The goal of the component: Improvement of a State social programmes on social policy in order to make them better responsive to the needs and interests of the vulnerable population.
The major work areas of component are as follows:
- Development of social services
- Monitoring, research, advocacy campaigns
- Public awaraness raising / awareness-raising of the persons involved in the rights of vulnarable groups and mechanisms for the protection of their rights
- Development of social services
The organization works towards the development of social services. Within the framework of this component, a small-scale family-type home for children lacking parental care and community care service for the elderly function under the administration of the organization in Guria region.
A small-scale family-type home was founded in 2008. It provided one of the first alternative care services to a large-scale institutional care in Georgia. The home takes care of 8 children between the ages of 6 and 18. The aim of the service is to ensure family environment for the children lacking parental care whose support in their families or placement in foster care – preferential form of care – is not feasible. The home provides family environment for the children and they live in an environment oriented towards their educational, emotional and physical development; at the same time, the children acquire social (living, functional) skills as well as skills necessary for independent life and this environment also promotes integration into the society.
The children are placed in or they leave the small-scale family-type home based on the decisions made by the deliberative body of LEPL Social Service Agency of the Guardianship and Care Regional Council.
Community care service for the elderly was launched in 2011. This service also provided alternative to a large-scale institutional care for the elderly persons; it supports 24 senior citizens (men over the age of 65 and women over the age of 60), whose biological families do not want to look after the older members of their families or who live alone. The home may also provide special services for the senior citizens with physical disabilities. Accordingly, the building is equipped to respond to the needs of the individuals with disabilities, respectively.
The community care service for the elderly ensures a full and decent life / dignified old age for the senior citizens. In this process family environment is created for the elderly people and their basic needs (nourishment, hygiene, clothing, medical care) are met to the widest possible range. Psychosocial rehabilitation, fulfilment of interests and opportunities, exercising experiences and integration into the community is also facilitated the broadest possible.
- Research, advocacy campaigns
Activities and events of the social component were focused on identifying the problematic areas of the minors (under age 18) and their families in order to verify the relevant issues through research. Based on the results of research, advocacy campaigns were initiated in the next stage of work with the aim to ensure necessary changes in the programmes that were carried out both by local and central governments.
5 studies were carried out for the last three years within the framework of the present component. The relevance of these studies was verified by various factors such as: lack of research on the topic, urgency of the problem, gaps in practice. The topics of the abovementioned research were as follows:
- Study on Minors’ labour migration practice from Adjara and Guria regions to Turkey
The aim of the research was to study minors’ labour migration practice from Adjara and Guria regions to Turkey and to determine specific features of such practice, including: duration of labour migration, periodicity and motivation, working conditions, economic impact, acceptance of such practice in environment, etc.
- Study on the performance of the regional councils of the Guardianship and Care Body
The aim of the study was to evaluate the work done by the regional councils of the Guardianship and Care Body of LEPL Social Service Agency in order to analyse those challenges that stem from adequate performance of the abovementioned institute and to identify those opportunities that would contribute to the improvement of performance of the regional councils.
- Study on socio-economic profile and social welfare indicator of the population of the town of Ozurgeti
The aim of the study was to monitor well-being of the population of the town of Ozurgeti, which involved examination of relations and dependency among various indicators of socio-economic profile and social welfare.
- Study on reasons for the placement of beneficiaries in retirement homes
The aim of the study was to identify the causes of the placement of beneficiaries in retirement homes in Georgia and to determine what experience and biography senior citizens may be at particular risk of being placed in retirement homes.
- Study on the needs of the youth who left the state care system (small-scale family-type home)
The aim of the study was to define the needs of the young people who were brought up in the state care system.
(The electronic version of the above-mentioned studies are available on the site)
The results of the completed studies reflect the problematic issues that exist in the area, established stereotypes and harmful practices, which limit the support for different target groups or promotion of interests and opportunities for the protection of their rights. The results of the study were shared with government structures, civil society and other interested parties.
The organization makes presentations, periodically engages in public debates / television discussions and organizes briefings as well as official meetings with the representatives of the government agencies and those of the international organizations in order to introduce the results of every research to the public and to advocate for the recommendations. It is important to note that 88 recommendations were made based on advocacy of the research results and 48 of these recommendations were taken into account.
