Community-led Local Development (CLLD) as an Innovative Approach to Determining the Directions of Socio-economic Changes

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1 Community-led Local Development (CLLD) as an Innovative Approach to Determining the Directions of Socio-economic Changes PUCHAŁA, Jacek - PIOTROW SKA, Agnieszka University of Agriculture in Krakow, Poland A bstract This article attempts to determine the influence of the level of in strategic planning (consistent with the idea of Community-led Local Development) on the innovation of the approach to the strategy construction. The research method used in this article is the questionnaire (37 questionnaires from the Lesser Poland voivodeship) and observation based on participation - listening to the issues discussed by Local Action Group (LAG) members during training. This training focused on the creation of local development strategy (LDS), preparation of the communication strategy by the Local Action Groups (LAGs) and the involvement of local communities in the preparation and implementation of LDS. The analysis is conducted in different groups depending on their level of in creating strategies according to the Leader rules. Keywords community- led local development, strategy, local action group Introduction Local Action Groups play an increasing role in the planning of socio-economic development. Leaders of the local communities are engaged by local authorities to build strategies at the local, district and voivodeship level. The Leader approach is used to initiate a new way of organising economic activity in agriculture (shortening the supply chain) and outside of the agribusiness sector (tourism). Community-led Local Development requires activation of the residents, a joint analysis of the area and recognition of the real causes of local under-development. There are reasons to conclude that the in the strategic development planning according to the Leader approach affects the innovation and creativity in terms of the directions of the area development. In addition, it has been noted that the has an impact on the ability to encourage the community to participate in strategic planning. The group which is the most d in the field seems to remember best the idea of CLLD. LEADER Community initiative is directed towards rural areas. This name is an abbreviation of the French term: Liaison Entre Actions de development de I'Economie Rurale, which in English means: Links between actions of rural development [Puchała, 2013]. Leader rural development methodology is subsidized by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development as a part of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). LEADER is an approach that aims to contribute to the activation of rural communities through the inclusion of social and economic partners for the planning and implementation of local initiatives. These activities are clearly related to the level of social capital of rural residents. It is assumed that the higher the level the greater the trust of the people, and thus their greater willingness to undertake joint initiatives. Unfortunately, we can speak rather of its scarcity, even though research conducted by some authors shows that it is in the rural areas where this type of 112

2 capital should be shaped the most due to the extremely strong family ties and the ties between neighbours [Kowalska, 2013]. The local approach associated with a particular area affects the definition of the problems of the area and the identification of ways to solve them. LEADER is a bottom-up partnership approach to rural development adopted by Local Action Groups (LAGs) [The Rural Development Programme ]. Representatives of the private, public and non-governmental (NGO) sectors are involved in a partnership called the Local Action Group. They jointly prepare a Local Development Strategy (LDS). Local Action Groups are non-governmental organizations, in which at least 50% of the members must be social and economic partners. Leader approach to rural development has been implemented in the European Union since1991. Since then four stages of the community initiative have been defined. The program which was implemented during the first stage ( ) was named LEADER I. This initiative promoted a regional approach to solving problems of a specific area by including inhabitants in this process. In this period there were established 217 LAG. Their strategies were carried out on the area covering km and were financed by EU Structural Fund which earmarked 442 million for their implementation. From 1994 to 1999 EU implemented LEADER II program. Particular emphasis was put on cooperation with local communities in the process of introducing innovative solutions. At the time there were created 906 LAGs (covering the area of km2). At this stage million were invested in Leader approach by the EU. From 2000 to 2006 EU introduced the third stage of financing Leader rural development methodology, named LEADER PLUS. It was a continuation of the implementation of strategies based on regional and inter-regional cooperation. There were set up 893 LAGs working in the area of km2. EU allocated over million to their strategies. The most important documents prepared by the LAGs in Poland in this period were the Integrated Rural Development Strategies (IRDS). During a part of this this period ( ) Polish LAGs were the executors of the strategies and did not extend funding to projects of other organizations. In its strategies, the LAGs must include at least one of the four identified priorities: Use of new technologies and expertise to improve the competitiveness of products and services in rural areas, Improvement of the quality of life in rural areas, Increasing the value of local products, particularly by helping small production units reach markets, Use of natural and cultural resources, including the potential belonging to the Natura 2000 network. Leader approach to rural development was implemented in the European Union in the years Leader was the fourth branch of the Rural Development Programme in the years The objective of this branch is to build social capital through activation of the rural population. In addition, the LAGs faced the following tasks: creation of new jobs, organization of training and educational workshops for the population, appropriate use of assets and natural resources, promotion of rural tourism and many other factors. ["The Rural Development Programme (RDP )" The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Warsaw, July 2007] This time the implementation of LDS was possible 113

