Svensk partner: Åmåls kommun

Åmål and Bergrivier, South Africa

Culture as a path to development

The municipalities of Åmål, Sweden, and Bergrivier, South Africa, have several common challenges. Our mutual focus is the high unemployment rate in our municipalities. Together we will focus our Inception phase and project planning around the target group “unemployed young women and mothers with unfinished high-school education”.  There are many young children within our municipalities that are not exposed to books, arts and crafts etc. until they start preschool/school. We want to study the potential correlation between these children and the young mothers. One way of reaching part of this group can be through their children through cooperation with family centres and children’s departments of libraries. For many years, the public library in Åmål, has worked closely with activities that have promoted reading and extra-curricular development together with accumulating knowledge and experience that serve them professionally. Bergrivier municipality has great strength with its 14 libraries and many experienced officials. They have extensive experience in dealing with tough challenges such as poverty, hunger and exclusion.  In order to ensure that human rights are integrated into the project, we will use the 2030 Agenda, the Global Goals and the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the basis for our planning.

Euphoria-improvement of the well-being of the elderly

The work with digital concepts for an increased safety, service and participation for elderly, have been an envisaged area of cooperation for a long time between the Municipality of Åmål and the City of Dunhuang.

The cities face similar challenges where the proportion of elderly increases at the same time as the aging population grows. Further, both cities are affected by an increased urbanisation and changed family structures where the families no longer can take care of the elderly as before.

All challenges have put an increased pressure on the elderly homes both in Åmål and Dunhuang. The quick growing digitalisation challenge all existing structures and affects us all, which means that we need to find new, useful solutions that create added value and security for our citizens, users, employees and organisations and attract more youths to work within elderly care. We need in order to create a sustainable healthcare system with the help of new technology, joint actions and exchanging experiences.

A method for ethical assessment before using new technique will be developed within the project, which will create a sense of participation and safety for the users and relatives. By using the method in each case to assess whether there is a need to establish new technology or not will make the management and staff more secure in their decisions.

Solid Waste Management

The local governments of Åmål and Manafwa municipalities have identified environmental management as one of the priority areas for municipal partnership.

The key area of the cooperation is capacity building in the field of environmental planning, including elaborating on appropriate methods and tools for administration and management of environmental strategies and actions and this is because, Manafwa municipal faces an immediate challenge in the field of solid waste treatment. 

This is a one-year project that will be beneficial to both Åmal and Manafwa municipals in capacity building by exchange of experience through mutual study visits and training sessions for municipal staff and NGO/CBO representatives. A school-to-school collaboration with focus on environmental issues will be developed.

The capacity building embraces planning, management, information and supervision techniques and tools in the field of solid waste, including waste disposal, separation and re-cycling, popular mobilisation and awareness, particularly among young people. Inputs from Kenya where activities in these fields are more advanced than in Uganda will be part of the project.

Expected results from the project are:

  • Proposal for solid waste management in Manafwa elaborated
  • Appropriate methods and material available for local community mobilisation in Manafwa.
  • Seven representatives from Manafwa trained in appropriate methods for project design, primarily in the field of environmental planning.

In the long term:

  • Recycling carried out as income generating activity.
  • Awareness of waste management stimulated in local communities through continuous information and mobilisation.

Promoting Youth Participation

The projects overall objective is to expand and deepen the dialogue between local authorities, civil society and youth.

It seeks to expand the possibilities for youth between 15-30 to participate in the development of the local community.

We want to make a contribution into improvement of dialogue between young people, youth NGO:s and local authorities in Horlivka and Åmål. As a part of this objective, we hope that with opening the volunteer centre Horlivka youth, step by step will realize the importance of non-paid work for the good of the community.

Collaboration Municipality – Local NGO’s

One of the reasons for the project is to strengthen the umbrella organisation in Åmål called Samverket. It is a centre that coordinates the local voluntary work in order to unite and help the people who need it. Groups that are a part of Samverket are among others elderly, youth, immigrants who are not yet integrated in the local society or who need help with other things.

This organisation is a role model for similar needs of organisation in Manafwa. The groups in Manafwa are often more isolated and have a big need for cooperation. The groups benefitting from the voluntary organisation are elderly, women, orphans, child moms, youth, handicapped people and the ones having HIV.

The umbrella organisation formed in Manafwa is called “Work Together Center” and the aim is to coordinate the voluntary work and finding ways of working together in order to satisfy the existing needs. This is done through the help of volunteers and the center serves as a starting point. The groups can now learn from each other, e.g. youth is helping elderly people, elderlys are telling about culture and the life when they were young. People having HIV can inform youth groups, etc. The center also serves as a meeting point for the different groups.

Solid Waste Recycling

Waste management is a significant environmental issue in both Åmål and Manafwa, the dissemination of knowledge and understanding are major challenges.

This area is a priority and the dissemination has been planned to occur in all ages and groups, but has been started with students in primary schools. The aim is to spread knowledge to the home and to interested groups in the area. At the same time, the projects have been carried out through collaboration of a school in Åmål and Manafwa where working practices have differed somewhat. In Åmål questionnaires have been supplemented by instruction, while in Manafwa the education is to be supplemented by contact with the families and the organizations.

The guiding principle of the project is to create an understanding that waste is a resource, not a problem. The project also had the ambition to create an understanding and knowledge of the governing politicians and officials. Knowledge exchange also took place between other municipalities in Sweden, Uganda and Kenya. Åmåls and Manafwa municipalities agree that there is a basis for further development of cooperation in the environmental field.

Social Welfare and NGO Partnership

The partnership between Åmål and Manafwa municipalities was established with the objective of establishing links between NGOs and CBOs in Åmål and Manafwa.

The aim of the project is to:

  • improve on social welfare services in the two municipalities
  • improve interaction between municipal authorities and civil society and create awareness about social welfare challenges in developed and developing countries.

The main activities are exchange of experience through mutual visits and compilation and dissemination of practices and information.

Since the initiation of the Manafwa – Åmål partnership in 2006, five projects have been executed. The Manafwa and Åmål partnership projects have focused on capacity building in political and technical administration, education, water, renewable energy and environmental management. Besides various public administration entities, elected politicians and municipal staff, several NGOs and community based groups (CBO) have been approached and participated in the project.

The project objectives are:

  • To establish links between NGOs and CBOs in Åmål and Manafwa with the aim of improving social welfare services in the two municipalities
  • Improve interaction between municipal authorities and civil society
  • Create awareness about social welfare challenges in developed and developing countries

All the above mentioned activities are geared towards ensuring that Social welfare challenges and actions will be integrated in long term policy-making and planning and also improved interaction between municipal authorities and NGOs/CBOs will be ensured in Manafwa.