Help.NGO has opened a European office in Poland as a centre for administration, finance, communication, and logistic operations. - We believe that there is a very good climate for the development of volunteering and NGOs in Gdańsk - says Adam Marlatt, Director of Operations of Help.NGO.
Ewa Karendys: - The beginnings of Help.NGO date back to 2010 and the foundation was established in South Carolina by a group of American volunteers. why have you decided to set up a branch of this organisation in Gdańsk?
Adam Marlatt, Director of Operations of Help.NGO: - We believe that Gdańsk offers a great vibe for the development of volunteering and non-governmental organisations - says Adam Marlatt, Director of Operations of Help.NGO. - Not without reason, the city was awarded the title of European Volunteering Capital 2022. In August 2020 we started the process of registration of the Polish headquarters of the foundation in Gdańsk as the next stage of our development. In particular, We wanted to start working more consistently within and with the European Union, which has a history of supporting NGOs implementing innovative projects. We considered several locations. Apart from the geographical issue, an important factor was having an international airport, conveniently connected with Amsterdam, Rome, London, and Brussels. Gdańsk is a bustling city with many well-developed universities. Interestingly, the capital of the Pomeranian Voivodeship is regarded as a city of freedom and solidarity.
What would you say about your first visit to Gdańsk? Did you like it?
I was very impressed. It is simply a unique and clean city, with a rich history, painstakingly rebuilt after the war. Gdańsk captivates with its beautiful Main Town and Old Town. The area is used in a practical way, I mean there are lots of services, cafés, and monuments. I am enchanted not only by the architecture, but also by the large number of universities and colleges that operate in the Tri-City. They cooperate well with each other, but also with international companies, whose business centres are increasingly opening here. More and more new technologies are being developed here and the shared services sector is growing in strength.
How many people make up the Help.NGO team?
We currently have 18 employees and a group of over 1000 volunteers, 300 of whom have been sent on humanitarian missions. The Polish branch will support operations around the world, but also coordinate activities in Poland. We want to create here a centre for administration, finance, communication, and logistics operations. To put it simply, it will be a management centre, cooperating with every other unit of our foundation.
With whom will the Gdańsk branch of the foundation cooperate?
As we use solutions based on new technologies, it is important for us to cooperate with Polish universities, especially those which educate specialists in the field of political science, programming, and logistics. In addition, we intend to recruit students to support international humanitarian aid operations. We want to create a global profile of individual countries, which, in the event of crisis situations, will be a reliable source of knowledge for organisations providing humanitarian aid. This includes monitoring aspects such astransport infrastructure and communications system, the network of medical facilities, contact to authorities and local services, among others.
We count on cooperation with the city, our headquarters office is in Gdańsk Business Incubator STARTER, which helps to create and develop innovative start-ups and companies in the city. Thanks to the fact that we are small, we can operate more efficiently.
We rely on cooperation with local authorities because they know best the specificity of the place and the needs of the inhabitants. While remaining neutral in our operations, we are determined to grow dynamically and act globally, but also carry out our work in accordance with the humanitarian principles of impartiality, independence, neutrality, humanity and a “do no harm to anyone” approach.
On 21st August, on the occasion of World Humanitarian Day which falls on 19th August, we will organise a Humanitarian Picnic in Gdańsk. The aim of this event is to increase social involvement in humanitarian aid and volunteering through a series of workshops, lectures, and information posters.