3 because of projects (operations) prepared and realised not by LAG (as before i LEADER PLUS) but by different beneficiaries (other NGOs). The tools used in the implementation of the strategy were the following four actions: Diversification into non-agricultural activities, Creation and development of micro-enterprises, Village renewal and development, Small projects. Small projects have played a key role in the development of tourism and infrastructure necessary for rural tourism. Funds obtained by small project were mainly used for the purchase of the necessary software and hardware, promotions, renovations of sacral roadside monuments, training for residents and local events. As a part of the first action, called "Diversification into non-agricultural activities", agritourism was co-financed in the form of reimbursement of the costs which had been incurred to start the business or to improve the quality and variety of services already performed agritourism [Niedziółka, 2009]. In the years there will be implemented the idea of Community-led Local Development (CLLD), which is connected to the Local Action Groups. It emphasises the bottom-up approach and attempts to eliminate the exclusion of certain social groups. Most disturbing is the fact that the marginalization covers a large part of rural youth coming from areas which are remote from major urban centres and major transport routes. [Kowalska, 2014] Aims and M ethods The method of research used in this article is the questionnaire (37 questionnaires were conducted in the Lesser Poland voivodeship) and observation based on participation - listening to the issues discussed by Local Action Group (LAG) members during training. Most were employees of the LGD office. This training focused on the creation of local development strategy (LDS), preparation of the communication strategy by the Local Action Groups (LAGs) and the involvement of local communities in the preparation and implementation of LDS. The analysis is conducted in different groups depending on their level of in creating strategies according to the Leader rules. The study involved 28 LAGs from the Lesser Poland voivodeship (68% of the total LAGs in the region). The study took place after the training connected with the implementation of the Leader approach, which was conducted at the Agricultural Advisory Centre in Krakow. During the training the author listened to the discussion of the problems concerning the implementation of the Leader approach. It proved to be helpful in the interpretation of test results. The training focused on defining the goals of local development strategy (LDS), the preparation of communication strategy by the local action groups (LAGs) and residents, as well as the involvement of local communities in the preparation and implementation of LSR. During the training there was presented a specific approach to building strategies as a part of Community-led Local Development (CLLD). Stages of the construction of the strategy can be simply specified as: Activation (providing the residents with educational and promotional information), Elite formation (meant to select the motivated population), Diagnosis (specification of characteristics of the area, for example by using SWOT analysis and extensive consultation with local residents. This analysis should not be only the opinion of the social elite), 114

