Everything started at the end of the 80s when Dr. Nino Basanić brought for the first time to our city the planetary idea of health of the World Health Organization, set up in the project Healthy City and defined with the idea “Think global, act locally” and “Health for everybody in the 21st century”.
The project Healthy City of Poreč was recognized and started by a team of local professionals who systematically expanded the planetary idea of health and explained its principles to the municipal authorities at the time. In that way, the heart and the driving power of the project Healthy City of Poreč were and remain the people, the enthusiasts that have believed and still continue to believe that despite the challenges and risks of the modern world it is possible to better the quality of life of people in their own environment.
Almost ten years later, in the first written edition of the project “Healthy City” of Poreč, Dr. Nino Basanić, by then the coordinator of the project, expressed the possibilities and the width of the activities for health, within the world’s Healthy City project, in the future of the City of Poreč with the following thought:
… The sail on the seas of uncertainty and promising opportunity could be started. It’s lasting and promising. To the municipal government, Noah’s Ark of health for the 21st century was given. What will be put in it between the Scyllas and Charybdises that have to be passed by the end of the second millennium remains to be seen.
Dr. Nino Basanić
(Zdravi grad – Healthy City, Poreč, 1997.)
Precisely because of that, the project Healthy City of Poreč has during the years developed its own way towards health!
Expert teams looked for ways to create authentic programs for the community established for the necessity of citizens, carried out the autonomous research in the community and they have identified the specific needs of the citizens, trend changes. They developed their own program of education of young volunteers in the city by reaching out to motivated teenagers, encouraged care for all vulnerable groups within the community, developed health and environmental programs…
The wish of Poreč’s professionals to help, within their capabilities and knowledge, find a way to better quality of life in their city and bring about positive changes in the community was the most important and effective way of getting to the citizens of the City of Poreč.
Therefore, the collaboration of experts, citizens and projects’ partners in the city for the promotion of health and the realization of programs that contribute to health earned the trust and support of the city’s authorities. The project “Healthy City” of Poreč, with its work, programs and activities continually proves to be, most of and above all other city projects, at the service of all citizens of the City of Poreč, truly focused on the people and their needs (children and young people, parents and other adults, elderly, healthy and sick people, whole families…).
Development of the project “Healthy City” of Poreč
Certainly, the progress of the project Healthy City of Poreč deserves attention because it indicates a unique and truly specific example of the local organization of this worldwide project at the level of the Croatian Healthy Cities Network.
The project Healthy City of Poreč has been formally active in Poreč since 1993 and since then it has been the base for innovative work promoting citizens’ health in the community. At the beginning of the project, the municipal authority decided to set up a city institution, the “Healthy City” Foundation of Poreč, with the goal of motivating and developing this worldwide project for our city.
In this way, the Healthy City Foundation of Poreč was established on November 23rd 1993 by the City Council.
Since then, the Healthy City of Poreč by continuously researching its citizens’ needs has started and realized many programs focused on promoting health and improving the quality of life for all individuals or families of the community. The City of Poreč ensures the majority of resources for these programs (environment, qualified staff, equipment, financial funds). In this way, the office of the Healthy City project is organized operationally in its own areas and represents the the city reaching out to satisfy the specific needs of the citizens in the community.
Our local community has recognized the Healthy City project as a new, inspiring and creative possibility for the realisation of a responsible way to improve citizens’ health, and it is continuously supportive of the project. Continuous research has shown that to the citizens of Poreč, psychosocial support is a very important aspect that the other existing social institutions don’t cover enough or even at all. The citizens of Poreč live and work in a small community environment, but an environment rich with tourist and transitive activity characterised by an uneven dynamic of life and work in summer and winter periods, high exposure to stress, and a transfer of many, positive and negative, European trends (such as violence, aggression, loneliness, addiction…)
The value of the Healthy City project in our community is recognized in its work to satisfy the priority needs of citizens, and to encourage active participation in the initiatives and programs that aim to better the quality of life within the community. Moreover, the project opened up new possibilities in the area of project collaboration between institutions, organisations, and societies, and enabled quality communication and cooperation.
