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Welcome!

We are very happy to welcome you to our project blog!

The Project „Empowering Practitioners in Social Work (PSW) from Rural Communities” is established in the framework of our Erasmus+ project with the same name, acronym EPSWRA, project number 2018-1-RO01-KA204-049515 (more details about this project you can find in the section about, in the left column of the page). This blog represents a platform of discussions that will act like a Virtual Community of Practice for PSW from rural or disadvantaged areas and will rely on peer-to-peer communication and informal learning, aiming at developing competencies by exchanging experience, interacting around problems, solutions, and insights, and building a common store of knowledge.

The typical activities addressed by this group are: problem solving, requests for information, seeking experience, coordination and synergy, discussing developments and documentation projects, organizing visits, mapping knowledge, identifying gaps and many more, depending on the needs of its members. This blog could be considered like a virtual classroom that offers the possibility to post professional experiences and comments to the other members’ posts, in a sure and controlled framework, under a pseudonym or with the real name.

Considering that the main goal of this group is to facilitate communication between project staff, learners, experts and stakeholders from the rural or disadvantaged communities of our regions and, in the near future, of all Europe, you are all invited to welcome to our Virtual Community of Practice all your colleagues that are Practitioners in Social Work in rural or disadvantaged areas of all Europe countries, or other representatives of local communities that are willing to help them in providing a better assistance to vulnerable people and communities. Looking forward to be part of an active and useful Virtual Community of Practice, we wish you all only the best in your personal and professional lives. EPSWRA Project Team.

Be yourself! Everyone else is already taken! (Oscar Wilde)

EPSWRA – Un proiect European care vine în sprijinul asistenţilor sociali din mediul rural

Proiectul ”Empowering Practitioners in Social Work from Rural Communities” – EPSWRA (nr.  2018-1-RO01-KA204-049515), finantat in cadrul programului Erasmus Plus – Parteneriate strategice, domeniul Educația adulților si implementat de Universitatea din Pitești, îşi continuă activitatea alături de ceilalți şase parteneri europeni: Universitatea Sfinții Chiril și Metodie din Veliko Turnovo (Bulgaria), Smart Umbrella (Grecia), Asociația CSV Emilia (Italia), Asociația Contextos (Portugalia), Asociația pentru Dezvoltarea Voluntariatului în Novo Mesto (Slovenia) și Asociația Fondul Municipalităților Andaluze pentru Solidaritate Socială – FAMSI (Spania).

Management meeting Tesalonic (Grecia)

În cel de-al  doilea an de implementare asistenţii sociali din mediul rural din judeţul Argeş au participat la ateliere interculturale și transnaționale de cercetare bazată pe practică, care au fost  organizate în Slovenia la Novo Mesto, în Grecia la Thessalonikişi în Bulgaria la Veliko Turnovo. Asistenţii sociali care au fost implicaţi în aceste ateliere au făcut cunoscută activitatea lor şi totodată au reuşit să lucreze şi să colaboreze cu ceilalţi practicieni în asistenţă socială din ţările partenere,  îmbogăţindu-şi astfel metodele de lucru cu diferite  grupuri vulnerabile.

Online short term join staff training event – Novo Mestos (Slovenia)

În noiembrie 2020 a fost organizată, on-line, o sesiune de instruire pentru specialiştii din instituţiile de asistenţă socială, partenere în acest proiect, care a avut drept scop schimbul de experienţă in domeniul social şi crearea unei reţele profesionale între instituţiile care coordonează activităţi în acest domeniu. De asemenea, în  luna decembrie a aceluiași an, specialiştii din cadrul proiectului şi asistenţi sociali, au participat la conferinţa internaţională organizată de Universitatea Sfinții Chiril și Metodie din Veliko Turnovo (Bulgaria), unde au fost diseminate informaţii cu privire  la activitatea proiectului dar au fost dezbătute şi subiecte legate de activitatea asistenţilor sociali în perioada pandemiei şi modalităţile prin care au făcut faţă situaţiilor de stres şi burn out care, inevitabil, i-au afectat pe asistenţii sociali care au lucrat în special în prima linie.

