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Employment and Social Reform Programme (ESRP) Adopted

The Government of the Republic of Serbia adopted the Employment and Social Reform Programme (ESRP) at a session held on 31 May 2016. The programme is structured in accordance with the model of the Europe 2020 Strategy, and represents a strategic process that will follow the European integration process as the key mechanism for dialogue on the priorities of the Republic of Serbia in the field of social and employment policy – until the date of accession to the European Union.

The role of ESRP in the coming period will be of key importance for the development of the social dimension of Serbia’s accession to the European Union, in the context of Chapter 19 – Social Policy and Employment, as well as for achieving international standards, such as the UN sustainable development goals in the field of combating poverty, achieving inclusive growth, and reducing inequality.

The global financial and economic crisis exposed the vulnerability of economies and societies worldwide. Therefore, the European Union Enlargement Strategy 2013-2014 initiated the drafting of the ESRP as a new instrument enabling accession countries to establish and monitor priorities in the fields of employment and social policy.

The process of drafting the ESRP in Serbia officially started in September 2013. The Government of the Republic of Serbia formed an intersectoral working group and expert body for the development of the ESRP, governed by the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs, with expert assistance in the drafting process provided by the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit.

The ESRP provides an overview of the key challenges in the field of employment and social policy, but also defines reform policies aimed at smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, primarily through three areas: labour market and employment policy, human capital and skills development policy, as well as social inclusion and social protection policy. The document is also important because it deals with capacity development, governance and institutional reforms, as well as the use of EU funds to implement the planned reforms.

In order to ensure the quality and representativeness of the document, the entire drafting process was open for all stakeholders and social partners, through public consultations and discussion. Their role in the entire process does not end there, since the system of monitoring, reporting and evaluation of the implementation of the ESRP envisages the active participation of all relevant partners at the national and local level.
Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit



Call for Research Proposals as Part of “Creating Educational Policies Based on Data and Research Results” Programme

The Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development are issuing a call under the title Programme for the Creation of Educational Policies based on Data and Research Results.

The programme will finance the implementation of studies and analyses, with the results to be used for creating and/or implementing public policies or preparing the legal framework. The programme stimulates researchers at the beginning of their career to use the existing research materials and various available data sources from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development and other relevant institutions.

The deadline for submitting project proposals expires on 20 June 2016. Click here for more information.

Support to Improvement of e-Services at Local Level: Proposal of Basic Set of e-Services and e-Governance Development Index for Local Self-Government Units

The Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit, in cooperation with the Directorate for e-Government, prepared the document “Support to the Improvement of e-Services at the Local Level in the Republic of Serbia: Proposal of a Basic Set of e-Services for Local Self-Governments and Proposal for an e-Governance Development Index for Local Self-Government Units”.

The goal of the project is to provide support to the Directorate for e-Government to develop an approach for future support for the improvement of e-Services at the local level. The Directorate for e-Government, as the competent body for harmonization/standardization, the improvement of ICT infrastructure and internet use among state bodies/local self-governments, drafted the Guidelines for the Development of Websites of Public Administration Bodies and Local Self-Governments, aiming to improve communication between citizens/business and public administration. The assessment of local self-government unit websites was first implemented in 2014. These results served as the basis for issuing the recommendation to provide a support programme for local self-governments to improve the quality of their websites and information available online.

35th Belgrade Ignite Event “The Ball is in My Court” Held

The 35th Belgrade Ignite event, where active young people from Serbia presented their inspirational experiences on their fight for an inclusive society, was held on Wednesday, 25 May 2016. Kristina Marjanac, Nikola Đurđević, Lana Nikolić, Aleksa Živković, Mihailo Gordić and Selena Simić, with interpretation into sign language and in an accessible space, used dynamic five-minute presentations to share ideas with the audience on the role of youth in combating prejudice, developing inclusive education, eliminating obstacles encountered by youth with disabilities, caring for the elderly, social entrepreneurship, the promotion of gender equality, etc.

