Topic: Job Opportunity for Solving Social Exclusion in Czech Rural Areas - Strategies Adopted by Rural People
Keywords:Local Action Groups; rural areas; rural development; social exclusion; social inclusion
The paper focuses on relatively little explored issue of rural social exclusion in the Czech Republic. The main aim of the paper is to evaluate Czech rural areas from the perspectives of the spatial distribution of social inclusive activities and the attitudes of rural populations to the utilisation of local natural potential for these activities. Attention is also paid on strategies adopted by Local Action Groups (LAG) in the face of social exclusion. When considering the issues of inequality and social disadvantage in rural areas interlinked dimensions appear – the concepts of multilevel governance, neo-endogenous rural development and the concept of social exclusion and inclusion. The paper is based on both secondary and primary research. The secondary research analyses data on organisations located within rural municipalities and dealing with inclusive activities. The primary research is based on a questionnaire survey (N=687). It focuses on the perception and knowledge of rural inhabitants about the realised social inclusive activities. The case study deals with creating the opportunity structure for social disadvantaged people to be more successful in labour market. It is based on the interviews with director of LAG Brdy-Vltava who created the concept of „shared working team“. Research was conducted in the rural area located relatively close to the big city. Higher qualified workers therefore find often employment in this city. However, the problem lay in employing low-skilled workers.
Three types of social inclusive activities within rural municipalities have been identified and deeply analysed – sheltered employment (jobs for people threatened by social exclusion), social services and social entrepreneurship. The data shows that social inclusive activities are distributed relatively equally within Czech rural areas. Perception of the utilisation of local natural potential for social inclusive activities within Czech rural areas is influenced more by social (family) than geographical (local) space. The “shared working team” researched by case study seems to be suitable approach to solving social exclusion and rural poverty at local level. The main benefits of this approach are: to offer job for people who wants to work and are not able to get job in “common” labour market, to improve the public spaces of LAG municipalities, to increase confidence of local population towards disadvantaged people. The results of the paper show that strategies adopted in the face of social exclusion in rural areas should focus rather on community work with people threatened by social exclusion and to offer them protected job.