About 40 young professionals from Easter Europe spent two weeks in August to learn about e-government, e-services and the digitalisation of society.

The aim of the course is to raise awareness about challenges but also possibilities of digital government. It’s about both democratic processes and how digitalisation changes public administration. As new technical solutions are developed, the processes relating to digitalisation must be transparent and have the trust of the citizens.

The course is organised around lectures, group work, case studies and study visits. Active participation is important for the course and for the learning process, therefor participants are expected to share their experience, challenges and thoughts.

This year’s participants come from Georgia, Moldavia, Ukraine, Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Sweden. Such rich and diverse group plays a substantial role in how course turns out. There is a lot of different practices and ways to do e-government and the things that work in Sweden might not work in Moldova or Ukraine.

But one thing is clear- there are lessons we can learn from each other.

The summer course “Sustainable e-Government for Resilient and Innovative Democratic Public Administration” is offered within the framework of the Swedish Institute’s programme “Summer Academy for Young Professionals”. It is intended for people with at least a master’s degree, who work in public administration or political organisations in Eastern Europe.

Participant stories

Henrik Kutberg, SEGRID participant 2018
Henrik Kutberg is from Estonia and works as Chief Specialist at the Department of Foreign Financing, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.

Henrik Kutberg

Henrik had many memorable moments during these two weeks and would definitely recommend this course to his friends.

- The SeGRID course helped me to better understand about e-government on a socio-technical perspective. The implementation of e-government is not only about the technical solutions and making quick political decisions to go with the flow, it is also about re-producing established values, ensuring inclusiveness for the citizens and considering if the new solutions will create a better situation than before.

The course was well organized and had lectures from renowned experts, study visits to other cities and also plenty of free time to explore the surroundings or learn from/with the other experts from the participating countries.

Emma Närvä is one of the participants in the course SEGRID 2018
Emma Närvä is from Sweden and works at the Electronic Communications Services Unit at the National Post and Telecom Agency.

Emma Närvä

Emma thought that the course was rewarding.

- I found the lectures especially useful. The lectures had a good mix of different topics and adequate level. But of course, the exchange with colleagues from other countries has been an eye-opener. Although Sweden is at the forefront in many areas, it is striking how fast many of the younger democracies have been able to digitize. 

I will be able to apply the obtained knowledge about digitalisation in the work of my own authority. Moreover now I have better understanding of the participating countries, their management models and maturity in digitisation issues.

Dmytro Sydorenko from Ukraine, took part in the course Segrid 2018
Dmytro Sydorenko is from Ukraine and works at the Reforms Support Team which is a unit under the Ministry of Finance. Teiksma Buseva

Dmytro Sydorenko

Dmytro thought that study visits and group discussions was the most interesting part. 

- I am a practical approach guy so I really enjoyed group work and discussions as we could get in-depth knowledge about challenges as well as opportunities colleagues experienced in their countries. We are facing similar problems such as aging of population and unwillingness to use digital solutions. It was interesting to hear what others have done to move forward.

This summer course has given me a wide network. I have contacts from Swedish agencies that I will be able to use to continue the dialog and take part of Swedish expertise. I believe there is a lot of potential to learn and I hope we can find a ways we can work together.

Maya Talakhdze took part in teh course Segrid, 2018
Maya Talakhdze is from Georgia and works for a non-governmental organisation called Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI). Teiksma Buseva

Maya Talakhdze

Maya thought that the combination of theory and practice had a good balance and that it was inspiring to hear about mistakes Swedish authorities made during their attempts to implement e-government.

- This is a very interesting course because it is a possibility for participants to get knowledge and experience not only from Sweden but also from other participating countries.

I found study visits very helpful as it provided an opportunity to observe real situations, real problems and see real solutions.  I really appreciated to hear not only success stories but also about failures and mistakes. It shows that even if something fails it does not mean that it cannot be done. You should just choose another method or approach.

We have received plenty of tips for a reading material and links where we can continue explore the area on our own.

Carolina Dodon took part in the Segrid course 2018
Carolina Dodon is from Moldova and beside from studies at master level she works at Open Government Institute.

Carolina Dodon

Carolina thought that the course was very intense but it also helped her to broaden perspective on e-governance and digitalisation.

- Honestly, I didn't had a lot of expectations and I was not sure how this course can contribute to my work or studies. I was struggling from the beginning as I did not had a lot of time to reflect before coming to Sweden. But with the guidance from the course coordinators I could define some priorities and soon enough I realised that it is useful for seeing another point of view, for learning through others experiences. All participants were so dedicated to what they do and how they do.

I would recommend this course to all young professionals. The knowledge is useful for specialists who works in the field, but it is so eye-opening for the ones who don't give so much importance to technology and digitalization.

Arnis Skraucs, took part in the summer course at LiU
Arnis Skraucs is from Latvia and works at the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development

Arnis Skraučs

Arnis thought that the course helped to understand policies and tools behind digitalization of society and modern democratic public administration.

- Participating in SEGRID young professionals academy gives an amazing opportunity to understand implementation of ICT policy and its tools in different countries from Europe and East Partnership. It provides also academic (theoretical) approach what gives an extra credit for this course.

I would definitely recommend to participate. It gives much more than just knowledge, it also widens personal friendships.

We had numerous moments which I will remember, but I would like to point out three: dinners at professor’s garden, football game and last night dinner when we cooked traditional dishes. Those moments are deep in  my mind and even now when I remember them, a lot of good memories and emotions come back.

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