Social Workers in Collaboration for Social Change in Eastern Neighbourhood Countries
Social work in its contemporary understanding is a rather newly emerging profession in the target countries. Having an official tradition of “no social problems” during Soviet Union, these countries were faced with a significant number of social and economic challenges after its collapse, aggravated by several wars. Social work practice emerged as a response to these multiple social problems, but was initially mainly organized by individual NGOs. Even though social workers have organised themselves into social work associations over the past 10 years, social work is still not a fully recognized and regulated profession. Several social fields lack to this day a regulative framework and sustainable funding structures. Moreover, local service providers and social workers still show limited professional expertise and need targeted support and training opportunities to effectively address the manifold social problems of their countries.
The project strived to contribute to the social well-being of vulnerable groups by developing and strengthening the concept of and access to social work in Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Moldova. This is achieved by:
(a) Fostering the professionalization and enhancing the capacities of Social Work Associations as centers of competence for social service delivery that will, in turn, empower local organisations in rural areas through training / consulting.
(b) Strengthening the role of these associations as political watchdogs for social reform processes and advocators for social justice. Also, multi-stakeholder dialogues are promoted on a national and regional level.
- Improvement of strategic and organisational capacity of local Social Work Associations
- Organisation of learning support measures for each association (trainings, study visit and traineeship in Georgia and Austria)
- Raising public awareness through media products and joint political statements
- Organisation of a regional coordination mechanism trough two cluster groups
- Development of joint action plans for tackling specific local problems in the field of social work
- Tailor-made trainings for selected local NGOs
- At least 12 grants for small projects awarded to local NGOs active in the social field
- Organisation of a regional social work conference involving national and regional stakeholders
- 4 Social Work Associations (comprising up to 40 staff members, 10.500 members supporters)
- 160 local NGOs active in the social field
- Vulnerable groups in need of social support (e.g. children with special needs, elderly, single mothers)
- Public and private stakeholders related to social work (national / local state entities / agencies, educational and healthcare institutions)
This project was supported by