Conferință Internațională în cadrul Proiectului EPSWRA la Universitatea ”Sfinții Chiril și Metodiu” din Veliko Târnovo (Bulgaria)

Tot în perioada septembrie-decembrie 2020 au avut  loc seminarii de informare şi focus grupuri cu reprezentanţi ai comunităţilor locale: primar, viceprimar, asistent social, personal din cadrul UAT din diferite localităţi din judeţul, Argeş (primăria Bascov, Lereşti, Miceşti, Berevoieşti, Merişani, Vultureşti, Budeasa, Bârla, Albota, Rucăr, Mioveni) precum  şi în cadrul Complexul de Locuinţe Protejate Buzoeşti. Activităţile s-au  desfăşurat online şi au fost implicaţi numeroşi specialişti, cărora dorim să le mulţumim pentru participare şi pentru modul cum au abordat şi dezbătut, în cadrul focus-grupurilor, diverse probleme cu care se confruntă în activitatea lor profesională. Ca urmare a acestor intalniri, a fost dezvoltata o comunitate virtuală unde practicienii în asistenţa socială discuta aspecte legate de activitatea  lor şi unde pot accesa diferite documente puse la dispoziţie de ceilalţi asistenti sociali din alte comunitati.

Seminarii de informare  și focus grupuri în comunitățile rurale din județul Argeș

Proiectul se va finaliza cu înființarea unui Centru regional de asistență socială rurală, care să ofere resurse informaționale, consultanță și colaborare în domeniul asistenței sociale, tuturor asistenților sociali din primăriile de pe raza județului Argeș și altor factori interesați din acele comunități. Toate activităţile realizate în cadrul proiectului pot fi urmărite pe pagina de Facebook a Proiectului https://www.facebook.com/Epswra-Project-277292906295720/), precum şi pe site-ul https://www.epswra-project.ro/

DORA – Solidarity Market in Reggio Emilia (Italy)

Dora is the Solidarity Market in Reggio Emilia for families in economic difficulty. It is a citizen solidarity project that involves the participation of local institutions, associations,
volunteers, public and private enterprises. A good practice to help people in need. A tool to support the social workers activities. DarVoce: Centro Servizi Volontariato Dora – Emporio Solidale

the 4th Intercultural and Transnational Practice-Research Workshop for Practitioners in Social Work (Slovenia – Novo Mesto – 18th-22nd of November 2019)

Association for Developing Voluntary Work Novo Mesto organised the 4th Intercultural and Transnational Practice-Research Workshop for Practitioners in Social Work between 18th and 22nd of November 2019. The topic of the workshop was “Empowering individuals and communities”.

On Day 1, participants were able to hear presentations from representatives of the host organisation about programmes for social inclusion and empowering socially excluded groups in the local communities. Dr. Vera Grebenc from University of Ljubljana, Faculty for Social Work prepared a lecture and group activities with the working title “Freedom, power and responsibility: How to deconstruct and reconstruct empowerment in social work practice?”

The second part of the Monday activities was reserved for international participant’s presentations. Social workers from partner countries were able to introduce themselves and the organisations they work at, as well as present examples of good practices of empowering people and communities from their respective countries.

On Day 2, participants of the 4th Intercultural and Transnational Practice-Research Workshop for Practitioners in Social Work visited the Centre for Social Work Dolenjska and Bela Krajina, Unit Novo Mesto. They were able to hear more about the social protection system and programmes in Slovenia, and compare them to systems in other partner countries. Ana Čolić, Urška Pekolj and Alen Pust took everyone on a tour of the facilities and explained all the tasks performed by different units of the Centre. Next stop were the facilities of Association of Paraplegics of Dolenjska, Bela Krajina and Posavje where Martina Glavič, Polona Povše and Bernarda Zorko talked about the programmes for a better involvement of paraplegics in the local society. They also shared their personal stories of trying to adjust to everyday life as a paraplegic.

Violeta Suhadolnik from Association Sonček spoke about the national and local programmes implemented by their association for cerebral paralysis of Dolenjska and Bela Krajina. Toni Kočevar from Association Srečanje spoke about preventive programmes, counselling and assistance to people with addictions. The last stop of the day was Association of Pensioners Novo Mesto. Their representatives, Rožca Šonc, Ljubica Murn and Neja Cvelbar, presented their various social activities for the elderly, as well as a national and local programme titled “Elderly for the Elderly”.

On Day 3, the participants of the 4th Intercultural and Transnational Practice-Research Workshop for Practitioners in Social Work in Novo Mesto visited the OZRK NM, the local branch of the Slovenian Red Cross. Barbara Ozimek spoke about their programmes for people in need and homeless people. She also spoke about empowering youth and elderly, while Maja Gorenc Šulc took everyone on a short tour of their facilities. Next up, the representative of association Ozara, Danica Ćućić, presented their programmes for people with mental health issues. Nastja Salmič Tisovec from association Šent also spoke about the assistance and various programmes they offer to people with mental health problems.

