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Pawel Jordan is trying to increase civic participation by introducing the “new” concept of volunteer service in Poland and other post-communist countries that do not have a history of volunteerism.
When compared to other European countries Poland has a much lower incidence of volunteerism. In Poland the idea of volunteering has a very negative connotation, because it is still very closely associated with the “compulsory volunteering” that people were forced into during the totalitarian era. Under the previous regime citizens were required to perform tasks for the public good, such as harvesting vegetables at cooperative farms. However, Pawel believes that there are a large number of Poles who would be willing to volunteer. However, only a small proportion of citizens’ organizations in Poland regularly exploit this resource.
In 1993 Pawel established the first Polish Volunteer Center in Warsaw. By 1997 it grew to nine centers throughout Poland. In 1997 Pawel helped to launch a twin Volunteers’ Center in Lithuania and other European countries. He was working on some of the legal obstacles that are hindering voluntarism in Poland. Pawel published many guides of how to use volunteers in social care centers. His plan was to have his program functioning in hundreds institutions with over thousands volunteers in Poland.
Pawel Jordan is building civil awareness and citizen participation by promoting the idea of volunteerism in Poland and the other countries in the former Soviet bloc. Pawelbelieves that a vibrant volunteer culture is a critical component of a stable and well–rooted democracy. Pawel’s work is different from similar projects in the region because it goes beyond simple recruitment and shows social service agencies, hospitals, and nongovernmental organizations how they could benefit from the use of volunteers. He is combating the hesitation of many managers to open up their organizations to unproven strangers, and he is also training them to use volunteers in the most productive manner.
Pawel Jordan is trying to increase civic participation by introducing the “new” concept of volunteer service in Poland and other post–communist countries that do not have a history of volunteerism.
During high school, Pawel became very involved in volleyball. He says that playing on a team taught him the value of teamwork and cooperation. At university, he led many student activities and even started a students’ club. Pawel has also been very active in establishing a network of civic advisory centers, and was a member of the Advisory Board of the Citizen Social Development Project. He was also the director of the leading nongovernmental organization information bureau in Warsaw, and he has established a project which links more developed information centers to less developed ones in other cities.