The impact of community initiatives on socio-economic convergence: achievements and difficulties in one of the EU's most underdeveloped regions

The impact of community initiatives on socio-economic convergence: achievements and difficulties... Abstract The overall objective of this essay is to present the regional characteristics of the community initiatives in one of the EU's most underdeveloped regions. In particular, it pays attention to factors affecting the situation today, the examination of relation system in the region, particularly the non-profit sector's role in community development. Beyond the secondary analysis of the research background and the statistical data showing the characteristics of the settlements, the study is based on primary results coming from the questionnaires addressed to the leaders of municipalities and interviews made with the larger NGOs. The results of the study show that the development level of the sector, due to the socio-economic conditions of the area, is far below the Hungarian average. This can be traced to the fewer number of organizations, the unfavorable economic potential and the absence of relationships. Introduction The conceptual definition and operation of the non-profit sector show significant differences from country to country. The cultural, historical, economic and political differences of certain countries and social conflicts play a significant role in the development of this variation as well as social conflicts and social organizational solutions appearing as a result of these (DiMaggio and Anheier, 1990). International studies have been examining the role that the non-profit sector plays in the social inclusion of Europe for decades (Ben-Ner, 1986; Ben-Ner and Van Hoomissen, 1991; Bacchiega and Borzaga, 2001, 2003; Anheier and Ben-Ner, 2003; Borzaga and Defourny, 2004; Galera and Borzaga, 2009; Arpinte et al., 2010), although their role in regional and rural development came into focus relatively late, mainly after the widespread and strengthening of the European regional policy. The European Union (EU) – adapting to the new situation – incorporated the Structural Funds into the new comprehensive cohesion policy after the accession of Greece, Spain and Portugal. In the nineties, supporting the sparsely populated areas of Finland and Sweden became a new, special objective of the regional policy. By this time, scientific interest had significantly increased towards the role that the third sector was playing in regional development (Birch and Whittam, 2008), and the catching up of rural areas (Uphoff, 1993). Analyses dealing with regional economy became increasingly focused on the sector's impact on local economy (Moore and Sufrin, 2006). More than a decade after the Union's eastward expansion, however, compared to the previous studies, new questions arise in connection with the development of rural areas, since these regions of the East Central European countries struggle with special socio-economic problems. The novelty of the present study lies in exploring the role played by the third sector in modernizing one of the most depressed sub-regions, and – in contrast to Western models – pointing out the factors that hinder the further strengthening of their role played in regional development. Since the Hungarian change of regime the voluntary sector has gone through serious changes. As a consequence of its development, it has become a significant factor in regional development. One of its most important purposes is to make a connection between the sectors of state, market and the members of society, the available local knowledge and social capital are also worth a mention (Bucher, 2010). The area that this paper studies is Ormansag, which lies where the floodplain of the river Drava used to be, distinguished from its surroundings by its unique ethnography and characteristically Calvinistic religion. It does not form an administrative unit, its region mostly takes up the township of Sellye, but one can find towns struggling with the same or similar problems in the neighboring townships. This area of typically small villages is one of the most underdeveloped regions in the EU. Its peripheral position within the country and the region, and its complicated social and economic problems – including unfavorable demographic processes, unemployment and underdeveloped technical and human infrastructure – require such complex development programs for which the feasibility of society's involvement may be highly significant. Before the change of regime, there were efforts for the improvement of Ormánság. After 1990, increasingly negative tendencies in the trajectory of the development of Ormansag necessitated both the new approach and the involvement of the locals. Non-governmental organizations established the Ormansag foundation in 1990, which created a complex development program for the improvement of the area (Kovacs and Lantos, 1994). One element of the program was the establishment of Ormansag Development Association that united the representatives of the region's settlements, its farming units and its institutions’ directors (Kovacs, 1994). This association won the INTERREG's III/a (Slovenia/Hungary/Croatia neighborhood program) competition. The initiative for which they were awarded the prize was the foundation of the development program entitled ‘Establishment of the conditions of ecological farming in the valley of Lower-Drava’; this development program probably had bigger impact on the region than any other program for several decades. In the years following the change of regime the number of civil and non-profit organizations grew significantly. As the most relevant means of the growth of the number of organizations, we might name the transformation of the political setting, the restoration of the banned organizations, the change of the economic and proprietorial systems, the appearance of the alternative service role, the non-profit sector's resourcing potentials and the new challenges of the globalization of the world (Bocz, 2009). In the second half of the 1990s, the quick increase in number of organizations, which was typical of the civil sector ever since the change of regime, came to a halt and a kind of consolidation started. The existence or non-existence of the organizations is not the most important factor anymore, but rather the procedures and rearrangements going on inside the sector (Osvath, 2007). The increased number of organizations brings several positive effects. The expanding network can promote the development of local relations and the cooperation of the non-profit sector and the local governments (Bourdieu, 1986; Fukuyama, 1995). Around the year 2000, the forthcoming of the EU accession brought a new kind of approach to the problems of the countryside. The migration to the countryside in the EU resulted in the countryside becoming more beautiful, reorganized and economically more advanced. At the same time in Hungary, there is also a need for the development of the countryside and the underdeveloped territories. While this process comes along with the development of the countryside in the EU, in Hungary, during the integration into global economy, the purpose of cutting off the former advantages of the rural areas is only to fill the gap between cities and the countryside. In the most underdeveloped territories, the collective exploitation of resources, the cooperation of the civilians with each other and the local governments could help with the development (Ritter, 2000). A significant number of the non-governmental organizations do not recognize the advantages of collaboration even after the turn of millennium, and a huge number of them do not keep any connection with other organizations inside or outside the sector (Osvath, 2007). The most common cause of the lack of maintaining connections is that they can do their basic tasks by themselves. Cooperation typically happens only in simple cases or bigger projects; one-sided dependence from local authorities only occurs in smaller non-governmental organizations. There are several non-governmental organizations set up for fixed purposes by local governments, there are several competition resources that are only available for governments if they hand in the application with at least one non-governmental organization indicating social support. These organizations often only work on paper without civilian participation (Ragadics Varga and Fuzesi, 2007). Following the EU accession, the role of the non-profit sector in regional development went through a change: their role in making connections, their local knowledge and the social capital make them essential in solving local problems (Bucher, 2008). At the end of the decade, the civil sector gradually became a more serious factor in area development, due to its changes in quality. Hungary's legal framework allows them to become more powerful, but still the statistics do not show that. Certain levels of regional development and the non-profit sector's development have begun; however, we cannot talk about actual partnership yet (Bucher, 2010). Nowadays, most of the non-governmental organizations operate locally, so their natural partner can be the local government. The cooperation between non-governmental organizations and local governments shows diversity, their co-operational abilities and effects cannot be generally described. The national rural development program envisions the strengthening of non-profit organizations, partly by involving the sector more seriously in the development project. However, precisely what the role of rural non-governmental organizations should be is still a question. The ‘stable, active, open’ organizations may be the most qualified to undertake the regional development, as these play an active role in involving the locals as well as in planning (Varga, 2011). With the strengthening of the role of the non-profit sector, increasing attention was paid to understanding the concept of social capital and its role in community development. Putnam (1993) was among the first to mention the concept of social capital exploring the parallels between the number of social organizations, trust and willingness to cooperate. He argued that social capital can work really well if society is based on a dense network. Fukuyama (2000) approached the concept mainly from trust and social norms. In his opinion, this kind of capital is a potential coming from the norms of living together and can be mobilized through cooperation, which is the base of civil society and also the development of the local community. The role of social capital in regional development is an essential element of its investigation. Their relationship is based on the positive impact of social capital on economic growth, which directly enables and promotes sustainable development (Birch and Whittam, 2008). The aim of this research is to show the role of Ormansag's non-profit sector in regional development by revealing