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Final conference of the project " Decent work for social sector employees in Latvia"

On October 19, the final conference of the "Decent work for social sector employees in Latvia" project implemented by the Latvian Association of Local Governments (LALRG) was held, where its participants and implementers looked back on the knowledge gained during the project, successes and benefits from professional training seminars and discussions, both for social workers and local government politicians. One of the lessons learned for the participants of the organized trainings was that they helped to find motivational forces and inspiration for future work.

Opening the conference, LALRG chairman Gints Kaminskis thanked everyone who had been involved in this project. "This project took place at a time when the entire society faced several crises in a row, and social workers were one of the strong support to overcome the challenges of crises on a daily basis. That's why I was pleased with the positive feedback from social workers, leaders and municipal politicians about the organized training seminars, which were valuable in their daily work."

Addressing the participants of the conference, the Ambassador of Kingdom of Norway to the Republic of Latvia H.E. Ms Ine Måreng expressed appreciation to social employees who do important work for society, although it is not evaluate enough. At the same time, she expressed her hope that thanks to this project and further activities, including future projects, will be possible to change this. The Ambassador expressed her satisfaction that local governments in Latvia are interested in adopting good practices from the basic principles of the Norwegian social sphere.

During the implementation of the project, since April 2020, 13 remote and face-to-face professional training seminars on topics relevant to social sector employees, industry professionals and politicians were organized. In total, almost one and a half thousand participants attended the events. Participants highly appreciated the usefulness of this training, the opportunity to exchange experience with colleagues. The training also helped to find motivation, strength and inspiration for further work. Effective communication, sustainable team management, conflict resolution, planning and provision of social services in local governments, management of change and many other topics were covered in the seminars. The participants of the training seminars also indicated topics that would be valuable to continue to learn - communication, cooperation between employees and politicians, communication in the e-environment and inter-institutional cooperation.

At the conference, a valuable presentation on the organizational, practical, psychological and health aspects of avoiding employee burnout was given by Ms Grethe Holtan, the founder of the Intuition School in Norway. On the other hand, Inese Lāčauniece, the Chairwoman of the Latvian Local Governments Employees' Trade Union, emphasized the importance of social dialogue and the collective labour agreement in determining fair wages and working conditions. Ms Elita Cakule, Head of International Projects Department, Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities, called to remember that the main cornerstone in the social sphere is human resources, so it must be valued and be able to be involved in all processes so that decent work is available for representatives of this field.

The target of the project is to promote the implementation of the principles of decent work to improve the working environment of social employees in Latvia, using social dialogue to achieve this goal. The Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments partners in this project are the Latvian Local Governments Employees' Trade Union, the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS), the Norwegian Municipal Employees' Trade Union (Fagforbundet).

The project is implemented with the financial support of the Norwegian financial instrument 2014-2021 program "Social dialogue - decent work".