Our idea is to strengthen the impact of women in villages of Poland and to help them adopt a new, very much needed, role in the ecosystem – not the one of supporters only, cooking meals or providing a beautiful background for events where men shine - but the one of civic participation leaders, empowered and empowering others to act for the common good.
The project focuses on women living in rural areas in Poland.
Due to gender-based stereotypes, women in rural Poland, are not seen as potential leaders in the discourse on democracy or facilitators of social change. In the past they had a crucial role in preserving the Polish identity, animation of communities, assuring continuation of education. Today again they are reduced to the traditional gender roles. As a result, they consider themselves not good enough to take charge of their environment - not educated, not skilled, not brave enough. In rural areas of Poland, the communities tend to be very conservative. And although we do see many women organizing the social life of their communities, they do it from the backseat, sticking to the safe gender-appropriate topics. We want to empower them to become the brave changemakers.
We see the great potential of female leaders for civic change. They lead differently - they practice inclusive, collective leadership, they create new roles for girls and women to accelerate their social impact and they assert women’s life experiences as an asset for leadership and entrepreneurship. They are practical and empathetic. Women in rural areas are already household managers, finance specialists, logistics experts among others – we can build on those entrepreneurial competences. This kind of change in the local ecosystem can lead to a new quality in practicing democracy at a local level. Our idea is to strengthen the voices of women in villages of Poland and help them embrace the role of civic participation leaders. By doing so, we reach new audiences and build participation.
Polish village is a woman – women hold great informal power in rural areas. According to different studies – over 7,5 milion women live in rural areas in Poland. They are better educated than men, they are organized (in Rural Housewives Groups). They are responsible for the social and cultural life of the village, have great potential to serve as role-models and unite the whole community. Women leaders in rural Poland organize events that are significant to the whole local communities, representing different opinions, backgrounds and views. That is why we are convinced that they have the potential to be the change-leaders when it comes to encouraging civic engagement of whole communities.
We plan to create a network of rural women and invite them to a capacity building and mentoring program. They will participate in educational 6 sessions:
System thinking – being brave to see the big picture, analyze the problem, build an impact chain,
Creativity and innovation – being brave to take up new challenges and try out new solutions,
Wellbeing - being brave to acknowledge oneself and practice self- and community-care,
Relations – being brave to communicate success and invite others to be a part of the solutions,
Inspirations from the #AshokaFellows Network.
Participants will also benefit from individual mentoring sessions and community gathering to create space for collective impact. Each participant will get a small grant to try out a solution in their local community.
In a year time we will have circ.15 women–leaders-changemakers active in rural areas of Poland. They will have the capacity and tools to be new role-models of active citizenship – they will have the ability of system-thinking, will not be afraid to think creatively when coming up with solutions for social problems, will know to create a space for others to grow and for the self- and community-care. They will constitute a network of peer support, considerate about the whole ecosystem, creating leverages to reach collective impact.
Each participant will influence the quality of life of at least 50 members of their community and create new ways of dialogue on the issues of democracy and active participation. The rural communities will have more active citizens embracing their civic agency.
The quality of a democratic society can be judged by how it treats its weakest members. Unfortunately, women from rural Poland, can be perceived, as a group in risk of marginalization. They are far from being a minority but they are underrepresented in all local democratic bodies. This year Poland marks the 30th anniversary of its first free local elections – for the local self-government - we see it as a perfect momentum to make sure that all voices are represented and heard especially at the local level of governance.
Our vision is a world where everyone is a changemaker – every person has the tools to create a change, feels empowered to do it and has a sense of agency when it comes to social change. We have been supporting changemakers for decades, all over the world. We know that creating opportunities for underprivileged groups is a crucial part of achieving that mission. Women have been in the center of that interest for a long time. Based on our experiences, we see that the voices of rural women are missing in the conversation and we cannot go further without them, that is why we have put this group as a priority in our local strategy for the next months/years.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Costs of the sessions in the program (travel, facilitators, accommodation, food etc) – 15.000 EUR
Community gathering (travel, facilitators, accommodation, food etc) - 3.000 EUR
Individual mentoring – 2.000 EUR
Grants for participants –8.000 EUR
Coordination costs – 10.000 EUR
Administration (office, finances) - 4.000 EUR
Promotion and recruitment – 4.000 EUR
We would aapreciate the opportunity to connect to others working on the same issues.