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Towards an Effective Implementation of the Strategy for the Social Inclusion of the Roma in the Republic of Serbia for the period 2016-2025

Author: Dragana Jovanović Arijas, Roma Inclusion Coordinator, Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia

The Government of the Republic of Serbia adopted the Strategy for the Social Inclusion of the Roma for the period 2016-2025 on 3 March 2016. This act was preceded by a broad public consultation process regarding the Draft Strategy, as well as its harmonization with the Europe 2020 strategy, the EU framework for drafting national strategies for the integration of Roma and the Action Plan for Chapter 23.
Poverty and discrimination represent key obstacles for the social inclusion of the Roma. Accordingly, the overall goal of the Strategy is improving the social-economic status of the Roma national minority in the Republic of Serbia, with a full achievement of minority rights, elimination of discrimination and the achievement of greater social inclusion of Roma in all segments of society.
The Strategy also tends to respond to the following key issues for achieving the envisaged strategic goals:
  1. How to implement the goals of the Strategy? Establishing a clear mechanism for planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the goals of the Strategy is required;
  2. Who is responsible? Capacities and the level of responsibility of stakeholders at all levels and in all segments of society need to be raised;
  3. Through what funds? The priority is the coordinated allocation of funds from local, national and international sources;
  4. With whom? The participation of the Roma community is necessary “from the idea to the implementation”.
From the social inclusion aspect, some of the measures may initiate new issues to consider. One of the operative objectives recognizes the importance of educating Roma experts in the fields of importance for the Roma community and the implementation of the Strategy. We should not forget that Roma experts are experts for all citizens. A Roma person professionally executing their duties contributes to their community and society as a whole.
In the field of employment, emphasis is placed on the inclusion of capable members of the Roma national minority in the labour market, the improvement of their employability and employment. However, as with many other citizens, the issue of creating jobs remains open due to the overall unfavourable state of the field of economic development.
Groups vulnerable from multiple aspects have been recognized in the field of social protection, such as children and youth engaged in living and working in the street, mothers, victims of human trafficking, returnees in the readmission process, etc. Still, some members of the Roma community remain invisible, such as persons with disabilities, LGBTI and elderly persons of Roma nationality. Additionally, the Strategy envisages the improvement of the system for collecting data in the field of social protection, in order to obtain clear and regular data on the realization of the rights of Roma in this field. The goal of such an approach should be to reach those most vulnerable, currently not encompassed by the support system.
During the current period, with the participation of all relevant institutions/organizations and individuals, an Action Plan will be developed and adopted for the implementation of the Strategy for 2016 and 2017. The measures envisaged by the Strategy will largely be related to the local level, thereby enabling it to reach its end users in a faster and more direct manner.



“Entrepreneurial Education: Comparative Review of Educational Policies, Models and Practice” Published

The goal of the document is mapping and systematizing existing practices in entrepreneurial education and providing recommendations for its future development in Serbia. The publication also provides an overview of the legal and strategic regulations in the field of entrepreneurial education in European Union countries, the Western Balkans and Turkey, and methods of integrating entrepreneurial learning. Likewise, the document provides insight into the competences of various institutions and partner organizations in Serbia involved in entrepreneurial learning and an assessment of the effects and impact of introducing various concepts of entrepreneurial learning.

The document was prepared by the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development. Click here to download the publication “Entrepreneurial Education: Comparative Review of Educational Policies, Models and Practice” (.pdf).

Secondary School Students Enabled to Certify Entrepreneurial Knowledge through Entrepreneurial Skills Pass

Supported by the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit, the organization Junior Achievements in Serbia enabled secondary school students to this year certify their entrepreneurial knowledge and skills. This is a novelty, both in Europe, as well as our country, intended for those students participating in the Student Company programme. It is the Entrepreneurial Skills Pass, representing a new international method for gaining qualifications and obtaining certificates, and serves as confirmation that the students (aged 15 to 19 years) adopted the knowledge, skills and competence required for employment or self-employment.

The first step in gaining this certificate was made by 234 students from 40 secondary schools from across Serbia. Over 600 teachers from 200 secondary schools were introduced to this method of certification of the attendants to the Student Company programme early this year, therefore the number of students is expected to increase several times during the next school year.

Workshops Held for Exchange of Experiences in Professional Practice

The Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit, in cooperation with Belgrade Open School (BOS) and with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, organized an exchange of experiences and good practices in organizing professional practice in Serbia on 29 and 30 March 2016 in Ruma.

The workshop was the venue for presenting experiences and problems regarding the selection of practitioners, working with them, as well as the planning and duration of professional practice by representatives of organizations organizing professional practice, such as the National Employment Service, the Centre for Career Development of the Faculty of Philosophy (Belgrade) and the University Centre for Career Development (Belgrade), along with representatives of organizations providing practice – Union of Employers of Serbia, Economics Institute (Belgrade), Centre of New Technologies (Ruma) and BOS. Experiences in organizing professional practice as an integrated model were also presented by the representatives of the project “Youth Employment Promotion – GIZ YEP”.

Visualisation of MESTD Open Data – Award Competition for School Programming Teams (Deadline: 12/05/2016)

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development (MESTD), in cooperation with the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, is issuing an award competition titled ”Visualisation of MESTD Open Data”. The competition is open for secondary school programming teams from across the Republic of Serbia, led by a school mentor (teacher, professional associate or school principal).

