About Us

Who are the participants?

53 teams consisting of representatives from a municipality and a local school from all over Latvia took part in the SFL initiative “Change opportunities for schools”. They all together looked for new, creative and effective ways of taking advantages of the existing resources to change and enliven schools so that they can become a meeting and activity place for all local community members.

More information on individual projects you can find in the Project part on this website.

The team of the initiative “Change opportunities for schools”:

Aija Tūna, coordinator of the SFL initiative „Change opportunities for schools”, who is always happy to hear and tell others the stories of good experience and helps to convert challenges into new possibilities; she is also a consultant and a lecturer whose specialty is support to families, children and teachers and civic involvement as a key to better life.

For further communication aija.tuna@sfl.lv

Liesma Ose, former director of SFL Civic Rights and Ethnic Conformity program, co-author and the first coordinator of the initiative “Change opportunities for schools”.

Sanita Upīte, SFL administrative assistant was instrumental in building effective and pleasant link between people implementing the project, and the rest of the team, provided support in administrative and all the other matters.

Consultants – experts:

Ausma Pastore is excellent at involving people in thinking and decision making processes, in finding out people’s needs and their talents; she knows how to generate ideas to implement the needs and can motivate everybody to be ready to face up serious decisions.

Jānis Baltačs, having always been active in social and local development projects now shares his experience and encourages the people implementing projects into action; he is excellent at bringing round people to use modern technologies and talking them into starting entrepreneurship by taking stock of their own ideas and skills first, not by doing a course in accountancy.

Valdis Kudiņš, considers that the quality of each place depends on strong community and the community improvement is an integral part of the country development; he has great experience which allows him to address and support others.

What is happening?

As a reaction to the consequences of global financial crisis in Eastern Europe and Middle Asia, George Soros granted extraordinary 100 million dollars within a period of two and a half years to countries which had been affected by the crisis most badly. The decisions on programs to be maintained and the amount of finances to be granted are made by the Advisory Board of the Open Society Foundations.

The Soros Foundation – Latvia has successfully submitted and gained acceptance for several initiatives, including the initiative “Change opportunities for schools” supporting educational and social needs of small schools and local community members. 1.3 million EUR have been granted for implementing this initiative which allows create patterns for successful maintenance of small schools or re-structuring them by widening the spectrum of their activities, more actively serving the needs of local communities and putting the principles of lifelong learning into practice.

The aim of the initiative “Change opportunities for schools” is to promote restructuring of small schools into multi-functional education, culture and social centers developing partnerships between administrative, educational, entrepreneur and non-governmental sector organizations.

A call for projects was announced, and 323 projects were submitted. 151 projects were proposed for the second stage, and 53 of these were confirmed for implementation. An essential criterion in evaluating the projects was analysis performed by local governments and their understanding of social and educational needs of local people, ability to propose effective and sustainable solutions, as well as promoting involvement of various local community groups.
Both, local and foreign experts have declared that small schools in Latvia have high potential of being competitive and providing high quality education if they react to local community needs and change alongside with time. Taking into consideration performing different functions local community needs, small schools have a potential for development as they are closer to community people, thus are able to respond to their demands and changes in conditions. Small number of students gives a possibility to work more personally with children and young people at school, which together with assistance to teachers and possibilities offered by new technologies adds value to schools like this.

The initiative “Change opportunities for schools” is directed to taking advantage of the potential present at small schools and communities by helping and encouraging them to be transferred into community centers which react to the needs of every single community member.

53 projects were started in the end of 2009 and will be implemented until the end of 2010. During this year one of the tasks and aims of the projects is to find the best forms of activities, cooperation partners and to create general preconditions for successful sustainability of the projects in the future.