The 35th Belgrade Ignite “The Ball is in My Court” event is the fifth in a series organized by the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the citizen’s association “Serbia in Motion”. The partner for the organization of the 35th Belgrade Ignite event was the Umbrella Organization of the Youth of Serbia (KOMS), representing the highest representative body of youth in Serbia. KOMS is a union of associations currently encompassing 92 member organizations (organizations by and for youth) from across the territory of the Republic of Serbia.

National Competition for Best Student Companies Complete: Secondary School Students from Arilje to Represent Serbia in Switzerland

The student company “Plantagenet” from the “Sveti Ahilije” secondary school in Arilje won first place in the National Competition for the Best Student Companies held in Belgrade on 16 and 17 May. The company is producing ecological sets for plant growing in the home, and will represent Serbia at the European student company competition in Switzerland in July, among secondary school students from 35 countries.

The competition was implemented by the Youth Achievements in Serbia organization with the financial assistance of the Ministry of Economy, Societe General Bank, the TeleGroup and Buck companies, the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit, the Delta City shopping mall and the German organization for international cooperation.

Implementation of N@PRED Project Begins

The Foundation for the Development of Economy (FREN) initiated the N@PRED Project (Networking of the Business and Educational Sector) activity at the Faculty of Economics, implemented as part of the programme “Support to Innovative Approaches for Increasing Youth Employment and Employability” of the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia. The project is being implemented by the Faculty of Economics of the University of Belgrade, the Foundation for the Development of Economic Science and the Foreign Language Centre Top Class.

In order to improve communication between the business and educational sector, an interactive internet platform was created, to serve as an online exchange of research projects and professional internships, along with being a place for the flow and exchange of relevant information and targeted networking. The platform is free and accessible to all. The concept involves companies posting their tasks on the platform, based on problems encountered in practice (e.g. if they need a new tool to be developed, a business plan to be written, a logo to be designed, etc.), then students solve the problem and contact them with their solutions/proposals. Thus, in addition to expertise in a specific problem, companies can test students for potential employment and internships.

Submissions for New Volume of Femikseta Closed

The FEMIX programme for the affirmation of women’s creative work called on bands and female musicians from across Serbia to submit their new songs for the new edition of the compilation of domestic female authors’ music production Femikseta 6.0! The sixth volume of Femikseta will be published in cooperation with Mikser Festival, with the support of the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia.

Femisketa will be available in print and online editions, with the option of free listening and download. As the first initiative of its kind in the region, Femikseta was initiated in 2010 with the idea of providing a relevant overview of women’s musical creative work in Serbia, arising in the framework of independent and individual production.


2016 Canada Fund for Serbia – Call for submissions (Deadline: 3/7/2016)
EU PROGRES: Support for CSOs for Initiating Measures for the Improvement of the Social Inclusion of Roma (Deadline: 4/7/2016)
Call for CSOs for Participation in “Real Say on Policy” Competition (Deadline: 11/07/2016)
Civil Society Fund for Roma Integration 2020 (Deadline: 25/7/2016)
Public Call for Support to Cross-Border Cooperation Projects (Deadline: 31/12/2016)
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HRW: Secure Better Support for Children with Disabilities
Announcement by the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs Regarding the HRW Report “Children with Disabilities in Serbian Institutions”
New Law on General Administrative Procedure (LGAP) Changes Relationship of Citizens and State
Presentation of the Third Annual Report on Monitoring of the Enabling Environment for Civil Society Organisations Development
Training for Gender Responsible Budgeting Begins
85% of Children in Serbia Spend More than One Hour a Day Online
Girls in ICT Day Celebrated in Serbia
The Gender Policy Forum Meeting
Recommendations for Adapting Proven Models of Support for Children on the Move in Serbia
The Results of the Project “Support for Implementation of New Legal Regulations in the Field of Post-penal Treatment” Presented
“Net Patrol” Mobile Application for Protection of Children from Online Abuse and Misuse
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MARKO LUMO: How I Really Started Breathing

That February of 2013, one phone call to hang-out and a few hours of rather an intense discussion on activism with an old friend changed my life completely (...) After those few hours of conversation, constructive discussion, and education (provided by said friend), the only logical conclusion was to get involved and join Citizens Association “Egal,” an organisation founded and run by her. (...)

