The project concerns equality policies at local government level. Unfortunately, in Poland, local governments are not interested in implementing such policies – they are often even reluctant or hostile towards any equality initiatives. In 2019-2020, several voivodeships, many poviats and municipalities introduced homophobic so-called ‘LGBT-free zones’ on their territory – the zones at their peak covered as much as 1/3 of the country. On the other hand, local governments that would like to work systematically for equality do not have sufficient knowledge and tools to do so. Polish society is becoming increasingly diverse, with growing radicalisation and polarisation manifested, for example, in attacks on equality marches and an increase in crimes motivated by prejudice.
As part of the project, a variety of material on human rights, equality and diversity were created and addressed to local governments affiliated to the Association of Polish Cities, the project partner. These tools include a handbook, presentations, a brochure, a poster and other audiovisual materials. There were organised 6 webinars on human rights, gender mainstreaming, neurodiversity, inclusive design or the gender equality plan for cities. Twenty-three networking meetings were organised for women’s councils, equal treatment plenipotentiaries and local government equal treatment councils.
As a result of the project, member cities of the Association of Polish Cities have improved their knowledge and have been equipped with specific tools to build equality policies and strategies as standards for the protection of human rights. Those who benefited most from participation in the project were those dealing with human rights issues at the local level – equal treatment plenipotentiaries, members of women’s councils and the equal treatment team. During the project, a Commission on Human Rights and Equal Treatment was established within the Association of Polish Cities, bringing together more than 50 local authorities.