In early 2020, MDI carried out an evaluation of Liiveri, a local development association operating in the Seinäjoki, Ilmajoki and Jalasjärvi regions, with the aim of identifying and positioning Liiveri in the field of local, rural and regional development while highlighting its role and added value compared to other actors and development tools. The added value was assessed using the framework developed by the European Evaluation Helpdesk for Rural Development (2017) on the application of the Leader approach. This application sees the Leader approach as generating three types of results: increased social capital, better governance and better results and impact.
The evaluation revealed that Liiveri is a nationally recognised and respected Leader group that has succeeded in activating companies as project applicants, villagers as active members of their villages and uniting the municipalities in its area of operation. The added value of Liiveri lies especially in the promotion of regional and local development. In the Seinäjoki region, Liiveri is the only player that develops business and organisational activities in a multidisciplinary manner across an area including several municipalities. Liiveri’s resources are seen as locality, accessibility, activation work and an active, positive development approach. All of which are viewed as necessary in the support of association actors in the project environment.
In practice, the social capital generated by Liiveri is reflected both in the network assets of the group’s own operations and in the active networking of actors and the increase of competence. Liiveri’s strength is the active development of its own operating methods in terms of project management, communications and the group’s own operations. It was also discovered that Liiveri has the ability to act agilely and quickly bolstering the community of developers in its home region. Liiveri facilitates interesting avenues of influence, engages people in these networks and maintains productive alumni activities.