4 The key problem (there are a number of connections between the problems related to local development. It's important to distinguish local problems which result from other problems - deal with the cause and not the effects), Direction of the change (use the previous analysis to eliminate the source of problems. In the bottom-up approach we are closer to the truth because we set the objective - the desired image of the area), Indicators of change (Observe if the direction of change and the dynamics corresponds to the goals set by the local community), Project assessment criteria (Find a valuable project that best reflects the desired goals - those criteria determine whether the project will be) Evaluation (this is something more than monitoring, that is identifying possible improvements to the process of reaching the desired goals so as not to make the same mistakes), Instrumentation (depends on the specific character of implementation, is different in different countries and limited to a specific group of projects. It is usually divided into specific actions: village renewal, small projects, and diversification. This pigeonholing process results from regulations and bureaucratic procedures, which are designed to control the spending of public funds). The aim of the study was to determine differences in the approach to local development planning which were due to the in the formulation of local development strategies. The study sample consisted of 37 people from 28 LAGs from the Lesser Poland voivodeship. The results were divided according to the level of of particular groups: no in building strategies - 20 people average level = a group d in one strategy, that is in the construction of the Local Development Strategy (LDS from ) or the Integrated Rural Development Strategy (IRDS - only 1 person involved) - 10 people the most advanced group - persons d both in the creation of LDS as well as the establishment of the Integrated Rural Development Strategy (IRDSs were constructed the from 2004 to the end of 2006) - 7 people. Results As the people in LAGs gain in using the Leader method in strategy planning, they should become more creative and have greater confidence. Their answers should not follow any schematic thinking/they should think out of the box. This was confirmed by the structure of responses to the questions about the methodology of analysing problems in rural development and setting goals. The most advanced group was less likely to give high marks/notes than the intermediate group (table 1). The least d group was the most critical towards the presented method (9,1% of responses). 115

5 Table 1 The structure of responses to the following question: how do you assess the adopted methodology of analysing problems (problem tree) and setting goals (objective tree) The level of Not good Good enough enough (2) (3) Good (4) Very good (5) Sum Without 0,0 0,0 90,9 9,1 0,0 0,0 62,5 37,5 The most advanced 0,0 group 0,0 80,0 20,0 Overall, the sample 0,0 0,0 79,2 20,8 Those most d in the of the leader approach have the most ideas for streamlining the process of planning the development of local community involvement (table 2). This was the only group to point out that the streamlining process is depended upon some conditions - in this case it was the number of people in the group from one LAG. The most passive participants are those who have not been involved in the creation of strategy. They are focused on ready-made solutions and often cannot afford to identify any improvements. Table 2: The structure of responses to the following question: Do you think that there is a possibility of improving the process of analysing the problems occurring in the area presented during the workshop? The level of Without The most advanced group Overall, the sample Yes No I do not know It depends Sum 18,2 45,5 36,4 0, ,5 12,5 50,0 0, ,0 16,7 16,7 16, ,0 28,0 36,0 4,0 100 People with no can be divided into two groups: those who support the analysis of their own area and those for whom the analysed area should include the combination of characteristics of the areas discussed during the workshop. Moreover, the group in question once again tended to choose ready-made options. They didn't have any creative ideas connected with a different approach to the problem (table 3). The group which presented the largest amount of ideas connected with reorganization consisted of people who have the greatest in creating bottom-up strategies. Interestingly, those who have only in the latest programming period are focused mainly on analysing their own area and thus they are the least willing to work in a group. It's hard to say why this is the case. Among the proposals which were put forward there were opinions that the analysis should include programming documents issued by the government and take into consideration the goals of intervention set there. They pointed to the specific provisions of national documents and regulations. This is due to the fact that the most d people are also 116

6 the most familiar with the requirements of the new programming period. For example, in the period the important projects will be those concerning the excluded. Thus, such opinions can imply that the bottom-up approach is constrained by bureaucratic regulations. That is why their main motivation is to create strategies which could comply with the goals defined at the national level. Table 3: Structure of the participants' ideas as to how to improve the process of analysing problems of the area presented at the w orkshop in Krakow CDR The level of Without The most advanced group Overall, the sample Analysis of their own area The area should include the combination of characteristics of the areas discussed during the workshop Other Sum 40,0 60,0 0,0 0,0 0,0 20,0 60,0 20,0 46,2 46,2 7,7 Only five out of the ten least d people presented ideas for streamlining the process of analysis of the area in a way that could allow for a community-led development. These were very general recommendations, for example. "Increasing the involvement of the local community" without specifying how it can be done. Seven out of the ten respondents who had an average level of provided ideas for improving this process. The interesting thing is that almost a third of the participants with average came up with concrete solutions: to sensitize the board of directors to the fact that it is extremely important to rely more on knowledge of the local community concerning the area (natural, cultural, historical information). One person suggested simply involving a person who had in the bottom-up planning process and using their expertise. Is it not, however, an attempt to seek others' help to solve our problems? It seems that it is not the case if the person involved is not an expert, who believes that he (or she) knows best and does not have to ask the local community about the direction of development. In this group there are people who participated in the creation of at least one of the strategies connected with the Leader rural development methodology. Therefore, they should find their own way of doing things and regard themselves as experts. Nine out of the ten people with the most indicated new methods to facilitate the analysis of the area. These were the most concrete solutions which were not limited to any general statements. The most interesting of them is the idea of creating work teams focusing on particular problems. The one team approach shows great awareness of responsibility for solutions developed by a given team. It demonstrates how crucial it is to be aware of the importance of group specialization in making accurate socio-economic diagnoses. The most advanced group pointed out that it is useful to develop specific procedures of area analysis for the benefit of its LAG. Those procedures will ensure that the construction of 117

