Thursday, 22 September 2011

Palestinians visit Finnish social services

A high-level delegation from the Palestinian National Authority's Ministry of Social Affairs visited TAMK on Wednesday 21 September 2011.

The visit is a part of an EU-funded project training Palestinian officials in social services management. The leader of the project based in Ramallah, West Bank, is Timo Piirainen. TAMK's Social Services lecturer Ulla-Maija Koivula has been a consultant to the project. She has visited Ramallah five times since October 2010.

Koivula introduced the basics of Finnish and Tampere social services to the visitors, e.g. the municipal strategies, the national legislation, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland, the social assistance system, and the purchaser-provider model of Tampere. She stressed that the Finnish social services are based on an individual's needs, and that an individual receives a written "care and support plan". The Finnish work also aims at early intervention and multi-professional work.

The Deputy Minister of Social Affairs, Mohammed K. A. Hamied, said they are impressed with the way Finland, having the northern geographic conditions and a small population, has managed to build such working social services.

- Finns are very much pioneers in this field: you have adapted well in hard conditions and use your resources in a useful way, he said.

The Deputy Minister said that, with the help of the project, the Palestinians have managed to draft a new strategy for their Ministry, train key persons on management, and set up 17 regional offices.

The delegation will visit Tampere City Welfare Office, Kuusikko Family Support Center, Viola Home, and the Service Center for Hearing and Visually Impaired. On Friday 23 September, the delegation takes part in a Social Services seminar at the University of Tampere.

Text and photo: Mirja Onduso

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