The Belgrade Ignite “Get involved online 8”, which was organized by the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the Citizens Association “Serbia on the Move”, was held online for the first time on 8 June. It was the first event of this kind held on an online platform. The organization of the Belgrade Ignite on the topic of social inclusion was supported by the Swiss Confederation.
The purpose of this event, which was organized following the recommendations on social distancing during the pandemic, was to shed light on different aspects related to social inclusion during the spread of COVID-19. Firstly, it aimed to expose the current situation experienced by already vulnerable population groups, and secondly, through individual testimonies, it sought to motivate and encourage others to get involved or initiate their own action. This echoes the longstanding mission of the Ignite to inspire individuals to contribute to the creation of an equal society for all.
Ignite was opened on behalf of the organizers by Dragana Malidžan Vinkić, Education Coordinator within the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia. “In the past months, we have been witnessing a worsening of the already unfavourable position of the vulnerable population groups. In fact, besides having exacerbated and deepened existing differences, the pandemic also contributed to the creation of new ones, and many challenges are still ahead of us once the pandemic ends at some point” said Malidžan Vinkić. Furthermore, she stated that the pandemic had set a test of humanity before all of us and we needed to seize that opportunity to understand our own fragility and transience, as well as the importance of including everyone in the process of correcting the inequalities that affected our society. The host of the Ignite was Lana Nikolić, a journalist and activist.
At the beginning of the Ignite event, the participants were addressed by Ana Ivanović, who said that the crisis of global proportions was still part of our everyday life and that only through empathy and togetherness we would be able to tackle its consequences. “I would like to take this opportunity to emphasize the importance of what has been done in the past period to ensure the well-being of your fellow citizens. Your readiness to provide support is an inspiration and motivation that drives other people to follow your example” said the famous tennis player.
Presenter Aiša Bahović Latifović from Novi Pazar used the example of the Muslim Humanitarian Association “Merhamet Sandžak” to underlined how, thanks to quick reflection coupled with efficient organization and cooperation, her city had managed to provide the necessary help to fellow citizens who were in need during the state of emergency.
Tamara Savović shared the story of the Safe House Sombor, whose activities implemented during the pandemic were oriented towards the production of protective masks that ultimately reached health institutions, centres for social work, and other institutions. The Safe House Sombor is an example of how the system can improve itself, by underlining the extent to which networking and human relations are crucial to all phases of inclusion of vulnerable groups.
Igor Mitrović shared the story related to the activities of the ADRA Serbia organization, which during the state of emergency engaged in the support of homeless people by helping them to obtain basic means of subsistence. Among the vulnerable groups affected by the pandemic, ADRA supported Roma children helping them to keep up with their school activities given their lack of Internet access.
One of the founders of the Women’s Association of the Kolubara District, Jelena Ružić, talked about the online platform, whose primary purpose was to enhance farmers networking and which, in the circumstances caused by the pandemic, enabled the placement of their products on the market and ensured sustainable production.
Dragan Gračanin, President of the Association of Roma Affairs Coordinators, was involved in several humanitarian actions during the pandemic, among which he highlighted the formation of an informal crisis headquarters that aimed to meet the needs and tackle the problems of the Roma settlements. He noted that the experience showed that in situations of special challenges faced by the vulnerable groups, the participation of all actors – from decision-makers to citizens – represented the key approach and the only way to successfully overcome the crisis.
Meti Kamberi, a young writer who spent much of his childhood in a home for neglected children, presented his autobiographical novel “The City of Pain” as the second Ignite surprise guest. His novel, which he wrote when he was just nineteen years old, was nominated for the 2020 NIN award.
Željko Mitkovski from the Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation emphasized the fundamental role young generations have in the development of their community when he presented the new initiative of the Foundation aimed at offering scholarships to talented high school students who experience difficulties growing up.
Digital intelligence, psychological aspects of the pandemic and the digital technologies were the topics covered by the presentation given by Ana Mirković, psychologist and co-founder of the Digital Communication Institute. In her opinion, the pandemic showed a wiser use of digital technologies than ever before, and that in circumstances in which we were all vulnerable, we showed a great deal of empathy.
The recording of the event is available on the following LINK.
What is Ignite?
Ignite is an event that spreads good ideas. Presenters are given a microphone for exactly five minutes with the task of « igniting » the audience’s interest in their idea.
Ignite is an event characterized by rapid, short and dynamic presentations:
- Presentations last 5 minutes
- Every presentation is composed of 20 slides
- Slides automatically shift every 15 seconds
- Presenters do not have any control over when the slides will be changed
Ignite was first held in Seattle in 2006. Nowadays, the presentation of good ideas and practices related to different spheres of social life is practised in more than 100 cities around the world. The first Belgrade Ignite was held in October 2009. The Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia along with the Citizens Association “Serbia on the Move” have been organizing the Belgrade Ignite on the topic of social inclusion for the last eight years.
Visit our YouTube Channel and watch the videos of the presentations from previous Ignite events dedicated to social inclusion.
Find more information on the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/BelgradeIgnite.