In November 2019, Kantar Polska conducted an opinion poll titled “Poles on development assistance” which is a continuation of analyses carried out regularly in 2004-2015.
The following are selected findings of the opinion poll:
- Public opinion on Poland’s need to provide assistance to less developed countries
Over two-thirds of Poles (69%) believe that Poland should provide assistance to less developed countries. Significantly fewer people (19%) take the opposite view.
Moderate opinions are prevalent both among the supporters and opponents of assisting less developed countries. A minority of the responders expressed strong opinions (11% among firm supporters and 4% among strong opponents).
15% of those surveyed were unable to take a clear stand on Poland’s assistance efforts for countries in need.
The belief that Poland should assist less developed countries prevails in all socio-demographic groups. It is particularly widespread among women (73%), people of secondary (74%) and tertiary (75%) education (those with primary education are less enthusiastic – 60%). There are more supporters of Poland’s assistance among rural dwellers (71%) than among inhabitants of the biggest cities (63%).
Residents of towns/cities with 20,000-100,000 inhabitants (22%) are more likely to oppose Poland’s assistance to developing countries than rural dwellers (15%). The youngest respondents (15-19 years old) and the oldest ones (aged 60+) are less likely to support Poland’s assistance to less developed countries; in these age groups there are more people who are unable to take a clear stand on the matter.
- Awareness of Poland’s assistance for other countries; the source and content of information
12% of the respondents claimed that over the last 2-3 months prior to the survey they had come across information on Poland’s assistance for other countries. 88% of those surveyed had not come across such information. Twenty-year-olds were less exposed to such information than other age groups.
Those who over the last 2-3 months prior to the survey came across information on Poland’s support for other countries learnt about it primarily from television (80%). Other media are not so influential – the second most popular media is the Internet, indicated nearly four times less frequently (21%). According to the respondents, important channels of information on Poland’s assistance for other countries include radio (17%), the press (14%), and church (13%).
The respondents who came across information on Poland’s support to other countries (as many as 56% of the answers) most frequently indicated humanitarian aid (22%), but also assistance for less well-off, less developed countries in need (9%). The respondents’ associations also focused on forms of assistance: food collection, financial support, medical assistance, education, construction of wells, as well as supporting missionaries and collecting clothes. Places that Poles associate with such information are mainly Africa and Syria, and reasons for which such countries need support include wars, natural disasters, and terrorism.
Geographic targets of Polish assistance
According to the respondents, African countries (55%) should be the preferred, main directions of Poland’s assistance. Significantly fewer Poles believe the support should be directed at our eastern neighbours – Ukraine and Belarus (21%), the Middle East countries (19%) or other countries in the East (19%). One tenth of the respondents take into consideration Asian countries (such as Burma/Myanmar or Laos – 10%). 5% of those surveyed indicate that Poland’s assistance should not be directed at any country, and 14% are unable to provide an answer to the question.
- Areas, forms and directions of assistance
Areas of assistance
In 2019, when asked about the areas in which Poland has most to offer to less developed countries, the respondents usually indicated improving health service (41%) and education (40%).
Other areas in which we could support less developed countries were rarely indicated by the respondents. 29% of those surveyed pointed to assistance in developing infrastructure, 16% – to agricultural development, while 20% named crisis prevention and post-conflict reconstruction. Less often mentioned areas included Poland’s assistance to less developed countries in environmental protection (15%), economic growth and the development of local entrepreneurship (15%), as well as democratic reforms, including the development of local governments (13%).
5% of the respondents claimed that there are no areas in which Poland has anything to offer to less developed countries, and 11% were unable to identify such areas.
Forms and channels of assistance
In 2019 Poles most often responded that Poland can contribute to the development of less developed countries by sending volunteers to these countries (34%). Less often indicated actions included enabling people from these countries to study at Polish universities (19%) or supporting democratisation processes (17%). 14% of the respondents believe that Poland could also support less developed countries through Polish entrepreneurs’ investments in these areas, as well as through financing or co-financing the construction of infrastructure. A slightly smaller group (13%) believe that representatives of our country could provide training to administration and state institution staff. 12% of the respondents are of the opinion that Poland could get involved in efforts to resolve internal conflicts, and only 11% indicate that it would be a good idea to further open up the Polish market to products from these countries.
Polish people believe that Poland should transfer funds to less developed countries mainly through specialised international organisations (41%) and Polish non-governmental organisations and companies (42%). Nearly three out of ten Poles (29%) are of the opinion that funds should be transferred through specific Polish investments in these countries. One-fifth (21%) of the respondents believe that local organisations should be responsible for transferring funds.
- Poles’ involvement in assisting less developed countries
Only 4% of Poles have been involved in supporting less developed countries in any way. 96% of the respondents admit that they have never taken part in such actions, while 15% consider doing so in the future. Nearly every fifth respondent (19%) does not feel the need to get involved in such actions.
Those who get involved are more likely to be women, people aged 40-59, those with tertiary education, residents of towns/cities with 100,000-500,000 inhabitants, supporters of development assistance, and people who believe that at present Poland earmarks insufficient funds for this purpose.
For Polish people the most popular form of supporting less developed countries is donating money to a specific project or fund raising activity (53%). Donating money to activities conducted by specific international organisations is less popular (33%). Every fourth respondent that regularly supports assistance projects (24%) chooses those that are implemented in less developed countries. Significantly fewer Poles get involved in educational projects or information activities related to the situation and problems in these countries (9%), participate in the implementation of assistance projects (9%), and make ethical choices when shopping (7%).
The opinion poll findings confirm that most Poles want to support less developed countries. Supporters believe that it is our moral obligation (44%) and point out that helping others can bring benefits to Poland (30%). According to the respondents, Polish Aid should be directed primarily at African countries. Those surveyed indicated two areas in which Poland has most to offer to less developed countries, namely improving health service and education. Polish people believe that funds Poland earmarks for foreign assistance should be transferred to less developed countries through international and non-governmental organisations. Additionally, there has been an increase in Poles’ support for volunteering programmes as a form of assisting developing countries on the ground.
 Opinion poll findings on Polish development assistance, conducted by Kantar Polska on 22-27 November 2019 on a representative sample of 1014 Polish citizens aged 15 +.