The next presenter was Melita Kramar from Association Life Without Violence. Their association works with victims of violence and is responsible for running a safe house in the local community for women and mothers that are victims of violence. In the afternoon, social workers visited DRPDNM and the Daily Centre for Children. Mojca Rodič spoke about the various activities for migrant children they organise every day. Participants were able to speak with the children and witness preparations for the dancing recital the youth are organising in the coming days.

On Day 4, the participants of the 4th Intercultural and Transnational Practice-Research Workshop for Practitioners in Social Work first visited the Senior Citizens Home Novo Mesto. Their employees, Sonja Jurečič, Jolanda Švent and Simona Grgovič, explained the work that they do and the services they offer to the elderly. They took everyone on a tour of the facilities where social workers were also able to speak to the residents. Petra Cerinšek from The Association of Societies for Social Gerontology of Slovenia presented their self-help groups for the elderly people.

The next stop for the international participants was the local Protection and Work Centre Novo Mesto that offers assistance and work opportunities to people with various mental health issues and physical disabilities. Janja Jakše, Maja Medic Tomič, Suzana Savičić and Mojca Zver presented the various programmes they offer, took everyone on a tour of the facilities and introduced them to the residents Anica Stanković presented another local non-governmental and humanitarian organisation, Association Sožitje, which operates on a voluntary basis and assists people with mental and developmental disorders.

In the afternoon, social workers visited DRPDNM’s Daily Centre for Roma Children in Brezje (a Roma settlement). Mojca Vegelj spoke about the various activities for Roma children they organise every day. The children were in the middle of a creative workshop and gifted their creations to the visiting social workers.

On Day 5, the participants of the 4th Intercultural and Transnational Practice-Research Workshop for Practitioners in Social Work first visited social enterprise Želva, which offers various trainings and employment to people with disabilities. They cooperate with the Employment Service of Slovenia and help find job placements for people with various levels of disabilities. Their representatives, Polonca Petan and Joži Zupan, presented their organisation and the work they do.

The last part of the practice-research workshop in Novo Mesto was reserved for summing up the entire week and group discussions on the topic of empowering individuals and communities. Visiting social workers tried to identify best tools and techniques for addressing different populations and situations in the field of social work that could be implemented in their respective countries and local environments.

Involving local communities in helping people in need Reggio Emilia – Italy (7-11 Octomber 2019)

Last organizing details, waiting for the the EPSWRA PAS!
See you on Monday morning at DarVoce, via Trento Trieste 11, Reggio Emilia 2nd floor. DarVoce: Centro Servizi Volontariato

3th intercultural and transnational meeting workshop in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Welcome to all the participants from Darvoce and E35 Staff. DarVoce: Centro Servizi Volontariato

In Castelnovo Ne’ Monti with our partner DarVoce: Centro Servizi Volontariato for 3th intercultural and transnational meeting workshop in Reggio Emilia
Fondazione E35 Croce Verde Castelnovo Monti – Vetto Iacopo Fiorentini

Visiting I Teatri Fondazione Reggio Emilia with DarVoce: Centro Servizi Volontariato!

Again in Reggio Emilia with DarVoce: Centro Servizi Volontariato.
Here’s at La Polveriera, a social project in downtown: restaurants, worshop, laboratories and cohesion

Visiting Dora – Emporio Solidale with DarVoce: Centro Servizi Volontariato

Last days in Reggio Emilia for our group. Here’s with our guests, DarVoce: Centro Servizi Volontariato

A concrete example of community development in Unione Montana dei Comuni dell’Appennino Reggiano: a project with social workers, volunteers, old and young people togheter in the Theatre Lab „Arcatema”. During their visit in Reggio Emilia, the EPSWRA social workers have seen a part of the LAB as a innovative method to develop the sense of the community.
Dora Valério Christina Koukouriki Ana Čolić Castelnovo Ne’ Monti Iacopo Fiorentini DarVoce: Centro Servizi Volontariato

The Second Transnational and Intercultural Practice-Research Workshop „Developing Social Capital in Rural Areas” – Portugal

From 23 to 27 of September Contextos held the Second Transnational and Intercultural Practice-Research Workshop „Developing Social Capital in Rural Areas”.

