In 2014, representatives of the GG visited Poland for the second time. Again as in last time, the country met us kindly and warm. The team was arriving from Estonia with transit flight through Riga and already looked forward to meet people from different organizations for sharing experiences and practices. In short, after arrival at the airport Friderik Chopin, the team housed, warmed (Warsaw’s rain was cold in compare with Estonian 30º temperature) and ate. Working program has begun at next day.
1) Work program began with a meeting in the office of the Strategy Development Fund. Together with project coordinators Wojtek Szpoczinski and Sylwia Szparkowska we discussed plans of the project, analyzed its strengths and weaknesses, needs and capabilities. A meeting with representatives of various organizations followed it.
2) Paul Pogorzelski from the firm “Promyk Consulto” shared experience of implementing environmental initiatives in rural areas in order to increase benefits. The main point of his presentation was the practice of ecotourism: routes for tourists by various types of transport – kayaking, biking, etc…
3) Kamil Miklaszevski from “Grupa Projektowa +48” gave examples of interpretation traditions with the help of modern architecture. He presented the most interesting ones. Exchange the experience, developing and planning of own ideas took the whole day, including lunch and dinner.
1) The next day started with a mini-training Wojtek Szpoczinski. He explained how to formulate the main points in project – information needs and beneficiaries. In addition, representatives of GG got homework to write the draft of the pseudo – project.
2) Next visit was to bio-bazaar – a market, where entrepreneurs put up for sale natural regional products. Simply speaking, bio-market – this is the kind of community where cooperation of entrepreneurs helps to make a profit. There the meeting have held with Joanna Rzuhlinska from company “My Ecolife”, which told us about successful practices of Polish advertising of such products.
On the next morning, after breakfast, the GG team and moderators went to training by Płużnica enterprises. 1) The first place to visit was the bakery in Stoln where guests were treated to delicious buns. The bakery was a real example of a regional product in the countryside.
2) Next, we visited the “Department of Professional Activation” in Dzonow. This is a small enterprise, which combines a rehabilitation center for people who have suffered moral shocks or with intellectual disabilities. Center actually matches its name – gyms, flexible working timetable, handicrafts and other, which is necessary for rehabilitation. We were impressed that people here work as full members of society, that they are involved in the functional purpose of the enterprise.
3) After, we was in the building of the “local units”. A place where leaders of local commune are meet and solve maintenance questions and improvement quality of life. Marcin Skonieczka – the current head of the municipality (elected every four years), told the whole policy of the commune, that first of all municipality is responsible to the people, and then to the state.
4) Then, the GG team with moderators are visited another “Department of Professional Activation”, which was in Wambrzezno. This time it was entertainment center offering bowling, billiards etc. At the same time, employees of the organization were people with disabilities. Director of the center told us about the challenges facing social entrepreneurship and opportunities for the return of people with such properties to the labor market.
5) The next item was the agro homestead “Kodzuvka.” Once, Ms. Irena Szimion decided to organize a place to store artefacts – so a museum appeared in one part of the homestead. Vintage photos, clothing and household items – all these things realize immersion into the atmosphere of bygone days. The museum was an example of the local tourism potential.
6) After that, all together went to the office of the “Society of Development of the Commune”, where with Miroslava Tomasik – the president of the society talked about the impact of NGOs in region development.
7) At the end of the day, the team was invited to a party, which took place in the society of commune. Songs around the campfire, lively music, dancing – all this could not leave Tajiks indifferent so, they also joined the fun, and returned home in a wonderful mood.
1) The next morning, after breakfast, Ewgeni Tomasik led the team on a tour of the ostrich farm, at the same time presenting the other agro-tourism practices. Ostriches – is certainly unusual animals that inspire and frighten at the same time.
2) Soon, thanking the owners of the homestead, said goodbye to them, we left Gmina Płużnica. The delegation went in Warsaw through Torun, where we visited the memorial sites and “old town”.
3) Arriving in Warsaw, in the evening, together with the coordinators of the project, GG discussed knowledge and skills acquired during a trip to Gmina Płużnica. Discussed the possibility of introducing certain practices in conjunction with the specifics of Tajik culture.
This day was the last working day. 1) In the morning, the GG team have divided into two parts – the younger and the older generation. Younger worked with project coordinator Wojtek Szpoczinski, who conducted the workshop and checked homework draft-projects.
2) In parallel with this, the elders went to Warsaw Botanic Garden, where Agatha Filipek from the organization «Grupa Projektowa +48» told about changing plant trends, depending on their presentation.
3) Working session on the development of own projects began after botanical garden, workshop and dinner. Coordinators told about the program SDF, regarding the activities of the SDF in the Pamirs, etc.
4) The day ended with a farewell dinner in the restaurant.
The next day had planned as an extensive program; it had assumed that to the homeland GG representatives would fly only at 6 pm. However, it turned out that the organizers have mixed flight – it was to take place 2 pm. Well, that “bug” had discovered in time, although it had brought an element of panic in the process of collecting suitcases. Nevertheless, we had to pack up and drive to the airport. Then there was a long way home through transit routes and other countries, but that is another story. That was the end a study tour to Poland. Knowledge and skills obtained in Estonia and Poland have become a new impetus to the development potential of the “Gulu Giyoh” organization, and practices had taken a note.