During this conversation I learned almost everything there is to know about what it means to be trans* (...), what kind of problems members of this community face, like – constant discrimination, physical and psychological abuse, exclusion from normal everyday social events, complete legal invisibility because it is impossible for them to obtain personal documents which would reflect their gender identity and therefore exercise the rights guaranteed by the Constitution or Legislation of the Republic of Serbia. I also found out about the mechanisms used by the CA “Egal” activists in their fight for the improvement of the quality of life of members of trans* and LGBI community.

Joining this fight meant that I had to appear in public as a gay individual, which was very difficult for me at that particular moment since I “came out”only to a few of my friends. What came next for me was “coming out” to my family, despite the fear I felt of being judged and rejected, reactions were more than positive (...)

For the first time in my life, I could breathe. I am saying this even though I have never actually stopped breathing; what I felt after shedding that burden can only be compared to resurfacing after a deep dive. You inhale, and those little lights that appear before your eyes when you don’t have enough oxygen just disappear, and your whole body is taken over by a sense of calm. You know that you have endured the worst of it and that now everything will be all right. (...)

After I had told my family who I really was, the world around me was painted in different colours. I no longer had to live a double life or to invent stories so I could hide the real ones, all that has helped me to walk with my head held high since I finally had nothing to hide. This confession opened me to a better understanding of my environment, and consequently to self-improvement. I joined CA “Egal” and through learning from older (and also younger) in other words more experienced colleagues and friends, and by participating in various activities, debates and field work (which is one of the key modes of operation of this organization) I tried to do my best and make a difference for my friends, myself, and the whole LGBI and trans* community (...)

I took my aspirations and my efforts towards creating a better environment for all members of LGBI and trans* community to the next level on March 10, 2015, when I got involved in the “Creating Tolerance and Understanding for LGBT Population in Serbian Society” project implemented by the Office for Human and Minority Rights, this project is a product of a bilateral agreement between the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Norway. Now as a member of a small but expert and dedicated team, and with the wholehearted help and cooperation of the employees of the Office for Human and Minority Rights I am continuing the fight I started that February in 2013.

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

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Gugadžina: We Used Our Knowledge and Founded a Successful Family Business

When they found themselves in an awkward position being busy moms and unhappy with their current employment situation, two sisters and a godmother decided to leave their jobs and take things into their own hands. This was how an imaginative line of children’s clothing called Gugadžina was born.

The head of this charming team is Marija Marjanović, a professional costume designer and a mother of three.

Marija: A few years ago, I found myself on maternity leave from a job I knew I would never go back to. At the same time my sister Olga lost her job, so we found ourselves in a position that desperately needed to change. Fortunately, something wonderful came out of all this.

Olga Pankeričan is in accounting, and she is responsible for the managerial and financial part of the Gugadžina family.

Olga: Many times I have found myself torn between my role as a mother and as an employee. Of course, the importance of these two roles is not comparable – that is why I decided to stop looking for a job and become my own employer. When it comes to our little business I am the least popular; I deal with the finances, paperwork, and I hold everyone together.

Milica Pajić graduated from the Faculty of Applied Arts, Department of Ceramics, and represents the creative part and, as her colleagues like say, the biggest baby in this story.

Milica: At the time that this idea was born, I was pregnant which only made me more motivated. We assembled the team, I started drawing, and Olga started making “plans on paper”…and it all began! (…) Of course, we started working without any capital. We presented our idea to our families, and they immediately tried to discourage us. Luckily, we ignored their negative reactions. As it often happens, when family businesses are concerned, we all gathered around and managed to “scrape together” approximately EUR 2000, with our parents promising to disown us if we gave up. (...)

Marija: We heard about a closed Factory in Aranđelovac that was selling its machines, so we bought everything we could with the money we had. The fabrics, we collected from all over the place – around the house, from our grandmothers’ closets…We found a bunch of interesting fabrics that had been there waiting to be used since the 70’s. However, soon we faced another challenge; we needed someone who knew how to use all these machines we bought.


The complete text can be found on

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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