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Bridging a Narew Gap | Civic Europe
Education and research, Youth participation and empowerment

Bridging a Narew Gap

Oxford Debating in Eastern Poland


Who is behind this?

Jakub Królak

Fundacja Nowy Głos



Idea pitch

Nowy Głos is changing the way civic education happens, by using the debate to help Polish students grasp the world’s most pressing issues. Now, we want to reach out to marginalized, remote areas of Poland, and offer its High Schools our tested debating training programme, both to the teachers, and the students. We believe that this would help alleviate structural disadvantages. To this end, we plan on creating a self-sustaining debating training centre in the region.

Where will your project idea take place?

Narew Region, Mazovia, Poland

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

It’s the challenge posed by the difficulties students in this region face in regards to access to high-quality civic education, due to scarcity of access to the more experienced staff, underfunding and the common focus on vocational education. The consequence of such insularity is a lack of exposure of students in their educational process to a diverse range of perspectives and experiences, with very little attention being paid to the development of informal critical thinking skills and to navigating ambiguous, multifaceted problems. The désintéressement of the local authorities in providing any form of anti-discriminatory education fosters a toxic school culture where only a narrow range of activities and attitudes are approved, and the non-conformity is frowned upon.

Who are you doing it for?

Our main target group is secondary school students from the northeastern regions of Poland. It is more difficult for young people from these areas to participate in public speaking or debate projects because there is no such platform and community formed there yet. Some young people are just shaping their skills to express themselves and their opinions. They must acquire these skills now so that they can make changes in their environment. Another target group is teachers. We know from our experience that they often want to be involved in a debating community. Unfortunately, most teachers from the northern territories did not have the opportunity to learn about it. We will provide them with the knowledge of what debates are and how to run a debating community.

How do you plan to get there?

The outreach team would be presenting our offer to the region’s schools, city-by-city. Then we’d organise a meeting with the teachers. Amongst them, a coach will be selected to involve the school in the program. At the same time, we’ll start our promotional campaign on social media.
Both the students and the teachers would get a separate training route. The Students learning path would include all the most important debating skills.
The teachers training programme would focus on the skills that can be used to support their students in the preparation and beyond – they would learn about the uses and forms of a debate, organising debate preparations and giving constructive feedback.
Invitation of all the students to a tournament. Its form would depend on the current public-health situation. The finals would involve the local officials and representatives of the local NGOs.
After each tournament’s stage, all the participants would be invited to a structured debriefing session, moderated by a qualified facilitator, to help them reflect on their experience.
With the group of the most engaged coaches, we’d complete the formal establishment of a Club as an Incorporated Association. For the first months, our educators will be executing a training programme, consisting of a series of workshops. The best speakers and teams would get access to individual mentorship programs.

What are the expected results?

At the end of the project, a strong youth community will be created, developing towards public speaking. It will operate mainly in the "Narew" debate club. Students from these parts of Poland will no longer be excluded from gaining knowledge through debates. Finally, they will join the nationwide debating community. They will be left with the skills needed to express themselves and their opinions in a compelling, persuasive and cultured way. As a result, their statements and actions will be able to lead to positive changes in their environment. By debating together, students and teachers will integrate and be able to work together on their educational projects. This means that the good impact will increase with the further work of the project beneficiaries.

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

By creating a debating community, we will integrate the local society. They will be provided with the skills necessary to conduct a social dialogue. Debate subject matter is wide: the global situation and problems, international politics, law, economy, sustainable development, moral issues, etc. An important aspect of the debates is also the care for the language and culture of expression. Through the specificity of topics, they are motivated to expand knowledge and build the need for continuous learning. Debates teach how to express your opinion correctly and convincingly. They shape a society that is able to defend its positions in a cultural and substantive way. Such a society is more likely to come to the consensus required to make positive change.

Why is this idea important to you?

Nowy Głos brings together many volunteers; over 100 debaters and over 50 judges and coaches. Since 2016, we’d been running workshops all over Poland. Our teammates are regularly successful in debating on a national and international level. Foundation board has coordinated projects on a nationwide scale, which involved thousands of participants. They provided logistics services for educational events in several cities in Poland. The board of the foundation has experience in carrying out and accounting for grants, as evidenced by the positive settlement of the project organized under the FIO program in 2019-2020, the budget of which was PLN 300,000. The people who make up the foundation are passionate and sincerely believe in our mission, with which we want to reach the most distant places.

€ 35000,-

Total budget

€ 35000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

14500 EUR - Students Training Programme
4500 EUR - Teachers Training Programme
1000 EUR - Compensation for the Debriefing Facilitators
3000 EUR - Tournament Organizational Costs (Incl. Venue and Catering)
1500 EUR - Outreach Campaign Costs
500 EUR - Legal Costs
1000 EUR - Tournament Prizes (Waivers for the future debate involvements)
2000 EUR - Mentorship Programmes
2250 EUR - Travel&Acc Costs
1250 EUR - A subsidy for the low-income participants
3500 EUR - Personnel Costs


Fundacja Nowy Głos



Michał Kruszyński

Idea created on April 26, 2021
Last edit on April 26, 2021

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