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Upholding human development in Latvia

  • 2016-01-27
  • Michael Mustillo

In cooperation with the American Chamber of Commerce in Latvia (AmCham), the US Embassy in Latvia, and the Civic Alliance of Latvia, the Annual Human Development Award (HDA) will be held in Riga, in April 2016 for the third consecutive year.
“The HDA covers many relevant long-term development areas for Latvia, while each nomination highlights significant work to the benefit of community by a person, company, or organization. I am pleased for each and every contribution, in addition to recognising how great, smart, and entrepreneurial people reside in Latvia!” said Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis, the Patron of the Human Development Award.

The primary goal of the awards is to promote initiatives relating to human development, prosperity, reducing inequality, and well-being of Latvia’s people, and to respond to negative demographic trends, such as declining population, high income inequality, poor health, and the relatively high number of children living in institutionalised care.
“The HDA gave us great recognition and visibility both among other NGOs and public institutions. It has enhanced our members’ involvement and encouraged us to continue to pursue the idea that positive change in education is possible. The monetary prize we received enabled us to conduct intensive advocacy work as well as to create a new design for our website,” said Eva Birzniece, Chairperson of the Latvian Dyslexia Association, and winner of the 2014 award in the category Outstanding Commitment to Education .  

Aija Tuna, Education Program Director, Education Development Center, Board member, Knowledge Creation Lab., winner in the category The Future of Latvia Award, mentioned that: “The HDA was a very important evaluation of my work together with many schools, grassroots NGOs, and other community members across Latvia and will serve as the basis for further efforts, especially in building new partnerships and fundraising for access to quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for everybody, especially in rural areas,” said Tuna.

Nominations are currently being sorted to highlight achievements of individuals, businesses, and organisations that have significantly contributed to human development.
Nominations will be accepted until Feb. 11 in the following categories:

1. Social Responsibility Award for excellence in the development of society through exceptional generosity and commitment of time, expertise, and financial or organisational support.

2. Outstanding Commitment to Education Award for improving the quality of and access to education and training that enhances the well-being of people from all walks of life, and promotes education as a lifelong process.

3. Exemplary Contribution to Health and Well-Being Award for promotion of healthy living, and supporting and improving access to healthcare and the well-being of communities and individuals, and reducing health inequalities.

4. The Future of Latvia Award for the enhancement of youth and children’s welfare and healthy development and their rights to grow up in a loving and stable environment, including in foster and guardian families.

The Award ceremony will take place on April 15, 2016, where winners will receive the sculpture “Sprout” designed by artist Olga Silova, recognition and promotion of their initiative, in addition to an invitation to the awards ceremony, where winners will have the opportunity to meet high-level officials and professionals.
The general public is welcome to nominate candidates, however, self-nominations will not be accepted. Winners of past years may also not be nominated again.