Opening of new premises of the Career centre Posavje

30 January 2024 – As part of the project Development of Innovative Support Environment (Career Centre Posavje), supported by the Norwegian Financial Mechanism, the Municipality of Krško has acquired new premises of the Career Centre Posavje. The newly acquired premises are intended for promoting youth employment and enhancing youth competencies for better job prospects.

© Municipality of Krško

On 30 January 2024, Nataša Šerbec, Director of the Regional Development Agency Posavje, officially opened the new premises of the Career Center Posavje. Janez Kerin, Mayor of the Municipality of Krško, and Vlasta Stojak, representative of the Ministry of Cohesion and Regional Development, also attended the opening. The ministry representative emphasised the work of the Regional Development Agency of Posavje, especially as an excellent partner for establishing a unified and digitally supported environment for youth employment. At the opening ceremony, Slovenian project partners, as well as the Norwegian partner and other stakeholders in the region, were present.

© Municipality of Krško

The objective of the Career Centre Posavje project is to establish a digital support environment that connects young people in the region, employers, local youth, and educational organisations. This initiative aims to strengthen the employment potential of young people in the Posavje region. As part of the project, career counsellors were trained, an online platform containing information on labour market opportunities was developed, and a comprehensive database of employers and job seekers was set up.

In addition to the Regional Development Agency Posavje, the project partners include the Municipality of Krško, the Centre for Youth and Sport Krško, the Institute of Adult Education Krško, the Regional Chamber of Craft and Small Business Krško, and Collective Innovation AS (NOR).

© Municipality of Krško

Source: Municipality of Krško and Dolenjski list

BlendVET project as part of the international #OurStories campaign

19 January 2024 – The BlendVET project, supported by the EEA Grants, is part of the international #OurStories campaign.

The BlendVET project develops school strategies for the introduction of blended learning, provides training for teachers and designs and develops practical solutions for e-learning.

Here you can watch a video of the project:

The project promter of The BlendVET project is The Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Vocational Education and Traning, and the project partners are the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts, Trbovlje Technical and Vocational Secondary School, Novo mesto School Centre, Celje School Centre, Koper Technical Secondary School, Østfold University College (NOR), Åssiden Upper Secondary School (NOR), Viken Higher Vocational College (NOR), University of Akureyri (ISL), and Akureyri Comprehensive College (ISL).

Source: KIPSI

Press conference of the Green Penguin project

12 January 2024 – On Thursday, 11 January 2024, project partners presented the progress and results of the Green Penguin project at the press conference in Kranj. The project is co-financed by the Norway Grants under the programme Education, Scholarships, Apprenticeship and Youth Entrepreneurship.

The Green Penguin project aims to reduce emissions, preserve the environment and reduce costs for individuals and communities. The project addresses energy consumers, encouraging them to change their habits and take on the role of engaged citizens. They are expected to actively contribute to energy efficiency and to participate in the creation of carbon neutral cities. Green Penguin presents itself as a change leader, a facilitator, a friend and a visionary. This modern-day influencer runs a platform that teaches children, students, parents, organisations and even entire cities how to reduce their emissions using fewer resources.

The Green Penguin project brings together five project partners from Slovenia and Norway. The project promoter is Iskraemeco, and the partnership is rounded off by the Municipality of Kranj, the Municipality of Ljubljana, Association DOVES – FEE Slovenia (EcoSchool) and the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) Norway.

Moški stoji na govorniškem odru. Pred seboj ima mikrofon, za seboj pa predstavitev.
© Green Penguin

On behalf of the host, Janez Černe, Vice-Mayor of the Municipality of Kranj, welcomed the participants. He presented the municipality’s activities in the field of Green deal and its efforts to implement green policies in many areas – from transport, infrastructure construction to tourism. He is convinced that this area will be one of the key challenges in the years to come, which is why they are trying to attract and enthuse citizens to participate as much as possible.

On the project promoter’s side, Mojca Volf, Project Manager, and Nejc Šubic, Head of the technical part of the platform development, presented the idea of the project and the functioning of the digital platform and its functionalities. They highlighted how it allows children to monitor and record their activities, how they can combine/link the collected data with data on energy consumption and resources of school and other buildings. At the same time, they emphasised how simple tasks and competitions with peers allow children to gain practical knowledge on how to reduce their carbon footprint in their daily lives, encourage sustainable action and raise awareness of the importance of protecting the environment.

