“I am impressed by your achievements, huge commitment and passion with which you carry out the Foundation’s programs,” Andrew Nagorski, the Chairman of the PAFF Board of Directors said. On March 11, he met with the participants in such programs as “Act Locally”, “PAFF Leaders” and “ICT for Local Development”. “Your activities are fetching and the scale of them is impressive,” Grzegorz Jędrys, the Head of the PAFF Representative Office in Poland emphasized.
The Chairman of the PAFF Board of Directors started his visit with a meeting in the Act Locally Center – W.A.R.K.A. Association, which was the organizer of the visit around Warka and its neighborhood. Andrzej Zaręba, the President of the Association told the visitors about the history of the Association, which started in 2003 as a small NGO and evolved into a dynamic, certified Act Locally Center operating in the area of Grójec district.
Over the period of 10 years of the “Act Locally” Program operation in that region, they managed to support more than 200 projects with a total of PLN 1.7 million. The examples of the projects that were subsidized were presented by Dorota Lenarczyk, the Program Coordinator, while Łukasz Rejer, the co-author of the www.fundujesz.pl crowdfunding platform spoke about the cooperation under the “ICT for Local Development” Program. President Andrzej Zaręba, Dorota Lenarczyk and Łukasz Rejer are all “PAFF Leaders” Program alumni, therefore they emphasized how important that initiative was for their personal development and success of the organization that they represent.
Next the American visitor had the opportunity to see the results of the work carried out as part of the “Act Locally” Program and learn how they stimulate rural communities. In Bończa, with a population of 120 residents, Małgorzata Dąbrowska the village head and the president of the “Kultywator” Association for Local Development, managed to involve most of the local community members into the implementation of civic projects.
They worked hard to renovate a neglected building and organize there the cultural center that attracts the residents with its nice atmosphere and a wide offer of activities. In this intergenerational meeting place Andrew Nagorski also met with a group of members of the very active “SPA Bończa” Senior Club.
The W.A.R.K.A. Association has many successes in multi-sector cooperation. It has partnered with the local government for many years. The Chairman of the PAFF Board of Directors discussed with Teresa Knyzio, the Vice Mayor of Warka, the role of the local government in local community development. In turn Agnieszka Śmietanka, the owner of the “Zajazd na Winiarach” inn told Andrew Nagorski about various forms of local initiatives’ support by the local business.
At the end of his visit, Andrew Nagorski visited the recently revitalized Kazimierz Puławski Museum, where he was shown around by Iwona Stefaniak, the Museum Director.
In gratitude for organizing the visit during which various experiences of PAFF programs’ implementation were presented, the Act Locally Center – W.A.R.K.A Association was presented by Chairman of the PAFF Board of Directors Andrew Nagorski with a diploma expressing appreciation for their commitment and wishes of further development.
Andrew Nagorski, the Chairman of the PAFF Board of Directors, former Vice President and Director for Public Policy at East-West Institute with its seat in New York. Earlier he worked for many years for Newsweek International, where he was the Senior Editor and foreign correspondent in Hong Kong, Moscow, Rome, Bonn, Warsaw and Berlin.