The Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia has initiated the second phase of the “Local Initiatives for Increasing Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction” programme. The call covers two regions in Serbia: Southern and Eastern Serbia, and Šumadija and Western Serbia, i.e. 53 local self-governments. The goal of this programme is to contribute to the social inclusion of vulnerable social groups through the development of innovative approaches to social inclusion at the local level.
This programme will support partnerships of local self-governments and civil society organizations to formulate and implement innovative approaches to social inclusion across five areas: education, employment, healthcare and protection of health, social welfare and housing.
Local initiatives that will be supported should endeavour to ensure a better quality of life for all citizens in the local community, particularly women, youth, Roma, migrants and persons with disabilities, through improving existing and establishing new innovative approaches, and/or innovative measures, services, and programmes. As part of the “Local Initiatives for Increasing Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction” programme, local self-governments will be provided with support for developing innovative measures, services, and/or programmes, and for testing developed innovative solutions.
The term “social innovation” is defined by the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia as new ideas producing results in achieving social goals that may represent practices, processes, services, methodologies or combinations of all of the above, aimed at responding to a recognized unmet need in society, or a social issue in the local community. With this in mind, the proposed ideas should respond to real social issues in the local community and contribute to the development of cooperation and partnerships between various sectors to eliminate inequalities in the local community, inform final beneficiaries on their rights, and empower them for participation in public policy dialogue to improve their living situation.
The first phase of the “Local Initiatives for Increasing Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction” programme was implemented during the 2015-2016 period. The goal of the programme was to provide support for partnerships of civil society organizations and local self-governments with the aim of creating, implementing, monitoring and evaluating strategic and legal frameworks in areas of significance for social inclusion and poverty reduction and establishing cooperation with other relevant stakeholders from the public, private and civil sector, at the local and regional level. The programme supported 11 local initiatives across five thematic areas – education, employment, social welfare, social housing and rural development. More on the supported initiatives, most important activities implemented, and their effects can be found at the website of the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit.
The implementation of the second phase of the programme will be coordinated by the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, with the financial support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). More information on the public call, guidelines for project submissions, and other relevant documents can be found at socijalnoukljucivanje.gov.rs.
(The text was originally published as the Introduction to the 55th Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Newsletter.)