Municipality of Kranj, included in EU Mission 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030, is actively pursuing sustainable, green and smart city development. Tomaž Lanišek, Head of the Office for Development and Smart Communities, presented the key steps in the field of sustainability policy and placed The Green Penguin project in the broader context of the municipality’s activities and plans in the transition to a carbon-neutral city.

5 ljudi sedi na govornišek odru, moški govori v mikrofon in ima predstavitev.
© Green Penguin

The Green Penguin primarily connects schools but can also be used to connect/integrate other public infrastructure. Environmental education starts with children and extends to adults, with the ultimate goal of an engaged community that makes a significant contribution to improving quality of life and encouraging behavioural change.

Gregor Cerar, National Coordinator of the EcoSchool project, DOVES – FEE Association and Marija Fabčič, Head of the Department for Pre-school Education and Education of the Municipality of Ljubljana, emphasised the importance of The Green Penguin project in the field of education. The project focuses on pupils in three pilot schools in the Municipality of Kranj and three in the Municipality of Ljubljana and has a positive impact on the educational process. They explained how the project has contributed to a better understanding of the challenges posed by climate change.

The Green Penguin project reflects its importance through a number of references. It became the winner of the Climathon Ljubljana 2020 challenge, was ranked among the TOP 3 most transformative ideas of 2020 at the Global Climathon and received the most votes from the public among 107 competing ideas. The Green Penguin was among the TOP 3 finalists of the Nordic Smart City Challenge 2021, won the EEPA awards in Slovenia and Europe in 2021, and was awarded the Regional Gold Award for Innovation 2022, as well as the Regional Recognised for Innovation Challenge 2022.

Publika sedi na novinarski konferenci projekta Zeleni pingvin
© Green Penguin

Sourse: Zeleni pingvin

Opening of the laparoscopic simulator at the Faculty of Medicine in Maribor

22 December 2023 – As part of the EMPOWER FOR 21 project, which is supported by the Norway Grants, the inauguration of a laparoscopic simulator took place at the Faculty of Medicine. The advanced equipment will enable medical students to perform processes and experiments in a controlled environment outside a living organism.

EMPOWER FOR 21 is the acronym of the project with the full title: Empowering for Work in the 21st Century through Life Skills, Promotion of Wellbeing and Prevention of Mental Disorders. The project promoter, the University Medical Centre Maribor, together with partners University of Maribor, Faculty of Medicine and Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NOR), aims to create, through teacher training for communication, leadership, mental health and teaching critical thinking, long-term teacher training EMPOWER FOR 21 as a long-term mechanism to better prepare teachers to teach professionals in higher education and also at work (development of sustainable teacher training to teach competent professionals in healthcare). The project responds to societal challenges demanding that an expert of the 21st century is not only competent in his/her profession, but also acts as a co-creator of the wider society, which he/she serves through his/her leadership and responses to the fundamental challenges of the environment.

 

Skupina ljudi stoji pred laporoskopskim simulatorjem.
©EMPOWER FOR 21

At the event, which took place on 13 December 2023, a representative of the company responsible for supplying the simulator gave a practical demonstration of its use and provided comprehensive information on the simulator itself and its operation. Participants had the opportunity to try out the simulator for themselves, which further contributed to a better understanding of its functionality.

A fruitful debate also developed among the participants on the possibility of using the simulator among the specialists and on the inclusion of the advanced device in the curriculum. The laparoscopic simulator is a modern device that allows medical students to simulate surgical procedures. In doing so, they are confronted with procedural problems that allow them to develop and strengthen their critical thinking skills during procedures.

Moški uporablja laporoskopski simulator.
©EMPOWER FOR 21

Within the EMPOWER FOR 21 project, the Faculty of Medicine and the University Medical Centre Maribor are working to further integrate the laparoscopic simulator into the educational curriculum so that students have as many opportunities as possible to gain practical experience and improve their skills before entering the clinical environment.

With this project and the simulator, project partners are reinforcing the excellence of education system and ensuring that future health professionals receive the best possible training for their future careers.

Pingvin z napisom Projekt EMPOWER FOR 21.
©EMPOWER FOR 21

Sourse: UKC

Opening of the Heritage Learning Lab on the 30th anniversary of the Association of Historic Towns of Slovenia

6 December 2023 – On the occasion of its 30th anniversary, the Association of Historic Towns of Slovenia officially opened the renovated space of its new Heritage Learning Laboratory in Škofja Loka. The new space was created as part of the School Renovation for New Generations project, which is supported by the Norway Grants.

