The eighth meeting of the “Equal Opportunities” Program Leaders Network
The eighth meeting of the “Equal Opportunities” Program Leaders Network

“It is of particular importance that the projects implemented under the “Equal Opportunities” Program” trigger activities which will benefit your communities for a long time or even will create a model of activity to inspire others. This is what makes the greatest value of the project” - said Radosław Jasiński, PAFF Program Director, who, together with Artur Łęga of the Polish Children and Youth Foundation (the Program Manager), opened the eighth meeting of the “Equal Opportunities Program” Leaders Network. The meeting was attended by some 70 current and former coordinators of projects carried out as part of the Program.



On the first day of the event, which took place at the seat of the Polish-American Freedom Foundation's Representative Office in Poland, the participants had an opportunity to listen to Professor Anna Giza-Poleszczuk speaking about barriers to successful cooperation, ways of overcoming them and the vision of university as a huge, so far not adequately used resource that is worth supporting. Next, Rafał Kramza, President of the Information Society Development Foundation, presented three dimensions of localness on the basis of the undertaking implemented by the Information Society Development Foundation, including the Library Development Program, which is the joint initiative of PAFF and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, PAFF’s pilot “ICT for Local Development” Program and the “Link to the Future” initiative financed by Microsoft and PAFF.



During the subsequent days of the meeting the “Equal Opportunities” Program leaders learned about, among other things, the principles and to-date effects of the “PAFF Local Partnerships” Program. During the workshops, they had an opportunity to share their experiences in the area of position building in their local communities, establishing local partnerships and defining the local community’s common good. They also participated in the panel discussion during which they searched for an answer to the question whether it is possible to cooperate locally. Having seen the presentation titled 'New technologies as a stimulant for the development of local cooperation', they referred to the issue of e-volunteering as a way of going out beyond the local context and to the intentional selection of technologies on the basis of previously defined needs.


Joanna Lempart-Winnicka
Photos: PAFF




The objective of this Program, implemented since 2001, is to support social initiatives fostering equal opportunities for a better start on the road to adulthood for young people from rural areas and small towns (with the population of up to 20,000 inhabitants) by improving their competences and developing social skills, such as teamwork, the ability to win support for achieving the goals and the ability to plan various activities. The results of the eleven rounds of the Program boil down, above all, to the implementation of 1,900 educational projects involving nearly 125,000 participants (indirectly 500,000 people have been involved). A lot of projects are continued after the financial support provided by the Program ceases.