Thanks to PAFF’s broad and diversified program offer, in many local communities in Poland projects have been carried out which create opportunities to unleash new civic energy. The “PAFF Local Partnerships” Program offers an opportunity to create partnership projects utilizing this potential in work benefiting their local communities, helping to better consolidate local social capital through building synergies between the experiences gained and results achieved as part of various initiatives. In the communes where PAFF programs have been implemented local partnerships emerge comprising beneficiaries of PAFF programs – who form the Initiative Group as the core of the coalition. They are then joined by local-governments, NGOs, institutions, firms and the local media that have not taken part in the Foundation’s programs in the past. Starting from the program’s fourth edition, the partnerships may also be led by organizations taking part in one of the following programs: “English Teaching,” “Equal Opportunities,” “The Learning Schools,” “PAFF Leaders”, Library Development Program, and “Region in Transition” (RITA). Numerous local residents and volunteers are engaged in the implementation of the program.
Within the program’s first three editions (in the years 2009-2013) grants were awarded for initiatives submitted by 22 partnerships. They were implemented in 49 communes in various regions of Poland with the participation of more than 330 partners. The results of the projects include a change of legal regulations in order to reduce air pollution in Żywiec, setting up the first Internet youth radio in Nidzica and local internet civic TV in Grodzisk Mazowiecki, as well as upgrading a public park in Biłgoraj and building a common space open to all.
Under the fourth edition of the program, completed in December 2015, projects implemented by eight partnerships operating in 24 communes were supported. Partner cooperation made it possible to create a district voluntary center in Dębica, reconstruction group in Stoczek Łukowski, cultural-civic stops in Ełk and youth village councils in Staszów. In Strachówka the Cyprian Norwid family history was restored, in Supraśl a series of civil café meetings was held, during which the residents designed the common space development plan, in Barycza Valley the local community managed to promote carp as the local product, while in Trzciel a tradition to hold the village fair was revived. Thanks to additional support from PAFF, the partnerships continue their activities and work on the strategy to embed their project results and make them self-sufficient.
In the 5th edition of the program, that started in 2016, 8 partnerships operating in the area of 12 communes have been established. The projects carried out include the creation of an apple trail in Warka, a network of youth-friendly places in Podkarpacie Region, Volcano Activity Center in Złotoryja and the Youth Forrest Guard in Niemce.
So far in all editions of the program a total of 38 partnerships have been established which cover 85 communes, with nearly 500 partners involved.
The program also popularizes a method of animating local communities, developed in cooperation with experts of the Unit for Social Innovation and Research “Shipyard” Foundation and then presented in the publication “How to build the common good? A Guide for those who act locally”. In 2015 the publication titled “How to build local partnerships” was issued, presenting expert materials dealing with problems important to building coalitions and working on their sustainability. They are all exemplified with projects implemented under the program. Regular regional meetings, workshops and an e-bulletin of the program co-created by members of the partnerships help to enhance the sustainability of the partnerships and enable the sharing of experience.
Partnerships set up in the first three program editions take part in the alumni initiative, called the “Common Good Lab”. The Lab aims to popularize the cooperation of local communities working for the common good, promoting methods of animating local communities and enhancing the sustainability of existing partnerships. The initiative offers access to resources such as publications, films, workshop scenarios, civic games, experts’ support, participation in study tours and meetings enabling the sharing of best practices as well as the possibility to receive a mini-grant for the implementation of educational and training projects. 27 grants have been distributed so far to help develop tools required for local community animation, such as outdoor games, Internet quizzes, public campaigns, training scenarios, and workshops. Additionally, in the years 2013-2015, three alumni meetings were held.
The Foundation has disbursed $2,104,806, including $348,728 for the current edition of the program.