The fifth annual Partnership Waters forum brought together this year in Ryazan 129 professionals from the organizations that won the Family and Children all-Russian competitions of the Timchenko Foundation. People attended in order to network, compare notes, take stock and discuss plans for the next year. Representatives from 111 organizations in 36 Russian states discussed their local experiences best that could give rise to new ideas.
Partnership Waters traditionally focuses on the priorities of the Family and Children programme. This year the central focus was on children’s well-being, investigation of the causes of orphanhood and ways to deal with domestic violence. Discussions were held in groups formed by area of focus and competition. Every themed discussion included an electronic survey: the participants wasted no time in voicing their opinions and sharing their thoughts and ideas.
Last year Partnership Waters introduced a forum for young adults. These are former foster children who stay in touch with the Timchenko Foundation’s Family and Children programme. In 2019 they attended three summer camps that had been organized and sponsored by the Foundation. Aleksandr Polivoda described the camp for teenagers and fathers on the Solovki, and Anastasia Sofrony served as a volunteer in the summer camp called Semeyniye Gastroli [Family Tours] in Krasnodar Krai. The young adults say that the new role brought great responsibility, but being an organizer and assistant is much more interesting than being just an attendee.
The forum ran four sections. The participants were divided by their area of focus: support for biological and foster families, preparation for independent living, saving a family for children with disabilities. Partnership Waters held 45 discussions and speeches over three days.
The forum devoted a lot of time to consultations with curators. Since winning Family and Children competitions, the organizations liaison with experts, who support them, check their reports and advise them on projects.
In discussing plans for 2020, Elvira Garifulina, head of the Family and Children programme, said that convergence between science and practice would remain the strategy in the forthcoming year. The programme is running a number of large-scale studies, whose findings will be used to formulate recommendations for the RF Presidential Council and will be incorporated into a report on the situation of children in Russia. In 2020, the focus will be on improving children’s well-being. Efforts will continue to verify validated practices and to organize quality training.
The Partnership Waters forum is a major event that brings together family and children assistance organizations from all over Russia. It is the breeding ground for the best and most relevant practices in the sector, as well as for ideas, affiliated projects, and simply friendships.