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Providing Social Worker and Social Mentor Services to Asylum Seekers and Persons Holding Refugee or Alternative Status

Evaluation Report on Provision of Services of the Social Worker and Social Mentor

Ievietots: 06.07.2017

Between 1 December 2016 and 30 May of this year, under the procurement “Providing Social Worker and Social Mentor Services to Asylum Seekers and Persons Holding Refugee or Alternative Status”, in total 2 social workers and 10 social mentors from the Society “Shelter “Safe House”” have provided support to 340 target group representatives from 18 countries. On the average, 184 persons were serviced monthly. Communication with the clients was provided via employees and interpreters/language experts.

The evaluation concluded that, upon arrival in Latvia, majority of the clients, immediately and concurrently, have had to address many situations and issues placing them in the group of vulnerable clients and exposes them to the risk of social exclusion. Meanwhile, social workers and social mentors have had to provide maximum support to a large number of clients – on average 171 clients or 92%, in order to address the identified client issues as efficiently as possible.

“Mainly, specialists have had to serve as a mediator between clients and many other institutions and specialists alleviating the clients’ negative feelings on getting accommodated in Latvia, reducing the psycho-emotional stress, motivating them to engage in carious activities and events, repeatedly explaining what are and will be the financial opportunities if the person chooses to stay in Latvia”, says Sandra Zalcmane, Head of the Society “Shelter “Safe House””. “In general, the number of refugees in Latvia is low, so each clients situation gets an individual approach and the particular person is offered a specific solution”.

She points out that cooperation under the provision of social worker and social mentor services is provided for with the institutions stated in the Action Plan – the Ministry of Interior, Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs and the subordinate ACAS “Mucenieki”, Provision State Agency, Ministry of Welfare and Society Integration Foundation, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Economics, Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments, as well as certain municipalities, including Ropaži Region Orphan`s Court, State Employment Agency, Latvian Language Agency, etc. Separate meetings with the representatives from the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees have also taken place. In order to provide the best possible assistance to asylum seekers, several non-governmental and religious partner organizations are engaged and provide assistance, such as societies “Red Cross” and “Gribu palīdzēt bēgļiem” (I want to help refugees), Salvation Army, Betania Monastery, etc., and there has been a cooperation with several private entrepreneurs and socially active people.

During the reporting period, service was provided to both clients with the Accommodation Centre for Asylum Seekers “Mucenieki” and those outside it:

- asylum seekers requiring international protection and hosted by Latvia within the European Union (EU) relocation programme;

- persons arriving to Latvia independently;

- persons who have acquired either refugee or alternative status.

The service was provided by professional social workers and social mentors with previous experience, in both Latvia and abroad, in work with groups exposed to risks of social exclusion.

Complete evaluation of the service provided is available in the Evaluation Report<< prepared by the Society “Shelter “Safe House””

The report contains thematic information on the service, it provides the clients’ social portrait analysis, information on the work accomplished by the social workers and social mentors during the past six months.

The procurement “Providing Social Worker and Social Mentor Services to Asylum Seekers and Persons Holding Refugee or Alternative Status” is implemented from 1 December 2016 until 31 May 2018. Society “Shelter “Safe House”” provides the service within the the activity of European Social Fund “Diversity Promotion (Prevention of Discrimination)” (SAM No. implemented by the Society Integration Foundation. 85% of the funding is granted by the European Social Fund, while the remaining 15% are funded by the Latvian government.

Information was prepared by: Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Communications and Social Media Expert, e-mail: rasa.salina@gmail.com