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Russia's mono industrial city to host social forum

March 04, 11:02 UTC+3

The key task of the forum is to build up and unite the communities to have them make the city better

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MURMANSK, March 4. /TASS/. A forum of social technologies will take place on Saturday in the Zapolyarye mono industrial city in the Murmansk region. Local activists will learn how to make life in the city more comfortable and interesting, head of the social policy department at the Norilsk Nickel Company, the forum’s organizer, Svetlana Ivchenko, told TASS.

"Participants in the forum would be representatives of communities - informal urban unions, who care for their native city, who want to participate in its development," she said. "The key task of the forum and of all the activities around it is to build up and unite the communities to have them make the city better."

Own effort plus shared experience

Organizers say, during the forum the city’s activists and public organizations would be able to present themselves and to find partners and allies to implement in future joint projects to improve life in their city. For that, they will see presentations of other cities’ experiences, and some of the projects they will see could be adapted successfully or could give ideas for new ones.
The forum will also offer training, master classes, seminars, talk shows and other activities, which will be led by experts and social technologies’ masters from Moscow. "We want the delegates to leave the forum with understanding of how they could develop jointly their city, what each of them could do for that, and what could be done tomorrow already," the organizer’s representative said.

The forum is organized in the framework of the World of New Opportunities charity program and will be just the first step towards improving life in the mono industrial city. Further on, the city activists will be able to participate in a competition of social projects to receive grants for their initiatives, as well as to take training courses in social entrepreneurship.
Thus, the program means a full cycle from an idea of how to develop the city to forming it into a project and then to find means to implement it.

Neighbors are key partners

One of the topics on the agenda would be structuring cooperation among active residents - activists, organizations and simply neighbors. For that, the delegates will see the presentation of a project called "Good Neighbors." The project’s head Sergei Kuznetsov told TASS about mechanisms, using which people can solve many every-day problems in the city all by themselves, how they may improve quality of life or organize leisure time.

"Without waiting for support from officials, people may begin saving on house maintenance fees, may improve comfort and security in their houses, may care for the environment," he said. "Some cities, where the project has been used, already have positive results, and the Zapolyarnyi mono industrial city may follow suit," the project’s head said.
In order to achieve that, the project offers training program for activists on how to use cooperation methods, how to find allies, and how to manage "affordable" settlement of many problems in a city. Among examples, which already are in Russia’s different regions, the expert named organized clubs, local sightseeing tours for neighbors and many others. "It is important for us to demonstrate that quite a lot could be done for the people living in the city - there are quite many opportunities to improve life," he said.
Besides residents of Zapolyarnyi, the forum will feature representatives of other mono industrial cities in the Murmansk region, where Norilsk Nickel has industrial facilities, - Nickel and Monchegorsk. Organizers expect the audience of a few hundred activists.

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