Grants for Local Community Initiatives as a Way to Increase Public Participation of Inhabitants of Rural Areas



Year of publication 2021
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Agriculture
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Economics and Administration

Keywords public participation; rural areas; regional self-government; conditional grants; co-creation; co-production; participatory budgeting; SDGs
Attached files
Description Increasing the participation of inhabitants in the activities of local authorities has been one of the topics in the discussion on sustainable development for a long time. In rural development, there is also a demand for increasing the participation of inhabitants. This is possible thanks, among other things, to tools that enhance bonds in local communities, encompassing processes based on the mechanisms of the co-creation and co-production of public services, or various forms of participation in the decision-making processes of self-government. In Poland, some regional self-governments (voivodeships) have introduced solutions based on a system of grants for small local communities (villages/sołectwa) linked to deliberative participation, co-creation, and co-production processes. The goal of this article is thus to analyse the design, operation, and scale of grant mechanisms implemented by regional authorities for local communities in Poland’s rural areas (sołectwa). The first stage of the research process was a review of the literature, followed by analysis of the existing solutions and mechanisms for supporting small local communities in individual regions of Poland by financing or co-financing projects that engage inhabitants in the co-creation and co-production of public goods or services. Based on this, the key assumptions considered when creating this type of mechanism of support by voivodeship self-governments were determined. A subsequent stage of research involved analysing the case study of a solution introduced in 2016 by the Łódź regional self-government. The research results indicate that the analysed grant system model stimulates local communities that were previously passive/excluded by other programmes and that, as a result of the stable conditions of a grant contest, the process of “learning” and “imitating” the actions of the communities that succeeded occurs. The research results indicate that the proposed system of grants, which is conditionally based on the participation and co-operation of the inhabitants, seems to be an effective means of activating communities. The findings also point to features that could determine the success of the introduced grant model, such as its simplicity, limiting the bureaucracy (partially limiting the influence of local authorities on who obtains grants), and the transparency of the procedure.

You are running an old browser version. We recommend updating your browser to its latest version.