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Linking sustainable practices throughout Europe

Villages on move in Baltic countries

Support to outdoor and physical activities in Latvia in cooperation with Finland, Denmark, Lithuania, Estonia

Rural topic(s): Cultural initiatives in rural areas, Services in rural areas

Type: Innovative experience

Date of writing: March 14, 2018

Author(s) of this page: MG

Organization(s): LRF (Latvian Rural Forum - Latvijas Lauku forum)


The initiative aims to activate people to give ideas to promote everyday physical activity. Collected ideas are developed by means of culture of experimentation. We visit village events and promote healthy lifestyle, but what is not less important - to fell the community spirit and strength through the activities.

Our goal is to activate inhabitants in rural areas to have more movement and more joy of active lifestyle.


Description of activities

“Latvian Rural Forum is involved in the active village initiative, because as World Health Organization states - physical inactivity is one of the leading risk factors for health, and people are more inactive especially in rural areas. Being active is quite often seen just as an exercises, but it includes a lot of other activities which involve bodily movement and are done as part of playing, working, active transportation, house chores and recreational activities.

We want to raise awareness of these facts and offer useful ideas how to become more active in interesting and easy way, the same time strengthening community spirit and civic engagement”.

The Initiative is realized through the project « Villages on move Baltic » that started as 2 country cooperation, but has grown to 5 countries.

It is just the beginning, an in 2017 and 2018 partners involved are South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences (FI), Kaunas University of Applied Sciences (LT),

Lillabaelt Academy University of Applied Sciences (DK), Lääne-Viru College (EE), South-Savo Sports Fed-eration (FI) and Latvian Rural Forum (LV).

Villages on Move Baltic -project is activating people to give ideas to promote everyday physical activity. Those activities such as ice marathon, activities for disabled people, hiking seaside, kiting etc as are gathered on the digital map (http://www.villagesonmove.com/#map). An idea bank will be included in as well.

Couple of researches and analyses about culture of experimentation – strategic experiments as tools of management and development were administratively light and therefore potentially effective in creating change, including learning, participation, public debate and challenging existing structures, searching for solutions that respond to the local situation and the interests and values of the communities involved.


Project team will encourage villages to create their own events devoted for physical activities as well as promoting existing events and sharing those to other communities.


Expected results: There is a very wide range of different activities that can enrich daily rural life for different ages. The main results will come later on, but there are a lot of practices that can be shared together with other countries/NGOs involved in the activities.

Involvement of local people to collect and identify activities is exciting process for both – organizers and a local people, but a challenge is to inspire and to encourage people to become more active on daily bases.

Next steps. Baltic Tour 2018 – week long trip around 4 countries to visit rural communities will give possibility to share good practices from country to country.

Map and calendar will continue to work and serve as a source of ideas for different activities in rural areas.


Information gathered at: the European Rural Parliament 2017 Market of initiatives (20 Oct. 2017)


Contact: Anita Seļicka

E-mail: anita.selicka ( a ) gmail.com



Scale of intervention : European

Keywords: community spirit, culture of experimentation, active lifestyle, health-enhancing physical activity (HEPA), outdoor activities, ERP 2017

Places: Estonia, Finland, Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania, Baltic states

Actors: association, researcher/academic, inhabitants, rural population

Methods: investigación acción, participation research