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 participants 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. Since 2014 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, “Region in Transition” (RITA) and “The Third Age Universities”. Numerous local residents and volunteers are engaged in the implementation of the program.
Over five editions of the program, carried out from 2009 to 2017, 38 partnerships have been established. They cover 85 rural communes and their operations involve over 600 partners. It was thanks to partnership projects that the legal regulations were changed which required the reduction of air pollution in Żywiec. They also managed to set up an Internet civic TV in Grodzisk Mazowiecki, develop a public park in Biłgoraj, and establish a district volunteering center in Dębica. The results of the projects include popularization of local initiatives – the Carp Trail in the Barycza River Valley or the Apple Trail near Warka, the Youth-friendly Places in Podkarpacie Region and the Volcano Activity Center in Złotoryja where priority is given to actions involving young people, and the Youth Forest Guard in Niemce which cares for the cleanliness and beauty of the Kozłowieckie Forest and popularizes pro-ecological attitudes. Additional financial support granted by PAFF enables the partnerships to continue their operations and motivates them to develop strategies of embedding their project results as well as making them self-sufficient.
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 $2,436,320, including $265,773 for the current edition of the program.