“Humour rather than pity can help more” says newly-made strategy for facilitation of antidiscrimination and diversity in the society

In the beginning of 2017 by the request of Society Integration Fund of Latvia a comprehensive study was implemented by our company in co-operation with the companies Safege Baltija, Ltd and Prospero, Ltd that resulted into elaborated “Strategy facilitating understanding and awareness about antidiscrimination and diversity”.

Prior to writing a strategy, a comprehensive research was carried out to explore public attitude towards diversity, reasons behind it and options how to change these attitudes. More than 100 previously concluded researches, studies on tolerance, discrimination and equality in Latvia and elsewhere were analysed. More than 1000 respondents were asked detailed questions in a direct public opinion pool, 34 direct interviews with the representatives of the target groups, employers and experts were conducted to discuss current issues, problems and find out preferred information channels and communication methods. Best praxis of award winning public campaigns were analysed. The results of the research can be find in the comprehensive 277 pages report (available only in Latvian).

Report on research on current public opinion and awareness level and the most effective information methods

Basing on the research, we elaborated suggestions on what to do, whom to address, what kind of messages to use, in order to show opportunities on the issues where possibly only threats are seen. These suggestions are included in the communication strategy, where they are grouped according to the various target audiences (available only in Latvian).

Strategy facilitating understanding and awareness about antidiscrimination and diversity

We hope that this strategy can serve as inspiration to anyone who is working with the groups that are being discriminated and society in general. Research showed that people need to take a personal responsibility for their actions. In the most cases people, not government are creating discriminatory situations, and everyone with their actions can significantly improve the world we live in.

97 per cent of municipal employees consider EU financing has improved life quality in the regions of Latvia

In the second half of 2015 our company was contracted to evaluate the results achieved by 494 EU financed projects administered by State Regional Development Agency of Latvia. In order to evaluate to what extent investments of almost 500 million EU funds correspond to the needs of municipality itself and its citizens, five regional expert forums and electronic survey were organised for municipality administration and experts who were involved during the implementation of EU funded projects to receive their opinion.

General opinion expressed was that EU funds’ investments have high positive impact to municipalities’ development and needs of their citizens, pointing out that without EU funding municipalities would be able only to maintain their infrastructure and cover every day needs. EU funding allowed to implement significant infrastructure projects in the municipalities: many streets, public buildings, kindergartens, libraries were constructed or newly built and public internet access points were established.

All conclusions of the evaluation are included in the “Review on the Results of European Social Fund and European Regional Development Fund Activities Administered by the State Regional Development Agency during 2007–2013 of EU funds planning period.” It includes also several best practice descriptions of the implemented projects. The review is available only in Latvian.

Many challenges of EU Eastern Partnership

Comperio, Ltd, experts Gunta Misāne and Inese Bērs, took part in the EU Eastern Partnership Civil society and Business forums in Riga, May 20-21, 2015. While meeting partners from Eastern Partnership countries, listening to different opinions expressed by the participants of both events, several conclusions and views could be drawn:

– Eastern Partnership is a priority only for Eastern European countries, as witnessed by the lack of representatives from Western European civil society organisations and business during the events.

– A feeling of tiredness of Eastern Partnership countries from the consultants from EU countries telling them how to deal with their problems was clearly noticeable. We remember this feeling from the pre-EU accession period in Latvia as well. We tolerated these consultants if a hope of real finances for real projects, real processes was expected to come with them. We believe – there are many knowledgeable experts in Eastern Partnership countries, who know better, what has to be done in their own countries.

– A view expressed by a NGO representative from an Eastern Partnership country stuck in the mind: better or at least any feedback from the consultants would be highly appreciated instead of regular inquiries, interviews, information requests from their side and lack of any feedback on the results and conclusions drawn by the consultants after the meetings.

– Representatives of EU donors’ pointed out as one of the problems the incoherence of the donor programmes. The same problem was present during pre-accession period of Latvia, but it was not an obstacle to use all available funds. Maybe total centralisation of funds is not that necessary?

– Listening to the views expressed during Business forum, one conclusion could be drawn – after all everything comes back to the fact, that we are interested to do business together instead of making politics.

– Unifying element of both events was the view, that when thinking about the future – we need to address youth, and, for the business and civil society a visa free regime between EU and Eastern Partnership countries is crucial.

We were very pleased learning the fact that our Moldovan partners, we implemented a really small project together already five years ago, are still benefitting from partnerships created during their study visit to Latvia. Since that time they have established co-operation with more tangible results for the regional development of Moldova.

