Over the last years the need of Belarusian towns and villages brand creation is being increasingly brought up. While the brand of Minsk is still at the stage of discussion, make-up of small communities’ brands is taking place right before our very eyes. It is referred to Bashni village and Hodosy villages (“agrogorodok”* ), where the participants of the program “Leadership in Local Communities” Marina Alekseenko and Aleksandr Semenov continue their active work in community development.

Bashni (Shumilinskij district, Vitsebsk region) promoted itself by taking part in the project “Bashni — willpower and strength of mind” that was applied for the 4th Belarusian social project contest “Social Weekend”. The project aimed at drawing the interest of children to sport activities and physical culture won the category “We build the world around us”. The funds for an idea implementation were granted by “RealtBy”.

On January 29th a solemn ceremony of sports equipment assignation took place. “The project “Bashni – willpower and strength of mind” proves that your fate is in your hands no matter where you live. We were impressed by sports and health targeting of the project, by author’s vivacity, energy and pursuit of the best”, denoted Elena Potapova, a marketing deputy director of Realt.by portal. Contribution of business to the rising generation healthy way of life can set an excellent pattern of corporate social responsibility.
The idea of the project “Bashni – willpower and strength of mind” was developed with the help of professional consultants of the “Office for European Expertise and Communications” and international non-profit organization “Pact”.

Besides, during 27-28 January the training “Youth Leadership and Community Work” took place in Bashni secondary school. In the course of the training preparations for new ideas development and new youth initiatives began. Ideas will be applied for the “Social Weekend-5” competition (deadline March 1st,2015).

“Young people in Bashni are very inspired by successful experience in “Social Weekend”. There are still lots of ideas in the fields of sport, ecology and leisure activity they would like to implement. For instance, ecological path and lakeside recreation zone, in order to provide both adults and teenagers with a space to pass their spare time. In summer for the first time ever they are planning to celebrate The Lake Birthday. Preparations are being conducted as we speak so that the holiday will unite the Bashni community and attract many tourists as well as others villages’ neighbors”, describes the current standing Marina Korzh, an “Office for European Expertise and Communications” program coordinator.

Hodosy (Mstislavskij district, Mogilev region) is famous not only in Belarus but also abroad, in particular due to the victories of Hodosy secondary school team in the International Internet Mind Game “Town battle”. Also on 31th January and 1st February the training “Youth Leadership and Community Work” took place at school. Among the participants there were pupils and teachers of Hodosy secondary school, Mstislavl gymnasium and Podsoltovo village secondary school. These educational institutions are united in the network of partners “Sustainable Development Workshop”.

Due to the collaborative work on initiatives within the training common youth problems that are facing regional settlements (as infrastructure and leisure issues) were revealed. It emerged that a cinema was out of work in Mstislavl. That’s why the youngsters came forward with an idea of its activity renewing if not in a current building then at least in an alternative place where citizens will be able to watch movies. Marina Korzh comments on the very training: “The guys communicated constructively and established contact between them very quickly, because they were interested in communicating with youngsters from other villages and towns. And they built up not only local, but also regional initiatives. Schoolchildren want to visit each other when educational institutions are going to host a joint event or meeting for the youngsters”.

The program “Leaders of Community Life” carries on the work of “Office for European Expertise and Communications” with local communities assisting community members to collectively identify needs, discuss and look for solutions, and carry out joint initiatives to address local issues. The participants of “Leadership in Local Communities” program, who represent various regions of Belarus, play a key role in project implementation. Besides Bashni and Khodosy, the training has already took place in Zditovo village (Brest region) and is going to be held in Zheludok village (Grodno region).

*Agrogorodok is a new type of rural settlements defined in the state program for Rural Development 2005-2010: agrogorodok – comfortable settlement, where industrial and social infrastructure is specially set up for ensuring living social standards of people (inhabitants of the agrogorodok and surrounding territories). It includes: central and local water supplies (hot and cold); central gas; streets paved road surface; network of roads linking it with the population centers in the service area; telephone facilities on the basis of stationary and mobile communication systems; trading and purchasing objects of consumer cooperatives; regional branches of public utility services; structure maintenance of private farms of the population; preschools and schools; sports venues and facilities, eco-tourism, and more.