The former town hall, the Stari Rotovž, which has graced Škofja Loka’s town square since the 16th century, was abandoned for more than a decade and renovated as part of the School of Renovation for New Generations project. The renovated space will be used primarily to train primary school teachers to integrate cultural heritage content into the curriculum, in line with the new curricula being developed under the project.

Človek barva strope stare mestne hiše v Škofji Loki
© The Association of Historic Towns of Slovenia

The complex renovation of the building was led by the Municipality of Škofja Loka with the assistance of project partners and the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, which carried out restoration work on the building. In the process, various phases from at least five hundred years of the building’s history were uncovered. The finds discovered during the work tell the stories of the construction techniques, the skills of the craftsmen and artisans, the materials and process used, the stonework and other details, the paint and painting patterns that have transformed the building over the centuries. The new space will be a true learning laboratory, with 13 professionally presented probes that will serve to learn about cultural heritage, the laws of construction and handicraft skills. The renovated space will be tested in January next year as part of the Renovation School for a New Generation project.

In addition to the members of the association and the project partners, the new space was visited by State Secretary at the Ministry of Culture Matevž Čelik, Director of the Directorate for Cultural Heritage Špela Spanžel and representatives of the Building Research Institute of Slovenia (ZAG), which is a leading scientific research institution in the field of building construction in Slovenia and is also actively involved in the preservation of cultural heritage.

After a tour of the space, the participants opened a discussion on the preservation and renovation of the built heritage in old town centres. They also reflected together on the importance of unifying approaches to renovation and increasing activity in this field, as well as on the successful restoration and revitalisation of built heritage.

The highlight of the event was the celebratory event in the cultural hall of the Sokol House, which was dedicated to the opening of the new learning laboratory and the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Community of Ancient Towns in the Republic of Slovenia, the predecessor of the Association of Historic Towns of Slovenia.

 

Fasada stare mestne hiše v Škofji Loki.
© The Association of Historic Towns of Slovenia

The project School of Renovation for New Generations is co-created by the project promoter, The Association of Historic Towns of Slovenia, with partners The University of Primorska, The Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, The Ivan Grohar Primary School, the Municipality of Škofja Loka, MAGMA Geopark AS (NOR) and The Škofja Loka School Centre.

Sourse: Združenje zgodovinskih mest Slovenije

An empty school corridor gets a new look

30 November 2023 – As part of the School Renovation for New Generations project, supported by the Norway Grants, the didactic corner-gallery Under the Homan Lime Tree was opened at the Ivan Grohar Primary School on Tuesday 21 November 2023. The gallery Pod Homanovo lipo was visited for the first time by the pupils of the school, who saw a part of the Škofja Loka’s town centre and experienced the gallery as a place to socialise and educate about cultural heritage in a pleasant and interesting way.

Razstava na šolskem hodniku. Slike kulturne dediščine: vrata, okna in fasade.
© School of Renovation for New Generations

The new look and the new content of the school corridor are aimed at learning about the cultural heritage of the local area, where students and other visitors to the school can learn, with the help of dedicated teachers, that cultural heritage can be interesting, creative and timeless. The gallery was created by art teacher Petra Primc Marko from the Ivan Grohar Primary School and Neža Gubanc and her team from the Secondary School of Woodworking (ŠCŠL), with the support of project partners from the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Primorska, the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, the Municipality of Škofja Loka and the Association of Historic Towns of Slovenia.

Professor Petra Primc Marko says: “I wanted to recreate a space that would bring people and cultural heritage together in a pleasant way, like walking through the city, looking in a shop window, socialising and educating at the same time. A space where students could contribute and educate themselves and others“. She adds that the gallery also has high hopes for the future, because “perhaps it is the students who have acquired knowledge of cultural heritage at school who will nurture this knowledge, receive additional training, have an interest and perhaps one day pass on the knowledge themselves to new generations at the Pod Homanovo lipo gallery”, the professor concludes.

The event was also attended by the project promoter Mateja Hafner Dolenc, Secretary General of the Association of Historical Towns of Slovenia. She took the opportunity to thank the headmaster, Marko Primožič, the team of the Ivan Grohar Primary School and the professor Petra Primc Marko. She highlighted the active cooperation and expressed her joy that cultural heritage is being connected to children in a fun and interesting way from an early age, as this is the only way they can strengthen their relationship to it.