7 strategies is guided by the local community. Some participants suggested launching a competition for local leaders, organizations or informal groups which would award those who have presented the best solutions and have traced the sources of problems in local development. This concrete solution will help LAG recruit new active participants in the area analysis. One idea which was approved was to send personal invitations to representatives of the local community or local leaders to strategic workshops. This workshop should be preceded by an educational campaign connected with opportunities offered by the Leader program and CLLD approach. The author of the article claims that in order to intensify the bottom-up aspect of area analysis LAGs should increase local people's influence on the directions of changes. This approach allows LAGs to use the specific character of the place for the acceleration of socio-economic development. This fact is the fundamental principle of local development led by local communities and the essential part of the bottom-up approach. In the Lesser Poland voivodeship there are a lot of universities. This allows for the involvement of students from the area in conducting surveys among the inhabitants. This provides a link between universities and areas which are located far from them. There are no ready-made recipes for activating residents in every community. Patterns connected with building strategies are useful only if they are understood by leaders and inhabitants participating in the strategic session and workshops. Only some ind representatives of LAGs consider the development of agritourism to be the possible solution for local development (19% of responses in table 4). According to the group with average, the stimulators of socio-economic development led by the local community can be both the creation of local products and combining them into a larger, functional unit. Both stimulators got 40% of votes (table 4). The responses provided by the advanced group were similarly divided, but there were fewer of them. This time both stimulators got 20% of votes. It is worth noting that the most advanced group proposed a lot of new solutions. The more advanced the group the greater the quality of the new solutions was. The ideas ranged from "the development of entrepreneurship" (the most common in the group of the least advanced) to product promotion ", to not focusing on something specific, for example Agriculture" (average group) to the most concrete solutions response of the advanced group. This latter group indicated that: "Direction of development should be based on the specifics of the area, which means a widely understood diversification of local economy into non-agricultural activities, considering several directions of development at the same time, which, however, shows that they have difficulty in choosing the dominant one Development of inhabitants' culture identity, Every solution which contributes to the activation of locals and affects the creation of new jobs or rising of salaries. Suggestions made by the most advanced group show the participants' maturity and their adoption of the Leader idea. According to people not involved in the survey, the advanced group uses the typical CLLD textbook jargon. 118