the factors affecting the civil activity. By considering the region's social and economic problems, this paper highlights the introduction of the most important unsatisfied service requirements. It presents the major participants’ economic situations and by revealing the connections of the sector's participants, it proposes suggestions on how to moderate the regional differences in cooperation. Research methods In the examination of collaborations both primary and secondary sources were used. By analyzing the articles that were based on secondary research, light was shed on the changes in the collaboration between the civil society and local governments, and the main trends of researches aimed at it. The main source of the secondary statistics was the information database of the Central Statistical Office (KSH) and the 2011 census. With the help of the chosen data we managed to reveal the situation of the non-profit sector of Ormansag and the factors affecting it from 2000 until present. Because of the problems occurring with the impoundment of Ormansag and the timeliness of the Ancient Drava Project, we use 43 towns of the Ancient Drava Project's region for the area of research. According to this we used the settlement level data from the information database concerning the non-profit sector, the social and economic situation of the settlements, and the available services in settlements. We had additional help from the national regional development and special planning information system's database regarding the data about projects and supports for settlements between 2004 and 2011, also from the national labor service's settlement level unemployment data for May 2015, and the civil informational forum's data regarding the region's non-governmental organizations. Structured interviews and questionnaires were made during the primary research. In the course of choosing the non-profit organizations of the region, it was an important aspect that their activity fits the aims of settlement development and that their range should reach regional or county level. Nine fitted these criteria from the region; we managed to involve eight of them in the research. The questions were about the organizations’ operation, resources, relevant projects, collaborating partners, their views on the Ancient Drava Project and their partaking in the program. The interview questions were about the local acceptance, collaborations and other aspects of the program's execution. A different interviewee was a co-worker of the Ancient Drava Project, whom we asked about the present situation, the future concepts, the local support and important collaborating partners. We asked a worker of the local government of Baranya County about the situation of the non-profit sector of Ormansag, their experiences of the collaborations and the development of connections. The questionnaire attempted to investigate the local governments’ relationship with the non-profit sector, however, the local governments were reluctant to fill in the questionnaire. Still we intend to represent their answers, since they play a significant role in the presentation of connections that does not appear elsewhere. The questionnaire contains questions about the collaborating partners of the local governments and their role in the Ancient Drava Project. Results The effect of unsatisfied demand for services on civil activity Among the important changes in legal framework and the regional economic and social problems the demand for services also plays an important role in the setting of the non-profit sector. Besides the fact that the institutional provision indirectly affects social activity, the most significant deficiencies define the typical activities of members of the sector. Certain institutions’ presence shows positive correspondence with the local number of active organizations. The reasons for this include the common local governments’ offices supply and also the intellectuals who stayed or moved here due to the workplaces provided by the institutions and their typical willingness to partake in social events. In Ormansag what typically has this kind of effect is the previously mentioned common local government, the presence of schools and general practitioners. This effect is further strengthened since in most cases two or perhaps all three of these are present. The traffic conditions of the region are defined by its proximity to the border. The political oppositions before the change of regime caused the formation of very many settlements with only one road, hindering the development of infrastructure. Despite the change in the political situation this factor is still relevant. Today we can say that the conditions of roads are still quite bad; the many road renewals had no real effect in most parts of the region. Another significant problem is the distance of the nearest big city, Pecs, which is 30 km from the nearest settlement, but in many cases it is over 50 km. The role of public transportation is crucial in the life of the region's people due to the fact that the vehicle ownership is under the national average because of their financial situation. All the settlements are accessible via point-to-point bus service, but according to most respondents the frequency of this service is unsatisfactory. In addition, in most cases bigger cities are only accessible via a transfer. The situation of bus service is an important problem, since the Sellye-Villany railroad line, which affected more than a few settlements, was terminated in the last decade; so that, except for the settlements on the Szentlorinc-Sellye railroad line, the bus service is the only available public transportation (Figure 1). Figure 1 View largeDownload slide The geographical location and major routes of Ormansag Source: own design using Google Maps. Figure 1 View largeDownload slide The geographical location and major routes of Ormansag Source: own design using Google Maps. In the answers about public services, problems about social services were the most frequent. Care of handicapped and elderly people and the crèche services were mentioned the most. According to the unemployment rate in Ormansag, the lack of care services is a serious issue in women's labor. The lack of addiction treatment services was also mentioned, which – in the light of the social conditions of the region – is not surprising. On the whole it can be said that Ormansag has much room for improvement concerning social services, especially due to the fact that for most of settlements, their availability is affected by the situation of traffic (Figure 2). Figure 2 View largeDownload slide The region's most important services’ institutional supply Source: own design using Google Maps. Figure 2 View largeDownload slide The region's most important services’ institutional supply Source: own design using Google Maps. The inner relationship network of the non-profit sector The success of the non-profit sector's participants hugely depends on the expanse of their relationship networks. Besides collaborations within the sector, political, economic and administrational relationships are also important. The collaborations are also furthered by factors such as territoriality, shared extent of influence, mutual problems, mutual aims and the benefits of adjusted resources. However, many advantages also have setbacks. The collaborations can be hindered by the differences in values or the irreconcilability of the operational particularities of organizations. Trust is also an important factor which, through its situation illustrated above, influences not only social activity, but also the organizations’ habits in making connections. The relationship network of Ormansag's non-profit organizations is very diverse. Besides the organizations with an expanded web of relationships we can find some that exclude themselves from cooperation. A big part of the sector's participants only cooperate with the settlement's local government. All of the examined organizations agree that cooperation is essential in their operation and in achieving their goals, however, certain organizations’ activity in cooperation contradicts it. In our research we inquired about the most important collaborations of organizations with other non-profit organizations and with local governments. The general sources of motivation for collaboration, such as territoriality, presence of mutual problems and the possibility to unite resources occurred in almost every case. However, there was an answer which played a significant role in several interviews. The relevance of personal relations would seem to be obvious, nevertheless, because of the aforesaid situation of the region (e.g. relatively closed, small settlements) this factor is significantly reevaluated (especially as the hindering factor of cooperation). Its most decisive positive effect is confidence. Most of the region's organizations are characterized by the earlier mentioned attitude against connections; a determining cause of this may be distrust. For solving the problem, the personal relations or positive experiences about developed relationships are crucial. Though this kind of secluding attitude is not typical for the examined organizations, in several cases they noted the importance of personal relations with concrete specific examples. Although the organizations did not mention it, analysis of the data reveals that length of operation and the experiences gained by it are determining factors of efficiency and successfulness of developed relationships. The region's typical features appeared to be significant as collaboration hindering effects. These features are the mentioned personal relations or in this case conflicts. Among the political factors, typical for the whole country, the developed conflicts of interest and power struggles are also significant drawbacks of cooperation. The contradictory groups most often seclude themselves from cooperation even when advantages are evident and foreseeable, hindering the successfulness of the programs and the region's development with doing so. The same problem is not restricted to Ormansag, but the effect of it is increased by the circumstances of the area. The detachment, which is common in the area, is a determining hindrance, an effect of which is that a part of the participants dissociate themselves from cooperation despite the obvious benefits. The low reputation of certain organizations in the region is also a typical problem for collaborations. Although, compared to the problems mentioned above, it has a smaller effect, a problem which was surprising to be found in a relatively small and closed community and which is certainly worth mentioning. Concerning the collaboration relations it can be stated that the place of operation is a significant influential factor. The primary partners of organizations that have good relations with local governments are the settlements that used to belong under one notarial district; today these belong