The research conducted in Świdnin (Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeship) showed that over 62% of the adults and 71% of the youth are in no way involved in any form of civic activity for the sake of their community, despite having opinions and ideas on how the city should develop. Among the reasons for this situation, the respondents list an unattractive offer on behalf of the local NGOs and a low sense of agency. On the other hand, Świdnin has 48 registered organization and at least 10 of them are active. Their offer, however, is poorly promoted and mostly unknown to the community. We believe the city lacks public consultations and debates that would activate the citizens and increase the chances for their ideas to be realized.
In the process of addressing these issues we want to begin a collaboration between the citizens of Świdnin, the local government and the third sector. We will conduct four meetings using the world cafe format, where we will provide a space for the citizens to meet and discuss the needs of their town and the ways to become a part of working on its behalf. Fifteen selected individuals will take part in a design process that aims at working out initial concepts for new initiatives for the city, such as potential proposals for the civic budget. The report from the process will be passed along to the local government. What is more, we will conduct two workshops for the local activists and a festival for the NGOs from Świdnin that will promote civic engagement and will increase the visibility of the individual organizations.
Świdnin City Hall is our project partner. It will provide us with access to office space and will support our outreach to the citizens. Involvement of the local government will be an important step in building regular communication between the City Hall, the citizens, and the NGOs.