My CBC Story – Sonja Miettinen
South-East Finland – Russia CBC 2014-2020
Sonja joined the CBC team in the Managing Authority (MA) in 2017 and brought with her experience from the fields of international development in the municipal organizations and higher educational institutions. Having key focuses on regional development and R&D in her previous jobs, she has already noted that there are different dimensions in the context of the Cross-Border Cooperation, and which actually give added value to the regions.
”My first touch to cross-border cooperation was by having colleagues working with ENPI project. I remember thinking then how interesting it appeared to be and also, how many differences I noticed comparing to European Union internal border projects. I learned that different and difficult are not synonymous and that mutual respect overcomes almost anything”, says Sonja.
Customer service is our cup of tea
Today Sonja works at the MA’s operational unit in the South-East Finland – Russia CBC programme administration and giving guidance and monitoring the funded standard projects. ”We have realized that the customer service -approach is needed also in the field of official contracting and financing authority” agrees Sonja, with the whole team.
Her viewpoints holding concrete experience of implementing international projects and the role of the beneficiary has given valuable assets for the work of the MA. On the other hand, Sonja has learned a lot during last two years and, at some level, has also been surprised how high are the standards of coordinating all the needs and requirements of the applicants, beneficiaries and the programme’s financiers and stakeholders. To manage all this, we need also programme-level cooperation and consider direct dialog with the National Authorities, European Commission and other relevant networks very important.
Many colours of cooperation
People-to-people cooperation is a true core when aiming for the social development and increasing wellbeing of the population living in the border regions. One can do this by implementing projects for example in the environmental, cultural or educational sectors, and whatever the theme is, the cooperation itself works to lower prejudices, mental barriers and negative attitudes. And even if we have functioning and controlled border between Finland and Russia, it doesn’t have to be so significant in our minds. Both aspects are important and must be promoted also at homes in order to build solid and prosperous future.
”The more you work in the field of international projects and communicate with people from different backgrounds and cultures, more aware you get of your own thoughts, values and opportunities. I consider this as a positive side of my work”, highlights Sonja.
In her free time, she relaxes and revert from work by reading, crafting and doing yoga. Sonja is also an active scout, which keeps her busy and motivated.