to common local governments. Because of the factors mentioned above, in lots of cases the organizations have utterly bad relations with local governments. In such cases primary alternatives are the surrounding settlements, or larger settlements that are known for excellent collaboration. Non-profit organizations with intense relationships can be connected especially to the settlements with larger population. Their scope goes beyond the location of their settlement and can cover a whole district or even county. Organizations of this group can be characterized by political independence, high awareness, ambition for innovations and sustainability, successful advocacy skills and extended social networks. Among the positive examples for collaborations of participants of the non-profit sector one can also find many negative ones. It also applies to these that the actively collaborating organizations work together with their direct surroundings. Besides the civil citizens of the surrounding settlements the most frequent partners are the major organizations of the area which help in reaching the aims that concern the whole region via their extended relationships. The most common complication in case of negative examples is mistrust which significantly reduces the possibilities. The examined organizations not only indicated their significant collaborations, but graded them according to partnership and successfulness. During the evaluation, they tended to give the highest ranks in most cases which is not surprising considering the inquiry. Even though developing relations between organizations is a matter of choice in most cases, the situation is different when it comes to the local governments of the settlements of operation. Despite the mentioned hindering factors collaboration is sometimes inevitable, the effect of this can be seen in lower ratings given by the organizations. In order to reveal the situation of cooperation in Ormansag, it is important to look at the local governments’ perspective. The foundations of their partnerships are made up of the settlements belonging under a common local government. The roles of collaboration in this case are synchronization of resources, coordination of the local government's tasks and utilization of common competitions. For the local governments the collaborations with non-profit organizations cannot be said to be essential. Although most of the examined local governments agree that cooperation with the non-profit sector is of key importance and has many advantages, their behavior tells otherwise. Almost all of the examined local governments only have relations with the nearby working organizations, and they do not consider these as successful in all cases either. Since most of the examined settlements belong to the low populated ones, a universal deduction cannot be made. We got a more positive picture during the non-profit interviews about the larger settlements like Vajszlo or Sellye's local governments; however, unfortunately since they refused to answer either the questionnaire or the interview questions, the not too prosperous picture cannot be nuanced with their points of view. The answering local governments’ motivations for collaboration and listed hindering factors do not differ much from those of the non-profit organizations’. However, since collaboration is a less important matter in their operation, they see the importance of factors from a different angle. Among the matters addressed previously, lack of professional preparedness often appears which significantly hinders both the emergence and efficient operation of collaboration, and the proper functioning of organizations. The cause of this is the lack of professionals which is in connection with the social and economic concerns typical of the region. This negative attitude is often joined by the ignorance of the organizations, which also blocks the emergence and development of collaborations. Both organizations and local governments have high opinions about the sustainability of existing collaborations. In most cases they think that these are necessary and sustainable in the long term too. Several organizations are reviewing the possible partners at the moment, moreover, in certain cases there are available concepts and agreements already. To sum it up, the inner relationship network of Ormansag concerning the non-profit sector is not quite advanced. Despite the favorable conditions and various advantages of developing connections, the typical problems of the region and other cooperation hindering factors seriously affect the emerged situation. However, through our investigation we came across several good examples, where the collaborations came not only with proper partnerships, but were also successful. Since the examined organizations are quite young, the number of favorable cases might increase in the future. We can definitely say that because of the cooperation of the determining participants of the region, the mutual territoriality, mutual complications and the possibilities in sharing resources it can be of key importance in stopping the detachment of Ormansag and setting it on the course to development. Information obtained during the investigation created an opportunity to formulate proposals aimed at increasing the willingness to cooperate. It would be of paramount importance to establish a platform connecting the members of the non-profit sector and creating possibility for relationship-building, reconciliation of interests and also discussing the issues of trust. Moreover, deficiencies in social networks are determined fundamentally by the insufficient knowledge of opportunities and obligations, therefore the provision of adequate information should be the first step in encouraging co-operations. The role of Ormansag's non-profit organizations in regional development The role of the non-profit sector in regional development shows decline despite the expectations. The most notable cause of this is the centralization intensified by state measures. The non-profit organizations fill several significant roles, such as: making connections between the population and the state and market participants, the improvement of institutional trust, innovative and amplifying role, intellectual capital and lobbying, increasing institutional capacities, sensitivity for problems and systematic approach, resource-creating role, advantages caused by flexible operation (Bucher 2008). An important aspect of the presentation of Ormansag's non-profit sector is the examination of its role in regional development. Knowing the answers of the investigated organizations and the general situation of the area, their suitability for the roles can be determined. Our research has already partially covered the contact function between the population and the state and market participants during the introduction of the non-profit sector's relationship network. The participants of the sector did not carry out this function perfectly due to the factors mentioned in its examination. In several cases, local politicians and residents alongside the oraganizations are hindering the assignment of the roles (politicians due to their attitude against relations, residents due to their lack of interest). However, it is worth mentioning that there are some among the participants of the sector that can fill the role, mostly from those organizations that have meaningful relations with the local governments since their founding. The second examined function is the social control in the operation of institutions. The necessities for this are highly related to contact, so the negative picture and determining reasons illustrated there mostly apply here too. An important difference is that unlike in the case of contact, social control is a role that is typical of organizations that criticize local politics. However, in several cases it triggers the decrease of the population's faith in institutions, the opposite of what its function would be. Their innovative and multiplying roles are also determining factors that enable them to handle certain problems uniquely and flexibly (Bucher, 2009). This function is highly appreciated in Ormansag's typical economic and social conditions which enhance each other. The experience gained through the research shows that innovative thinking is present in the sector, however, most organizations still have room for improvement. If it happens, the multiplying effect of interferences will be stronger too. In the area of Ormansag the non-profit sector's intellectual capital moving effect and lobbying are of huge importance. Through their connections one of the main roles of the organizations is to involve the population in the programs, helping them to be successful. The fulfillment of the role is hard or even impossible because of the locals’ disinterest. However, since a part of the population is able to cooperate in such activities of the sector's participants and the effects of these were mostly high rated throughout the interviews it is clear that the fulfillment of this function is one of the most important tasks of Ormansag's non-profit sector in theory as well as in practice. As the fifth function, the extrusion of the capacity of institutions working in area and settlement development was mentioned with the help of non-profit organizations’ resources. This role is less represented in the examined area, on one hand because of the features of collaboration, on the other hand because of the state of the resources of the sector's participants. As a positive example, organizations working within the range of settlements and with good relations to local politicians can be mentioned, this presumption is backed by the answers to local government questionnaires. Problem sensibility and systematic approach are typical of most of the region's organizations’ activities, these are essential for their wide range success. This attitude is probably less relevant in case of organizations working on settlement level. The non-profit sector is necessary for the accessible resources for Ormansag's development and for successful competitions. There are a lot of competitions that organizations can apply for, however many require collaboration between governments and organization from the sector, in order for them to win. This is proved by the fact that in the period from joining the EU in 2004 until 2011 from among the twenty largest subsidies won concerning the region, six can be connected to non-profit organizations. It is important to mention that at the same time there were positive relations between settlements with the largest number of organizations and those that gathered most of the competition resources, the fact that in both cases settlements with greater population had the privilege has an important role in this. Like in the case of other factors, Sellye and its surroundings and most of the seats of common local governments are firmly represented. Negative examples are mainly from