Oberndorf (Oste) is a community in northern Germany comprising of around 1300 inhabitants. As a reaction to a shortage of public resources and accountability in rural areas the residents joined forces in a collaborative movement targeting the regional development in 2010. Since then they have initiated 20 projects working on the common good. These projects address various issues and needs, such as child care, education, refugee relief, energy supply and mobility. At present 14 projects are running, 3 of them functioning as commercial enterprises and 11 of them as voluntary services. The project Kiwitte +, for example, offers a free afternoon program for children, adolescents and adults. Five days a week a hot lunch, homework tutoring and various activities such as horse riding, hiking or sailing are provided. In this way the “Oberndorfer” wants to offer a high quality education program in a structurally weak areas open to all children, irrespective of their parents’ income. Currently 50 children and five adults regularly benifit from the Kiwitte + program.
People of different professional backgrounds are involved in the diverse projects of “Wir Oberndorfer”. All participates and interested inhabitants come together once a month in a meeting called “Forum”. In this regular assembly the community is as important as the common development process. Fundamental principles of the collaboration are equality, transparency, self-empowerment and reflection.