Ostróda area (Warmińsko-Mazurskie Voivodeship) is not fully covered by operational neighborhood boards, while those few in operation struggle with low participation rates of the community members, low board election turnout, small budgets and limited power granted by the city. Currently, only three boards are in operation and their range leaves out over a half of the city’s citizens. We would like to support the social engagement of the citizens of Ostróda through bringing back that form of neighborhood involvement. This type of engagement cannot be achieved coming from the top, and that is why six neighborhoods we will work together with the City Council to develop a series of resolutions that will provide a real tools and power to the neighborhood councils.
The project will be divided into two sections: work with the neighborhood communities that we will support logistically, and work with the representatives of the City Council. The goal is to change the current layout, possibly even neighborhood boundaries, to better serve the citizens. Firstly, we will recruit and train 10 individuals – social organizers, who will learn how to encourage community members to participate in grassroots activities, as well as how to teach them about independence in engaging in social activism. Next, we will organize a series of meetings where the community members will have an opportunity to present their needs, divide into work groups and settle on goals and schedule regular meetings. The final stage will be to work alongside the City Council. We will organize a visit between the representatives of the neighborhood boards and the City Board to local governments that are actively developing different forms of neighborhood cooperation (Wrocław, Dąbrowa Górniczna). Drawing from our experiences, we will help our new leaders in the local communities and members of the City Council design new rules for the neighborhood governance and create a coordinating team for the boards’ work.