In addition to visiting the gallery, the students and other participants had the opportunity to see a collage of photographs of architectural elements of the Old Town. The collage was created by the teachers and students of the 7th grade art class. Besides the photo wallpaper, the star of the corner was the first exhibition on paving stone and slate. Visitors walked past samples of the paving stone, which were made under the expert guidance of students in the art class. The participants also visited a room where products made of slate have been displayed. The slate has been used as roofing material throughout history and up to the present day. The products were made in a workshop where the pupils learned the ancient craft of working with slate.

Razstava na šolskem hodniku z naslovom S preteklostjo bogatimo sedanjost. Ženska na sliki gleda v pametni telefon.
© School of Renovation for New Generations

The project School of Renovation for New Generations is co-created by the project promoter, the Association of Historic Towns of Slovenia, with project partners the University of Primorska, the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, the Ivan Grohar Primary School, the Municipality of Škofja Loka, MAGMA Geopark AS (NOR) and the Škofja Loka School Centre.

Sourse: Šola prenove za nove generacije

Work-life balance conference and workshops

27 November 2023 – On 16 November 2023, the conference “Work-life balance” took place in Koper. The meeting was organised as part of the BalanCed project, which is supported by the Norway Grants.

The conference aimed to open a public dialogue on the different actors responsible for balance between the different spheres of life. The event brought together organisations and companies presenting examples of good practices and initiatives in the field of work-life balance.

Govorica nagovarja občinstvo.
© Aleš Rosa

The participants were addressed by a representative of the local community, they were introduced to the BalanCed project and had the opportunity to meet managers, mentors and employees from the public and private sectors and representatives of NGOs. The main focus of the event was on finding ways to support employees and their families to better manage challenges, supporting organisations in caring for their employees, building employees’ creativity competences and generally exploring the impact of work-life enrichment.

The organisers gave all participants a tour of the Creative Centre, and in the afternoon two practical workshops were held in English, following the methodology of the Norwegian partner organisation Culture Break Borders.

Ljudje za mizo oblikujejo glino. Oseba v ozadju jih gleda.
© Aleš Rosa

The BalanCed project is co-created by the project promoter, the Centre for Communication, Hearing and Speech Portorož, with partners CONA B.P.; NOMED (Independent Media Activity, Koper); PiNA Cultural Educational Association and Culture Break Borders (NOR).

Sourse: BalanCed

Children’s participation in the Children’s House

23 November 2023 – 18 November marks the European Day for the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse. To this end, on 22 November 2023, the Ministry of Justice organised an expert conference entitled ‘Child Participation in Children’s House’.

The conference, organised by the Children’s House which is supported by Norway Grants, aimed to raise awareness of the issue of child sexual abuse and the state’s response to it. The participants emphasised the participation and involvement of children in different ways to ensure the child’s participation in proceedings (judicial and otherwise) in the Children’s House. With a concrete presentation of ways to ensure children’s participation, the participants built on the theoretical knowledge and implementation of children’s rights.

The conference, which was attended by representatives from Slovenia, Finland, and Ireland, was opened by UNICEF Slovenia’s Junior Ambassador Arja Ela Hvala and Dr Igor Šoltes, State Secretary at the Ministry of Justice.

Mlado dekle za govorniškim odrom govori pred zbrano publiko.
© Ministry of Justice

Junior Ambassador Arja Ela Hvala stressed the importance of involving children and young people in all aspects of life. She added that, especially in difficult situations for children, children need empowered and aware adults who listen and make decisions with them. She concluded with the message that children and young people need to be heard and that the U-Report platform, dedicated to the voice of young people, is already active in 99 countries and is now available in Slovenia.

The Junior Ambassador’s message was echoed by Dr Šoltes, who stressed that the Ministry of Justice’s work during this mandate has been towards the establishment of a child-friendly justice system. He also expressed that listening and taking into account what is heard are important values when dealing with such a pressing issue as the protection of children and the fight against the sexual exploitation and abuse of children.

Dr Šoltes noted that in the first year of the Children’s House being open, 58 children had been accommodated. This means that criminal investigations and child protection proceedings are coordinated within the Children’s House. Thus avoids re-traumatisation of children during investigations and court proceedings. The speaker also highlighted the key challenges in protecting children from abuse, recalling the need to have zero tolerance for sexual abuse and to provide protection and support to victims. A key factor in building trust is a safe environment that is committed to prevention and the provision of help and support when prevention is not enough.

