150 years of serving humanity
Working with the Elderly

Photo: Vera Antipovna Gapankova, born in 1926, Dubrovna district, one of the elderly receiving support from the Belarus Red Cross Society

Implementation of the participative community work approach: consolidation and systematization (PCW)

Since 2006, the Belarus Red Cross Society has been implementing participative community work approach working with vulnerable groups, including the elderly. Participative community work is aimed at involving people, especially socially excluded ones, in the process of identification of the needs and problems of the local community and their solution. This approach assumes the active role of people in improving their own lives and the situation within the community, as well as helps the participants to increase their confidence about their knowledge and skills. It was the Swiss Red Cross that shared this work model with the Belarus Red Cross.
The main objectives for 2016-2017 include consolidation and systematization of the Belarusian experience in this field. The project will strengthen the capacity of the existing initiative groups of the elderly, as well as provide program coordinators and BRCS professionals with additional knowledge.


Who For whom
Belarus Red Cross Society is the implementing agency, Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of Belarus is the partner

The elderly and BRCS staff

Where When
Minsk, Brest, Viciebsk, and Hrodna regions of Belarus
Annually, since 2006

Within the project, the work with the elderly people who have united into self-help initiative groups with the support of the Red Cross continues. Each initiative group consists of elderly volunteers who assist to particular elderly persons, but what is important is that those who provide assistance and those who get it can swap the roles. Thus, the socially vulnerable people become volunteers themselves and provide feasible assistance to other persons who need it even more. The participants of each group meet regularly and make everything they can to improve the quality of life of persons under their care. 


elderly persons are united in 53 initiative groups 


is the age of initiative groups participants


In Belarus, there are 53 initiative groups in Brest, Viciebsk, Hrodna and Minsk regions. They unite about 1,500 people aged 56-97, 74% of whom are women and 26% are men. BRCS employees identified eight of the most effective groups, two in each area, and made them resource groups. The resource groups participants undergo additional training in order to train other groups and spread the experience of successful work.

Earlier, some of the initiative groups underwent training on promoting their interests and received assistance in organizing activities to improve life in their communities. As a result, the groups were able to draw attention to the needs of older people and people with disabilities in local communities. These are several examples of successful initiatives of the elderly: repairing wells in the agro-town Chodcy in the Siennica district); printing store price tags in a bigger font so that visually impaired people can see the costs (Dubrovna, Viciebsk region); re-planning of the local agricultural mini-market (agro-town Novka in the Viciebsk region); launching sports and computer classes for the elderly (Svislach, Hrodna, Zelva, Uzda, etc.); providing discounts for shoe repair and hairdresser services for elderly people (Ašmiany).

If you are interested in joining one of the initiative groups, creating a new group or helping the project, please contact Aleksandra Kolesnikovich, a participative community work approach specialist of the Belarus Red Cross Society at +37517 328-49-90, as well as participative community work approach project coordinators in the regions:
Brest region: Oksana Grishan,
                                Tel.: +37516 220-86-84;
Viciebsk region: Natalia Potapenko,
                                Tel.: +37521 242-61-34;
Hrodna region: Elena Pavlenkovich, 
                                Tel.: +37515 268-02-60;
Minsk region:  Julia Knatko, 
                              Tel.: +37517 500-45-80.

You can find the location of the closest group on the map.