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Atbalsti MARTU


Men Dare To Care

Project implementation phase: 01.01.2015 – 31.12.2017

Project implementation area: Riga, Riga District, Vidzeme, Latgale, Zemgale, Kurzeme.

Project partners: „Status M”, „Care North West Balkans”, schools and youth centres in Latvia.

Project funded by: OAK Foundation

Project aims:

  1. To effectively tackle sexual exploitation, sexual abuse and related forms of violence against boys and girls in Latvia.
  2. To raise awareness among men and boys about sexual violence, to encourage reporting and to promote equality between boys and girls by engaging men as facilitators to work with youth and the society.
  3. To improve institutions’ practices in work with children and youth by providing training and capacity building tools for specialists and youth work teams in public institutions on work with children.

Project activities:

  • Advocacy of children rights and prevention and combating of violence in Latvia, monitoring the implementation of law.
  • Consult Marta Centre specialists’ team and monitor their supported cases with children victims of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation and their non violent parents.
  • Research on sexual exploitation of boys in Latvia.
  • Involve men in non formal education work with boys.
  • Develop a wider coalition of stakeholders - “The Men’s Forum”.
  • Organize two public information campaigns.
  • Offer knowledge on different methods to work with youth that professionals of Marta Centre have tested in Latvia and that proved to be effective like boy and girl groups, peer groups, multidisciplinary work on cases where child has been abused.

Summary of project results:


26 youth groups were led during project time period (20 boy groups; 4 girls groups; 2 mixed groups) engaging 270 young people aged 13 to 17 years old (50 girls and 220 boys). Youth groups were taking place in 7 schools, 3 youth centers, 1 boarding school and 1 children's home, meeting once a week for 2 hours in the period of 5 to 9 months.

Within group sessions, led by professional trainers (trained by Center MARTA Youth Program coordinator) and using non-formal education methods, youth were equipped with knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to recognize, respond, and eliminate violence against themselves and their peers, thus reducing risk factors for becoming victims or perpetrators of violence and abuse.

Feedback, gained from group leaders and group participants shows, that because of to these group sessions, participants have

- raised their sense of belonging for group and people, thus enhancing emotional and practical level of support for each other;

- developed positive and non-violent communication skills as well as learned healthy ways of conflict resolution among peers, teachers and within family;

- experienced benefits of sharing their thoughts, doubts and emotions, thus not holding frustrations or anger. which could result in violent behaviors;

- reduced yelling and swearing in their everyday communication;

- learned ways of having meaningful conversations, accompanied with critical thinking and information analyzes, thus raising mutual understanding and level of tolerance;

- reduced or ended smoking, consuming alcohol or even drug abuse;

- increased understanding and respect regarding ones physical, psychological and emotional boarders, thus becoming more sensitive towards each other, as well as communicating individual needs and feelings ("no means no!")

Person in charge: Youth Program Coordinator Madara Mazjane-Kokina



Support for children – survivors of physical and sexual abuse, and their non-violent parents

During time 2015 – 2017 Centre MARTA has provided psychological, social and juridical help for 34 children; 32 nonviolent family members and 14 young women (aged 18 – 38) victims of human trafficking, involved in forced labor as well as sexual exploitation

Person in charge: Service Department Manager Liene Celmina 




Forums “Celies!” aim is to involve broader audience, but especially – men in implementing gender-based rights and reducing discrimination and violence in the society of Latvia. Men as the target audience of the project are invited to think and discuss issues related to gender equality and to participate in its implementation. At the same time, the forum's setting is wider - to update the various aspects of masculinity to create an inclusive space for solving issues that have hitherto been taboo or have been updated in popular media. The range of questions is broad, from the understanding of masculinity, to different male sexualities, emotional communication, to life styles and diversity of masculinity in different cultures and epochs. Thus, the Forum is intended as a place for the exchange of ideas for people from the so far isolated spheres of Latvia - practical implementation of gender equality, various youth-related initiatives, humanitarian and social sciences, business environment, public institutions and other areas of the community. 8 discussions and 4 public lectures held in 2016 and 2017, have involved more than 200 people directly and reaching more than 10 000 people through social media.

Forums “Celies!”:

Person in charge: Karlis Verpe



MARTA’s experts took part in multiple committee meetings with decision-makers: 

-          Ministry of Welfare regarding social benefits to families and other related issues;

-          The Parliament regarding social and demographic issues, Criminal Code, family court case management;

-          The Government regarding discrimination of cohabiting families and other “non-standard” family forms. 

MARTA has written multiple letters and opinions on legislative changes:

-          2 letters to relevant stakeholders asking for being included in 2 separate committees that deal with issues of demography – was not included in these committees in both cases due to political decision;

-          Letters on amendments in Criminal Code regarding physical injuries sustained to the victim by a family member: 10 in total, including to the Parliament, local and international NGOs, and public figures;

-          An opinion letter to Ministry of Finance regarding a law on cohabitation of non-married couples to extend legal protection to such families and children living in such families;

-          Opinion letters regarding Law on Prostitution to point out that in our experience, most persons are led into prostitution as minors – thus, the reduction of human trafficking could directly enhance the safety of children;

-          Position notes on multiple topics, including children’s rights protection;

-          Letters and opinions supporting the ratification of Istanbul Convention.

Seminars to specific groups of society were run:

  • On 14th September 2017 within the framework of the STROM II project led by the Ministry of Interior the specialists of MARTA Center were invited to Valmiera municipality to run an interactive seminar for adolescents to protect underage girls from involvement in sexual exploitation;
  • On 4th December 2017 based on the invitation of the Mentor Association of Latvia, the representative of the MARTA Center led an interactive preventive seminar for children of the Child Care home to inform about risks of recruitment in sexual exploitation.

Besides the above-mentioned activities, the director of MARTA and experts of MARTA regularly attend radio and TV programs and give interviews about MARTA’s activities and standpoints.

Of the concrete outcomes of these activities, the following can be mentioned:


* Necessary amendments to the Criminal Code regarding bodily injuries caused by a family member were implemented;

* Amendment was made to the Criminal Code that criminalizes stalking;

* Family court processes, contrary to proposals by lawyer associations, have to be carried out not by any lawyer but by such a lawyer who has specific knowledge on family rights and issues.

Person in charge: Policy Coordinator Agate Rublovska