among the settlements struggling with social and economic problems. The correspondence concerning the size of the non-profit sector is significantly altered by certain organizations not restricting their resource-creating activities to the settlements of their operation. Looking at the success of resource involvement in proportion to population it is a different case. Most of the bigger settlements exceed here too, however, there are several examples that did not show concerning absolute value. Examples for this are Okorsag, Besence and Paprad. This proves that there is significant regional variation in the resource-creating role of the non-profit sector. However, the picture is altered since larger organizations of Ormansag often collaborate with settlements with few organizations to help them with competitions, so the sector actively participates in resource involvement in these cases as well. Finally, the advantages of flexible operation, like the local knowledge that expands without the hindering effects of bureaucracy, quick decision making and the immediate answer to challenges are factors that bare great significance in the circumstances of Ormansag. However, the advantages of this can only be exploited by organizations with extended relations in their range, without this the potential advantage is worth nothing. To sum it up, it can be said that the sector's contact maintaining function determines the fulfillment of all the other roles. Knowing the relations of collaboration in Ormansag, it is clear that further improvement in the fulfillment of roles in regional development is needed in order to reach the set goals. The Ancient Drava Project – innovative and sustainable practice? According to the original goals, the Ancient Drava Project is a complex area development concept affecting natural, social and economic fields, in long term it creates the requirements of sustainable development in the southern parts of Baranya and Somogy Counties. A rural development strategy with the main purpose being to set up a water supply system for Ormansag considering different utilizations of the river Drava, creating opportunities to break out from the current situation. Additional aims are furthering sustainable economic development by creating a farming method based on the region's cultural traditions and natural resources, reorganizing social and cultural life and improving tourism with the help of local circumstances. The foundation of the project is the 2006 competition winning work of Association for the Development of Ormansag. The authors do not consider innovativeness in the classic sense (continuous and intensive development of tools and technologies), but rather as the services improving communities’ quality of life. Sustainability is emphasized not only as an environmental, but rather as a socio-economic issue, which means that development ideas should contribute to community survival, or even the further development, the long-term and self-sustaining operation of it. The execution of the work regarding complex economic and social development besides regional farming became challenging because of the lack of resources. In the following years the project was significantly modified, as a result of this the government took over the control of execution. Besides the changes in management the plans were also modified to some extent, according to the designers the plan got off track because of these modifications. True execution started in 2012. In the interview conducted in spring 2015, it turned out that the project was assigned to the Ministry of Home Affairs, hereafter the focus will be on the development of water resource management and ecological farming. The regional development schedule of the Ancient Drava Project contains the project's aims and detailed plans of execution. The involvement of local people and the cooperation with local participants appear as requirements of success in the document. The office of program was established in Kemes because of its proximity to the targeted area and the locals. This affected their reputation favorably, it is almost 100 percent in the region nowadays, however, there are some who identify them with a part of the execution or the result of a different development. The non-profit organizations of Ormansag are not the most dominant of the collaborating partners of the project, however, because of its civilian roots and its roles in regional development it can be important to unravel the cause of this. Only two of the examined organizations are in connection with the project, one of them is the South-Baranya Foundation, created for the civil support of the project. It is important to mention that the tasks completed so far were mostly in connection with ecological farming and tourism. Thus they barely affected the activities of the researched organizations. One of the positive examples was from among these; however, this does not fully explain the emerged situation because at the time of executing the coinciding aims there was not collaboration in every case. From the hindering effects listed by the organizations, miscommunication of the program and the lack of attempts to communication were the most often mentioned issues; therefore political and other conflicts of interest are the most determining hindering factors, which can be explained basically by state leadership moving away from a grassroots initiative. In conclusion both branches of problems can be mentioned as formative factors of the negative situation. Because of the transforming tendency of the project, the collaborations developed or to be developed with local non-profit organizations will probably lose their significance. The observations so far clearly show that the participants of the non-profit sector are essential to efficiently fill functions in complex development programs like this; however, this is only true if these participants have the necessary resources and abilities to fill the functions and if they have the willingness to cooperate. Since joining the EU, the exploitation of resources in local society has intensified and it has become a permanent feature in the realignment of rural areas. The LEADER+ supported rural development program for the Zselic Region in South Transdanubia (NUTS2) struggling with similar problems could be a good model for the examined region, where the local grassroots co-operations played an important role in the successful implementation of the program. In addition to the complexity of administration, the authorities did not always meet the deadlines. However, the organizations were active and interested in cooperation. Trust, mutual problems and the possibility of combining the resources gave sufficient motivation for a successful implementation. There were no conflicts of interest or position battles in the work, therefore as a result of the pilot program, the bottom-up co-operations strengthened (Sarine Csajka, 2011). Conclusion Nowadays the Ormansag non-profit sector lags behind the national average concerning most factors. Determining causes of this are the economic and social problems typical of the region. The most frequent differentiating factors between settlements are the population figures and as a result the supply of institutions. Most of the organizations that are significant in regional development work in a range covering more settlements or even the whole region. Concerning their economic situation, dependence on government subsidy and competition sources is of significant extent. A determining cause of this is the narrowing of market possibilities due to the type of their activities and the situation of beneficiary groups. The inner relationship network of Ormansag is fundamentally determined by the typical problems of the region. Among the factors inhibiting collaborations, the disinterest and mistrust typical of most of the locals and the emerged political and personal conflicts appear frequently. This circumstance significantly hinders the strengthening of the sector's role in regional development. One of the most important differentiating factors of the emerged regional contrasts is the state of relationship network. Thus the improvement of cooperation can be substantial for the reduction of these. In this case, broader openness of non-profit organizations towards partnerships and the enhancement of local governments’ trust in participants of the sector may be determining factors. In both cases the experience gained through positive examples is significantly used. Nevertheless in lots of situations the personal and political conflicts that often hinder collaboration in the area should be set aside in order to achieve the goals more effectively. In order to achieve the positive changes co-operations need to be encouraged with the exploration of networking opportunities and helping information flow. The results of the research show the local participants the causes of the emerged situation and possible ways of development from a different angle, moreover it can be a starting point for research on non-profit sectors of underdeveloped areas as well as for the establishment of regional development plans and effective distribution of resources for the affected districts. References Arpinte , D. , Cace , S. , Theotokatos , H. et al. . ( 2010 ) The social economy in the European Union , Calitatea Vieţii , 21 ( 1–2 ), 137 – 160 . Anheier , H. K. and Ben-Ner , A. ( 2003 ) The Study of the Non-Profit Enterprise: Theories and Approaches , Springer , New York . Bacchiega , A. and Borzaga , C. 