Network D Strengthening the national social economy (the third sector), in particular the services of interest to the community, with a focus on improving the quality of jobs.
Project name Transfer of the Social Economy Experiences of Western European Environmental Organisations
Project number D0442

Project description

The objective of the Partnership is to develop, test, and implement an environmental business model based on the experience of the non-governmental sector from Western European countries. It will include the organisational and legal aspects of carrying out environmental activities by environmental NGOs and other organisations. It will contain a description of the most beneficial, in terms of the Polish organisational and legal framework (compared to Western European countries), approaches and legal solutions for setting up and running businesses by NGOs. The technical component will include examples of innovative types of businesses run in Western European countries, suitable for implementation in Poland. Specific types of environmental businesses operating in Western Europe will be listed here, which - depending on the capacity, location and actual possibilities - can be implemented by environmental NGOs and other organisations in Poland. The transferred and tested forms of business will include model organic farms, environmental education centres which will demonstrate how the technologies of energy and water saving operate, consulting centres serving local authorities and companies, organic farms and agritourism farms.

As a result of model testing and implementation, good practices existing in Western European countries will be popularised. These will include the methods for rehabilitation of people at risk of social exclusion and approaches to overcoming the barriers which prevent access to the labour market in the third sector through the development of the service market in the field of "green jobs" and by improving the access of NGOs to investment capital. The beneficiaries, using the existing organisational capacity of the third sector, will be able to create new work places and to take initiatives aimed at including other people in the social economy sector. Revitalisation of local labour markets and development of rural areas will also ensue.

Within the framework of the project, a group of representatives from 20 environmental NGOs will participate in study visits to Western European countries. Upon completion of the training, their task will be to develop business plans for environmental businesses. Ten of them will be implemented in the Lower Silesia Voivodship, and the other ten in the Podlasie Voivodship.

The final beneficiaries of the project include NGO members, activists and volunteers, as well as the unemployed, and people at risk of unemployment and social exclusion, interested in being involved with or employed by these entities, especially environmental organisations and other organisations operating in the broadly defined sector of environmental protection, environmental education, utilisation of cultural and natural assets, which support regional development and the social and vocational integration of people at risk of social exclusion.

The target group consists mainly of inhabitants of rural areas and small towns, as well as inhabitants of those regions which are at a particular risk of unemployment. The Partnership is planning to directly cover 200 people with the programme, about 100 women and 100 men.

The main project output, apart from the model for the operation of Local Development Centres, will include other model forms of environmental business, such as agri-environmental activities, good farming practices, agritourism, organic farming - local products, work safety and health in agriculture, environmental management, afforestation, aquaculture, water-environmental activities, green tourism, cultural tourism, renewable energy, river restoration, eco-labelling - certification. The scope of activity will be selected depending on the capacity of the organisation, on the demand for a specific type of services in a given area, as well as on local conditions.

The project output can be utilised indirectly by self-governmental authorities and the local and national media. In addition, inhabitants of rural areas and small towns who manufacture local products, farmers who run agritourism farms and local businesses can also benefit.

The strategy of project output dissemination adopted by the Partnership includes the development of an e-learning platform containing training material for the implementation of an environmental business model by NGOs. Press conferences and promoting the project in the media will take place. The project information will also reach the NGO network and will be available on the websites and portals of third sector organisations. Throughout the project implementation period but mainly after the completion of the most significant activities, the Partnership's representatives will meet with self-governmental authorities and national authorities to inform them about their achievements. The project website has been available through links placed on the websites of each partner organisation since the launch of the project.