8 Table 4 The structure of responses to the following question: W hich direction of development do you think is the most crucial in a typically ru ral area? The level of Without The most advanced group Overall, the sample Development agritourism of Creation local products of Networking (in agritourism) Other 19,0 57,1 4,8 19,0 0,0 40,0 40,0 20,0 0,0 20,0 20,0 60,0 10,8 45,9 16,2 27,0 Sum Comparing the data in table 4 and 5, it is worth noting that people without come from suburban areas. That is probably the reason why they stress the importance of the development of agritourism. It should be admitted that they are right. A half of the group with average comes from suburban areas (table 5). Only five of the ten least d people reported ideas for streamlining the process of analysis of the area so as to be more wheel set by the local community. They were very general indications, for example. "Increasing the involvement of the local community" without specifying how it can be done. Seven out of ten respondents reported an average of ideas for improving this process. What is interesting here already appeared in almost one-third of concrete solutions: to realize how important the board to rely to a greater extent on knowledge of the local community of the area (natural, cultural, historical, etc.). One person suggested to simply involve a person who a bottom-up planning process conducted and used her. Is it not, however, attempted to seek others to solve our problems? It seems that if no person involved is not an expert, who believes that he knows best and no one does not need to ask for desired by the local community developments. In this group are the people who participated in the creation of at least one of the strategies under the Leader approach. Therefore, they should find their own way and the inner leader - guide. Nine out of ten people with the most indicated the methods to improve the analysis area. It was the most concrete answers that do not translate into generalities. The most interesting of them is the idea of the creation of task forces. Approach one team - one problem shows great awareness of responsibility for developed solutions. Shows awareness of the importance of specialization in making accurate diagnoses socio-economic. It is the most d people pointed to the usefulness of development for the benefit of its LGD specific analysis procedures area, which is guided by the local community. There are ideas to make a contest for local leaders, organizations or informal groups of reward for proposals for solutions or verification problems. So it is concrete, which attract to the LAG new active participants in the analysis area, etc. As a good practice pointed registered inviting representatives from the local community - local leaders on strategic workshops. According to some should raise awareness of the opportunities arising from the Leader of the LAG members and residents from strategic workshops. 119

9 According to the author of the article to increase bottom-up analysis of the extent and influence of the local community on the directions of the changes, use the specificity of the place. This is the basic principle of local development and bottom-up approach. In the province Lesser may be a link between population surveys Bachelor of work carried out by resident area. This leads to a large number of universities in Krakow. There is no beaten path for activation residents. Schemes building strategies are useful in so far as they are understood by the leaders, residents involved in the strategic session and workshops. The development of agritourism as a solution only right and dominant believe only ind representatives of LGD (19% o f responses in table 4). Stimulators of socio-economic development led by the local community can be - according to the average d members of the LAG - both the creation of local products and combine them into a larger, functional unit (networking - 40% of responses). Similarly, responses were split in the group of advanced but there were fewer (20% of responses the creation of products and networking). It is worth noting that other than the proposed developments point to the most advanced group of respondents also increased the quality of the proposed solutions. Since entering the password "entrepreneurship" (most common in the group of the least advanced) by "promoting products", "do not focus on something specific, for example. Agriculture" (intermediate group) to the most specific response of advanced group. This latter group indicated that: "Direction of development should be based on the specifics of the area. Generally broad diversification into non-agricultural activities, All a little bit - a few lines of which (however) makes trouble with the choice of the parent, Development of identification, cultural identity. Each of the solutions that contribute to the activation of the local environment and affect the creation of new jobs or raise revenue. " Indications of the most advanced indicate the maturity and steeped in the idea of the Leader. According to bystanders but they use the jargon typical of textbooks approach CLLD. Table 5 Responses to the question: W hich of the directions of the Lord / and typical rural area is the most im portant? The level of Without The most advanced group Overall, the sample from more than More than more than More than to to minutes 1 hour minutes minutes minutes to 1 hour 80,0 15,0 0,0 0,0 5,0 55,6 11,1 22,2 11,1 0,0 57,1 28,6 0,0 0,0 14,3 69,4 16,7 5,6 2,8 5,6 Sum The group with no in building strategies is prepared, however, to construct the strategy of the municipality (66% of respondents in table 6). Respondents from this group regard themselves as possessing the knowledge which enables them to plan local development because: 120