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Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Bocz , J. ( 2009 ) A Nonprofit Szektor Strukturalis Atalakulasa Magyarorszagon , Corvinus University of Budapest, Institute of Sociology and Social Policy , Budapest . Borzaga , C. and Defourny , J. ( 2004 ) The Emergence of Social Enterprise? Taylor & Francis , London and New York . Bourdieu , P. ( 1986 ) Forms of capital, in John G. R. , ed. , Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education , Greenwood, New York , pp. 241 – 258 . Bucher , E. ( 2008 ) A civil szervezetek szerepe a teruletfejlesztes intezmenyrendszerenek teruleti szintjein, in Laszlo M. and Bucher E. , eds , A terulet- es telepulesfejlesztes tarsadalomfoldrajzi megkozelitesben , Imedias Publishing , Pecs . Bucher , E. ( 2009 ) A Del-Dunantuli regio nonprofit szervezetei , Teruletfejlesztes es Innovacio , 3 ( 30 ), 19 – 27 . Bucher , E. ( 2010 ) Civil szervezetek a teruletfejlesztesben , Acta Sociologica , 3 ( 1 ), 151 – 164 . DiMaggio , P. J. and Anheier , H. K. ( 1990 ) The sociology of nonprofit organizations and sectors , Annual Review of Sociology , 16 , 137 – 159 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Fukuyama , F. ( 1995 ) Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity , Hamish Hamilton , London , pp. 5 – 27 . Fukuyama , F. ( 2000 ) The Great Disruption: Human Nature and the Reconstitution of Social Order , Touchstone , New York . Galera , G. and Borzaga , C. ( 2009 ) Social enterprise: an international overview of its conceptual evolution and legal implementation , Social Enterprise Journal , 5 ( 3 ), 210 – 228 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Kovacs , K. ( 1994 ) A semmi agan… (Kistersegi program es osszefogas az Ormansagban) , Space and Society , 8 ( 1–2 ), 211 – 219 . Kovacs , K. and Lantos , T. ( 1994 ) Tersegfejlesztes okologikus megkozelitesben (Rendhagyo kiserlet az Ormansagban) , Falu, Varos, Regio , 1 ( 9–10 ), 17 – 23 . Moore , C. L. and Sufrin , S. C. ( 2006 ) The impact of a nonprofit institution on regional income , Growth and Change , 5 ( 1 ), 36 – 40 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Osvath , L. ( 2007 ) A tersegi civil kapcsolatrendszer formalodasa es jellegzetessegei , Civil Review , 4 ( 4 ), 458 – 475 . Putnam , R. ( 1993 ) Making Democracy Work: Civic Tradition in Modern Italy , Princeton University Press , Princeton . Ragadics , T. , Varga , I. and Fuzesi , Zs. ( 2007 ) Civil egyuttmukodesek a kistelepulesi szintereken , Space and Society , 21 ( 3 ), 117 – 128 . Ritter , K. ( 2000 ) Az onkormanyzati tarsulasok, a telepuleskozi egyuttmukodes jelentosege a terulet- es videkfejlesztesben , Regional Statistics , 40 ( 1 ), 17 – 29 . Sarine Csajka , E. ( 2011 ) A LEADER+ Program gyakorlati tapasztalatai egy helyi Akciócsoport peldajan keresztul, accessed at http://unireg-ipa.rkk.hu/ipa/files/LEADER_plusz_tapasztalatok_egy_HACS_peldajan.pdf Uphoff , N. ( 1993 ) Grassroots organizations and NGOs in rural development: opportunities with diminishing states and expanding markets , World Development , 21 ( 4 ), 607 – 622 . Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS Varga , E. ( 2011 ) Civil szervezetek szerepe a videkfejlesztesben , Gazdalkodas , 55 ( 4 ), 347 – 357 . © Oxford University Press and Community Development Journal. 2017 All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/open_access/funder_policies/chorus/standard_publication_model) http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Community Development Journal Oxford University Press

The impact of community initiatives on socio-economic convergence: achievements and difficulties in one of the EU's most underdeveloped regions

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Abstract The overall objective of this essay is to present the regional characteristics of the community initiatives in one of the EU's most underdeveloped regions. In particular, it pays attention to factors affecting the situation today, the examination of relation system in the region, particularly the non-profit sector's role in community development. Beyond the secondary analysis of the research background and the statistical data showing the characteristics of the settlements, the study is based on primary results coming from the questionnaires addressed to the leaders of municipalities and interviews made with the larger NGOs. The results of the study show that the development level of the sector, due to the socio-economic conditions of the area, is far below the Hungarian average. This can be traced to the fewer number of organizations, the unfavorable economic potential and the absence of relationships. Introduction The conceptual definition and operation of the non-profit sector show significant differences from country to country. The cultural, historical, economic and political differences of certain countries and social conflicts play a significant role in the development of this variation as well as social conflicts and social organizational solutions appearing as a result of these (DiMaggio and Anheier, 1990). International studies have been examining the role that the non-profit sector plays in the social inclusion of Europe for decades (Ben-Ner, 1986; Ben-Ner and Van Hoomissen, 1991; Bacchiega and Borzaga, 2001, 2003; Anheier and Ben-Ner, 2003; Borzaga and Defourny, 2004; Galera and Borzaga, 2009; Arpinte et al., 2010), although their role in regional and rural development came into focus relatively late, mainly after the widespread and strengthening of the European regional policy. The European Union (EU) – adapting to the new situation – incorporated the Structural Funds into the new comprehensive cohesion policy after the accession of Greece, Spain and Portugal. In the nineties, supporting the sparsely populated areas of Finland and Sweden became a new, special objective of the regional policy. By this time, scientific interest had significantly increased towards the role that the third sector was playing in regional development (Birch and Whittam, 2008), and the catching up of rural areas (Uphoff, 1993). Analyses dealing with regional economy became increasingly focused on the sector's impact on local economy (Moore and Sufrin, 2006). More than a decade after the Union's eastward expansion, however, compared to the previous studies, new questions arise in connection with the development of rural areas, since these regions of the East Central European countries struggle with special socio-economic problems. The novelty of the present study lies in exploring the role played by the third sector in modernizing one of the most depressed sub-regions, and – in contrast to Western models – pointing out the factors that hinder the further strengthening of their role played in regional development. Since the Hungarian change of regime the voluntary sector has gone through serious changes. As a consequence of its development, it has become a significant factor in regional development. One of its most important purposes is to make a connection between the sectors of state, market and the members of society, the available local knowledge and social capital are also worth a mention (Bucher, 2010). The area that this paper studies is Ormansag, which lies where the floodplain of the river Drava used to be, distinguished from its surroundings by its unique ethnography and characteristically Calvinistic religion. It does not form an administrative unit, its region mostly takes up the township of Sellye, but one can find towns struggling with the same or similar problems in the neighboring townships. This area of typically small villages is one of the most underdeveloped regions in the EU. Its peripheral position within the country and the region, and its complicated social and economic problems – including unfavorable demographic processes, unemployment and underdeveloped technical and human infrastructure – require such complex development programs for which the feasibility of society's involvement may be highly significant. Before the change of regime, there were efforts for the improvement of Ormánság. After 1990, increasingly negative tendencies in the trajectory of the development of Ormansag necessitated both the new approach and the involvement of the locals. Non-governmental organizations established the Ormansag foundation in 1990, which created a complex development program for the improvement of the area (Kovacs and Lantos, 1994). One element of the program was the establishment of Ormansag Development Association that united the representatives of the region's settlements, its farming units and its institutions’ directors (Kovacs, 1994). This association won the INTERREG's III/a (Slovenia/Hungary/Croatia neighborhood program) competition. The initiative for which they were awarded the prize was the foundation of the development program entitled ‘Establishment of the conditions of ecological farming in the valley of Lower-Drava’; this development program probably had bigger impact on the region than any other program for several decades. In the years following the change of regime the number of civil and non-profit organizations grew significantly. As the most relevant means of the growth of the number of organizations, we might name the transformation of the political setting, the restoration of the banned organizations, the change of the economic and proprietorial systems, the appearance of the alternative service role, the non-profit sector's resourcing potentials and the new challenges of the globalization of the world (Bocz, 2009). In the second half of the 1990s, the quick increase in number of organizations, which was typical of the civil sector ever since the change of regime, came to a halt and a kind of consolidation started. The existence or non-existence of the organizations is not the most important factor anymore, but rather the procedures and rearrangements going on inside the sector (Osvath, 2007). The increased number of organizations brings several positive effects. The expanding network can promote the development of local relations and the cooperation of the non-profit sector and the local governments (Bourdieu, 1986; Fukuyama, 1995). Around the year 2000, the forthcoming of the EU accession brought a new kind of approach to the problems of the countryside. The migration to the countryside in the EU resulted in the countryside becoming more beautiful, reorganized and economically more advanced. At the same time in Hungary, there is also a need for the development of the countryside and the underdeveloped territories. While this process comes along with the development of the countryside in the EU, in Hungary, during the integration into global economy, the purpose of cutting off the former advantages of the rural areas is only to fill the gap between cities and the countryside. In the most underdeveloped territories, the collective exploitation of resources, the cooperation of the civilians with each other and the local governments could help with the development (Ritter, 2000). A significant number of the non-governmental organizations do not recognize the advantages of collaboration even after the turn of millennium, and a huge number of them do not keep any connection with other organizations inside or outside the sector (Osvath, 2007). The most common cause of the lack of maintaining connections is that they can do their basic tasks by themselves. Cooperation typically happens only in simple cases or bigger projects; one-sided dependence from local authorities only occurs in smaller non-governmental organizations. There are several non-governmental organizations set up for fixed purposes by local governments, there are several competition resources that are only available for governments if they hand in the application with at least one non-governmental organization indicating social support. These organizations often only work on paper without civilian participation (Ragadics Varga and Fuzesi, 2007). Following the EU accession, the role of the non-profit sector in regional development went through a change: their role in making connections, their local knowledge and the social capital make them essential in solving local problems (Bucher, 2008). At the end of the decade, the civil sector gradually became a more serious factor in area development, due to its changes in quality. Hungary's legal framework allows them to become