Obra River Valley

About the association

The Kozioł Region, established in mid-1990s, integrates the community of six communes which share culture, customs and history: Babimost, Kargowa, Siedlec, Trzciel, Zbąszynek and Zbąszyń. The Kozioł communes are spread across six districts and two Voivodeships (Lubusz and Greater Poland). One of the results of the integration was the establishment of the Local Action Group (LAG) of the Kozioł Region which brings together the most civic-minded locals and institutions to take care of the social and economic development of the region. The LAG’s activity is based on the cooperation of the social, public and economic sectors, which allowed the Group to participate in the Leader+ Pilot Programme.

The process of forging partnership under the Local Action Group of the Kozioł Region began already in 1995 when seven communes located along the Obra river decided to form an association to implement joint cultural, sports, tourist and economic initiatives. The first association was named the Association of the Communes of the Republic of Poland - the Kozioł Region, after the name of the local variety of bagpipes, known in Polish as “kozioł”. In 2006, the Association established the Local Action Group of the Kozioł Region which was registered on 18 May 2006. The establishment of the LAG made it possible to apply for funds under the Leader Programme.

The first project under Scheme I, worth PLN 56 thousand, resulted in the development of the Integrated Strategy for Development of Rural Areas and also attracted increasing numbers of local citizens to the Association. The members of the LAG then proceeded to prepare the Group for participation in Scheme II of the Leader Programme, applying for funding of PLN 738,200 for the project which included all communes in the Kozioł Region. The project was implemented between January 2007 and 14 April 2008, and covered workshops, training sessions and promotional activities, engaging numerous citizens of the region. The materials and publications prepared as part of the project have been used by the Association long after the project was completed. One of the key achievements was the development of the concept of a unified Kozioł Region brand for the area covered by the Local Development Strategy.

The Association’s activities included the preparation of the preliminary premises for the new Local Development Strategy for the years 2007-2013. The motto of the pilot programme was “The Kozioł Region - different from all others”. The funding secured for the implementation of the Local Development Strategy in the years 2007-2013 amounted to PLN 7,788,403. The funds were used to finance the projects implemented by the beneficiaries from the areas covered by the LDS, establish cooperation projects and cover the office’s expenses. The projects completed with the funding included new children’s playgrounds, outdoor gyms and other elements of tourist and recreational infrastructure. The local community centres underwent reconstruction and a number of new ones were established. A number of promotional publications were issued and numerous cultural, recreational and sports events were held, as well as various training sessions and workshops. In total, funding was granted for 220 projects.

In the current edition of the Local Development Strategy (2014–2020), we have secured PLN 6,650,000, with PLN 133,000 allocated for cooperation projects.

The Local Action Group of the Kozioł Region has integrated the local communities and organisations, increased the number of local associations, and strengthened the regional identity among children and youth. The region, its original culture and tourist values have also become more recognised in other parts of Poland.