When I was invited to be a partner in the committees affiliated with Partnership 2000 about a year ago, I was completely skeptical given my considerable experience with committees of this type. However, my curiosity and my hope that perhaps indeed it could be possible to effect change caused me to attend the first meeting. As a result of this meeting, at which it was made clear by the steering committee that complete autonomy had been granted to the committees, and that a large portion of their recommendations would be accepted by the steering committee, I became convinced that this time the true intention was to include the residents of Ofakim in the decision-making process regarding the activities implemented through Partnership 2000 in our region.
I was given the task of serving as chair of the Living Bridge subcommittee, to learn about the Partnership 2000 projects in a short time, and then to present recommendations regarding them.
The first step was to convene the committee twice to understand its full significance and how its operations should proceed.
The second step was to receive a review of all Living Bridge projects.
The third step was to present the committee's recommendations to the steering committee.
The fourth step was to monitor the projects in the field, to observe how they were implemented in practice and to recommend possible improvements.
The committee will convene again immediately after the holidays, after an interval of about two months, and will hear a report on the projects which were implemented over the summer and on the delegations which visited the Metro-West community.
New members will be added to the committee who are interested in being partners in this enterprise, and especially in the decision-making process, from among the various sectors of the population in Ofakim. We are also making preparations for beginning the 2007-2008 budgetary year, in which the committee's recommendations will be put into practice in the field.
In November a delegation from Ofakim-Merhavim will depart for a visit in Metro-West. I see this visit as an additional impetus to activity in our area, primarily by becoming familiar with the institutions in Metro-West which are affiliated with the communities in Ofakim-Merhavim, enhancing the collaboration between them, and upgrading and expanding the cooperative ventures of the Metro-West community and the Ofakim-Merhavim communities.