more powerful, but still the statistics do not show that. Certain levels of regional development and the non-profit sector's development have begun; however, we cannot talk about actual partnership yet (Bucher, 2010). Nowadays, most of the non-governmental organizations operate locally, so their natural partner can be the local government. The cooperation between non-governmental organizations and local governments shows diversity, their co-operational abilities and effects cannot be generally described. The national rural development program envisions the strengthening of non-profit organizations, partly by involving the sector more seriously in the development project. However, precisely what the role of rural non-governmental organizations should be is still a question. The ‘stable, active, open’ organizations may be the most qualified to undertake the regional development, as these play an active role in involving the locals as well as in planning (Varga, 2011). With the strengthening of the role of the non-profit sector, increasing attention was paid to understanding the concept of social capital and its role in community development. Putnam (1993) was among the first to mention the concept of social capital exploring the parallels between the number of social organizations, trust and willingness to cooperate. He argued that social capital can work really well if society is based on a dense network. Fukuyama (2000) approached the concept mainly from trust and social norms. In his opinion, this kind of capital is a potential coming from the norms of living together and can be mobilized through cooperation, which is the base of civil society and also the development of the local community. The role of social capital in regional development is an essential element of its investigation. Their relationship is based on the positive impact of social capital on economic growth, which directly enables and promotes sustainable development (Birch and Whittam, 2008). The aim of this research is to show the role of Ormansag's non-profit sector in regional development by revealing the factors affecting the civil activity. By considering the region's social and economic problems, this paper highlights the introduction of the most important unsatisfied service requirements. It presents the major participants’ economic situations and by revealing the connections of the sector's participants, it proposes suggestions on how to moderate the regional differences in cooperation. Research methods In the examination of collaborations both primary and secondary sources were used. By analyzing the articles that were based on secondary research, light was shed on the changes in the collaboration between the civil society and local governments, and the main trends of researches aimed at it. The main source of the secondary statistics was the information database of the Central Statistical Office (KSH) and the 2011 census. With the help of the chosen data we managed to reveal the situation of the non-profit sector of Ormansag and the factors affecting it from 2000 until present. Because of the problems occurring with the impoundment of Ormansag and the timeliness of the Ancient Drava Project, we use 43 towns of the Ancient Drava Project's region for the area of research. According to this we used the settlement level data from the information database concerning the non-profit sector, the social and economic situation of the settlements, and the available services in settlements. We had additional help from the national regional development and special planning information system's database regarding the data about projects and supports for settlements between 2004 and 2011, also from the national labor service's settlement level unemployment data for May 2015, and the civil informational forum's data regarding the region's non-governmental organizations. Structured interviews and questionnaires were made during the primary research. In the course of choosing the non-profit organizations of the region, it was an important aspect that their activity fits the aims of settlement development and that their range should reach regional or county level. Nine fitted these criteria from the region; we managed to involve eight of them in the research. The questions were about the organizations’ operation, resources, relevant projects, collaborating partners, their views on the Ancient Drava Project and their partaking in the program. The interview questions were about the local acceptance, collaborations and other aspects of the program's execution. A different interviewee was a co-worker of the Ancient Drava Project, whom we asked about the present situation, the future concepts, the local support and important collaborating partners. We asked a worker of the local government of Baranya County about the situation of the non-profit sector of Ormansag, their experiences of the collaborations and the development of connections. The questionnaire attempted to investigate the local governments’ relationship with the non-profit sector, however, the local governments were reluctant to fill in the questionnaire. Still we intend to represent their answers, since they play a significant role in the presentation of connections that does not appear elsewhere. The questionnaire contains questions about the collaborating partners of the local governments and their role in the Ancient Drava Project. Results The effect of unsatisfied demand for services on civil activity Among the important changes in legal framework and the regional economic and social problems the demand for services also plays an important role in the setting of the non-profit sector. Besides the fact that the institutional provision indirectly affects social activity, the most significant deficiencies define the typical activities of members of the sector. Certain institutions’ presence shows positive correspondence with the local number of active organizations. The reasons for this include the common local governments’ offices supply and also the intellectuals who stayed or moved here due to the workplaces provided by the institutions and their typical willingness to partake in social events. In Ormansag what typically has this kind of effect is the previously mentioned common local government, the presence of schools and general practitioners. This effect is further strengthened since in most cases two or perhaps all three of these are present. The traffic conditions of the region are defined by its proximity to the border. The political oppositions before the change of regime caused the formation of very many settlements with only one road, hindering the development of infrastructure. Despite the change in the political situation this factor is still relevant. Today we can say that the conditions of roads are still quite bad; the many road renewals had no real effect in most parts of the region. Another significant problem is the distance of the nearest big city, Pecs, which is 30 km from the nearest settlement, but in many cases it is over 50 km. The role of public transportation is crucial in the life of the region's people due to the fact that the vehicle ownership is under the national average because of their financial situation. All the settlements are accessible via point-to-point bus service, but according to most respondents the frequency of this service is unsatisfactory. In addition, in most cases bigger cities are only accessible via a transfer. The situation of bus service is an important problem, since the Sellye-Villany railroad line, which affected more than a few settlements, was terminated in the last decade; so that, except for the settlements on the Szentlorinc-Sellye railroad line, the bus service is the only available public transportation (Figure 1). Figure 1 View largeDownload slide The geographical location and major routes of Ormansag Source: own design using Google Maps. Figure 1 View largeDownload slide The geographical location and major routes of Ormansag Source: own design using Google Maps. In the answers about public services, problems about social services were the most frequent. Care of handicapped and elderly people and the crèche services were mentioned the most. According to the unemployment rate in Ormansag, the lack of care services is a serious issue in women's labor. The lack of addiction treatment services was also mentioned, which – in the light of the social conditions of the region – is not surprising. On the whole it can be said that Ormansag has much room for improvement concerning social services, especially due to the fact that for most of settlements, their availability is affected by the situation of traffic (Figure 2). Figure 2 View largeDownload slide The region's most important services’ institutional supply Source: own design using Google Maps. Figure 2 View largeDownload slide The region's most important services’ institutional supply Source: own design using Google Maps. The inner relationship network of the non-profit sector The success of the non-profit sector's participants hugely depends on the expanse of their relationship networks. Besides collaborations within the sector, political, economic and administrational relationships are also important. The collaborations are also furthered by factors such as territoriality, shared extent of influence, mutual problems, mutual aims and the benefits of adjusted resources. However, many advantages also have setbacks. The collaborations can be hindered by the differences in values or the irreconcilability of the operational particularities of organizations. Trust is also an important factor which, through its situation illustrated above, influences not only social activity, but also the organizations’ habits in making connections. The relationship network of Ormansag's non-profit organizations is very diverse. Besides the organizations with an expanded web of relationships we can find some that exclude themselves from cooperation. A big part of the sector's participants only cooperate with the settlement's local government. All of the examined organizations agree that cooperation is essential in their operation and in achieving their goals, however, certain organizations’ activity in cooperation contradicts it. In our research we inquired about the most important collaborations of organizations with other non-profit organizations and with local governments. The general sources of motivation for collaboration, such as territoriality, presence of mutual problems and the possibility to unite resources occurred in almost every case. However, there was an answer which played a significant role in several interviews. The relevance of personal relations would seem to be obvious, nevertheless, because of the aforesaid situation of the region (e.g. relatively closed, small settlements) this factor is significantly reevaluated (especially as the hindering factor of cooperation). Its most decisive positive effect is confidence. Most of the region's