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Frontpage News 2009 The 6th Mazovia NGO Initiatives Forum

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The 6th Mazovia NGO Initiatives Forum

The 6th Mazovia NGO Initiatives Forum was held in Warsaw on 25 September. The forum gathered representatives of NGOs and local governments, and is part of a project to strengthen civil society in the Mazovia region. The project is supported by the Polish NGO fund for democracy and civil society.

Representatives from the Office of the Committee of European Integration and the Polish NGO sector discussed how public authorities and NGOs could cooperate in preparing the upcoming Polish EU presidency in 2011. Another session of the forum was devoted to the NGO sector in Norway, with a special focus on volunteerism.

"Building a non-governmental Mazovia" is carried out in partnership with Folkeakademiet Akershus, a Norwegian NGO specialising in developing local democracy and identity. Folkeakademiet ("People's Academy") representatives attended the forum and spoke about the importance of strengthening democratic processes by anchoring them at the grassroots level and encouraging public involvement. Ragnhild Pehrson from Folkeakademiet stated that the partnership is of mutual benefit to both sides, and was especially pleased to see the large number of young people active in Polish NGOs.

Bringing NGOs and local governments closer
The "Building a non-governmental Mazovia" project aims to strengthen NGOs and civil society in the region by carrying out a number of capacity-building projects. It is organised by the Mazovia federation; a network of NGOs operating in the region. As part of the project activities, NGOs will receive training in fields such as organisational and financial management, accountancy, ICT, and law. Civil servants at the local level will receive training in how local governments can cooperate with the NGO sector to the benefit of local residents and society as a whole.

The NGO fund for democracy and civil society is one of three NGO funds supported by the EEA and Norway Grants operating in Poland, the largest beneficiary country. The two other funds allocate means to projects carried out within the fields of promoting equal opportunities and social integration, and environmental protection and sustainable environment.