10 they work in the LAG, they have completed a lot of training on the functioning of LAGs they have taken part in the training on the implementation of LDS, they have corrected mistakes LDS after the new legislation has been introduced. The others took part in the implementation of the strategy developed without their participation. People from the advanced group took part not only in building IRDS and LDS but also: functional strategy strategy of the entire county, strategy of the voivodeship. Table 6. The structure of responses to the following question: Please, tick the statements which best describe your in planning long-term local developm ent The level of Without The most advanced group Overall, the sample The strategy of microregion Integrated Rural Development Strategy Local Strategy of Development Other 66,7 0,0 0,0 33,3 9,1 9,1 81,8 0,0 16,7 38,9 38,9 5,6 18,8 25,0 50,0 6,3 Suma One quarter of people with no in writing strategies has not been working in the LAG for longer than a year. Every sixth person in this group has not been working for longer than two years and a half of them have working of less than three years (table 7). Only 15% of respondents in this group have been working for the LAG for longer than 5 years. In the most advanced group all the employees possess of more than 5 years (table 7). Seven out of ten people with average have been associated with the LAG for more than 3 years (table 7). Table 7: The structure of responses to the following question: how long have you been w orking in LAG? The level of from 1 year more than 1 to 2 The number of work-years more than 2 lat to 3 more than 3 to 4 more than 4 to 5 more than 5 Without 25,0 15,0 10,0 30,0 5,0 15,0 0,0 0,0 30,0 40,0 10,0 20,0 The most advanced group 0,0 0,0 0,0 0,0 0,0 Overall, the sample 13,5 8,1 13,5 27,0 5,4 32,4 Sum 121

11 Conclusions People currently involved in the operation of Local Action Groups are going to play an increasing role in the planning of socio-economic development. Leaders of the local community participate not only in the development of local strategies but also in the creation of strategies at the district and voivodeship level. The Leader approach introduces a new way of planning, organizing and controlling the local development in rural areas. Community-led Local Development (CLLD) requires innovative methods of involving residents in all the branches of management. Joint analysis of the area and the perception of real reasons behind the lack of local development are both advantages of the Leader approach. Experience in strategic planning of development under the Leader approach affects the innovation and creativity of people and leads to new directions of rural development. In addition, the gained by the members of LAG affects their ability to engage the community in participation in strategic planning. The group which is the most d in this field seems to be best prepared to meet the goals of CLLD. Local development led by the local community has its own tools: LDS, LAG, specific people and resources. Villagers do not sometimes understand the jargon used in some government regulations. It is necessary to use appropriate language in conversations with the applicants. The jargon of EU programs (operation, impact indicators, and indicators of effect) is unintelligible if the office staff does not try to explain its meaning. In such a case there is no public participation. Before the Leader Programme was introduced, people from rural areas had not had any possibility to discuss the most important investments. Reconciling the needs of some local organizations (e.g. fire brigade or rural women organizations) is possible with the help of LAG, especially when LAG acts as a facilitator of communication between local organizations. LAG records and analyses the needs and the point of view of specific social groups, which is crucial for a common strategic vision. It is worth noting that these arrangements started to make sense only when public funds for the implementation of LDS were provided. The CLLD approach requires appropriate people to work with residents. Members of the LAG should take into account the harvest period if they are planning an information campaign which would precede the strategy writing process. The information campaign should be carried out earlier. The LAG should follow the same procedures while selecting the projects for the LDS implementation. They should share the information with inhabitants two months before they start collecting the projects. Information should be spread with the aid of several channels so that residents have a better chance of getting it. Local Action Groups respond to the challenges presented by local development. This happens not only at the stage of strategic planning and management, but also in terms of communication with particular residents. After the Local Development Strategy was created LAGs faced other challenges. Residents present the LAG staff with ideas that are not always clarified. In such a situation LAGs have to answer the following questions: should they draw inhabitants' attention to a specific idea? How to help them find an idea that would suit the LDS? Many LAG employees undertake the task of developing the project plan instead of encouraging the inhabitants to do it on their own. However, it is the applicant who should know what he or she wants to do in order to help realize the strategy. Sometimes LAG also helps in other ways, e.g. the LAG office worker is looking for information needed for the application, such as prices or the type of machine. This is not a 122

