Polish ngos and cooperation  Julia Wygnańska, Researcher in European        Observatory on Homelessness
Cooperation-   Coming together of institutions acting to achieve the same goal (like    ending homelessness) in an organiz...
Cooperation   is not the greatest assetof Polish homelessness ngos
Facts ...• Five biggest national or regional homelessness networks  have never since 1989 formed any common official  stat...
...more facts ...• „Networking” within one network – networks concentrate on their  own chapters like MONAR, TPBA, CARITAS...
misleading statistics• Overall good numbers in research on  cooperation of ngos and local govt (Barometr  2006/7)  – 60% c...
Reasons?/barriers?
1.   Personal factors regarding ngo staff and local officials;2.   Misunderstood independence of ngos;3.   Local officials...
(1) Personal factors regarding    ngo staff and local officials
(1) Personal• Negative attitudes towards those working  for the other sector (amateurs/activists vs.  bureaucrats).• Elder...
(2) Misunderstoodindependence of ngos
(2) misunderstood independence• Polish ngos consider independence as their  defining feature:  – established by people who...
„Negative” independence• Natural/historical burdens to independence  were:  – legal regulations  – the government (..)• No...
„Positive” independence• Freedom to set own rules regarding own  organization (quality of the service, number of  beds, st...
(3) Local officials tend to see ngos as            mission driven
(3) Missions• (Still) Local officials tend to see ngos as mission  driven bodies implementing private goals of their  lead...
(4) Concentration on  short term goals;
(4) Short term goals• Major goal of average homelessness ngo is to secure  funding/resources for next year.• It is easier ...
5. Lack of funding mechanisms    facilitating cooperation;
(5) Funding• Still granted for projects not for provision of  standardized services (subsidies vs. contracts  for services...
Evidence• Why Pomerania has effective cooperation? – no problem  with misunderstood independence and personal  prejudices ...
Consequences• Only basic services provided based on public funding  (night shelters, shelters, soupkitchens, some supporte...
Final remarks• Many years behind but undergoing much  faster development.• Good legislative basis already established:  Th...
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Polish NGOs and cooperation

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Presentation given by Julia Wygnanska, Independent Researcher at a FEANTSA conference on "Strategies to end homelessness: Elements of conflict and cooperation at local level", hosted by the Committee of the Regions, June 2008

