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Need help finding your way in the EU project jungle?

Have you thought about if EU projects could be something for you or your organization? What does one need to think about while writing a project application? Best practice regarding local, national and international projects? How does the funding work? EU projects – from A to Z – in a nutshell.

Ann-Sofi Backgren attended her first EU project class during Finland’s heated EU membership vote in 1994. Shortly thereafter she became co-author of the first LEADER program for Swedish Ostrobothnia, as well as project leader for one of the first EU funded projects through Regional Council of Ostrobothnia. She also participated in her first international EU project as early as 1996-1998, DEVOTE with partners in Austria. Subsequently she gained employment at the rural department at Ostrobothnia’s TE-center. She traveled Ostrobothnia’s countryside and talked about the possibilities of EU projects. For seven years she worked as administrator for rural development projects and support for small businesses at the TE-center (nowadays known as the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment). Then she worked with an INTERREG-project on Kvarken and as project mediator at The Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland. She has also worked with Nordic and international projects at Korsholms Vuxeninstitut (a Lifelong Learning project) and with a world heritage project with LEADER funding in Maalahti and Korsnäs. Furthermore Ann-Sofi Backgren has been active for a long time in the Regional Council of Ostrobothnia, in the Assembly and in the board. Lately, she has been working mainly with international projects on European level, through Grundtvig and ERASMUS+.

Leadership – Girls can too!

Are you interested in an inspiring lecture about female leadership where we take a closer look at an official leadership, a political leadership, a third sector leadership or an international leadership? If your answer is yes, the lecture “Girls can too” is worth checking out.

More often than not, a female leader has to fight harder than a male at a similar post. Although equality has developed over the years, a whole deal of prejudice still exists. The female leader has to prove herself competent enough for her tasks on a completely different level.

Women in leading positions still face the pressure of combining a family life with an active career. More and more are starting to realize that companies and organizations become more resilient against competition by investing in equality. Perhaps it is time to start talking seriously about a gender awareness and balanced leadership.

Ann-Sofi Backgren has made a personal journey in leadership from the shy countryside girl to her post as 1st vice president for an European organization. Today, Ann-Sofi has extensive experience of leadership issues from many different sectors. At age 19, she was elected chairperson of the youth committee, subsequently chairperson of the social welfare committee, and finally chair of the Assembly in the municipality of Korsnäs for 12 of the 20 years she spent as member of the elected Assembly. Furthermore, she has also held leading assignments in local governments. In addition to her local work, she has gathered experience on a national, Nordic and international level. She has been project leader in several international gender projects at the European level that dealt with gender issues, leadership and political participation. At the moment she is a partner in an Erasmus+ project with the title "Empowerment trough education-gender equality & political leadership, GEPLE (2015-2018)". Her assignment as 1st vice president at the Association of European Border Regions (AEBR) has led to an increased knowledge of international leadership issues. She also has extensive experience from the third sector where she has been chairperson for a number of associations. Ann-Sofi has a vocational degree in leadership as well as a degree in educational leadership from Åbo Akademi. At the moment, she’s studying to get her M.Sc. in Public Leadership at Åbo Akademi. She has also completed a vocational degree in entrepreneurship and runs her own business.

The GEPLE Project

As part of the work to increase women's political representation, Brand-Sofi / Ann-Sofi Backgren has participated in the Gender Equality Political Leadership Education (GEPLE) project, which started in 2015.

A platform has been developed by the project partners, including a research database, learning videos, e-learning courses, information on gender issues and a discussion forum.

You can read more and follow the project here:

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