The municipality of Kristinestad is situated in the southern part of the Ostrobothnia Region in western Finland. The municipality has a population of approximately 7100 inhabitants and the main languages are Swedish (57%) and Finnish (43%).
The land area is 678 square kilometers and the municipality consists of a town centre with some 3000 inhabitants and some ten or more villages of varied size.
The surrounding communities are mainly agricultural. Farming is still important in the area. During the last 20 years Kristinestad has experienced a rapid decline in its population. This development tracks the dominant trend in Finland today where only some five or six urban centre areas, mainly situated in Southern Finland, experience growth and attracts an even larger population. The demographic situation in southern Ostrobothnia is unfavorable for population growth, partially because of a large outward-migration some 40 years ago. Recently Kristinestad had consciously tried to increase the population and in 2020 Kristinestad hopes to achieve the goal of 8000 inhabitants.
Since 2011 Kristinestad has beena member of the international Citta Slow network and at the same time the only city in Finland who is a member of this network of small towns that emphasize good quality life.
Kristinestad was facing big challenges with young people moving away to study or to find job opportunities. Young people didnot feel involved in the decision making process and the area wasnot an attractive place for them to return to.
The YEPP Local Site is working on implementing the "YEPP" approach and methodology. For the upcoming years the YEPP Local Site has decided to focus on youth entrepreneurship and collaboration between the two language groups (Swedish and Finnish).
Kristinestad has been successful in establishing permanent structures for youth empowerment, e.g. Youth Council, Youth Parliament (13-18 years old) and Childrens Parliament (7-12 years old).
The municipality of Kristinestad supports young people who want to have a summerjobs through the system of “summerjobcheques”. This was the result of an initiative implemented by the Youth Council.
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Institut für Community Education
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