From September 2014 to April 2016 the foundation Center for Dispute and Conflict together with its partner, namely the Center for Social Communication of the Capital City of Warsaw carried out the project “Supporting civil dialogue in conditions of local conflict”. The activities were financed from the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area (the so-called EEA Funds) within the Citizens for Democracy program, run by the Stefan Batory Foundation in cooperation with the Polish Children and Youth Foundation.
The aim of the project was to develop, test and disseminate in Poland a model of support for civil dialogue in the local government units with application of the tools of conflict management.
Politicians, local officials and residents sometimes lack the skills and experience for the dialogue about local matters to be fruitful. Differences between people easily turn into disputes. On the other hand, fear of disputes discourages form organizing and participating in the processes of civil participation.
A direct result of the project are successful processes of civil dialogue and real changes in organizational practice in Mokotów, Ursynów and Wawer (districts of Warsaw). Another result is a thoroughly thought already and partly disseminated in Poland idea of engaging local governments in developing institutional capacity and increasing availability of mediators and mediation centers with knowledge on conflict management.
The model describes:
- four pillars of cooperation between the organizers of civil dialogue and specialists in the field of conflict management (intrinsic motivation, appreciative attitude, good communication and mediation attitude),
- six areas of civil dialogue in which it is worth to prepare for conflicts (diagnosis, team, resources, actions, evaluation, system),
- a set of forms and methods of support for the organizers and participants of the dialogue (knowledge sharing, communication support, systemic support).
We believe that a model support of civil dialogue is fostered by:
- knowledge of theory and good practices in the field of conflict management and civil dialogue,
- development of skills in the supporting and the supported,
- sociological diagnosis of the city (town) and its administration,
- developed procedure of determining and agreeing on the subject and form of support,
- professional support from the host (in our case the project partner, i.e. Social Communication of the Capital City of Warsaw and district coordinators of participation).
The Conference: Ready for Civil Dialogue? Conflict management in local participation, which was held in Warsaw on 12 April 2016 constituted a sum up of the project.