Решаем вместе Белгородская область
We Decide Together: Empowering Community Engagement in Belgorod Region’s Development
Belgorod Region, located in western Russia, is home to over 1.5 million people. While traditionally recognized for its agricultural output, Belgorod Region has undergone rapid industrialization in recent years, with a growing number of factories and businesses establishing themselves in the area. With this growth, it is crucial that the region’s development is not only sustainable, but also takes into account the needs and desires of local communities. This is where the “We Decide Together” initiative comes in.
Launched in 2015, We Decide Together is a grassroots project aimed at promoting community engagement in decision-making processes related to the development of Belgorod Region. The initiative is coordinated by the Belgorod Development Agency, a non-governmental organization focused on regional development, and operates through a network of local activists and volunteers.
The project’s central approach is the organization of community meetings and forums, where local residents can voice their opinions and concerns regarding the development of their towns and cities. These forums are attended not only by community members, but also by local officials, representatives from businesses and industry, and academics.
Through these meetings, community members are able to share information about their areas of expertise and opinions regarding key issues that impact their lives. This includes identifying priority areas that require investment and developing initiatives that are tailored to the unique needs of each community.
We Decide Together also emphasizes the importance of collaboration between different stakeholders, recognizing that sustainable development requires a holistic and integrated approach. For example, in one recent forum, local residents, business owners, and officials discussed ways to improve waste management in the region, recognizing that this was an issue that had environmental, economic, and social implications.
The initiative has already had a significant impact in Belgorod Region, with hundreds of residents participating in forums and providing input on a range of issues, from urban planning and infrastructure to social services and education. The project has also resulted in the development of several community-led initiatives, including the establishment of community gardens and playgrounds, investments in renewable energy projects, and the construction of green spaces and pedestrian paths.
We Decide Together is an innovative and inclusive approach to regional development that prioritizes community voices and engages diverse stakeholders in the process of creating sustainable growth. As the project continues to gain momentum and expand its reach, it has the potential to become a model for community engagement and sustainable development not only in Belgorod Region, but also in other regions around the world.