The Pathway of Hope (POH) initiative is expanding in Eastern Europe. To facilitate this expansion, Dr. Maribeth Swanson, Dr. Michael Smith and Linda Brinker of the Central territorial social services department were invited to lead presentations at a POH conference organized by The Salvation Army in Norway.
Held in Moss, Norway, the conference brought together more than 60 leaders and case managers working in Norway, Romania and Slovakia and highlighted best practices in part specific to immigrant populations.
The Central Territory team presented workshops on the use of the Herth Hope Index, hope enhancement strategies, motivational interviewing, strengths-based case management, measuring outcomes, the importance of pastoral care and how to leverage
opportunities to engage families in corps’ programs.
Presenters from Norway discussed their vocational services and other aspects of their POH implementation unique to Norway. Additionally, there were small group discussions between the Central Territory team and representatives from Romania and Slovakia on strategies for implementation of POH given the challenges of working with certain indigenous minority populations in those two countries.
Norway’s interest in POH began in 2018 after participating in a POH educational session in Dublin, Ireland. Inspired by the success of POH in the Central Territory, The Salvation Army in Norway moved forward with implementation shortly thereafter. First implemented in a few sites, the Norway Salvation Army POH initiative has expanded across the country to include the city of Bergen and other locations. Over the past two years, several virtual consultation calls have been held between Norway POH leaders and the Central Territory POH team. In turn, Norway POH leadership has been consulting closely with Romania and Slovakia to expand services with immigrant populations, focusing on job development.
As part of the activities for the week, the Central team also met with Norwegian territorial leaders to give an overview of the POH approach and offer keys to successful implementation. The presenters noted the common rationale for The Salvation Army’s utilization of the approach (breaking cycles of poverty) along with the identification of differences in how the respective governments support social service programs in the U.S. and Norway.
Comments from conference attendees indicated they endorsed the efficacy of strength-based case management approach, and they voiced a commitment to further develop strategies to expand implementation within their countries. Also encouraging, was an announcement during the conference of a $400,000 award by a private foundation to pay for additional dedicated POH case managers in Norway.