Tadeusz Zapadka

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2002


This profile was prepared when Tadeusz Zapadka was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2002.
The New Idea
Tadeusz is introducing the spirit of entrepreneurship in a country affected by a movement away from collective farming practices. He is mobilizing local villagers both to identify available local resources and to seek ways to use them for income-generating activities. One key step is to research market opportunities. Through his efforts, women are starting to produce goods out of willow, while their husbands are setting up and running willow plantations to assure adequate supplies. Other villagers grow fruits, pick wild mushrooms, and collect herbs–all activities that provide for crucial household needs.
Tadeusz's efforts encourage local leaders to work toward local sustainable development. Unlike other organizations that send social workers with ready-made ideas to solve rural problems, Tadeusz empowers local leadership to guide rural development. He identifies village people coming from various professions and educates them both in how to motivate local communities and in how to promote entrepreneurial income-generating ventures. He mobilizes villagers to form cooperatives that create financial value for the communities.
The underlying purpose of this work is to empower local citizens to act on their own behalf. His model works as a catalyst for creating new citizen initiatives to address social problems in similar rural areas everywhere.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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