University of Pitești – Faculty of Science, Social Sciences and Psychology, Department of Psychology, Communication Sciences and Social Work, together with the National College of Social Workers, Argeş Branch – hosted, during 27-31 May 2019, the First International and Intercultural Transnational Practice- Research Workshop for Practitioners in Social Work in Rural Areas.
Workshop was organized in the framework of project ”Empowering Practitioners in Social Work from Rural Communities” (EPSWRA), number 2018-1-RO01-KA204-049515, financed by Erasmus+ Program, Strategic Partnerships for Adult Education, and brought together practitioners in social work from Romania and partner countries: St. Cyril and St. Methodius University of Veliko Tarnovo (Bulgaria), Smart Umbrella Management Solutions E.E. (Greece), Associazione Dar Voce (Italy), Contextos Association (Portugal), Association for Developing Voluntary Work Novo Mesto (Slovenia) and The Andalusian Municipality Fund for International Solidarity – FAMSI (Spain).
Workshop started with an International Conference with the topic “The Need of empowering practitioners in social work in rural areas” (27-28 May 28), during which participants clarified concepts of stress and burn-out, presented main support groups and communities of professional practice for social workers in Romania and partner countries in the project, highlighted social work programs of the Romanian Orthodox Church, and outlined results of comparative research report on the needs and perceptions of practitioners in social work from rural areas in facing the burn-out syndrome; a short presentation of the project and its outcomes was also made.
”This is a great project for all participant countries. We need to create an international network for sharing knowledge and good practices in our profession, and we need to have the capacity to influence legislation in the field, at local, regional, national and european level”, said Sergio Rejano Santis and Miriam Vizcaino Solis – from the Spanish team.
Conference was followed by international workshops and professional debates aiming to identify solutions to cases that social practitioners might face in their professional practice; visits to various social services in Pitești and rural areas of Argeș County were organized as follows:
- Complex of Community Social Services for Child in Distress “Saints Constantine and Elena” Pitești and ”Saint Andrew” Center for Children, Pitești, under the umbrella of Social Work and Argeș Child Protection Directorate;
- Day Care Center – Social Service for children at risk from Mărăcineni and Godeni, run by Local Municipalities in partnership with Ghiţulescu Nelida-Marinela – Individual Office for Social Work.
”We were amazed by the facilities that we have seen in some of the rural area near Pitești, they were all so clean, comfortable, addressed to the children. This project is very helpful for exchanging information and best practices”, said Malamatenia Soumpara (psychologist) and Maria Papadopoulou (social worker) from the Greek team in the project.
All working days have ended with visits around the City of Pitești and tasting local dishes, which led to consolidating relations that have developed among participants from the seven countries of the project consortium.
All workshop activities aimed at encouraging collaboration and networking of practitioners in social work invited to the workshop, and at developing a mechanism to effectively support them in addressing their professional needs. For participating in this event, all Romanian social workers enrolled in the National Register of Social Workers from Romania will receive up to 7 professional credits.