📣 Day 1 – Official opening of the project „Developing Social Capital in Rural Areas”, an initiative integrated into the project „Empowering Practitioners in Social Work from Rural Communities”, financed by the Erasmus+ programme.

✔️ 14 social workers/social educators from #Spain#Slovenia#Italy#Bulgaria#Romania#Greece, and Portugal were at the University of the Algarve sharing their experiences and their know-how regarding the importance of social capital for rural development.

✔️ Today, with the guidance/facilitation of Dora Valério, they asked themselves about the origin and evolution of the concept of social capital, what it means to build social capital and why it is important to build social capital for rural development. In the afternoon, attention was focused on the importance of social capital to combat social inequalities and on strategies to be employed by these professionals for effective rural practice.

✔️ Also within the scope of this initiative, Contextos received the second transnational meeting, where the consortium was planning and organizing the next activities of the project. We also had the opportunity to visit the exhibition „Life-Time” by Eduardo Pinto, at Galeria Arco. Many thanks to Alfa Fotografia.

Photo Credits: Miruna Boari

📣 Day 2 of the project „Developing Social Capital in Rural Areas”, an initiative integrated into the project „Empowering Practitioners in Social Work from Rural Communities”, funded by the Erasmus+ programme.

✔️ Today was dedicated to sharing best practices & success stories. We counted on the presence of Priest Pedro Manuel, President of the Parochial Centre of Paderne and Helena João, animator of the School of Areal Gordo, Agrupamento de Escolas João de Deus, who shared with us their projects and experiences. Thank you very much to all for the moment of sharing.

✔️ 14 social workers/social educators from #Spain#Slovenia#Italy#Bulgaria#Romania#Greece and #Portugal were at the University of the Algarve sharing experiences and know-how about the importance of social capital for rural development. 😊

Photo Credits: Miruna Boari

📣 Day 3 of the project „Developing Social Capital in Rural Areas”, an initiative integrated into the project „Empowering Practitioners in Social Work from Rural Communities”, funded by the Erasmus+ programme.

✔️ Today we had the opportunity to visit entities, which we consider a good example of what is being done in the Algarve. On behalf of the Contextos, many thanks to Dr. Paula Brito, for having told us the socio-cultural history of #Estoi, to the President of the Parish Council of Santa Bárbara de Nexe, Dr. Sérgio Martins, to the President of the Associação In Loco, Dr. Artur Filipe Gregório, to Dr. Jorge Leitão, President of the AAPACDM and finally to the CAO Techniques of AAPACDM.

✔️ 14 social workers/social educators from #Spain#Slovenia#Italy#Bulgaria#Romania#Greece and Portugal were at the University of Algarve sharing experiences and know-how on the importance of social capital for rural development. 😊

We share with you the photographic memories 📸

📣 Day 5 of the project „Developing Social Capital in Rural Areas”, an initiative integrated into the project „Empowering Practitioners in Social Work from Rural Communities”, funded by the @erasmus+ programme.

✔️ For 4 days, 14 social workers/social educators from #Spain#Slovenia#Italy#Bulgaria#Romania#Greece and Portugal were at the University of Algarve to share experiences and know-how on the importance of social capital for rural development.

✔️ In order to share the results obtained, Contextos organized the International Conference „Construction of Social Capital in the Algarve”, with the moderation of Dora Valério. Many thanks to all the participants and our guests, Dr. Aquiles Marreiros (CCDR-Algarve), Dr. Carlos Luís (Agrupamento de Escolas João de Deus), Dr. João Nuno Arroja Neves (Faro Municipality), Dr. José Vieira (representing Dr. Moreno Custodio, Director of the Portuguese Institute of Sports and Youth), Dr. Jorge Leitão (AAPACDM) and Priest Pedro Manuel (Paderne Parochial Centre). Your sharing has enriched us. 😊❤️

Photo Credits 📸| Miruna Boari

Short-term training session

Association for Developing Voluntary Work Novo Mesto (DRPDNM) held a national short-term training session for practitioners in social work in the framework of the Erasmus+ project „Empowering Practitioners in Social Work from Rural Communities” – EPSWRA, project number 2018-1-RO01-KA204-049515, funded by European Commission. The training took place in Novo Mesto and brought together 12 practitioners in social work working in different organisations and communities in Slovenia that will attend international workshops to further develop their knowledge and skills in this field. The training focused on several topics, such as developing community and professional networks, how to evaluate the impact of interventions and how to effectively use ICT tools. Everyone is looking forward to international workshops and to meet their colleagues from other partner countries.