If none of the above, answer here:
Please describe if and how your stakeholders (cooperation partners, funders, users, etc.) have been participating in defining the problem and developing the solution.
The program's format was worked out as the result of talks and consultations with the Polish-American Freedom Foundation which is funding the program. We meet regularly with the Foundation representatives to discuss the program's progress and negotiate necessary changes. In 2011, when our program was already in action for three years, we carried out a third-party evaluation that served as a basis for introducing changes in our methods. The participants of the program (elderly and young leaders and the organizations they cooperate with) expressed their opinions about the efficiency of the model of support that we proposed (through surveys, phone interviews, personal meetings). The analysis of the efficiency and stability of the projects that we support provided us with valuable information on the factors of success and difficulties faced while implementing the projects.
While carrying out the Program, we aim at gaining knowledge from the projects that we support. We invite program Alumni to take part in workshops in the form of a “Master Class”, aimed at deliberating together about different methods of work with local communities.
Has your solution been tested in trials, experimentations, or pilot projects? If yes, please describe the process and outcome.
The first edition of the program was carried out between 2008-2009 and was a pilot study. The Ę Association was already experienced in assisting young people in implementing their first social project. We were not sure, however, whether this formula would meet seniors' interest and whether we would be able to encourage young people to implement a project together with an elderly leader. Over 500 entries were submitted that year, which convinced us that we should focus our program on working with elderly and young leaders. After gaining experience from the first edition of the program, we also decided to invest more in know-how for the awarded projects. We broadened our program to include the ability to invite coaches from the network of Flying Cultural Animators and Flying Sociologists that we run, to cooperate. We also put a special note in the rules of the competition, encouraging projects submitted by elderly men in order to increase their number among the participants. The conclusion of our program's evaluation (2011) inspired us to develop activities aimed at the program Alumni to use more of their skills and experiences, as well as build a network of active leaders.
What barriers might hinder the success of your initiative? How do you plan to overcome them?
Participating in our program needs some effort (going through several recruitment stages, taking part in workshops) and grants that we award are not very high. Up to now, our Program has been the only nationwide grant program in Poland that is strictly concentrated on supporting senior activities and intergenerational cooperation. In 2012, big funds were put to work by the Government for this goal. It may result in lower interest in our competition. While promoting our competition, we plan to put more emphasis on non-financial support that we provide for the projects, the chance to develop and obtain new skills. So far, we have supported over 160 initiatives. Knowledge and experiences gained in the program are very valuable, but we need to arrange them and develop more ways of sharing our experience. Establishing cooperation with the Warsaw University in terms of launching post-graduate studies on organizing work with seniors seems a good course of action for arranging and presenting the experience gained through the program. We also currently work on launching a special website where all educational materials produced in the program will be collected.