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ENGAGE! - study visit, 30.05-2.06-2022, Norway

On May 30th up to June 2nd 2022, a group of representatives of Pomeranian and Warmian-Masurian NGOs made a study visit to Kristiansand and Arendal in Norway within ENGAGE! project. The guardian of the Polish participants was Ms Magda Leszczyna-Rzucidło from BISER, who is the leader of the ENGAGE project! The aim of the meeting was to introduce the participants to the characteristics of the non-governmental sector in Norway, to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and to result in new inspirations and contacts for future international cooperation. We hope all these goals have been achieved!

The participants of the Polish delegation:

  1. Alina Fogler-Kotkiewicz, Stowarzyszenie EDUQ Lębork
  2. Aneta Janikowska-Kiśluk, Bank Żywności i  Kuźnia Społeczna Olsztyn
  3. Piotr Stec, Fundacja Mapa ObywatelskaPomorska Sieć COP
  4. Krystian Zdziennicki, Powiślańska Lokalna Grupa Działania
  5. Krzysztof BaranStowarzyszenie Warmińsko Mazurskich Gmin Pogranicza
  6. Mateusz Dobkowski, Stowarzyszenie Wama-Coop, Olsztyn
  7. Magda Leszczyna-Rzucidło, Bałtycki Instytut Spraw Europejskich i Regionalnych BISER – Lider Projektu ENGAGE!

The hosts and organizers of the meetings in Kristiansand were the partners of the ENGAGE project! representing Agder Regional Council - Karsten Aust and Stig Marthinsen. Below is the agenda of the meeting:

On the first day of the meetings, the visit began at the Sustainable Development Center in Kristiansand, where Solveig Nilsen from Bølgen Sustainability Center spoke about the work of the Center, the model of cooperation with non-governmental organizations, municipal institutions and SMEs.

The next meeting was concerning presentation of the Agder Region Youth Council, which was prepared by Helene Vedal, Agder County Administration - the guardian of the Youth Council. One of the young councilors was also present at the meeting and told us about the daily work of the Youth Council and plans for activities in the coming months.

The next meeting was with the representatives of - Inger Malene Roppestad Daltvei and the founder of KNIF told us about the offer of their company, which provides accounting, consulting and management services for non-profit organizations.

During the lunch time, Ms Katarzyna and Sylwia from the Razem- Sammen organization joined the meeting, - they are editors of the Polish newspaper in Norway The Polish local newspaper Razem Kristiansand is only the one that kind of medium in Norway. The newspaper was launched in February 2021, the editorial office is composed of a group of enthusiasts who, through reliable information, want to connect people and build a bridge connecting the inhabitants of Kristiansand. The internet newspaper is to make life easier and more pleasant for Poles living in the south of Norway, also becoming an impulse for a step towards better integration.

The Association is also a member of the Cooperation and Dialogue Forum / Poland Nettverksforum, established as part of the Polish Dialogue project and bringing together Polish organizations and people active in local communities throughout Norway. Contact:

In the afternoon there was a meeting with the Arkivet organization which is the center of peace and human rights. The headquarters is located in the center of Kristiansand and is one of the seven centers for peace and human rights in Norway. The center is both a memorial site and a forward-looking research and dissemination center with a wide field of influence.

The next meeting was with the representative of the Norwegian Association of the United Nations from the Kristiansand branch - FN-sambandet, the Norwegian Association of the United Nations is a Norwegian organization whose main task is to inform about the activities of the United Nations and about the United Nations. They have been doing it since 1946. Their main target group is children and adolescents and the school system. They also cooperate with the press and the public. What is worth emphasizing, despite its name, the United Nations is independent of the United Nations and has no political affiliation. They are a member of the World Federation of United Nations (WFUNA), the international network of other UN federations. As a liaison with the United Nations, they receive financial support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The final meeting on the first day is an exchange with a representative of  Batteriet, with whom some of us have already had the opportunity to meet during the conference opening the ENGAGE project! in 2021.

Batteriet are resource centers in 5 different Norwegian cities. They work for a caring society for all in which people experience respect, justice and care. They are also working to ensure that everyone has a strong voice together in the face of injustice and the distorted distribution of social benefits. They mainly support the poor and socially marginalized.

The second day of the visit is meetings in the city of Arendel. First, a welcome by the organizers of the Democracy Festival - Arendals Week. Meeting with Tone Skindlo Taraldsen, the main coordinator of Arendal Week, you can read more about it here: Arendals Week is also one of the events organized as part of the Festival for Democracy Association - For one short week in August, Arendal center turns into an arena of great questions of today and tomorrow. Through shared ideas, reflections, discussions and debates, Arendalsuka (Arendal Week) aims to bring more understanding, hoping the participants will come out a little smarter than when they arrived.

The next meeting took place with Jan Kløvstad, who told us about the methods of involving the inhabitants of the Arendal commune and the use of the co-creation method in dialogue with the inhabitants. The presentation from this meeting (below) contains many references and links, information on the methods used and practical tips for activating the inhabitants of Arendal.

There were two additional meetings at that day - the first with Małgorzata, who is the coordinator of the Tall Ship Races project in Arendal in 2023 - she works with Jan Kløvstad on the project and works in numerous non-profit organizations , both with Poles in the Agder region, and international ones, such as the Red Cross.

The last meeting was held with Geir Arntzen Andrew from the SmartOrg organization / company, which developed software for non-profit organizations that are already used by over 340 organizations in Norway. For now, their activities are carried out only on the Norwegian market, but they plan to expand to other European markets, which our NGOs found very interesting. See more here:

During a short walk around charming Arendel, a visit to the Impact Hub which positively surprised us with a comprehensive offer for non-profit organizations and the promotion of products created in the spirit of social entrepreneurship.

At the end of the 2-day substantive part, our ENGAGE! partner from Agder - Stig Marthinsen introduced the participants of the meeting to the concept - the matrix of international cooperation for non-profit organizations that is implemented in Agder. This concept was presented in the graphic material of the ENGAGE project! - our NGO handbook, available below in PL and EN:

The organizer of the Polish delegation thank you to our wonderful partners from Arendel for the hospitality and organization of the visit. We also thank the Polish participants for their active participation and we have a hope for international cooperation between Polish and Norwegian NGOs.

The visit was carried out as part of the ENGAGE! Project, which lasts until July 2023, and the project is funded by the Active Citizens - National Fund program financed by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway as part of the EEA Grants.

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