“You hold the authority, you are the self-government and a lot depends on you,” Minister Olgierd Dziekoński , Advisor to the President of Poland said in his speech on “25 years of self-governance” to representatives of the nationwide network of Act Locally Centers at the meeting held at the PAFF Representative Office in Poland on March 5. Minister Dziekoński encouraged the Centers to engage in the celebrations of 25 years of self-governance in Poland both by initiating local projects and participating in the events that will be organized by the Chancellery of the President in Poland in 2015.
After the inaugural lecture, some 80 ALC representatives from all voivodeships of Poland took part in a two-day training session. In the first part of that training, Grzegorz Nawrocki, a journalist and the British Alumni Society vice president, Grzegorz Molewski, the initiator of a “Cinema around the corner” project, a journalist and local leader, and Krzysztof Bobiński, a journalist, a columnist and Oxford graduate discussed on the Oxford debate – when it can serve fostering inspiration and local animation. They claimed that Oxford debates are a forceful tool and can strongly influence social change.
Next Agnieszka Cegielska of TVN, the ambassador of School of Open Hearts Foundation of Malbork, spoke about ways of getting local celebrities, who often come from various regions of Poland, involved into cooperation with ALCs.
Following that, Agnieszka Mazur, the PAFF Program Manager together with Jan Mencwel and Rafał Rudnicki, the representatives of the Unit for Social Innovation and Research “Shipyard” Foundation, presented the participants of the meeting with the manual “BOX – a set of social capital research tools”. The work on this manual took several months, and the tools were tested in four Act Locally Centers: the Biłgoraj Community Foundation, Warka Association, Śnieżnik Massif Local Fund and the Center for Business Promotion and Entrepreneurship in Sandomierz. Thanks to their cooperation and opinions, the BOX was finally shaped and other ALCs will be able to use it. Also in this part of the meeting, Łukasz Ostrowski of the “Shipyard” Foundation presented the results of the “Act Locally” Program evaluation, based on questionnaires and interviews of the program beneficiaries.
The afternoon part started with the panel moderated by Piotr Pacewicz, a journalist of Gazeta Wyborcza daily and Beata Szulęcka, both representatives of the “Media Fund” Journalist Association Foundation. Invited to the discussion on “Local Media as a citizen” were: Joanna Kowalska of the Local Press Association, Beata Frąckowiak-Piotrowicz of Gazeta Jarocińska and Gabiela Gibas-Psuturi of Żywiec Development Foundation.
They debated on such issues as how local journalists can initiate debate in their local community: diagnose, set goals and organize civil activity, and how media and NGOs can be mobilized to interesting, sensible and useful cooperation. The panelists told about their experiences in NGO-local media relations, while Piotr Pacewicz, who summed up the discussion, announced the plans to launch the competition aimed at local civil journalism promotion, which will be a joint PAFF, ARFP and “Media Fund” initiative.
Next Dorota Setniewska of the Klon/Jawor Association encouraged the participants of the meeting to promote local organizations activities on the ngo.pl portal, emphasizing how important is the communication for the whole third sector image. She also explained how to use individual functionalities of the portal.
After that Barotosz Sokoliński presented the crowfunding platform www.fundujesz.pl, and encouraged the Act Locally Centers to use that innovative tool for raising funds for their activities.The platform was developed thanks to the grant awarded under the ICT for Local Development program. At the end of the first day, Andrzej Pietrucha, the President of BOŚ Foundation, presented CRM (Customer Relationship Management), a tool for building sustainable relations with a donor.
On the second day, the participants were informed about amendments to the accounting act (presented by Agnieszka Gamdzyk of SUPERATA accounting office), “Family volunteering” action, which second round can be participated by ALC, and the participatory budget. The rest of activities related to the program matters, such as presentation of the assumptions for the 9th round of the program, “Tell us” competition and communication within the program.
The final point of the meeting was signing the agreements on implementation of the 9th round of the Act Locally program. The Act Locally Centers will announce competitions for the local beneficiaries in the Spring.
“Act Locally” is the Polish-American Freedom Foundation’s program, that has been implemented by the Academy for the Development of Philanthropy in Poland since 2000. The objective of this program is to support civil projects that serve solving the local problems, foster developmental aspirations of village communities and building social capital. Currently Act Locally Centers network comprises 60 organizations operating all over Poland and covering 585 communes. Through them, initiatives responding to the residents needs and stimulating local activity are supported under the local grant competitions. The local competition beneficiaries are non-governmental organizations and informal groups of citizens.