According to the 2015 Eurostat study, 15% people aged 16-34 engage in formalised voluntary activities in Poland, and only 7% of this age group takes active part in civic life. We can see numerous examples of programmes engaging youths in such activities across the country, but in our Gorlicki district (Małopolskie province) their number is particularly small. Based on our experience in working with young people and talking to them, we have observed that they feel they are not treated seriously and are not given any opportunities to make a difference. It often leads to passivity and the lack of involvement in public matters. We also hear from them that they often come across hate speech and signs of discrimination.
We will change it by organising a cycle of workshops for young people in two largest communes of the district, namely Uście Gorlickie and Sękoka. These meetings will be devoted to diagnosing needs and resources of youths and the local community, to dialogue, building relations, violence-free communication, management of social initiatives and discovering one’s own passions. With our support, participants will invent and implement initiatives in their towns and villages. We will also organise a meeting for active youths in the region, so that they can exchange experience and knowledge or decide how they can support one another in these initiatives.
Our first partner is Aleksandra Wisłocka Primary School in Gładyszów, which has been supporting our initiatives for years – it will make its classrooms available to us, help us recruit young people and organise workshops. The second partner is Nansen Centre for Peace and Dialogue of Norway, with vast experience in training schools and NGOs in dialogue-building and cooperation. Our partner will help us develop tools and methods for teaching communication skills to youths and will run classes in the Gładyszów school.