To increase the awareness among students, national and municipal welfare policy makers, employers, people in regions, journalists, and other involved persons on the content, goals and importance of EU funds investments in implementing welfare policy in Latvia in relation to social inclusion and employment of people with disabilities, we coordinated five workshops for students and together with Latvian universities organised five public forums “People with disabilities in the society: HOW not WHETHER” in 2017.

Each forum was devoted to a single aspect of EU Structural Funds investments. For example, forum at the Liepāja University “Open school as a beginning to open society” dealt with education-related issues, and forum at Vidzeme University College (Valmiera) “Social entrepreneurship as an opportunity to build a possibility” allowed to understand the role of social enterprises in creating inclusive employment. Participants of the forum “Inclusive employment: duty, privilege or opportunity”, which was organised at the Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies in Jelgava, met representatives of the Ministry of Welfare, State Employment Agency and NGOs to learn more about the advantages of inclusive employment, while the public forum “People with mental disorders in modern Latvia” at Rīga Stradiņš University discussed the inclusion of people with mental disorders into society and labour market. At the end of this forum session, a public forum “Young people with disabilities in labour market: myths and reality” took place in Daugavpils University to talk about the possibilities to employ a young person with disability. In total, more than 370 participants—students, employees of State and municipality institutions, entrepreneurs, NGO representatives—took part in the five forums.

In organising this session, we were responsible for both the content of forums and the technical aspects (premises, sounds, presentation equipment, snacks for participants). We drafted the forum agendas, invited speakers, provided for the event management, including inviting and registering participants and tracking attendance) and discussion moderators. All forums were broadcast live on the Internet and recorded. To reach wider audience, we also provided public relation services to promote the public forums and initiate articles and interviews in mass media, prepared posts for social media, and developed a joint visual identity of forums (posters, agenda, forum title slide, moving GIF file)

Picture: Comperio archive