The social experimentation project entitled Adult Life Entry Network – ALEN, “Empowerment and Activation of Young People in Disadvantaged Situations”, was approved within the EU PROGRESS program in October 2011.
The project was launched by the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of the Republic of Croatia, the Hungarian Anti-Poverty Network and Austrian Anti-Poverty Network. The project is implemented by the Hungarian Anti-Poverty Network.
At country level, the project is implemented through partnership of several stakeholders. In Serbia, the project is implemented in partnership of the following institutions and organisations: Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit, Insitute for Psychology – Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade, NGO Sunce – Kragujevac and the Association for Alternative Family Care “Familia” – Belgrade.
Project duration – 18 months: From 01 October 2011 to April 2013
Overall objective of the project is to contribute to the development of innovative services for social inclusion and self-sufficiency of children in disadvantaged situations, through development and testing of socially innovative approaches and sharing of knowledge.
Specific objectives include development of creative methods and mechanisms for empowerment of young people and support for the inclusion of children in disadvantaged situations into the system of education or in the labour market. The project activities focus on preparation of young people in homes for children without parental care and foster families for independent life, by increasing their activation, incentives and development of different skills. The aim of the project is to identify obstacles to active participation of this group of young people into the education system or on the labour market, as well as potential to find adequate individual solutions. The specific objectives include development and streamlining of access to the existing rights and resources at local and regional level, as well as responding to the individual needs for support. Another objective of the project is strengthening of partnerships between the ministries, state authorities, local governments, non-governmental organizations and other groups playing an active role in protection of the rights and interests of young people as well as reducing the level of prejudice and discrimination of children without parental care.
Beneficiaries. Direct project beneficiaries will be the young people in disadvantaged situations. The project will include 50 direct beneficiaries. The activities in Serbia will be implemented with children without parental care who are living in foster families or in homes for children without parental care, and are about to leave the above mentioned programmes and start living on their own. In Serbia, 10 beneficiaries aged 17-21 will be targeted on the territory of the city of Kragujevac.
Budget. The total budget of the project is EUR 321,500 EUR. The European Commission ensured funds amounting to 250,000 EUR, with the remaining EUR 71,500 to be secured by other partners on the project.
In order to implement all the activities that the partners in Serbia are mandated with, a sum of EUR 60,520 was earmarked. Of this sum, the European Commission grant totals EUR 45,520 and the outstanding EUR will be provided by the partners on the project.
The focus of the project in Serbia is the empowerement of children without parental care.
Roles of the partners on the project:
Association for Alternative Family Care “FAMILIA“ will have the key role in implementation of this model of support for young people who are leaving the child care programme, and the implementation of instruments for needs assessment (ROD), as well as monitoring their progress. They will also take part in assessment of the needs of this group by selecting a testing sample; defining, reviewing and assessing individual plans of support for each young person. Familia will also be responsible for training and supervision of experts facilitating individual and group support to the young people.
Non-governmental organization “Sunce“ will be responsible for direct individual and group work with the beneficiaries in Kragujevac; defining, reviewing and assessing individual plans of support of each child leaving the programme of child care; professional orientation and educational plan and/or employment plan for this group as well as training towards advancement of skills for job search. NGO Sunce will also work on inclusion of the beneficiaries into the local community through liaising with local employers and stakeholders, as well as through involvement of volunteers as one of the modalities of support.
Institute for psychology is in charge of: development of research and evaluation methodology and instruments; selection of the control group; initial, periodic and final assessment of the test control group (including field surveys and narrative reports); drafting an evaluation report and issuing recommendations.
Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit will coordinate the activities of all project partners in Serbia and take part in all the project-related activities, including evaluation at the national and international level, definition of the framework for promotion and replication of the project results at national and international level. More precisely, the Unit will: coordinate meetings of the national steering committee, coordinate regular meetings of all the stakeholders in Serbia, organize an international meeting in Belgrade, initiate presentation and promotion of project results at the National Panel; review national and international report on project evaluation and set of recommendations; promote the ALEN project at national and international level; take part in international meetings, organize translation and printing of documents and publications developed in the course of project implementation.
Ministry of Labour and Social Policy will take part in meetings of the national steering committee, in international meetings and evaluation of activities at the national level as well as in review of the final project and evaluation of the activities at the national level, and the review of the final project and evaluation of the report and recommendations for policy implementation.
This project should contribute to:
1. Strengthening of activism, incentives and skills of young people;
2. Increasing participation of the young people in the system of education and the labour market and building capacities for entry into the adult world;
3. Testing new concepts and methodologies for successful social inclusion of young people;
4. Raising visibility and awareness about the needs of the young people pertaining to the vulnerable socio-economic categories and obstacles to their active inclusion in the society;
5. Reducing stereotypes about young people from vulnerable socio-economic categories.