– It feels very pleasing and flattering. It's also great that the project has survived all these years, says Kerstin Öhrling, professsor in Health Sciences at Luleå University of Technology.
Since 2004, the cooperation project Arctic Children has completed three research and development project, with aims to improve child and adolescent health and well-being in school. Over the years, several hundred teachers, students in grades 4-9, parents and researchers in the Barents Region have been involved.
Collaboration provides an understanding
Kerstin Öhrling and Eiri Sohlman, researchers in Health Sciences at the Lapland University of Applied Sciences, found each other that day at the conference in Tromsø.
– We both wanted to improve children's health and kept in touch with each other. This resulted in an EU project, says Kerstin Öhrling.
Networking and collaboration across boundaries is incredibly important according to Kerstin Öhrling.
– It provides an understanding of each other possibilities, opportunities and difficulties. In the region, we have a lot in common as the climate and environment, but we are also very different. You need to find solutions through open dialogue and not end up in confrontation. It has been both a joy and a challenge, Kerstin Öhrling continues, who eventually handed over the project manager role to Catrine Kostenius.
Projects across borders
Arctic Childrens overall goal is to improve childrens and adolescents psychosocial health and well-being at school in the Barents Region. In the first project, the focus was on giving a voice to children and young people, and highlight good examples. The second project demonstrated good examples of cross-border activities and in the final project information and communication technology was used. The project ended with a comparative study between countries.
– The great thing about this project is the international network, cooperations with local authorities in different regions and also across the boarders within the research areas health and education at Luleå University of Technology, says Catrine Kostenius, project leader for Arctic Children in Sweden.