The Strategy Implementation
How to get value-adding project applications?
Mobilising the troops
LEADER animation is about mobilizing, empowering and making the local people active in implementing the LEADER strategy through the projects they run. Animation is a central part of LEADER implementation – some claim the most important one as the evaluations often show that LEADER has had the strongest impact on local capacity building and increasing the public participation.
Animation events and the LAG staff input
Traditionally animation refers to info events, workshops and trainings organized in different localities of the LAG territory. The participants will hear the basic information about the possibilities of the local LEADER development strategy. There may also be a brainstorming session where the people are asked to bring up new ideas for the local development. Some organizations would then commit themselves to implementing the ideas and applying for funds from the LAG. The LAG staff input in the process is crucial from the beginning for the most up-to-date information on what is possible and what is not. The staff members also have a coordination role and can make sure that the planned activities are not overlapping with anything else and that the possible best practices / innovative elements from elsewhere can be utilized. The LAG would also collect the name lists of all animation event participants that would later be used for reporting the animation work results.
There are also more innovative ways to mobilize the local people and make them express their development ideas. A very effective one is constructive jealousy seeded through the local media. The local newspapers and radio and TV channels are often eager to publish news on local development. When a LAG frequently reports its funding decisions on various projects through press releases the wide audience gets the overall picture of the opportunities through the media. What helps even more is that the local communities and businesses are always involved in a brotherly competition between each other: “If those can do it, so can we!”
Risk of dead-weight
Dead-weight is a major risk for the LEADER strategy’s value adding impact. The funds should not be targeted to such activities that would happen as such even without the LEADER funding. The LEADER added value often stems from the projects’ experimental, renewing and innovative elements that would be impossible to implement in the planned scope without the external funding.