Honoured when our work is recognised as the best example

Our company were proud and honoured when during major event for European non-governmental organizations „NGO Forum – Riga 2015” that was organised in the frame of EU Presidency of Latvia (March 2-3, 2015), Professor Roberts Kilis in his speech presented as an excellent example of public involvement in the decision making process during elaboration of the Sustainable Development Strategy of Latvia „Latvia 2030”.

This was a project that we were part of with all our heart and excitement, with true believe, that every opinion of every person should be taken into account. More information about the project can be found here.

Supporting more women in decision making

Comperio Board Member Inese Bērs acting also as Board Member of women entrepreneurs association „Līdere” was invited to participate in roundtable discussion „She Decides You Succeed” on women in decision-making on innovative companies as valuable guest speaker that was organized by European Women Inventors & Innovators Network on February 3, 2015 in The Royal Overseas League House in London. More than 40 women from The United Kingdom, Spain, The Netherlands, Italy, Romania and Latvia representing different type of women entrepreneurs’ organizations participated in the roundtable discussion.

The aim of the discussion was to get an overview on the situation of women in decision-making in each country and share best practice examples in order to develop a guide for each beneficiary country about the existing obstacles women face when trying to access decision-making positions and the benefits for private companies of having more women in their economic decision-making positions. Inese Bērs gave an overview of the situation in Latvia relating to women in decision making positions and shared her recommendations for getting more women on the boards in innovative companies. Her speech and active participation was positively evaluated by the other participants.

More than 1800 employers have used the opportunity to improve their knowledge

For the last five years Business Resource Centre of the Latvian Employers Confederation was offering free of cost training programmes to employers using the support of the European Social Fund and government budget. Since the beginning of the training programme in the spring of 2010 more than 1800 employers – entrepreneurs and municipality representatives – have used the opportunity to improve their professional skills. These training programmes were managed by the company Comperio.

The training programmes have been developed and were delivered in co-operation with highly qualified experts and lectors. Three programmes were available programmes (each two day long):

  • “Bilateral and trilateral social dialogue and human resource management”,
  • “Business development and corporate and social responsibility”,
  • “Promotion of public – private partnership and strategic management”.

Training consisted of lectures, practical exercises, discussions on the training topic including wider discussions with decision makers.

The training was organised within European Social fund project “Rising administrative capacity of Latvian Employers Confederation in regions” (id. no. 1DP/1.5.2.2.1./08/IPIA/SIF/002/02).

Don’t reinvent the wheel. Buy one! – Franchise Hub Expo 2014

“Franchise Hub Expo” is the one and only annual, international franchise event that attracts international franchise brands as well as a large audience of prospective franchisees who wish to establish new business partnerships in the Baltics and Belarus since 2011.

„Franchise Hub Expo 2014“ events have attracted many prospective franchisees and franchisors in Riga, Vilnius and Minsk. In Riga alone more than 100 participants took part in the franchising conference and met more than 25 franchises from 11 countries who have expressed interest to meet prospective franchisees and investors to offer them appealing business concepts in service, retail and restaurant sectors.

Here you can find some highlights of this international exhibition and conference at www.facebook.com/allaboutfranchising.

All presentations of the speakers are available for download from here.

Be sure to subscribe to Franchise Hub newsletter and periodically check Upcoming events on our website for hottest franchising happenings in Baltic, Belarus and Worldwide.

 

More:

www.twitter.com/FranchiseHubLV

www.facebook.com/Allaboutfranchising

www.franchisehub.eu

Latvian business leaders focus on the benefits of gender equality

The “EQUALITY PAYS OFF” workshop in Riga attracted 36 participants from the largest Latvia‘s companies and social partners. The event held on March 6, 2013 was organized with the support of the Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia.

In their opening speeches, Mr. Pēteris Krīgers, Chairman of the Free Trade Union Confederation and Mrs. Inese Stepiņa, Deputy General Director of the Employers’ Confederation of Latvia noted that women have long been an integral part of the labour market in Latvia so that people don’t view female employment as an issue. Both speakers stressed the need to overcome gender stereotypes that are still strongly influencing Latvian women’s employment.

Trainers Gunta Misāne and Inese Bērs focused the workshop on the impact of organisational structure and communication of companies’ activities on gender equality. Participants agreed that in Latvia, the lack of opportunities to work part-time, limits women‘s chances of entering the workforce at all. For companies so far failing to recognise the benefit of offering part-time work, a good starting point could be offering more flexibility choosing the place where work is undertaken.