The goal of the competition is to increase student interest in programming, as well as to stimulate secondary schools to develop their engagement with interested students, while at the same time promoting the open data concept. The task for school teams is to create a visualization of a dataset (or combination of datasets) from the MESTD information system available from the MESTD open data portal, by 12 May 2016.

48h LeanLab Successfully Completed

The entrepreneurial hackathon 48h LeanLab, an event designed and implemented by Impact Hub Belgrade in cooperation with the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, was completed successfully. Combining a methodology similar to a hackathon with mentorship, Design-Thinking methodology, Core-Competence skills and advocacy, the event took place during the 48 hours between 1 and 3 April. The 48h LeanLab enabled entrepreneurial ideas regarding the migration challenges faced by the European Union to develop from their initial stages into business models.

Among the ten teams selected to participate in the 48h LeanLab, six reached the stage of final presentation they will use to apply for the European Social Innovation Competition “Integrated Futures”.


Green Ideas Forum: Call for Ideas Based on Principles of Sustainable Development (Deadline: 02/05/2016)
New Competition of European PROGRES for Municipal and CSO Projects (Deadline: 04/05/2016)
EU Programme “Support to Civil Society” (Deadline: 06/05/2016)
Support for Self-Employment of Youth through Business Start-up Grants (Deadline: 11/05/2016)
Competition: Together for the Community 2016 (Deadline: 31/05/2016)
European PROGRES: Open Call for Support to Micro and Small Enterprises (Deadline: 10/06/2016)
First Call under the Interreg IPA CBC Programme Croatia-Serbia 2014-2020 (Deadline: 1/7/2016)
Call for Cross-Border Cooperation Project Proposals with Hungary (Deadline: 26/08/2016)
You may follow the news on open calls regularly at:


Winner Announced for Online Week 2016
Ombudsman Report for 2015
GREVIO Group Starts Process of Monitoring Implementation of Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women
Applications Closed for Social Impact Award – Student Competition in Social Entrepreneurship
Winners of SEED Self-Employment Grants Presented
“Towards Programmes by the Regional Office for Youth Cooperation” Conference Held
Six Months of Operation of the Refugee Info Park
Annual Report on State of Philanthropy in Serbia for 2015 Published
Paraćin the Most Transparent Local Self-Government
You may follow the news on social inclusion and poverty reduction regularly at:


NEOSTART: Heaven above the Circle

The bars of the prison cell give view only to the bars on the wall across the way, and between them, what the convicts call “the circle”. The place most of them can go every day for a two-hour walk, in a circle.

A circle is also what most of them feel like when they exit the prison, trying to return to the community they left some time ago, to serve out their sentence. In prison, the end of the sentence cannot come soon enough, yet once they are free, they often wish to return to jail. The last drop is often found between the uncertainty, the hopeless situations they find themselves in, and the obstacles set before them by society due to their sentence, returning them to a road most of us, comfortably laid back in our everyday lives, never thought to take.

Most convicts suffer from some form of addiction, in itself representing a vicious circle they return to quickly, without adequate support and treatment. (…) When they do join a treatment program, after a few months you can recognize in them all that you see in those nearest to you. (…) A large number of them, when given the option of adequate treatment instead of being locked up, start to develop the capacities they always had, without the desire to return to committing crimes.

This, however, involves help and support far wider than can be given by doctors, psychiatrists or psychologists. The help of the entire community is required, with understanding and a hand to hold on to at every step, like a child learning to walk. The work is not easy, made additionally difficult by the unwillingness of society to help someone they believe is guilty for their own problems. Whether an addiction is a disease people chose themselves, and thus an issue of insolence, as many would like to believe, or an issue of predisposition, family situation and the system, the state and society may not turn their head from it. (…)

The text in its entirety can be found on the Social Inclusion Blog.

Other texts by our bloggers can be found at:


Little House in Temerin, where Joy Resounds

(…) The day-care centre for children and parents in Temerin has existed for ten years, but since it moved into the cosy and colourful little house in Pap Pavla Street in September 2012, it became the favourite address for around 60 kids with development disabilities. However, the “Little School”, as the Centre is called affectionately by its beneficiaries and employees, the first house at the corner of a long street, however, is also happily visited by children from the general population. (…)

Various workshops are organized, from those for fun and play, up to those serving to adopt new skills, working-occupational, educational, or those stimulating social integration. A speech therapist and physiatrist hold exercises for eliminating physical and speech impediments, at the earliest possible age for children. The youngest attendant is only a year and a half old.

The joyful and pleasant atmosphere is certainly contributed to by the small, but well-chosen team of teachers. As part of the project “Improvement of the Rights, Employment and Living Conditions of Internally Displaced Persons in Serbia” from 2012, through the establishment of local social services, employment was found by persons from the following groups: single mothers, refugees and displaced persons, and persons with disabilities. (…) Not without pride, Ms. Biljana Maričić says she could not have picked a better team.

The day-care centre is open 365 days per year, and other than children from Temerin, it is visited by kids from Sirig and Bački Jarak. Among the favourite workshops are those for kneading pretzels and croissants, as well as those for singing, acting, theatre. (…)

Plans include future workshops in Temerin for support to parents, in order to empower them and teach skills for successful parenting in families of children with development disabilities.

More success stories can be found at
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Government of the Republic of Serbia
Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit
Vlajkovićeva 10,11070 Beograd, Srbija

Phone +381 11 311 4605, +381 11 311 4798, +381 11 213 7915