organizations are characterized by the earlier mentioned attitude against connections; a determining cause of this may be distrust. For solving the problem, the personal relations or positive experiences about developed relationships are crucial. Though this kind of secluding attitude is not typical for the examined organizations, in several cases they noted the importance of personal relations with concrete specific examples. Although the organizations did not mention it, analysis of the data reveals that length of operation and the experiences gained by it are determining factors of efficiency and successfulness of developed relationships. The region's typical features appeared to be significant as collaboration hindering effects. These features are the mentioned personal relations or in this case conflicts. Among the political factors, typical for the whole country, the developed conflicts of interest and power struggles are also significant drawbacks of cooperation. The contradictory groups most often seclude themselves from cooperation even when advantages are evident and foreseeable, hindering the successfulness of the programs and the region's development with doing so. The same problem is not restricted to Ormansag, but the effect of it is increased by the circumstances of the area. The detachment, which is common in the area, is a determining hindrance, an effect of which is that a part of the participants dissociate themselves from cooperation despite the obvious benefits. The low reputation of certain organizations in the region is also a typical problem for collaborations. Although, compared to the problems mentioned above, it has a smaller effect, a problem which was surprising to be found in a relatively small and closed community and which is certainly worth mentioning. Concerning the collaboration relations it can be stated that the place of operation is a significant influential factor. The primary partners of organizations that have good relations with local governments are the settlements that used to belong under one notarial district; today these belong to common local governments. Because of the factors mentioned above, in lots of cases the organizations have utterly bad relations with local governments. In such cases primary alternatives are the surrounding settlements, or larger settlements that are known for excellent collaboration. Non-profit organizations with intense relationships can be connected especially to the settlements with larger population. Their scope goes beyond the location of their settlement and can cover a whole district or even county. Organizations of this group can be characterized by political independence, high awareness, ambition for innovations and sustainability, successful advocacy skills and extended social networks. Among the positive examples for collaborations of participants of the non-profit sector one can also find many negative ones. It also applies to these that the actively collaborating organizations work together with their direct surroundings. Besides the civil citizens of the surrounding settlements the most frequent partners are the major organizations of the area which help in reaching the aims that concern the whole region via their extended relationships. The most common complication in case of negative examples is mistrust which significantly reduces the possibilities. The examined organizations not only indicated their significant collaborations, but graded them according to partnership and successfulness. During the evaluation, they tended to give the highest ranks in most cases which is not surprising considering the inquiry. Even though developing relations between organizations is a matter of choice in most cases, the situation is different when it comes to the local governments of the settlements of operation. Despite the mentioned hindering factors collaboration is sometimes inevitable, the effect of this can be seen in lower ratings given by the organizations. In order to reveal the situation of cooperation in Ormansag, it is important to look at the local governments’ perspective. The foundations of their partnerships are made up of the settlements belonging under a common local government. The roles of collaboration in this case are synchronization of resources, coordination of the local government's tasks and utilization of common competitions. For the local governments the collaborations with non-profit organizations cannot be said to be essential. Although most of the examined local governments agree that cooperation with the non-profit sector is of key importance and has many advantages, their behavior tells otherwise. Almost all of the examined local governments only have relations with the nearby working organizations, and they do not consider these as successful in all cases either. Since most of the examined settlements belong to the low populated ones, a universal deduction cannot be made. We got a more positive picture during the non-profit interviews about the larger settlements like Vajszlo or Sellye's local governments; however, unfortunately since they refused to answer either the questionnaire or the interview questions, the not too prosperous picture cannot be nuanced with their points of view. The answering local governments’ motivations for collaboration and listed hindering factors do not differ much from those of the non-profit organizations’. However, since collaboration is a less important matter in their operation, they see the importance of factors from a different angle. Among the matters addressed previously, lack of professional preparedness often appears which significantly hinders both the emergence and efficient operation of collaboration, and the proper functioning of organizations. The cause of this is the lack of professionals which is in connection with the social and economic concerns typical of the region. This negative attitude is often joined by the ignorance of the organizations, which also blocks the emergence and development of collaborations. Both organizations and local governments have high opinions about the sustainability of existing collaborations. In most cases they think that these are necessary and sustainable in the long term too. Several organizations are reviewing the possible partners at the moment, moreover, in certain cases there are available concepts and agreements already. To sum it up, the inner relationship network of Ormansag concerning the non-profit sector is not quite advanced. Despite the favorable conditions and various advantages of developing connections, the typical problems of the region and other cooperation hindering factors seriously affect the emerged situation. However, through our investigation we came across several good examples, where the collaborations came not only with proper partnerships, but were also successful. Since the examined organizations are quite young, the number of favorable cases might increase in the future. We can definitely say that because of the cooperation of the determining participants of the region, the mutual territoriality, mutual complications and the possibilities in sharing resources it can be of key importance in stopping the detachment of Ormansag and setting it on the course to development. Information obtained during the investigation created an opportunity to formulate proposals aimed at increasing the willingness to cooperate. It would be of paramount importance to establish a platform connecting the members of the non-profit sector and creating possibility for relationship-building, reconciliation of interests and also discussing the issues of trust. Moreover, deficiencies in social networks are determined fundamentally by the insufficient knowledge of opportunities and obligations, therefore the provision of adequate information should be the first step in encouraging co-operations. The role of Ormansag's non-profit organizations in regional development The role of the non-profit sector in regional development shows decline despite the expectations. The most notable cause of this is the centralization intensified by state measures. The non-profit organizations fill several significant roles, such as: making connections between the population and the state and market participants, the improvement of institutional trust, innovative and amplifying role, intellectual capital and lobbying, increasing institutional capacities, sensitivity for problems and systematic approach, resource-creating role, advantages caused by flexible operation (Bucher 2008). An important aspect of the presentation of Ormansag's non-profit sector is the examination of its role in regional development. Knowing the answers of the investigated organizations and the general situation of the area, their suitability for the roles can be determined. Our research has already partially covered the contact function between the population and the state and market participants during the introduction of the non-profit sector's relationship network. The participants of the sector did not carry out this function perfectly due to the factors mentioned in its examination. In several cases, local politicians and residents alongside the oraganizations are hindering the assignment of the roles (politicians due to their attitude against relations, residents due to their lack of interest). However, it is worth mentioning that there are some among the participants of the sector that can fill the role, mostly from those organizations that have meaningful relations with the local governments since their founding. The second examined function is the social control in the operation of institutions. The necessities for this are highly related to contact, so the negative picture and determining reasons illustrated there mostly apply here too. An important difference is that unlike in the case of contact, social control is a role that is typical of organizations that criticize local politics. However, in several cases it triggers the decrease of the population's faith in institutions, the opposite of what its function would be. Their innovative and multiplying roles are also determining factors that enable them to handle certain problems uniquely and flexibly (Bucher, 2009). This function is highly appreciated in Ormansag's typical economic and social conditions which enhance each other. The experience gained through the research shows that innovative thinking is present in the sector, however, most organizations still have room for improvement. If it happens, the multiplying effect of interferences will be stronger too. In the area of Ormansag the non-profit sector's intellectual capital moving effect and lobbying are of huge importance. Through their connections one of the main roles of the organizations is to involve the population in the programs, helping them to be successful. The fulfillment of the role is hard or even impossible because of the locals’ disinterest. However, since a part of the population is able to cooperate