Participants underlined the urgency and importance of approaching students early on to offset skill shortages which are set to become a major challenge in Latvia due to both demographic change and emigration. Establishing sustainable and long-lasting contact to students – for example by offering them jobs or internships – enables them to get to know a company and its employees in practice and significantly raises the likelihood of them opting for the company after completing their studies.

Companies need to communicate what they are doing to enhance gender equality in order to attract top talent, but also in order to contribute to a sustainable change in corporate culture. Participants stressed the need for action to make small and medium sized companies aware of the benefits of gender equality.

More about workshop http://ec.europa.eu/justice/gender-equality/files/epo_campaign/130925_update_latvia.pdf

More about Equal pays off initiative http://ec.europa.eu/justice/gender-equality/equality-pays-off/index_en.htm

Communication training for Moldovan NGO’s

As part of capacity building plan elaborated during inception phase of the Moldova Dialogue project (full name – Promoting Broad Society Participation and Facilitating Policy Dialogue), the project team participated in several events at the end of September, 2011 aimed at explaining and comparing public policy process in Moldova, Romania and Latvia. Three training sessions to NGO’s on how to communicate with their target audiences was conducted by Comperio experts.

At the end of September three training sessions for NGO representatives on how to communicate effectively with the target audiences were held in Moldovan cities Chisinau and Kahul. The training was provided by Comperio experts Inese Bers and Gunta Misane.

The aim of the trainings was to introduce public relations methods that are effective for reaching wider audiences in order of explaining the point of views of the organisation, therefore building support in the society to the cases of the organisation. Examples from the experience of Latvian and Moldovan NGO’s were compared and discussed. More than 50 NGO representatives took part in the training.

Pictures from the training sessions:

https://picasaweb.google.com/104390162134330770621/1109_NGO_communication_training?feat=flashslideshow#5658100542552577698

Background

The Moldova Dialogue project (full title “Promoting broad society participation and facilitating policy dialogue”) is financed by the „Democracy support programme in Moldova” – a joint programme between the Council of Europe and the European Union. Goals of the Moldova Dialogue project are to facilitate broad society participation in legislative process and decision making. The project focuses on participatory mechanisms of NGO’s in decision making process and ways of improving access to it. The project is implemented by Latvian company “Corporate & Public Management Group” in cooperation with Saeima – Parliament of Republic of Latvia, State Chancellery of the Republic of Latvia, NGO LAPAS – Latvian Platform for Development Cooperation, NGO Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments.

Inception report on Project: Findings, Recommendations and Approach for Implementation Phase Activities Chisinau, June, 2011 is available on the project website http://www.moldovadialogue.eu/file-cabinet

Comperio experts participate in the development of the handbook for volunteer work

The association “Movement for Democratic Thought” in cooperation with the proficient team of authors has developed a handbook “Organisation of Volunteer Work in the Municipality.” It was funded by the Riga City Council Education, Culture and Sports Department. The handbook is a result of a group of contributors – one of them Comperio expert Gunta Misāne.
This handbook is meant for any employee of the local authorities, and it is particularly useful for those municipal employees who work with young people, provide social services to the citizens and are organising educational, sport and cultural activities in the municipality, as well as teachers.
Although the handbook is mainly meant for employees of the local authorities, we do hope that it will be useful also for representatives of any other organisation planning to involve volunteers to the work of the organisation and wanting to get prepared for this activity.
The handbook contains a general overview on what is voluntary work illustrating it with practical examples from the world and the Latvian experience, explains why people engage in volunteer work, why it would be useful for the municipality or any other organisation to attract volunteers. It describes the importance of volunteering in particular by promoting social inclusion, as well as provides insight into the volunteering situation in Latvia.
To facilitate implementation of volunteer programs in the municipality, the handbook provides practical advice on the legal basis for voluntary work in the municipalities; explains terms of attracting volunteers, their preparation for work, describes responsibilities, which could be entrusted to a volunteer, management of volunteer work in a municipality as well as evaluation of the volunteer work.
In conclusion a number of ways to raise funds for organisation of volunteer work in the municipality are identified, as well as guidance for where to obtain more information about volunteering is provided.
The handbook “Organisation of Volunteer Work in the Municipality” can be found on the website of the association “Movement for Democratic Thought”.

https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=ZGVmYXVsdGRvbWFpbnxrZGRsYXR2aWF8Z3g6NjdkOWI5ZGM1MTUxZjdmZg