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Bohdan Skrzypczak is enlivening people in the small towns of rural northeast Poland with positive social energy and respect for others. He is introducing community-based eco-tourism that celebrates the history of peaceful coexistence local groups have enjoyed with each other and with the environment, and his leadership is having a ripple effect in the region.
Historically, rural Poland has always been neglected for development, in favor of the urban communities of Warsaw and Krakow. This has perpetuated a feeling of inferiority among rural citizens. The problem has been compounded by the lack of belonging many people feel toward their communities because they or their parents were forcibly relocated from other regions after World War II.
CAL is a strategic partner for NGOs, institutions on local, regional, national (also for government). They have a team of experts with extensive experience in local communityanimation throughout Poland – more than 100 trainers, specialists in adult education. About 100 communities have achieved the CAL Certificate of Quality. The CAL Association has published over 40 publications on local community development. Trainers, experts, supervisors from CAL stay strongly connected to local communities (most of them are leaders of local organizations and institutions).
Bohdan Skrzypczak recognizes that the key to rural Poland’s social and economic development is the people; and he is helping them generate plans which are tied to preserving and promoting Polish culture. In contrast to the main currents of development in Poland, which emphasizes urban areas, he reaches out to communities in areas long considered “backward,” poor and less interesting. In the course of assisting communities to identify and accentuate their positive aspects, Bohdan is combating the flight of people to the larger cities and developing alternatives for local employment.
The association was brought to life to strengthen the basis of civic society in Poland, support sustainable development and promote participatory approach.
Bohdan was born in the 1960’s and is a historian and former teacher. Like many Poles of his generation, he had a chance to start his social activity in 1990, after the major Polish political changes. He comes naturally to his interest and achievements in cultural and community life–his family history includes many generations of accomplished folk musicians. His passion is inventing new ideas that are practical enough to be accomplished.