Moški za govorniškim odrom nagovarja publiko.
© Ministry of Justice

Sourse: GOV.SI

International conference of the ZAGON project “Small Steps for Nature – A view towards the future of the community”

15 November 2023 – The EEA-funded ZAGON project focuses on improving the management of ecosystems under pressure from climate change. As part of the project, an international conference was organised in Grosuplje: Small steps for nature – A view towards the community.

The international conference was also attended by distinguished guests who highlighted the importance of the work of projects such as Zagon. The Mayor of the Municipality of Grosuplje, who gave the opening address, stressed the need to preserve the local natural heritage, while the State Secretary at the Ministry of Cohesion and Regional Development, Mag. Marko Koprivc, emphasized the importance of biodiversity. The latter particularly pointed out that biodiversity significantly contributes to the preservation of human lives, the environment, and the climate. He also referred to Nature 2000 and called for nature to be protected as much as possible.

Človek za govorniškim odrom nagovarja občinstvo
© Municipality of Grosuplje

The guest of honour, Ms. Trine Skymoen, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway to Slovenia, focused her speech on Norway’s work to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, stressing the importance of local communities working to protect nature and highlighting the Zagon project as an example of good practice in this field.

The conference was also attended by Dr Nika Krajnc, Director of the Slovenian Forestry Institute, Gašper Kleč, Director of the Sora Development Agency, Miha Simončič, Head of the Spatial Planning Office of the Municipality of Grosuplje and Gregor Danev, Director of the Slovenian Forest Service. Mag. Teo Hrvoje Oršanič, Director of the Slovenian Nature Conservation Institute spoke on climate change in the light of Nature 2000, on the threats to nature conservation objectives and on the vision of development.

In addition to the Zagon project, the JeloviZA and ReNature projects, also funded by the EEA Financial Mechanism, were part of the discussion.

Močvirje in merilec vode
© Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Nature Conservation

In the final part of the conference, the participants highlighted the importance of preserving natural wetlands for ecosystems, which should be taken into account in spatial planning and financial incentives. They agreed that a broader community of diverse stakeholders can be helpful in this regard, as different perspectives lead to the best solutions. They concluded with a message of learning and passing on knowledge and awareness of the importance of eco-systems for all present and future generations.

The project Zagon involves the project promoter, the Municipality of Grosuplje, with project partners the Institute for Tourism and Promotion – Tourism Grosuplje, Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Nature Conservation, The Slovenia Forest Service,  The Slovenian Forestry Institute and University College for Green Development (NOR).

 

Sourse: Občina Grosuplje

How to facilitate work-life balance (in rural areas)?

9 November 2023 – The survey on gender equality in rural areas (TERA, 2022) was carried out under the TERA project, supported by the Norway Grants. The research is focused on the possibilities of improving the balance between professional and private life, primarily aimed at relieving the burden on women in rural areas.

The results of the survey show that almost 40% of respondents think that kindergartens, schools, Centres for social work, health centres and homes for the elderly should adapt their activities and services to the specific dynamics of rural life.

Skupina ljudi stoji na kmetijski površini in se nastavlja fotografu.
© RRA Posavje

First, according to the opinion of the participants, kindergartens and schools should adapt their services by, for example, introducing flexible working hours, adjusting parental responsibilities at school to the work schedule in rural areas, introducing an afternoon shift of childcare, etc.

Second, the research participants stated that Centres for social work can make life easier in rural area by, for example, establishing day centres in villages, increasing their home-based services, adapting treatment to the needs of people in rural areas, and designing new services, etc.

Third, the participants also suggested that health care centres and homes for the elderly can adapt their services by, for example, setting up day centres in rural area, building homes for the elderly in villages and adapting their activities to the needs of rural areas, offering emergency doctors in the rural areas, etc.

Polje pšenice, v ozadju je gozd. Modro nebo z rumeno-rdečimi oblaki.
© Canva: picture is symbolic

All proposals that were highlighted in the research will be included in the guidelines for political decision-makers. The results of the survey will also be presented at the National Symposium on Gender Equality in Rural Areas, which will take place in March 2024 as part of the TERA project.

The TERA project involves the project promoter Development Centre Murska Sobota with project partners Regional Development Agency Posavje, The Gender Equality Research Institute (IPES), Association of Slovenian Rural Youth, the Centre for the Development of Sustainable Society, and Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences from Norway.

 

Sourse: IPES

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