Evaluation of the Leader approach studies the added value of the European union Leader approach to rural development.
Finland has over 20 years’ experience of the Leader approach introduced together with the European Union membership (1995). Leader aims at the community based enhancement of rural livelihoods and businesses at the local level. Evaluation of the added value of the Leader approach looks into the benefits achieved through the implementation of the seven specific attributes characterizing LEADER: “area based”, “bottom up”, “local partnership”, “multi-sectoral”, “innovation”, “cooperation” and “networking”. In addition the evaluation scrutinizes the implementation model applied to Leader over the programming period 2014-2020.
The evaluation covers all 54 Local Action Groups of Finland who implement their local development strategies under the Rural Development Programme for Mainland Finland (2014-2020). At the first stage, the study includes a systematic analysis of the documents generated by the LAGs and the other implementing parties. At the second stage, it involves collection and analysis a large primary data comprising survey questionnaires, actor interviews and ethnographic observation of Leader events and activities.
The evaluation study serves to advice the implementation of the Rural Development Programme for Mainland Finland over the remaining programming period as well as the design of the new rural programme and strategies development policies for the years 2021-2027.