How we made it happen in Poreč?
When in the 1990s a group of Poreč’s professionals gathered around the idea of a healthy city, they had great ideas in mind about the work that could be done within the project boundaries. They recognised the Healthy City project as an opportunity to affect their own community and held a true belief that it represents a way to better health and quality of life within the community.
Throughout the years of systematic work on the project, the experts that placed their belief in it had strength and will enough to develop and push the project forward, steering it towards the needs of the citizens, to help make it recognizable and of great importance to the City of Poreč.
15 years later, at the beginning of 2008, during the first systematic evaluation of successful work of the Healthy Cities, Healthy City of Poreč was declared the champion of Croatian healthy cities. Its success is that much greater because it is a success of a project realised in such a small town.
Poreč, being a small town, aside from a few benefits, has plenty of aggravating circumstances in comparison to bigger Healthy Cities. Its main benefit is the love and sense of belonging people have for their city! On the other hand, a city like Poreč has a lower number of professionals of all kinds that could recognise and contribute in developing the Healthy City project, it is not a university center that could include volunteers from various social studies, it has a smaller number of associations, societies and NGOs working on health programs…
For this reason, the Healthy city project of Poreč has developed in these years its own path towards the health! Specialized teams have looked forward to creating some authentic programs for the community related to the citizens needs, researching in the community and determined the specific citizens needs and trends related to the changes, they have made their own educational program for young volunteers for the city by activating of motivated teenagers…, they have motivated the help of the vulnerable groups in the community, they have developed some program related to the health and environment…
“Healthy city” project of Poreč today…
Key people in Poreč’s project invested years of work into defining the procedures of working for health in Poreč by inquiring about the citizens’ needs and formulating those into strategic documents about health as a reflection of the health management in the community.
Today the Healthy City of Poreč project has a couple of equally important planned courses of action:
- information center for citizens’ requests;
- idea incubator (a place where ideas are accepted, produced, recognized, developed for the City of Poreč up to the level of local implementation, and sometimes even the institutionalization of programs directed towards the health of citizens);
- realization of local programs for aid and support to the citizens, preventive and social actions that increase the quality of life and improve the health in the city;
- strategic health planning in the shape written documents that are used to plan the long-term interventions of the City of Poreč.
The Healthy City project of Poreč has a significant position in the city of Poreč today:
- It is recognized by municipal authorities as a project that gives a politically responsible management of health and gives to Poreč the prospect – healthy city
- It is recognized by the citizens as an opportunity to satisfy specific needs in the community in which it’s available and effective (activate participation and commitment opportunities in the project, opportunity to receive help and support when necessary, participation in humanitarian actions, participation in education on the various topics about healthy topics…).
- Motivates the project partners inside the community and develops the environment for the open, quality and motivating communication and provides support to the professionals, citizens, municipal authorities, associations, institutions, municipal initiatives and to all participants active in the social life and prosperity of the city, especially in the segment of health promotion;
- With the Healthy City project, the City of Poreč has become a socially sensitive community and has recognized its own citizens as a resource in the relation of which it creates conditions for better social security and the quality of life in a global context.
High on the hill,
In a green environment,
Where the wind acts in the silence,
A healthy city was born.
A silent whisper is heard,
There are those who are coming,
Others are waiting patiently.
I see they are coming from the valley.
They make me happy!
In the healthy city,
The healthy heart is beating,
In spite of how sick it is.
Even the walls show joy,
They bring a hundred messages!
All the sadness stops for a moment.
I have someone too,
Someone that is waiting for me.
High of the hill,
In the healthy city,
A healthy heart is beating.
(member and volunteer of the Association of Invalids of Poreč)
From the collection of poems “Moje pjesme moji snovi/My poems my dreams”