Network A Facilitating access and return to the labour market for those who have difficulty in being integrated or reintegrated into a labour market which must be open to everyone.
Project name Together
Project number A0407

Project description

The Partnership was established with a view in developing a system for facilitating labour market entrance and re-entrance of rural residents in areas affected by civilisation degradation following the changes in economic structure of rural areas and in particular the collapse of so-called nationalised farming system.

The Rural Development Foundation, operating throughout Poland, the promoter and administrator of the Partnership, will cooperate with institutions and organisations from North and West Poland, where the problems targeted by the Partnership are the most widespread and acute.

Following the collapse of farming cooperatives and state-owned farms, which had held a significant share of the economic structure, these predominantly rural regions, witnessed a particular accumulation of problems associated with long-term unemployment. Today, joblessness and poverty are inherited in these regions, educational prospects are lacking due to poverty, social ties tend to disappear and family dysfunctions are on the rise. Studies carried out under Activity 1 confirmed that these phenomena influence social and economic status of rural areas with diversified land ownership structure and even small towns, causing degradation and marginalisation of entire regions.

Measures proposed by the administration and assistance institutions (e.g. intervention works, public works, benefits , vocational training courses) are cursory and targeted at individual jobless and even then they fail to promote pro-active attitudes. Therefore, the Partnership's activities will be intended to integrate the entire village as a social, economic and cultural unit.

The Partnership will test the idea of so-called thematic villages, involving integration of the entire rural community. Direct activities will be targeted at 160 persons (25-40 individuals from each of the 5 villages), who are to encourage the involvement of other residents in the activities under the Project.

The idea of thematic villages is about working out a common development design involving the use of those resources held by each village that have been neglected or considered useless. Each village is functioning as a kind of company and offers a certain comprehensive product. Project proponents have drawn on the idea of so-called knowledge-based economy and modern marketing strategies by focusing on the human potential - individuals' informal knowledge, unveiling their hidden talents and the use of new forms of work.

Stage one of the Project will involve allocation of specific speciality to each village, firming up the area of interest and development of an offer considering specific nature of each village. Once the plan is in place, the village will appoint a manager responsible for the management of the joint company. He/she must be competent and possess organisation, communication and mediation skills. Individual predispositions will be strengthened by training in communication, management and promotion techniques. Other participants will be provided with vocational training in crafts (including niche and dying out ones, such as smithery, weaving or pottery) to enable them to start a specific activity under his/her village offer.

The Partnership is planning to implement the following projects in specific villages:

Dąbrowa - Healthy Lifestyle Village - herbal medicine, meditation, physical activity promotion, dog therapy and hippo therapy activities; Iwięcino - End of the World Village - educational events associated with various "worlds": world of nature, history and agriculture; Paproty - Village of Labyrinths and Springs: educational activities, outdoor and games and entertainment in natural setting (taking advantage of land relief, springs, mires); Podgórki - Fairy Tales and Entertainment Village - staging and craft activities, biking; Sierakowo Sławieńskie - Hobbit Village, space arranged for indoor and outdoor phantasy games matched with suitable catering offer and educational farm. Thanks to a diversified thematic offer, also those indirectly involved in the Project will be able to supplement their income. Souvenir makers, event hosts, caretakers of the disabled and performers of walk-on parts in outdoor games will be required. Full-time, home-based, ad-hoc and voluntary jobs will be available to local residents.

Project participants will acquire new skills and capabilities to work as teachers, actors, therapists or craftsmen. Flexible structure of involvement in the Project is expected to allow them to reconcile job career with family life and may add value to the activities based on hidden knowledge and emotional intelligence.

The key outcomes of the Project will be the social integration of the participants and the promotion of the idea of thematic villages that integrate local residents into a joint project and encourage them to assume responsibility for their own future and their environment alike.

Since the idea of thematic villages is still to be introduced across Poland, the operation of model villages is expected to change the way of thinking and encourage the followers.

A narrative of Project development/implementation, methodology guides, training materials and how-to-do-it videos will be available to all those involved in prevention of marginalisation and exclusion of rural residents. The model will be disseminated throughout Activity 3. Articles and broadcasts in regional and national mass media will promote the achievements of the Partnership.