Community development, Law, advocacy and policy

Diversity in Storytelling

Countering hate narratives towards marginalized minority communities in Poland by training, mentoring, giving tools and grants to activists so their stories have more resonance and impact.


Who is behind this?

Karol Kras

RATS Agency



Idea pitch

Polish government is waging a polarizing narrative war against LGBT, religious and refugee minorities in recent years. Many Poles believed these stories, e.g we became the most homophobic country in EU.
But we believe that true connections between human beings happen when we learn or get a chance to look at the world through different eyes than ours. That is why we exist in the first place - to give voice to the people who have been deprived of one, and give them a chance to tell their story.

Where will your project idea take place?

Southern and Eastern Poland: Mazowieckie, Lubelskie; Podlaskie, Lodzkie, Podkarpackie,

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

Only 15% of Poles declare that they have ever spoken with a migrant or a refugee, according to UNHCR Poland (2020). Similarly, only 36% say that they know someone of LGBT community (CBOS, 2019). Compared with western EU states, where refugees and LGBT minorities are an integral part of the society and are more visible and people know someone from these communities, the negative sentiment is much lower. The strongest resentment against all these minorities are based in the south and east of Poland, where nationalist Law and Justice consequently win all elections.

We believe, that skilful targeting of these areas with communication projects in traditional and social media by the marginalized persons themselves, will allow the hatred caused by the "unknown" to diminish.

Who are you doing it for?

Thanks to our previous work with LGBT activists, religious minorities, refugees in Poland and nonprofits working with these groups, we established ourselves, in line with out agency's goals, as a trustworthy partner. We will establish working groups with the affected groups and together with them open a recruitment process, which will help us find the most creative, eager and engaged representatives from marginalized communities, with the focus on south and east of Poland. With our support, they will develop their skillset and ultimately produce a communication project in their respective communities effectively targeting the hurtful preconceptions and use localized knowledge to their advantage.

We believe that by targeting these areas, we will be able to sway public opinion in general.

How do you plan to get there?

The project will consist of roughly 5 stages.
1. Reach-out, recruitment and call for proposals and selection process. In this stage we will select our project partners and participants. Persons, groups or organizations which have experience in creating inclusive narratives aiming at building bridges between marginalized communities and wider or local public. The participants will be the persons affected by hate themselves. They will be telling their own stories from their own experiences.
2. Needs assessment and developing goals for projects, tools and learning strategies for each individual participant. Everyone will have different needs - someone fluent in programming will need design, message framing and writing skills, so we will devise a programme specifically for them and try to partner them with someone from the same geographical area with complimenting skillset.
3. Delivering training, tools and building connections necessary for the successful development of individual projects. We will build a supportive and challenging environment which will foster knowledge exchange and include mentorships and small-scale fun competitions.
4. Implementation of own projects. After an extensive course and mentorship, our participants with our support devise a plan for a communication project and implement it with a specific goal in mind.
5. Evaluation and lessons learned.

What are the expected results?

The long-term result of the project will be a group of ~30 activists and artists representing marginalized groups from at least 5 regions of Poland, equipped with effective tools, know-how and skills for further self-advocacy and able to shape the debate and public space.
The end result will also be individual social campaigns implemented by the participants with the support of the RATS Foundation, aimed at promoting tolerance, respect and knowledge about discriminated social groups in areas close to individual recipients. The goal is also to use the widest possible spectrum of storytelling techniques and tools - film, photography, installation, art, VR, websites, billboards etc.
We want to reach a minimum of two million viewers with our campaigns.

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

The participants will have the skills, networks and tools for any future activism. Their voice will be heard by many more people and the outcomes of their advocacy objectives will be more achievable. By raising their voices and uplifting the platform of their communities, they will be able to influence the public discourse, change the preconceptions in people's minds in their areas and eventually have impact on the local and central policies.

Why is this idea important to you?

We are a group of 10 multimedia producers. We cooperate with entities such as Amnesty International, ClientEarth, Greenpeace, WHO, Polish Humanitarian Action, Médecins Sans Frontières and all the largest media in Poland. We undertake our own initiatives: we report on protests, inform about abuses of power against protesters and journalists; observe legislative and social changes affecting the excluded groups. We worked in Somalia, Iraq, Gaza, Ukraine, UK, in refugee camps in almost all European countries.
In November last year we started the campaign "Women* to the Front", in which we presented works and thoughts of women photographers on our social media. #Womentothefront has been used almost 6,000. times. We recognize that this year will be crucial in the fight for equality and respect.

€ 60000,-

Total budget

€ 35000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

Personnel and faculty costs 9000 EUR
Educational materials 2000 EUR
Travel and accommodation 6000 EUR
Preparation of curricula 10000 EUR
Assistance in project development 12000


RATS Agency

Idea created on April 25, 2021

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