in such activities of the sector's participants and the effects of these were mostly high rated throughout the interviews it is clear that the fulfillment of this function is one of the most important tasks of Ormansag's non-profit sector in theory as well as in practice. As the fifth function, the extrusion of the capacity of institutions working in area and settlement development was mentioned with the help of non-profit organizations’ resources. This role is less represented in the examined area, on one hand because of the features of collaboration, on the other hand because of the state of the resources of the sector's participants. As a positive example, organizations working within the range of settlements and with good relations to local politicians can be mentioned, this presumption is backed by the answers to local government questionnaires. Problem sensibility and systematic approach are typical of most of the region's organizations’ activities, these are essential for their wide range success. This attitude is probably less relevant in case of organizations working on settlement level. The non-profit sector is necessary for the accessible resources for Ormansag's development and for successful competitions. There are a lot of competitions that organizations can apply for, however many require collaboration between governments and organization from the sector, in order for them to win. This is proved by the fact that in the period from joining the EU in 2004 until 2011 from among the twenty largest subsidies won concerning the region, six can be connected to non-profit organizations. It is important to mention that at the same time there were positive relations between settlements with the largest number of organizations and those that gathered most of the competition resources, the fact that in both cases settlements with greater population had the privilege has an important role in this. Like in the case of other factors, Sellye and its surroundings and most of the seats of common local governments are firmly represented. Negative examples are mainly from among the settlements struggling with social and economic problems. The correspondence concerning the size of the non-profit sector is significantly altered by certain organizations not restricting their resource-creating activities to the settlements of their operation. Looking at the success of resource involvement in proportion to population it is a different case. Most of the bigger settlements exceed here too, however, there are several examples that did not show concerning absolute value. Examples for this are Okorsag, Besence and Paprad. This proves that there is significant regional variation in the resource-creating role of the non-profit sector. However, the picture is altered since larger organizations of Ormansag often collaborate with settlements with few organizations to help them with competitions, so the sector actively participates in resource involvement in these cases as well. Finally, the advantages of flexible operation, like the local knowledge that expands without the hindering effects of bureaucracy, quick decision making and the immediate answer to challenges are factors that bare great significance in the circumstances of Ormansag. However, the advantages of this can only be exploited by organizations with extended relations in their range, without this the potential advantage is worth nothing. To sum it up, it can be said that the sector's contact maintaining function determines the fulfillment of all the other roles. Knowing the relations of collaboration in Ormansag, it is clear that further improvement in the fulfillment of roles in regional development is needed in order to reach the set goals. The Ancient Drava Project – innovative and sustainable practice? According to the original goals, the Ancient Drava Project is a complex area development concept affecting natural, social and economic fields, in long term it creates the requirements of sustainable development in the southern parts of Baranya and Somogy Counties. A rural development strategy with the main purpose being to set up a water supply system for Ormansag considering different utilizations of the river Drava, creating opportunities to break out from the current situation. Additional aims are furthering sustainable economic development by creating a farming method based on the region's cultural traditions and natural resources, reorganizing social and cultural life and improving tourism with the help of local circumstances. The foundation of the project is the 2006 competition winning work of Association for the Development of Ormansag. The authors do not consider innovativeness in the classic sense (continuous and intensive development of tools and technologies), but rather as the services improving communities’ quality of life. Sustainability is emphasized not only as an environmental, but rather as a socio-economic issue, which means that development ideas should contribute to community survival, or even the further development, the long-term and self-sustaining operation of it. The execution of the work regarding complex economic and social development besides regional farming became challenging because of the lack of resources. In the following years the project was significantly modified, as a result of this the government took over the control of execution. Besides the changes in management the plans were also modified to some extent, according to the designers the plan got off track because of these modifications. True execution started in 2012. In the interview conducted in spring 2015, it turned out that the project was assigned to the Ministry of Home Affairs, hereafter the focus will be on the development of water resource management and ecological farming. The regional development schedule of the Ancient Drava Project contains the project's aims and detailed plans of execution. The involvement of local people and the cooperation with local participants appear as requirements of success in the document. The office of program was established in Kemes because of its proximity to the targeted area and the locals. This affected their reputation favorably, it is almost 100 percent in the region nowadays, however, there are some who identify them with a part of the execution or the result of a different development. The non-profit organizations of Ormansag are not the most dominant of the collaborating partners of the project, however, because of its civilian roots and its roles in regional development it can be important to unravel the cause of this. Only two of the examined organizations are in connection with the project, one of them is the South-Baranya Foundation, created for the civil support of the project. It is important to mention that the tasks completed so far were mostly in connection with ecological farming and tourism. Thus they barely affected the activities of the researched organizations. One of the positive examples was from among these; however, this does not fully explain the emerged situation because at the time of executing the coinciding aims there was not collaboration in every case. From the hindering effects listed by the organizations, miscommunication of the program and the lack of attempts to communication were the most often mentioned issues; therefore political and other conflicts of interest are the most determining hindering factors, which can be explained basically by state leadership moving away from a grassroots initiative. In conclusion both branches of problems can be mentioned as formative factors of the negative situation. Because of the transforming tendency of the project, the collaborations developed or to be developed with local non-profit organizations will probably lose their significance. The observations so far clearly show that the participants of the non-profit sector are essential to efficiently fill functions in complex development programs like this; however, this is only true if these participants have the necessary resources and abilities to fill the functions and if they have the willingness to cooperate. Since joining the EU, the exploitation of resources in local society has intensified and it has become a permanent feature in the realignment of rural areas. The LEADER+ supported rural development program for the Zselic Region in South Transdanubia (NUTS2) struggling with similar problems could be a good model for the examined region, where the local grassroots co-operations played an important role in the successful implementation of the program. In addition to the complexity of administration, the authorities did not always meet the deadlines. However, the organizations were active and interested in cooperation. Trust, mutual problems and the possibility of combining the resources gave sufficient motivation for a successful implementation. There were no conflicts of interest or position battles in the work, therefore as a result of the pilot program, the bottom-up co-operations strengthened (Sarine Csajka, 2011). Conclusion Nowadays the Ormansag non-profit sector lags behind the national average concerning most factors. Determining causes of this are the economic and social problems typical of the region. The most frequent differentiating factors between settlements are the population figures and as a result the supply of institutions. Most of the organizations that are significant in regional development work in a range covering more settlements or even the whole region. Concerning their economic situation, dependence on government subsidy and competition sources is of significant extent. A determining cause of this is the narrowing of market possibilities due to the type of their activities and the situation of beneficiary groups. The inner relationship network of Ormansag is fundamentally determined by the typical problems of the region. Among the factors inhibiting collaborations, the disinterest and mistrust typical of most of the locals and the emerged political and personal conflicts appear frequently. This circumstance significantly hinders the strengthening of the sector's role in regional development. One of the most important differentiating factors of the emerged regional contrasts is the state of relationship network. Thus the improvement of cooperation can be substantial for the reduction of these. In this case, broader openness of non-profit organizations towards partnerships and the enhancement of local governments’ trust in participants of the sector may be determining factors. In both cases the experience gained through positive examples is significantly used. Nevertheless in lots of situations the personal and political conflicts that often hinder collaboration in the area should be set aside in order to achieve the goals more effectively. 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Journal

Community Development JournalOxford University Press

Published: Oct 1, 2018

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