International Cooperation

Collaboration of Vologda Oblast with foreign partners in social sphere


The Department of Labour and Social Development of the Vologda Oblast has been working closely with the foreign partners for years implementing joint projects pertaining to social sphere.

The Department cooperates with the following international organizations:

Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA)

Project "Gender Equality and Masculinity Involved Men, Decreased Domestic Violence, Equal Opportunities" (June 2006 - October 2008)

The head of the project was Virginija Langbakk, coordinator for Project Cycle Management, Gender and HIV/AIDS at SIPU International, a Swedish consultancy and training organization specializing in public service development and reform. The experts of the Swedish company conducted trainings on gender basics and some of gender mainstreaming methods in Vologda. The gender consultants assisted in developing gender mainstreamed policies and strategies, improving organizations and equal opportunities at workplace. The focus of the project was laid upon equal rights, equal opportunities, equal obligations and equal remuneration for men and women.

Work involved White Ribbon campaigns (WRC), establishment of information and communication strategy, trainings and development of models to be disseminated in the oblast.

Over the last two years two groups of cooperation partners of Sipu International from the Vologda Oblast Government visited Sweden to learn from Swedish experiences. All in all 52 experts employed at the oblast's social sector, law enforcement agencies and journalists went to Gothenburg and Stockholm, Sweden for an internship.

The first group was focused on anti-violence and gender equality campaigns, gender journalism and masculinity. The journalists who represented national and regional newspapers, TV and radio were the core group for the GEM project in planning and implementing the White Ribbon campaigns in Vologda. The campaigns focused on the right of victims of domestic violence (women and children) to have a violence-free life, on the role of men and engaged all categories of society.

The WRC is the largest effort in the world of men working to end men's violence against women. It relies on volunteer support and financial contributions from individuals and organizations. The WRC got started in 1991, when a handful of men in Canada decided they had a responsibility to urge men to speak out against violence against women. They decided that wearing a white ribbon would be a symbol of men's opposition to men's violence against women. The White Ribbon symbolizes a man's pledge to never commit or remain silent about violence against women.

The first phase of the campaign was carried out in the Vologda Oblast in September 2007 involving residents of Vologda, Cherepovets, Sokol and Gryazovets. The second phase was held throughout the Vologda Oblast in March 2008. Over 300,000 people participated in the White Ribbon campaigns held on the territory of the Vologda Oblast. Still there is a huge amount the society should collaborate on, from fighting domestic violence to care and support to the victims to working with the perpetrator to changing the social role of men and fathers.

The second group from the Vologda Region, which visited the city of Gothenburg, was mainly working with prisons and probations, the system of justice in relation to violence. Groups comprised heads of such main institutions, like police, law enforcement agencies, Prosecutors office, courts, authorities for prisons and penalty. While visiting relevant authorities colleagues from Vologda found several solutions in how to improve cooperation between various authorities in improved prevention of domestic violence and rehabilitation of offenders.

An international conference "Gender Equality and Masculinity Involved Men, Decreased Domestic Violence" was held on October 29th in Veliky Ustyug (Vologda Oblast). The focus of the conference was on swapping experience concerning gender related issues, and discussing the outcomes of the current project.

One of the results of it is that Vologda's County Council Assembly, partly on the recommendation of the SIDA project, decided to provide premises for short-term accommodation for victims of family-related violence. Two centres for young people were opened in Vologda as an outcome of the project. The centres for young people developed training programmes in sexual issues and young people and adults' relations.

Within the framework of the project Swedish experts visited the Vologda Oblast on a regularly basis organizing meetings and training seminars with members of the workgroups involved in the project pertaining to gender equality and masculinity.

Project "Social Work in Vologda Region: Final Stage" (1999 - June 2007)

The project was initiated by SIDA. The cooperation partner in the project pertaining to social work with families and children at risk was Zenit International, the Swedish consulting company. The Swedish experts visited the Vologda Region several times within the framework of the ongoing joint project. The specialists employed at the social institutions of the Vologda region upgraded their professional skills through a training and internship programme in Sweden, Lithuania and Russia. Vologda's experts gained experience in a whole range of issues - management, planning activity, and work with young people. The focus of the current project was on continuation of capacity building, training of staff, training material development, support of establishment of a youth counseling centre and a social clinic for youth and project design.

During the years of collaboration 25 micro projects were implemented, some are underway:

  • home care for elderly and disabled people was introduced in 27 districts of the oblast;
  • home care for children, mentally or physically challenged, was developed in 17 districts of the oblast;
  • a youth counseling centre and a social clinic for youth are being established in 5 districts;
  • day care centres for disabled children were set up.

Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)

Pilot project "Gender Development in Vologda Oblast" (January 2005 - February 2007)

Consultants from CIDA, Canada's lead agency for development assistance, visited Vologda within the framework of the joint project.

Two scientific conferences involving 150 people were held in Vologda as part of the proposed project. Moreover, six training seminars for the social sector employees were carried out in Vologda. A group of the executive powers officials went to Canada for a two-week duration internship. Vologda's experts participate in scientific conferences organized throughout Russia and worldwide.

The experts of the Department of Labour and Social Development of the Vologda Oblast partook in a conference "International Development Week" (IDW) that is held annualy in Canada, the first full week of February. IDW illustrates the work of Canada's development community and provides a unique opportunity for the visitors to increase the awareness of the role many Canadians play in international development and learn more about life in developing countries.

Diakonisches Werk Rheinland (Germany)

In February 2008 the Department of Labour and Social Development signed an agreement on cooperation with the Diakonisches Werk Rheinland (Germany) planning to establish and sustain partnership ties.

Main guidelines of collaboration:

  • social work with children and youth;
  • promotion of a healthy alcohol-free life;
  • upgrade of professional skills of specialists employed in the social sector;
  • social work with families;
  • work aiming to end violence against women and children;
  • participation in international projects and programs.

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