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Fighting poverty through employment

Mar 12, 2024 | News

Experts of the social sector discuss new methods to fight poverty

Poverty and what to do about it was the topic of a meeting of social sector professionals in Miskolc on 6 November, 2023. Staff from social care and support systems, and volunteers from the associated organisations, looked at new ways to tackle poverty. The meeting was held within the framework of the European Social Fund-financed 4IM project aimed at developing a comprehensive new social model in Miskolc.

Social support to increase individuals’ employability is the aim of the EU-financed 4IM project under the motto: “Miskolc shall be a place for everyone”. Staff and supporters from the organisations involved in the project held a workshop to identify new tools to improve the effectiveness of their mission.

At the meeting, Miskolc Deputy Mayor Andrea Varga said that the primary objective of the project is to increase employment through the support of various social sector institutions.

– “If we want to have a liveable and prosperous city, we have to address poverty. The 4IM project is comprehensive: it addresses old problems using new methods and puts a strong focus on developing new institutional capabilities. In Miskolc, we are in the uniquely difficult situation in that we have a shortage of jobs and a shortage of labour. However, there are still opportunities for people of working age who seek to be integrated into the world of employment with the help of social professionals. If we can do this, we all win, individuals and their families, the companies operating here and of course the city itself, because the more people work, the more prosperous the city becomes,” she said.

Dr Varga further explained that the establishment of the Social Innovation Council in Miskolc has served to expand on and improve the quality of social care and services. The 4IM Project aims to introduce new tools in social work that enable integrated social development. The programme of the November meeting for social sector stakeholders was therefore designed to showcase innovative ways of working in the sector.

Skills development

At the meeting, the Director of the Miskolc Vocational Training Centre Péter Molnár laid out the medium-term strategy for the renewal of vocational training and adult education. He presented various programmes supporting employment objectives such as the “Dobbantó” (Kick-off) and “Műhelyiskola” (Workshop school) training courses.

The “Dobbantó” programme is designed to develop basic skills for those who have not completed primary school but are over 16.  The aim of the “Műhelyiskola” course is to assist drop-outs or those at risk of dropping out by helping them acquire skills for part-time employment in the immediate term with the goal of transitioning to a more stable job in the medium term. In groups of 5 to 8 people, they learn a specific skill over the course of 8 to 10 months in order to equip themselves with those needed to find a job.

It is a tradition that the Miskolc Unified Social and Child Welfare Institution organises a full-day professional programme to mark the occasion of Social Work Day. Péter Attila Gúr, director of the institution noted that the 4IM Project implements activities in two pilot neighbourhoods: Bábonyibérc and Tetemvár. The project’s experts are frequently present in these two areas, acutely aware of the problems the local residents face and working to better their situation.

Active participation in change

4IM Project Coordinator Gábor Osgyáni highlighted the problems and challenges faced by the project: the disappearance of heavy industry and its effect on society today, overall economic decline in the city and surrounding region of north-east Hungary, population transfer, segregation and “ghettoisation”, etc.

Gábor Osgyáni

In his presentation, Mr Osgyáni explained the Community Coaching method used in the framework of the project and shed light on what could be the key to effective action against urban poverty. He emphasised the necessity of creating a community of action to be able to engage with local residents through dialogue and open and active information exchange. He also underscored the importance of instilling a sense of ownership in the hands of the local population in order to open the door to self-sustainability.