State order to improve efficiency
Minsk’s information-consultative seminar gathered over 40 representatives of Christian confessions, including Igor Korostelev — a plenipotentiary for social work for the Belarusian Exarchate and priest of the parish to honour the Joy of All Who Sorrow of Mother of God icon. He notes that the state and civil society share interests in the social sphere. Church charities are working to reduce the number of those needing support but he believes that more could be achieved by banding together, and working closely with the state.
Yelena Zenkevich, from the Union of Mercy Sisters of the Belarusian Orthodox Church, notes that the introduction of state order principles in Belarus should bring a move from separate initiatives to systematic work. The Director of Grodno’s Caritas Charity Catholic Society, priest Vitaly Dobrolovich, added that a state mechanism would improve the efficiency of social work; he stresses that every church is interested in rendering help to those in need.
The House of Representatives’ Standing Committee for Labour, Social Protection, Matters of Veterans and Disabled Persons has already studied a draft project to introduce change to the law relating to social services. This envisages a state mechanism overseeing Belarus’ need for high quality social services: a market which can be served by both state-run and private companies.
Non-commercial organisations — including public associations — are to be encouraged to offer social services in districts lacking state coverage (and where their establishment is economically unfeasible). Funding will be allocated by tender. Similar mechanisms are used in Russia, Norway, Kyrgyzstan and elsewhere.