The city’s Open Kraków (Otwarty Kraków) programme is once more back on the agenda, after several months of silence and little obvious activity.
We now find ourselves half way through the 2 year programme, yet the first meeting of a new working group, formed to work with the city to implement the programme, only took place on 2nd October 2017 !!
The working group, who’s official title, ‘Interdisciplinary Team to Collaborate in the Implementation of the Open Krakow Programme’, doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, consists of around 16 representatives from the city, and relevant organisations, foundations and NGO’s, including Krakow Expats Directory.
The representatives were selected and invited by the President of Kraków to share their knowledge and experiences in the International expat community, in particular the needs, frustrations, barriers and expectations of foreigners living in Kraków. The intention is to work together in a collaborative and positive way to implement the programme and deliver the aims of the Open Krakow for the benefit of Kraków’s foreign community.
THE DUTIES OF THE WORKING GROUP
The duties of the Team include the development and proposal of solutions, in particular, in terms of:
- Development of the concept of the operation of an information point for foreigners,
- Selection of official procedures for translation into foreign languages,
- Preparation of the concept of a multicultural and anti-discriminatory social campaign in Krakow,
- Determination of the rules of the functioning of the chapter “multicultural logo”
- Development of campaigns against hate crimes (monitoring, response, prevention),
- Development of the principles of cooperation with non-governmental organisations dealing with multicultural issues and activities for foreigners, multiculturalism, national or ethnic minorities,
- Organisation of competitions for multicultural events,
- Development of a concept for informing people about the possibility of naming streets and multicultural education,
- Multicultural education,
- Development of the concept of competitions for children from minorities and Polish families,
- Searching for patronage for educational initiatives,
- Supporting the fight against illegal graffiti in consultation and collaboration with the Team for Scrawls (exchange of experiences, consultations, joint action plan),
- Preparing recommendations for Krakow’s accession to the Intercultural Cities Network at the Council of Europe and the European Commission
WHAT IS OPEN KRAKÓW (OTWARTY KRAKÓW) ?
In September 2016, the Council of the City of Kraków adopted for implementation the programme “Open Kraków” (Otwarty Kraków), prepared by the Department of Social Affairs (UMK).
The program is designed to facilitate the integration of foreigners in Kraków and to demonstrate the benefits foreigners bring to the city.
Kraków Expats Directory, as a member of the working group, will provide information, in English, to the foreigner/expat community, in the absence of any English language information or online information from the city. We have repeatedly proposed to the city that they should consider the rather obvious step of sharing information online, regarding Open Kraków in other languages, at the inaugural meeting on 2nd October, we again raised this point and were assured that it was being looked into. (A similar response to the one we received last October!)
The Open Kraków (Otwary Kraków) programme is hugely significant as it is the first time the council of the city of Kraków have formally recognised the presence and contribution of the foreigners in this city.
At long last, we have been (or will be) given a voice to be heard. This is a fabulous opportunity to improve relations, communication, access to services and other issues which affect our community.
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO CONSULTATION?
A very good question, and one we have raised at every opportunity since last October. Our view is that to meet the aims of Open Krakow, ie to better serve the needs of foreigners living in Krakow, they first need to understand and know what those needs are, the issues, barriers and difficulties, what works and what doesn’t.
The programme for implementation has been decided by the city, and does include a consultation phase, but not until later in the programme. We strongly believe this is counter-productive, and would have expected that consultation should come first. (See How can I get involved section below)
WHERE CAN I FIND OUT MORE?
The city have now translated some of the key documents and information into English and other languages which Kraków Expats Directory will be used as a platform for sharing.
THE WORKING GROUP
(‘Interdisciplinary Team to Collaborate in the Implementation of the Open Krakow Programme’)
Minutes of the first Working Group meeting – 2nd October
OK, SO WHATS NEXT?
One of the first tasks of the working group is to identify all of the city procedures which may relate to foreigners living in Kraków and have them translated.
Obviously this raises a number of issues, not least the sheer volume of procedures across several different departments, not to mention those procedures which are dealt with at National or Regional level.
The Marshal of Małopolska (Urząd Marszałkowski Województwa Małopolskiego) has been invited to the next meeting, on Monday 23rd October, to discuss Open Kraków, and hopefully to explore how it relates to and can hopefully, in the future be adapted to Voivodeship rather than city (or national) administered procedures and functions, many of which directly relate to foreigners.
The working group are assessing the city of Krakow procedures to identify those which are more relevant and should be prioritised for translation. The City carried out an internal audit within it’s own departments and came up with a full list of services provided by the City which is shown in the link below.
HOW CAN I GET INVOLVED?
Unfortunately the working groups discussions on ‘Consultation with Foreigners/research needs/diagnosis’ are not scheduled in the work plan until meeting 4 or 5, which will not be until well into the New Year in 2018 – 15 months into the 2 year programme.
We feel this is a regrettable oversight, and are pressing to go to consultation sooner, as surely the foreigners themselves have a much greater idea of what their needs are, and consultation should have been at the beginning, not towards the end of the programme!
That said, whilst we continue to push to move to consultation sooner, in the meantime we want to create a channel/process for foreigners and members of our International and expat community in Kraków to contribute their views, issues, experience, knowledge and assist and get involved in any way they can to inform and support the implementation team.
We are currently looking at the simplest and most efficient way to facilitate that and will share information on that very soon. Put simply, we feel we will be better prepared to make our own views and issues heard if we can collate our views in readiness for the upcoming consultation. We will share details on this soon.
Please share this with friends, organisations, foundations, groups, NGO’s or anyone that may be interested in or affected by the Open Krakow Programme, which should apply to all foreigners and International companies and organisations in Kraków.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to share any comments, feedback or highlight any specific Expat/Foreigners in Kraków issues, relating to the Open Kraków (Otwarty Kraków) programme.