The Community Dialogue Development Programme

The Community dialogue developmnet programme equips participants with the skills to organise dialogic discussion groups, fostering open and community-centred governance at the local level. Community Dialogue, the inaugural practical development programme launching on 4 October 2023, is aimed at local government leaders, including deputy rural municipality and city mayors, development managers, and communication managers.

    • Do you know what matters to the people in your community, what they care about, and what concerns them?
    • How would you describe the culture of deliberation and conversation in your community?
    • What qualities do you possess as someone who starts conversations and listens to diverse viewpoints?
    • What could community-centred governance look like in your municipality?

    COMMUNITY DIALOGUE: From October 2023 to January 2024
    A dialogic approach to organising local life is a method, a practice, and a mindset. As structured discussion, dialogue presents the opportunity to discuss critical issues from diverse viewpoints and foster an environment where no one is judged for their opinions.

    A dialogical approach helps:

    • Build trust within the community.
    • Create safe and caring spaces for deliberation, where important local issues, including polarising and complex ones, can be explored collaboratively.
    • Mitigate potential conflicts.
    • Establish community-centred governance.

    Learn more!
    Discover how libraries have organised local dialogues in their communities on the Estonian Cooperation Assembly website.
    Visit the Ministry of the Interior’s internal security blog to read an article about how locals see the future of their community, written by Dagmar Narusson, a lecturer and researcher at the Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Tartu blogis.

    This programme has places for 12 exceptionally dedicated and courageous local government leaders from various municipalities across Estonia, including deputy rural municipality and city mayors, development managers, and communication managers.

    We are seeking individuals to participate in the development programme who:

    • Are responsible for promoting open governance and diverse cross-community engagement.
    • Wish to try out a dialogic approach in their work.
    • Possess the courage and desire to lead community-centred governance efforts in Estonia.
    • Are curious, open to innovation, willing to experiment, and ready to dedicate time to personal development.


    The development programme takes place over five sessions on 4 and 18 October, 8 and 29 November 2023, and 31 January 2024. The programme culminates in January with community dialogues, providing an opportunity to put theory into practice. The training will provide the participants support in planning the dialogues.


    Participating in this programme offers you the opportunity to:

    • Gain a deeper understanding of the essence and different meanings of dialogue.
    • Raise your awareness on community-centred governance and thinking.
    • Gain experience in various methods for conducting dialogues and discussions.
    • Strategically apply the programme’s ideas and methods within your community.
    • In addition, we explore the prerequisites for effective engagement, the levels of listening, and strategies for handling diverse perspectives.
    • For more information about the training approach and instructors, please visit this link.

    Participation in the programme is free of charge.
    Participants are responsible for their own transportation and meals.
    Coffee breaks, venue, and materials are provided.

      This development programme is a part of the 2023–2026 Action Plan to Implement a Community-Centred Approach, developed and executed by the NGOs Association of Estonian Folk High Schools and Network of County Development Centres, in collaboration with the Institute of Social Sciences at the University of Tartu, Estonian Cooperation Assembly, and Toimevõimendi OÜ under strategic partnership with the Ministry of the Interior.


      More information:
      Kairi Tilga
      Head of the Estonian Cooperation Assembly