is it in reference to your village, town or city, county, and country? After this first exercise follow the roads that connect you to your daily life, think about where they take you and what other localities are linked by these roads.
When is it most beautiful in your locality? Summer? Winter?
The seasons have changed a lot, and things are different now. Since climate change has affected your locality, you may realize that sledding has not been possible very often in recent years. Think about whether community life has changed in this regard. If you want to find out more information you can search for a weather directory and you will see statistics on both precipitation and temperature. This could be a good topic to canvas with your neighbors.
What is your population and who are the inhabitants of your locality?
You certainly know your neighbors and most of the locals. Take it a step further and look at the town hall website to see the population structure. After a brief analysis you will realize that those figures are not very accurate. The number of inhabitants is probably different- it has likely decreased, but in a few happy cases it might have increased.
How many companies are in your locality and what fields do they operate in?
You know very well that the town’s budget is made up not only of the tax that each citizen pays annually, but also of the companies that are registered in the area. It would be a good idea to find out how many companies operate in the area; how many are in the agricultural, industrial, service or trade fields; how many have benefited from European funds, you can spot them because they are obliged to publish how they have benefitted; how many employees they have and how well they’re doing. The Ministry of Finance’s website could help you in this endeavor.
How much is your child learning?
As the birth rate is declining, you should count how many children are learning in your locality and how many teachers there are, how many schools and kindergartens are open and what educational conditions they offer. Evaluate your child’s education by doing homework with them. Does their level meet your expectations?
Who cares for whom?
Many elderly people in the village live right on the edge of poverty. We see them, and many others, living in despair every day- families with children left to raise themselves, people with health problems or disabilities. These images paint a picture of a powerlessness we are all familiar with. Who is taking care of them? Take a small census of the social institutions, question the neighbors, the mayor, the village priest and collect all these figures, you will see a complete picture of what needs are not being met in your locality.
How many white coats are in your town?
Doctors’ offices were able to access European funds for the modernization of their activities. How many of these offices were able to take advantage of European funds?
These offices can often mean the difference between life and death, concern yourself with how many offices or hospitals are in your area. If you know the people dressed in white coats you can stay current with important health information in your area.
How is culture presented to you in the area?
If you have a library in the locality, how many subscribers does it have? Access to culture, newspapers, books, and the Internet is an important indicator of modernization for any locality. There are European programs to increase access and there should be more national and county programs. It’s up to us to mobilize. Many of the buildings in your locality are in a precarious state and this reflects on the culture of the country. Advocate for increased access to and better representation of culture and see exactly what changes your participation enacts on culture at home.
How much transportation, water and sewage infrastructure does my town have?
Many European programs have targeted these types of infrastructure. What has resulted from the implementation of these projects? The results can be measured by taking a short walk through your locality. The projects were initiated by the local administration and the County Council.
If you answered the above questions and gathered the data, we can take the following steps: a grass roots plan for change through dissemination of opportunities and information.
Find out what European projects your community needs in order to get closer to the goal: “modernity.”
The European Union, through the funds it makes available, helps communities to develop and create an enjoyable place to live and work.
If you would like to get involved, share ideas or start projects, subscribe to our newsletter where you will find information on programs, projects, European funds, and best practices for the community to help build a modern city.
Want to do more? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org