12 good approach. The problems connected with the lack of ideas, initiatives and innovations should not be resolved by the advisor. The situation which poses a big problem is the one in which the advisor of the LAG realizes that the beneficiary cannot cope with the project. Since no member of the LAG staff is responsible for the realization of the project, they should have the courage to tell the applicant that he or she will not be able to collect the necessary documentation on his or her own. Meanwhile, passive citizens expect the LAG office worker to prepare an application for them. They often claim that LAG employee will deal with the problem in one day, whereas it will take a whole week to fill out the questionnaire and other documents by themselves. The beneficiary should gather more information on his or her own; speak more than the advisor at the strategy planning stage and during its implementation. The advisor should pay great attention to the customer's needs. The direction of development should result from applicants' ideas. The staff of the Local Action Group should not force the applicants to accept their ideas. This condition should be fulfilled if the idea of the CLLD is to be preserved. Residents who participate in the creation and implementation of strategy realize how much work its preparation involves. Similarly, the inhabitants having a definite idea of a project should not have somebody else working for them. Only through their own participation in the project do they know how much time and work this process requires. Under such a model of work they also appreciate more the LAG as an organization. In this way the LAGs teach people how to think in terms of project writing. They conduct educational campaigns. The LAGs have the right equipment: computers and the ability to use them. It is important because villagers are often elderly people who are not able to work with computer. LAG employees have a network of contacts, which are used to obtain information about the area for the purposes of strategic analysis. The staff has to educate themselves all the time, especially in the situation in which regulations are constantly changing. It sometimes happens that the beneficiaries are not familiar with the rules governing the implementation of the Leader approach. For example, three years after the beginning the project they ask the advisor if they have to run the company financed by the strategy budget. They do not read the existing regulations. LAG applicants must realize that once they have received money for the project they have to take into account their duties and costs involved. They should be aware that it is the applicant who signs the contract for the realization of the project and takes responsibility for it. Sometimes they wrongly assume that the LAGs will accept this responsibility. One of LAGs' duties is to realize the strategy but they cannot be held accountable for the implementation of particular projects. Thus, people who are actively engaged in LAGs play an important role in the realization of the CLLD approach. If the rules of this approach are not followed, the LAGs will not introduce any innovative ways of developing rural areas. The LAG staff has become the closest advisors, who have to be discreet. They live in the same area as the applicants, that is why they can easily damage their reputation. A resident of the area should trust the LAG employee when they discuss the applicant's plans concerning the strategy. The development of the project makes it necessary to hold discussions at the local level which would concern the available financial resources. The office staff should ask appropriate questions about the applicants' financial resources and keep this inform ation to themselves. The applicant has to share the cost of the project. Sometimes the costs can be an 123

13 obstacle for the applicants. This is because they have to be covered entirely by them before being reimbursed by the Marshal office. The Leader approach has stimulated the development of rural areas. It has given the rural population a sense of power and made them feel that they have an influence on what is going on in their area. LAG budgets are the first in Poland to be shared to such an extent by applicants at the level of particular management functions. This is especially connected with the strategic dimension and the creation of socio-economic strategies. References Puchała J Cele LEADER+ i jego znaczenie Przeszkody i bariery procesu tworzenia się LGD [w:] Rola i znaczenie Lokalnych Grup Działania w rozwoju obszarów wiejskich w Polsce - doświadczenia z wdrażania Programu Pilotażowego LEADER+, red. M. Kowalska, J. Puchała, Wydawnictwo Marszałek, (14-28). Kowalska M., Kapitał społeczny i jego wartość dla lokalnej społeczności. Roczniki Naukowe Seria. Tom XV. Zeszyt 1. Warszawa-Poznań-Rzeszów. (s ) Kowalska M., Problemy młodzieży wiejskiej w Polsce. (w:) Problemy społeczne i ekonomiczne drobnych gospodarstw rolnych w Europie. Centrum Doradztwa Rolniczego w Brwinowie. Oddział w Krakowie. Kraków. (s ) Niedziółka A., Możliwości wsparcia przedsięwzięć agroturystycznych w województwie małopolskim z Programu Rozwoju Obszarów Wiejskich na lata [w:] Wieś i Doradztwo. Pismo Małopolskiego Stowarzyszenia Doradztwa Rolniczego Nr 3-4 (59-60). Lipiec-Grudzień Kraków 2009, s. 37, The Rural Development Programme (RDP )" The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Warsaw, July 2007 C ontact address Jacek Puchala Agnieszka Piotrowska University of Agriculture in Krakow, aleja Adama Mickiewicza 21, Kraków, Poland 124

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