The objective of that study tour was to share with Ukrainian partners the experience gained from implementation of “Act Locally” Program by local organizations facing the challenges of building social capital in small towns and villages in their everyday work. The tour was possible thanks to cooperation of “Study Tours to Poland” and “Act Locally” Programs run by PAFF. Its organizer was Biłgoraj Region Local Fund Foundation.
“We focused on presentation of certain activities, namely carrying out grant competitions under the ‘Act Locally’ Program. We showed the work of local NGOs of Biłgoraj, Dębica, and Tomaszów Lubelski. So that our partners could do similar work in Ukraine,” explains Irena Gadaj, the President of Biłgoraj Region Local Fund Foundation.
In Ustrzyki Dolne, President of Bieszczady Foundation Lucyna Sobańska presented an example of successful and effective cooperation with the local government, while in Dębica the focus was on cooperation with business circles. Paweł Werbowy of Dębica Business Club shared his knowledge on designing a grant competition, looking for partners, and methods of raising funds. In Sandomierz, Wojciech Zych, a representative of Center of Agricultural Enterprise Promotion and Support Foundation, told about grant competition procedures and assessment of application, as well as about the role of local grant commissions. In Biłgoraj, Maciej Mulawa told the Tour participants why it is necessary to carry out a local community needs diagnosis and assessment, and the project evaluation. Marcin Rechulicz, a representative of Czajnia Association, Tomaszów Lubelski, pointed to the role of local animation and engaging local communities in activities aimed at social problems solving. In each of visited places, the Ukrainian guests could learn the examples of projects implemented as part of the “Act Locally” Program.
The sum up session, conducted by Irena Gadaj and Maciej Mulawa of Biłgoraj Region Local Fund Foundation, was on the role and importance of the Act Locally program for the local and regional development and on potential for cooperation of Polish and Ukrainian organizations in the future.
“We take back valuable experience but also awareness that we face a lot of work if we want to get local communities more engaged in working for common good and increasing the quality of life,” says Aleksander Ahinskiy, one of the study tour participants.
The present study tour was another stage of “Act Locally in Ukraine” project aimed at transferring to Ukraine experiences gained in implementation of “Act Locally” Program in Poland, among other things through educational activities addressed to representatives of Ukrainian NGOs. The project was launched in 2017. Its participants are 10 local non-governmental organizations from Donetsk, Kiev, Lugansk, Mykolaiv, Lviv, Starobelsk, and Vinnitsa districts. It is the continuation of pilot project implemented by the Academy for the Development of Philanthropy in Poland from September 2016 to August 2017 which was the result of synergy of two PAFF programs – “Act Locally” and “Region in Transition” (RITA). The objective is to start building in Ukraine a network of NGOs similar to the Act Locally Centers network operating in Poland. The Ukrainian partner of the project is ISAR Ednannia.