Neighborhood Boards
civic activity
City (headquarters):
Voivodeship (headquarters):
01-02-2021 - 31-10-2022
Project cost:
89 168,00 EUR
75 000,00 EUR
Types of activities:
activities to activate local communities (animation), advocacy activities, action for change/establishing new legal solutions, civic participation, good civic participation, self-organization / self-help
Target groups:
activists / community leaders, members of advisory councils, local government, local community, officials and employees of public institutions

The area of Ostróda (Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship) is not fully covered by functioning neighborhood councils, and the ones that did exist struggled with unsatisfactory involvement of residents, low turnout in council elections, and limited financial resources and authorities granted to them by the city. Only three councils were regularly active, and their scope of activities did not encompass more than half of the city’s residents. We wanted to support the social activity of Ostróda’s residents by revitalizing this form of neighborhood engagement. Of course, we couldn’t impose this from above, so we worked together with the city council to develop a package of resolutions that would provide real tools and powers for the neighborhood councils through a community organizing method on six neighborhoods.

We divided the project into two pillars: working with the neighborhood communities, which we supported organizationally and substantively, and working with the city council representatives to change the local neighborhood structure to better meet the needs of residents. First, we recruited and trained individuals who became social organizers, learning how to encourage residents to engage in grassroots activities and how to teach self-reliance in social actions (without our support). Then we organized a series of meetings where residents identified their needs, formed groups, and set their goals and plans for regular gatherings. The final stage involved working with the city council. We organized a joint trip for neighborhood council representatives and city council members to visit local governments actively developing various forms of neighborhood cooperation (Wrocław, Dąbrowa Górnicza). Based on all the experiences, we helped the new leaders of local communities and city council representatives to jointly establish new rules for neighborhood organization and create a permanent coordinating team for neighborhood councils’ activities.

According to the evaluation surveys, we succeeded in building a sense of agency and influence in the project participants. Additionally, their self-belief and confidence in their abilities increased, along with their determination and willingness to get involved in decision-making processes.

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