The Sustain project counts already 3 months of life. The idea for the project was based on a series of observations: Both the Union of Cyprus Municipalities and the Local Union of Municipalities and Communities of prefecture Chios (TEDK Chios) represent geographical areas with similar characteristics: islands in external EU borders, with a small population, small number of municipalities and the same language.
Regarding their involvement in European programs, the municipalities-members of the two associations have the same problems, the lack of qualified personnel being the most basic of them. On the other hand, the two associations have competitive advantages that complement each other extremely well: TEDK Chios has long experience in supporting members for participation in European projects, while the Union of Cyprus Municipalities through its Brussels office, has access to information and has created networks of partners across Europe. Their common participation in 2010 in the DECISIVE project, which has trained volunteers and municipal personnel for creating and managing Town Twinning, showed that the involvement of volunteers / citizens is necessary, but cannot have the expected results, unless based on well-trained personnel from the municipalities, which will be able to guide the volunteers and create the necessary links with Local Authorities.
Thanks to the DECISIVE project, each Cypriot municipality already has one officer able to deal with Town Twinning. In the framework of the SUSTAIN project, these people will be invited to cooperate with their Greek counterparts from TEDK Chios and learn from their experiences. All participants will attend three training sessions (one in Chios, one in Cyprus and one in Brussels) with the target to develop their skills.
As it is already known, the DECISIVE project was funded through the “Measure 2.2. Support Measures” of the Europe for Citizens program. This measure is a tool to develop the quality of projects submitted within Action 1 “Active Citizens for Europe”.
It also supports the exchange of experiences, expertise and good practices, as well as activities which may lead to the establishment of long-lasting partnerships and networks.
Support measures appear in a variety of forms, such as:
- Consultancy to provide practical advice for preparing and running good quality projects (from application procedures to internal evaluation of projects).
- Training sessions which enable those responsible for town twinning activities to develop their knowledge of the concept and practice of town twinning and to better understand and work within the European context.
- National or trans-national events promoting the concept of town twinning amongst local authorities.
- Tools facilitating partner search and networking as well as raising awareness and interest in town twinning, for example through publications, audiovisual materials and websites.
- Exchanges of best practices and the accumulation of experience in supporting town twinning in Europe.
For more information, please visit: http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/citizenship/index_en.php.