About the project
SEMPRE promotes empowerment in social service provision in rural areas of the Baltic Sea Region. Social service providers such as welfare and public sector organisations, NGOs and social enterprises are encouraged and enabled to involve endusers – namely members of disadvantaged groups such as single parents, the elderly or migrants – in the development and delivery of social services.
Many rural areas of the Baltic Sea Region find themselves in a downward spiral, where outwardmigration and economic downturn lead to a deterioration of service infrastructure and quality of life and vice-versa.
Competences that are needed to renew services and stimulate social innovation and entrepreneurship are missing while regional disparities increase. Demographic changes and financial austerity further add to these challenges.
Vulnerable groups at the risk of poverty and exclusion are affected strongly by this development because their life chances diminish and their potential is neglected. SEMPRE aims at improving the social service infrastructure by empowering endusers to participate in service design and delivery. Institutional capacity building of social service providers (public, private and third sector) is essential for this process in order to adapt work methods and instruments and successfully manage organisational change.
To this end, the SEMPRE partners will test empowerment approaches in the local context by initiating and end-user driven micro projects and developing their entrepreneurial competences. The lessons learned in this process are compiled in to an “Empowerment Handbook” that will guide social service provider staff in the practical application of enduser involvement. They will also develop training modules and methods to build the empowerment competence of social service provider staff and develop an “Organisational Roadmap for Empowerment” to inspire the leadership level of social service providers to rethink their role in the social economy. Lastly recommendations for policymakers will be derived from the project activities with a view on creating more favorable socioeconomic conditions in rural areas that include a reliable, affordable and accessible service infrastructure. Innovation in the social sector can create growth and job opportunities in the rural areas of the Baltic Sea Region and make them more attractive places to live and work in.
Photos: (c) Benjamin Suomela / Norden.org, Yadid Levy / Norden.org