Water is a natural treasure of the Beskid Sadecky Mountains, one of Poland's most beautiful regions. Local mineral and spring waters have unique nutritional and health benefits and have been used for years for health related treatments. It often happens that water springs, water sources, basins and water courses are neglected by local communities and not properly cared for. Thus, it is critical to engage them in the protection of water resources, build partnerships between private companies and NGOs and educate local residents and school children about the importance of protecting water ecosystems and ways of doing this.
In order to be successful the Fund needs to cooperate closely with local NGOs, local authorities and the local communities. As it covers four municipalities, the initiative will have to manage different interests for the benefit of a higher cause - water ecosystem protection.
The program provides financial support and expertise to local community group projects aimed at protecting the natural water resources of Beskid Sadecki mountains. Kropla Beskidu Fund addresses four local municipalities. The program was developed and has been carried out since 2005 by the Coca-Cola system companies in Poland together with two Foundations: the Partnership Fund (Fundusz Partnerstwa) and "Partnership for Environment".
The Kropla Beskidu Fund offers grants in two project categories:
- 1st degree grant (4 grants of up to 1,225 Euro (5 000 PLN) designed especially for schools educational projects
- 2nd degree grants (4 grants of up to 6,112 Euro(25 000 PLN) intended for local communities' initiatives of more complex nature, such as the construction of small dams. Projects of the 2nd degree should lead to long-lasting, measurable improvement of local water resources.
The Kropla Beskidu Fund grant program is addresses:
- NGOs, schools, kindergartens, community centers and informal groups,
- other institutions and organizations active in the area of four local communities in Beskid Sadecki: Muszyna, Krynica Zdrój, Piwniczna and Rytro.
The projects are evaluated by the Fund's Program Board, consisting of representatives of local authorities, the Institute of Meteorology and Water Administration, Regional Management of Water Resources, Popradzki Landscape Park, National Institute of Hygiene, representatives of the Coca-Cola system companies in Poland and two foundations, the Partnership Fund and Partnership for Environment.
The Kropla Beskidu Fund is believed to be the most effective method for engaging local communities in relevant environment protection solutions and projects that safeguard regional water resources, enhance the image of the area (thus, for example, attracting tourists) and improve the water management system.
In 2009 the Kropla Beskidu Fund changed its formula and now provides fewer grants (ca. 8 grants annually), each of higher value. This new formula be continued in 2010.
Due to limited resources we do not plan to expand Kropla Beskidu Fund to other districts/municipalities. The Program's Board has decided instead to more fully engage local community members in the program. The "Partnership Fund" Foundation, which administers the Kropla Beskidu Fund, will organize a communication campaign in the area to encourage citizens and local organizations to participate in the program. Separate internet sites will be created for the Kropla Beskidu Fund as well as for the local NGOs. A series of workshops will be organised in the area to cover such issues as: local water ecosystem, how to apply for the grants, local administration procedures, etc.
- Protecting natural water resources in the region -62 ecological projects were completed in the years 2005 - 2010
- Inspiring and motivating local communities to take responsibility for their environment and engaging them in creating partnerships with NGOs, local authorities and business
- Strengthening relationships with local communities (Coca-Cola HBC Polska Kropla Beskidu water plant is located in the area)
- Educating school children about water ecosystems
- Enhancing Coca-Cola system's reputation as sustainable companies taking active care of the natural environment
- Enhancing company's expertise in the area of ecology by working with experienced NGOs
Financial efficiency of the Kropla Beskidu Fund - cost sharing between Coca-Cola companies.