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Polish NGOs and cooperation

  1. 1. Polish ngos and cooperation Julia Wygnańska, Researcher in European Observatory on Homelessness
  2. 2. Cooperation- Coming together of institutions acting to achieve the same goal (like ending homelessness) in an organized manner (at least regular meetings of prescribed representatives of each institution).- Publishing common statements, organized reactions to new problems.- Good understanding of the positive trade of between benefits from cooperation (long term effectiveness, continuity of care) and its costs (time that has to be invested).- Producing some results that can be attributed to cooperation. julkiw@yahoo.com, www.bezdomnosc.edu.pl
  3. 3. Cooperation is not the greatest assetof Polish homelessness ngos
  4. 4. Facts ...• Five biggest national or regional homelessness networks have never since 1989 formed any common official statement addressing issues of homelessness• Needs covered/problems solved rather through individual/personal activities then by common institutional pressure of multi-ngo platforms• No National Homelessness Policy• 2007/8 Winter meetings at the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy to coordinate crisis intervention in homelessness included no ngos and no ngo contested it (80% of crisis intervention is provided by ngos). julkiw@yahoo.com, www.bezdomnosc.edu.pl
  5. 5. ...more facts ...• „Networking” within one network – networks concentrate on their own chapters like MONAR, TPBA, CARITAS overseeing the need to cooperate with other bodies e.g. active in the same locality• Besides Pomerania there are no local platforms that would include stakeholders from across the sectors cooperating because of having common goal and acting on the same territory: – Warsaw Council for the Homeless – ngo and municipality fighting against each other), the President has just announced his resignation – Barka Fundation in Poznan creating its own support system which is rather next to the State then in cooperation with it. – Pomerania (Region of Gdańsk) good cooperation of ngos local government academics and business bodies. julkiw@yahoo.com, www.bezdomnosc.edu.pl
  6. 6. misleading statistics• Overall good numbers in research on cooperation of ngos and local govt (Barometr 2006/7) – 60% consider local govt as major partner – local government (besides Warsaw) is the most frequently mentioned partner by ngos – 60% of ngos cooperate financially with lg, julkiw@yahoo.com, www.bezdomnosc.edu.pl
  7. 7. Reasons?/barriers?
  8. 8. 1. Personal factors regarding ngo staff and local officials;2. Misunderstood independence of ngos;3. Local officials tend to see ngos as mission driven rather then professional service providers;4. Concentration on short term goals;5. Lack of funding mechanisms facilitating cooperation. julkiw@yahoo.com, www.bezdomnosc.edu.pl
  9. 9. (1) Personal factors regarding ngo staff and local officials
  10. 10. (1) Personal• Negative attitudes towards those working for the other sector (amateurs/activists vs. bureaucrats).• Elderly and low qualified staff of many ngos supporting the homeless (Warsaw)• Researchers seen as theory oriented academics with out of the blue ideas julkiw@yahoo.com, www.bezdomnosc.edu.pl
  11. 11. (2) Misunderstoodindependence of ngos
  12. 12. (2) misunderstood independence• Polish ngos consider independence as their defining feature: – established by people who after 1989 finally wanted to do what they thought was important and were previously unable to do, due to the omnipotent state suppressing citizen’s activities.• Newly gained independence understood as – freedom from the State (negative independence) and – freedom to implement own missions (positive independance). julkiw@yahoo.com, www.bezdomnosc.edu.pl
  13. 13. „Negative” independence• Natural/historical burdens to independence were: – legal regulations – the government (..)• Nowadays organizations seem to feel the need to oppose both burdens to confirm their ngo identity even though political system has changed: – still feel excused to brake „stupid” regulations without feeling responsible to influence their change – consider local government to be a threat to their ngo identity and as such must be opposed julkiw@yahoo.com, www.bezdomnosc.edu.pl
  14. 14. „Positive” independence• Freedom to set own rules regarding own organization (quality of the service, number of beds, staff qualifications, resident’s rights, etc.) – resistance to standards for services• „My ngo is my castle” (Warsaw).• State should not interfere because it would be against democratic ethos. julkiw@yahoo.com, www.bezdomnosc.edu.pl
  15. 15. (3) Local officials tend to see ngos as mission driven
  16. 16. (3) Missions• (Still) Local officials tend to see ngos as mission driven bodies implementing private goals of their leaders rather then professional service providers fulfilling public tasks.• Such ngos are not considered to be legitimate partners for local government as its duty is to support „all” citizens not private interests. julkiw@yahoo.com, www.bezdomnosc.edu.pl
  17. 17. (4) Concentration on short term goals;
  18. 18. (4) Short term goals• Major goal of average homelessness ngo is to secure funding/resources for next year.• It is easier to achieve individual goals through individual cooperation then through investing resources (mostly time) in creating networks/platforms.• They play „the best student in a class game” (labelled long term favourites and bad boys) which does not facilitate common activities. julkiw@yahoo.com, www.bezdomnosc.edu.pl
  19. 19. 5. Lack of funding mechanisms facilitating cooperation;
  20. 20. (5) Funding• Still granted for projects not for provision of standardized services (subsidies vs. contracts for services).• Such funding is available anyway so, no cooperation and networking are required to get it.• No funding programme that has criterias facilitating cooperation to provide broader range of services (on national as well as local level). julkiw@yahoo.com, www.bezdomnosc.edu.pl
  21. 21. Evidence• Why Pomerania has effective cooperation? – no problem with misunderstood independence and personal prejudices as many of local government officials used to be ngo activists, and by local ngos are still recognized as „own people”.• (2008) Once cooperation became necessary to get funding (Human Capital; stream for Local Standards for Ending Homelessness) all five major networks sat at one table and drafted long term project titled „Five ways - one goal”.• EQUAL funding facilitated some cross sectoral and multi- agency cooperation because only Partnerships of different institutions were allowed to apply for it. julkiw@yahoo.com, www.bezdomnosc.edu.pl
  22. 22. Consequences• Only basic services provided based on public funding (night shelters, shelters, soupkitchens, some supported appartments).• Any innovative programmes (supported housing, monitoring programmes for people newly housed) implemented on ad hoc basis.• No continuity of care: programmes addressing homelessness separated from housing programmes.• Policies are not evidence based. julkiw@yahoo.com, www.bezdomnosc.edu.pl
  23. 23. Final remarks• Many years behind but undergoing much faster development.• Good legislative basis already established: The 2003 Act on Public Benefit and Volunteering requires each local community to draft Annual Programmes of Cooperation with Ngos. julkiw@yahoo.com, www.bezdomnosc.edu.pl

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