Vamos awarded Social Impact Project of the Year 2021
The Finnish association Vaikuttavuusseura has presented the Deaconess Foundation’s Vamos Youth Service with the Social Impact of the Year Award for 2021. The jury especially praised Vamos for its pioneering work in integrating impact evaluation into the development of social services. The jury gave a special mention to the impact study published in the autumn.
In its annual selection of impact projects, the Vaikuttavuusseura highlights issues, activities, innovations and successes that promote the effectiveness of social welfare and health care in Finland. The awards were presented on 7 December 2021. The Impact of the Year Awards were selected for the first time and were divided into four categories.
Vamos was awarded for social impact, and was also the only social sector winner. The other winners were the national coordination of intensive care during the pandemic, the Pirkanmaa Hospital District, and the coronavirus syndrome assessment.
The jury appreciated the social relevance of Vamos and the special emphasis placed on evaluating the impact of its activities through research.
The citation for the award stated: “Vamos’ activities are of great importance to society, and the merit of the activities is enhanced by the use of a wide range of research approaches to assess their impact. The research results show that Vamos’ young people were more likely than their peers to enter education and that the share of inactive and long-term unemployed people decreased more than among their peers.”
Knowledge and personalised approach behind impactful work
Vamos is constantly developing its activities by collecting long-term and diverse data on the situation of young people. This data, collected over a number of years, was one of the main inputs into the Vamos Impact Study conducted by the children’s foundation Itla and published in the autumn. The study was a pioneering work of its kind, using both quantitative and qualitative methods to investigate the impact and effectiveness of Vamos.
The Itla study revealed that Vamos extends young people’s employment careers, reaches vulnerable young people, and reduces the poverty experienced by young people. In addition, Vamos generates millions of euros in social benefits each year in the form of increased tax revenues and reduced social security and service contributions.
The key to Vamos’ impact, according to Itla’s impact study, is simple: the non-urgent encounter and personalised support that young people experience, says Terhi Laine, Vamos’ Director.
“This award is a special recognition for the 100 coaches at Vamos who work every day with professionalism, responsiveness and by walking alongside young people. Social impact would not be possible without coaches’ ability to care about young people and meet them in a non-urgent way,” says Laine.
Terhi Laine, Director, Vamos services, Deaconess Foundation
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Jenni Sarolahti, Communications Manager, Deaconess Foundation
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Since it started in 2008, Vamos has provided support to young people aged 16-29 in education and working life in 11 locations around Finland. Each year, the programme reaches around 2000 young people. Vamos provides each young person with their own coach, with whom they can work together to find a path to work, education or a balanced everyday life. The young people in Vamos receive support both for the basics of everyday life and for planning for the future. Activities are goal-oriented and planned, but always based on the young people’s individual situations and needs.
Translator Mark Waller