Rural Development Foundation
For over 30 years we have been responding to the needs of people living in the rural areas of Poland. We are supporting their economic and social activity, and efforts to improve living conditions in the rural regions. We prop up cultural development and education, as well as activities focused on development of social care, protection of the natural environment and improvement of the spatial order.
Every year our microloans help hundreds of small businesses to grow. Since the program was launched we have granted nearly 18,000 loans. Annually, close to 1,000 students and adults can improve their entrepreneurial skills thanks to the financial education program.
We have joined hands with local authorities across Poland. Thanks to regular meetings, we provide the representatives of local authorities with up-to-date legal knowledge and insight into latest technological advancements and social changes. We also support them in maintaining a good relationship with local communities.
Our training program stimulates NGOs to improve their activities in rural areas and actively participate in the life of local communities.
Offering access to trusted news and comprehensive knowledge on our websites, we encourage everyone to develop independent, personal opinions about the world around us. Annually, our educational competitions prop up more than 1,000 middle- and high schoolers in their urge to widen horizons.
Microloans for microenterprises operating in the rural areas and cities with population up to 40,000. Currently, microloans are available for entrepreneurs from the following voivodships: podkarpackie, kujawsko-pomorskie, lubelskie, warmińsko-mazurskie, świętokrzyskie and podlaskie.
Financial Education – “Rural Entrepreneurship 101”. Educational program for the inhabitants of rural areas and small cities who want to develop their entrepreneurial skills and learn how to start and run their own business.
Our Place. Public consultation of local spatial management plans in rural areas and small cities. The aim of the program is to prepare local government officers to promote spatial planning based on dialogue.
Local Government Academy. Program for the representatives of local authorities who wish to update their legal knowledge and gain insight into latest technological advancements and social changes.
Workshops in Łowicz are dedicated to local leaders who want to excel at planning and running local community projects.
Maróz Conference and Workshop is organized annually to sum up the work of NGOs in the rural areas and discuss the major problems of the rural Poland. For over 15 years this event has been run by the Foundation in cooperation with Nidzicka Fundacja Rozwoju „NIDA” and with the financial help of Polish-American Freedom Foundation.
I Know America is an internet-based educational competition for high school students from all over Poland who wish to know more about the United States. The idea behind it is also to promote the internet as a means of communication and a source of verified information.
Civic UP! Academy is a 10-day workshop for young people interested in independently conducting social activities in their community and beyond. The workshop is organized by the U.S. Embassy in Poland in cooperation with the Center for Civic Education and the Rural Development Foundation.
Space for Action is a year-long project aiming to train 24 (12 teams of 2) teenagers from different rural areas of Poland to become more socially engaged residents of their communities and beyond. This goal is to be achieved by supporting the youth in planning and executing their own social projects within their communities based on social diagnosis thereof. This process will be backed with 4 training workshops (84 hrs) with tasks to be completed in between and support of experienced mentors.
Witryna Wiejska – www.witrynawiejska.org.pl – latest news and tips for NGOs working in rural areas
Wszechnica – www.wszechnica.org.pl – great and inspiring lectures online
Edukacja finansowa – www.edufin.pl – all you need to know about our financial education program
In our 30-year history we have published dozens of works, researches and reports dealing with life in the rural areas. We have written about the sustainable and safe use of water, as well flood preparedness and response. We have researched how to make the best use of the internet and new technologies, manage personal finances, and boost entrepreneurial skills in rural communities. We have also looked at ways to preserve unique cultural heritage of the Polish province and create a better spatial order.
The Rural Development Foundation was established on June 30, 1999 by the decree of Józef Glemp, then Polish Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, and came as a result of the merger between the Rural Water Supply Foundation and the Agricultural Foundation.
In 1981 German and Polish episcopates were first to hold talks on financial aid to the rural areas in Poland. The idea was to provide aid independent of the communist government. However, it was not until 1987, when the plan was put into practice resulting in the establishment of the Rural Water Supply Foundation.
The new foundation came into existence from lengthy negotiations between the representatives of the Catholic Church and the communist regime. The main goal of the talks was to restore foundations as legal entities (the decree of 1952 dissolved all foundations, outlawed establishment of the new ones and enabled the state to own all property of existing foundations).
The Rural Water Supply Foundation supplied grants and preferential loans for the construction of water and sewage systems in the rural areas. The Foundation also organized trainings for rural communities in micro-entrepreneurship, agritourism, environmental protection, basics of local government and development of civil awareness.
The Agricultural Foundation was started in 1991 to change employment structure in the rural areas. The idea was to encourage people living in the country and in small towns to become less dependent of agriculture and find other sources of income.
Hence, the Foundation started to grant preferential loans to the owners of promising enterprises, agritourist farms and unemployed individuals who worked to start their own businesses and become independent from welfare benefits.
At that time, the Agricultural Foundation was the only NGO in Poland to support the development of small scale water retention by granting preferential loans for the improvement of small hydropower plants in the lowland areas.
Fundacja Wspomagania Wsi (Rural Development Foundation)
ul. Bellottiego 1
01-022 Warsaw, Poland
Tel.: (0048) 22 636 25 70