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This article was written for the Leadership Academy for Poland- an apolitical and non-partisan educational initiative promoting the development of good leadership in Poland and abroad.

 The existence of a common threat affecting everyone across the globe is an unprecedented event in the entire history of our species. It will teach us, both on a societal and individual level, that solving universal problems requires the mutual effort of many different social actors. 

 Our current practice of outsourcing non-business related tasks to NGOs, local governments or even to public administration simply doesn’t work. One entity runs the tests, another one pays and distributes them; yet another is tasked with administering data, and someone else informs, feeds, and takes care of us – “Everybody’s got to work, my little friend” –as Julian Tuwim once wrote. Problems like homelessness, domestic violence, huger or environmental pollution require a systemic approach and the cross-institutional cooperation of different companies, organizations and experts. 

Self-evident as it is, rediscovering this truth because of COVID-19 will define how we tackle other social problems in the future. Philanthropists and donors ready to give their money to a good cause will understand that solving problems of such magnitude is beyond the power of any single Non-governmental Organization.

If it mobilizes financial resources for systemic solutions, there’s a chance for extraordinary progress. 

Agata Stafiej-Bartosik – country director for the international social innovators’ network “Ashoka: Innovators for the Public”. She teaches a systemic approach to solving social problems at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, and Kozminski University. 

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