Protection of the rights of vulnerable groups
The protection of the basic and development-oriented rights of children living in poverty and in dysfunctional families still continues to be an urgent matter in the country. Having regard to the foregoing, the organization through advocacy identifies dysfunctional families with children in Tbilisi, in the town of Ozurgeti and in the town of Lanchkhuti. The organization assesses their needs and provides advice to them or makes reference to the relevant body in order to include these children in appropriate programmes administered by local and/or central government.
In certain cases, when a family needs immediate help (nourishment, clothing, educational supplies, household appliances), the organization calls upon the Bureau of the majority deputy or serves to meet the immediate needs of families through its own resources / donation. 51 families with 165 children were evaluated and included in the relevant programmes by the organization for the last three years. The main needs of families were related to the satisfaction of basic requirements (housing, health, clothing, nourishment) and to the integration into the educational (kindergarten, inclusive education, professional) processes, as well as inclusion in the rehabilitation programs. Regularly ensuring access of information to citizens on support systems that exist both at the local and central levels is also of the utmost importance.
3. Public awareness raising / Awareness-raising of the professionals and vulnarable groups
3.1. Activities oriented towards public awareness raising / awareness-raising, such as trainings, discussions, informational meetings, public debates / television discussions represent an independent direction in the social component. It is noteworthy that such practice promotes awareness-raising among the representatives of government structures (educational resource-centre, police, local self-government, medical institution, Guardianship and Care body), professionals working in various areas (pedagogue, educator at the kindergarten/educational institution, doctor, journalist, policeman, authorized representative of the village, etc.) and vulnerable groups (parents, children). It also promotes desirable attitudes towards caring for the child, child protection, child development, also one’s own rights and the current support services.
A theme and format of educational activities are mainly developed based on interactive method. It enables participants to be actively involved in discussions and debates.
The training, information and discussion topics which are offered by the organization are as follows: risks connected to the labour migration of the minors to the Turkish Republic; child protection issues; protection factors and risk-factors related to child development; Bullying – challenge to modern school; risks related to the consumption both of alcoholic beverages and cigarettes by minors, behavioural management; the importance of the socialization of ethnic minorities (for example, gipsy children); children’s rights; the acts and procedures governing child areas; work practices of the Guardianship and Care Council; challenge to media in the process of coverage of social issues; state policies regarding senior citizens; components of the state social programmes and procedures for inclusion. Concerning the latter, the organization developed brochure “On the Components of the State Social Programmes and Social and Health Programmes of Self-governance of Ozurgeti, 2017” that was circulated in the town of Ozurgeti, including public schools of the municipality of Ozurgeti, pre-school educational institutions, government structures, medical institutions, civil organizations; information was also provided to the population. 34 trainings, discussions and informational meetings oriented towards awareness-raising were organized within the framework of the social component for the last three years.
The organization participated in a number of television discussions for the last three years, whose topics were as follows:
- Minors’ labour migration practice from Adjara and Guria regions to Turkey and its harmful effects;
- State policies on senior citizens and circumstances conducive to the placement of the elderly in state care system;
- Popularization of a healthy lifestyle among the minors;
- Protection of the rights of the minors residing in the municipality of Ozurgeti.
The organization regularly offers consultation and provides recommendations to the interested parties (including government structures, local self-governance, NGO sector, vulnerable groups, service providers, etc.) on different issues of social protection.
The organization made recommendations on the draft law – “On Adoption and Foster Care”, „Procedures on making reference for child protection“ and “Standards on Foster Care”. The organization also provided recommendations on the mechanisms for registration of beneficiaries in day-care centres and on developing immediate registration special form for the beneficiaries at the 24-hour service centres for persons with disabilities and the elderly.
Association in networks
The organization is a member of the coalition NNLE “Welfare of Children and the Youth”; it is also a member organization of the association of the “Small-scale family houses”.
The organization, as a service provider to senior citizens, has been cooperating for more than a year with partner organizations that ensure community services for the elderly people. The “Coalition for the Wellbeing of the Elderly”, whose aim is to strengthen resources of the organizations operating throughout the country and providing a 24-hour services for the elderly in order to protect the interests of the senior citizens and implement advocacy campaigns, has been established on the initiative of our organization.