Society can’t grow without strong civic actors. Their absence leads to increasing inequalities and exclusion of some groups. Social capital is wasted, trust isn’t fostered. Many NGOs working in towns and villages of Lower Silesia lack certain competences and thus can’t fully contribute to the development of civic society. Our project aims to change it. Through needs’ analysis and a series of workshops, using Civil Society Toolbox, we will form a support system which multiplies their potential.
Lower Silesia region
Towns and villages below the II tier(county)of local government administration
Lower Silesia suffers from low levels of social trust, particularly among youngsters (<25 y.o.), and a deficit of social capital. This is particularly true for small towns and villages where pockets of exclusion are a frequent problem. Unfortunately, most places outside large cities lack a well developed culture of civic activity as means of addressing such issues. According to a report (‘The state of Polish NGO sector, 2018’), many organisations lack basic stability and competences - 51% operate only based on volunteering, 66% express urgent need for staff training. In the face of a growing disparity between the region’s capital city and the peripheries, NGOs in those areas need support to overcome key developmental barriers and become more capable as linchpins of local civic activity.
The project aims at supporting small NGOs operating in towns and villages, working directly with and for local communities in places, where civic activity is very low. In particular, we wish to help organisations addressing their work at the youth, which constitute 37% of all NGOs in the region. We believe that engaging with and educating youngsters is absolutely crucial for the future of the civic society. Thanks to support offered under this project, local NGOs will not only gain organisational sustainability, but also broaden the scope of their work and adjust it to the needs of the beneficiaries. Hence, this will strengthen the grassroot-level civic structures and participation - staple feature without which democracy can’t truly function in our communities.
Direct recipients of activities envisioned under this project will be 5 small NGOs operating locally in small towns and villages of Lower Silesia, working directly with and for youngsters. Over 60% of such NGOs declare they want to broaden the scope of their work and reach more beneficiaries, but lack the necessary knowledge, organisational capacity and/or infrastructure. Indirectly, the project will benefit young people, frequently in danger of social exclusion due to geographical or economic reasons (e.g. living in remote locations, limited access to vital public services, education and labour market). As supported NGOs will broaden and develop their activities, youngsters will be more included in the life and growth of local communities.
1. 3 Group workshops:
- For staff of the 5 selected NGOs (2 ppl each)
- Topics: 1) management, organisational development; 2) youth work; 3) project development & funding
2. 5 Individual workshops (1 for each NGO):
- Preceded by diagnosis of status & developmental needs specific for each NGO
- Content tailored based on the diagnosis
- The application of Civic Society Toolbox
a) Group format (for all 5 NGOs), follow-up to workshops
b) Individual (for each NGO), focused on particular developmental challenges, at any time throughout the project
4. Development plans
Each NGO drafts a development plan for organisational sustainability and/or specific area of activity (potentially including ideas for initiatives), consulted by MODE
In the years after the completion of the project, the supported NGOs will operate more sustainably and effectively. Competences gained throughout the project will help them make a much fuller use of their potential and the opportunities available at every level, from localised support tools to national- and European-level programmes. Those organisation which previously grappled with questions regarding their prospects for the future will be equipped to stabilise and professionalise their functioning.
The supported organisations will become more permanent and relevant actors in their local communities. They will be able to initiate new types of activities and engage with a broader portion of local youth, thus ensuring this group is more included in the life of local communities.
By supporting the growth of local NGOs, our project aims at fostering the civic infrastructure and participation in the region of Lower Silesia. This, in turn, is necessary if local communities are to self-organise and function as effective actors in a democratic system. Increased civic activity will result in higher levels of social trust and the development of social capital. Stronger, more active organisations are able to better combat negative phenomena such as social exclusion. Communities that are well organised are also more likely to get involved in larger-scale initiatives. Fostering civic attitudes at the local level is absolutely vital for strengthening democracy, since local and regional stakeholders are often best positioned to address many issues.
A part of our mission and one of our statutory goals is to support other NGOs. We firmly believe that strong, effectively operating civic organisations are vital for social development, the growth of a civic society and, consequently, the functioning of democracy. It is thanks to these entities that local communities can tackle their problems and utilise their full potential through active participation. At the same time, we are aware of the inequalities in access to development opportunities, as many small towns and villages remain ‘civic deserts’. This is why we chose NGOs working in such places as our target group. We focus on entities working with the youth, as we see their work as extremely important for combating exclusion and building social cohesion.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
1. Personnel costs:
- Management: 3870 EUR
- Trainers and consultants: 8260 EUR
2. Activities' organisation costs:
- Travel: 1450 EUR
- Catering: 2340 EUR
- Room: 2580 EUR
- Materials (including 5 Civil Society Toolbox cost): 1760 EUR
3. PR and Dissemination: 340 EUR
We’d like to know if NGOs in your regions struggle with similar developmental problems (no sustainable financial model, reliance on volunteering / pro-bono work, temporary nature of initiatives, insufficient competences). Would a project of this kind help? What elements are vital for their growth?