ELFAC Awards 2018
Here are the awardees of the ELFAC prizes, handed out at the European Large Families Conference in Szczecin (Poland) in June 2018.
THE GOVERNMENT OF LATVIA
The “Family-friendly Municipality” programme in Latvia is the first programme of this kind in Europe on a national government level. It was elaborated in the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development soon after the previous European Large Families Conference “From Family Friendly Municipality to Family Friendly State” in Riga, 2016, and was launched in 2017.
For this programme a website named www.vietagimenei.lv was created, which contains information on each municipality about the kinds of support they provide for families: for instance, childbirth benefits, school support, extent of tax reductions, school bus, free catering at school and kindergarten, extracurricular (after school) activities, playgrounds, municipal housing, pram/wheelchair accessibility to public buildings and authorities, as well as other initiatives of family support.
Within the framework of the programme a contest was organised in 2017 with the goal of evaluating support and services for families with children and awarding the most family friendly municipalities in three categories: cities, regional centres and other local governments. Out of the 119 municipalities in Latvia 55 took part in the contest. The award-winners were chosen as a result of an elaborate system of evaluation. Registered users of the website www.vietagimenei.lv could also submit assessments and vote for their community. The winners received funding for the development of family-friendly infrastructure or services in 2018.
In view of the popularity and the success of this competition, the program continues in 2018 and subsequent years.
The Award was received by Mr. Kaspars Gerhards, Minister for Environmental Protection and Regional Development
Essen/Oldenburg is a municipality in Lower Saxony. The municipality considers as its main task to keep the families in the area, keep the neighborhood lively and create an atmosphere for living, working and raising children. Especially large families get generous support. The local government offers a variety of incentives and services.
Essen/Oldenburg welcomes every newborn in its community with a gratuity. Parents as well as single parents receive 50 Euros at the birth of their first and second child, respectively. For the birth of the third and any further child this gratuity amounts to 200 Euros.
To encourage families to settle down and feel home Essen/Oldenburg supports the first effort by a family to build or acquire a home within the municipality ground. Parents as well as single parents with one child can request 3000 Euros and they will be granted additional 1000 Euros for any other living child by the time of turnkey-completion. Even children born within 8 years after turnkey-ready completion will also be accounted for with 1000 Euros each.
Families with three or more children are entitled to financial support towards educational and sports activities of the children. Another helpful element within the whole range of family support is the free issuing of documents, certificates, authentications, copies and ID-cards.
The Award was received by Heiner Kreßmann, Bürgermeister (Mayor) of the city.
EUROCASH GROUP (POLAND)
The Eurocash Group is the leader in the wholesale distribution of food and drink products in Poland. Its network of a dozen or so thousand stores is the largest in the country. Since 2017 the Group supports the activities of the National Association of Large Families “Three Plus”, thus expressing support for the Association’s statutory goals, like actions for the benefit of social and economic interests of families bringing up children, creating a pro-family policy, consolidating a positive image of the family and of the large family in particular, as well as enhancing solidarity of families.
The Group supports family businesses and helps entrepreneurial families to develop the necessary skills.
BASQUE COUNTRY FEDERATION OF LARGE FAMILIES HIRUKIDE (SPAIN)
The Hirukide Federation of Large Families started an annual video production eight years ago to highlight the values of the family and large families. These videos have had a greater social impact, being published by the main mass media, not only in Spain but also in many other countries. For that reason, there is an English version of the latest videos.
The 2017 video was “With our grandparents, we’re more like a family” to highlight the role of grandparents in the family. The video has had more than 10 million views on Facebook and more than 200,000 on YouTube.
The video “Being a mother is an extra advantage” had more than 2 million views on YouTube. It has been translated, in addition to English, to Italian and German by the associations of large families in these countries.
ING. OTAKAR HAMPL, PhD (Czech Republic)
Otakar Hampl, father of four children, is an economist, expert in evaluation of data using mathematical modeling.
His long-term activity is devoted to the true value of parental work in the family and appreciation of this role by the society and the state. As an analytical economist working on the Board of the Czech Government for Sustainable Development he struggles for a fair system of economic transfers to families (especially large families), he reminds the politicians of the irreplaceable role of stable family based on marriage, the merit of upbringing children as a significant work for the entire society and as the true economic productivity of family generating the human and social capital of the state. Using mathematic models he has been contributing actively to the gradual increase of tax deductions for families with children in the years 2015-2018.
Besides that, his current work is tightly interconnected with the reform of retirement pensions, where he pushes through the principle of taking into account the number of children. Since 2014 he works as a member of the Council of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in the special commission for the reform of retirement pensions. His analysis documents well the unfairness of current economic transfers between the state and families, between generations, and between families with children and without children. His mathematical models are ‘hard’ arguments in the discussions about the reform of retirement pensions in preparation.