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Improved Monitoring of Social Inclusion in the Republic of Serbia

Written by: Biljana Mladenović, Economic Analyst and Adviser to the Manager, Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit

It is our pleasure to share with you the publication Monitoring Social Inclusion in the Republic of Serbia – third revised edition representing an improved framework for monitoring social inclusion and poverty reduction in the Republic of Serbia.

The publication is the product of the work of an expert team of the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the UNICEF office in Serbia during 2016 and 2017. The Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia provided professional support throughout the period of revision of the social inclusion indicators.

The indicators you have before you can be used in a number of strategic processes, primarily within the UN 2030 Agenda, as well as the Economic Reform Programme and Employment and Social Policy Reform Programme, as well as sectoral strategies and IPA fund programming.

The publication is organized so as to adhere to the nine domains of social inclusion (chapters V-XIV): 

Contextual information providing a framework for observing individual domains and the baseline indicator of the Europe 2020 strategy (at-risk-of-poverty or social exclusion rate) have been covered in the two introductory chapters (chapters III and IV), while the thematic focus of the publication are children and investing into children (chapter XV).

The development of this publication is based on the preceding months-long expert work on thematic publications with a broader set of indicators in each of the above domains of importance for social inclusion. Individual expert publications are available at the website of the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit.

The first steps towards defining social inclusion and poverty reduction indicators were made in 2009 (with the publication of “Monitoring Social Inclusion”), while the practice of reporting according to defined indicators started in 2010 and continued in 2012. The final goal of these activities is increasing social awareness on the scope of exclusion and creating adequate measures and policies aimed towards a more inclusive society.

Significant changes have occurred during the past seven years in domestic statistical practice, enabling, but also requiring improvements to the monitoring of social inclusion – the availability of the SILC survey, the availability of the ESSPROS database, the availability of the EQLS survey, surveys on the structure of earnings in 2014, Mapping Social Protection Services under the Competences of Local Self-Governments, etc. Additionally, the constant improvement of indicators at the EU level (primarily at the level of the Subgroup for the Development of Indicators of the Social Protection Committee) provides a solid basis for improving the monitoring at the national level.

Further improvements in monitoring the status of vulnerable social groups, as well as the population in general, will primarily require an increase in the availability of administrative data sources and their sorting (according to gender, age, ethnicity, disability), the networking of administrative and survey data, as well as an increase in the analytical capacities of employees in the institutions at the national and local level.

The challenges if future monitoring of the status of certain categories of the population will be additionally intensified through a number of social changes, particularly those brought about by “non-standard” forms of employment, as well as other global changes, such as migration.

The next steps in monitoring social inclusion and poverty reduction will cover activities on establishing periodic reporting, based on a narrower set of indicators that will enable faster assessments of changes in the social status of the population.



Results of the “Support to Innovative Approaches for Increasing Youth Employment and Employability” Competition

The Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia issued a call for awarding grants under a public competition entitled “Support to Innovative Approaches for Increasing Youth Employment and Employability”. The public call was implemented under the programme “Education to Employability” (E2E), its implementation financially supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

The commission for the evaluation of project proposals, comprised of representatives of the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the E2E programme, financial sector and the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit, made a decision on the selection of the best candidates to be supported in implementing their project ideas.

The Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit hereby, on behalf of the Commission, congratulates the winners of the call, thanks all the candidates for their participation and encourages the remaining participants to keep following our activities.

Platform for Monitoring the Implementation of Reforms Signed

The Minister of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs Zoran Đorđević, the Minister of Finance Dušan Vujović and the Manager of the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit Ivan Sekulović, together with civil society representatives gathered within the National Convention on the European Union, signed the Platform for Monitoring the Implementation of the Economic Reform Programme 2018-2020 (ERP) and the Employment and Social Reform Programme (ESRP) on 12 September 2017. This enabled the establishment of the model for cooperation between public institutions and the civil sector which would be used in the process of development and implementation of these strategic documents.

The meeting was also attended by the representatives of the National Bank of Serbia, the Public Policy Secretariat of the Republic of Serbia, line ministries, civil society organisations gathered within the National Convention on the European Union, the Delegation of the European Union in Belgrade, and the OECD.

More information can be found at

Seminar on the Social Inclusion of Roma

Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia and President of the Coordination Body for the Social Inclusion of Roma Zorana Mihajlović stated on 19 October that Roma inclusion in society is not only an issue for a single institution, but for the entire Government, the non-government sector, Roma associations and our European partners. Mihajlović, opening a seminar on the inclusion of Roma in our society, noted that we should all strive together to enable better conditions for the Roma community in the field of employment, education, healthcare and housing.

It is very important, she noted, to adopt strategic documents, such as the strategy and action plan for Roma and the Law on Housing, meeting international standards, but it is even more important to contribute to the better life of members of this community through specific activities.

The Head of the Negotiation Team for the accession of Serbia to the EU Tanja Miščević stated that the inclusion of the Roma community in the social life of the country is very important for the European integration of Serbia. This places us among modern, developed European countries. This is a large endeavour and I am grateful to Mihajlović for a job well done, because as a team we represent Serbia both in the negotiations, but even more in the reforms we are implementing, said Miščević.

National Dialogue for Youth Employment – New Approaches, New Challenges

In order to improve the status of young people and create more diverse opportunities for their employment and self-employment in Serbia, the German Organisation for International Cooperation, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit, and the Government of the Republic of Serbia have been implementing projects for years.

During the “National Dialogue for Youth Employment – New Approaches, New Challenges” conference held in Madlenianum, the participants had the opportunity to discuss different topics such as effects of received training, vocational retraining and additional training for occupations which are in high demand on the labour market, effects of the support to the development of entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship, peer projects and initiatives, development of hubs and business incubators which provide a chance for young people to realise their business ideas, as well as system reforms, for example, introduction of elements of dual education into the education system.

Snežana Klašnja, Assistant Minister in the Ministry of Youth and Sports, presented the results which showed that mentioned projects and Government efforts had proven to be successful, for example, in 2013 youth unemployment rate in Serbia was 39.8%, and by 2016 it had dropped to 28.5%. “However, despite the 11% decrease, no one should be satisfied until the unemployment rate drops to a single digit number”, said Klašnja, and added that she hoped that future measures for reducing youth unemployment would be equally, if not more successful.

The International Conference “Investing in Children – Benefit for All Children” Held

The International Conference “Investing in Children – Benefit for All Children”, with guests from 21 European countries, organised by the Network of Organisations for Children of Serbia (MODS), Eurochild, the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia (SIPRU) and UNICEF, was officially opened on 12 October, in Deputy’s Club in Belgrade.

At the opening of the conference, where international experiences and examples of public budget allocations were presented with the aim of reducing poverty and social exclusion of children, the importance of aligning public financial resources with policies and legislation affecting children was highlighted.

The conference concluded that it is necessary to intensify the work on the implementation of the UN Objectives for Sustainable Development (where the fight against child poverty is at the forefront), improve the monitoring and evaluation of the financial allocations for children and families in Serbia (whereby international experience and methodology can be used), develop services in the community that will support families, especially families at risk of separation, as well as that services which will be available and financial support to families and children living in poverty require wider scope.

“For the Wellbeing of our Children – Inclusion of Parents in the Education System” Conference Held

On 22 September, the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development organised the “For the Wellbeing of our Children – Inclusion of Parents in the Education System” conference.

The aim of the conference was to promote a culture of appreciation, cooperation and partnership among the various actors involved in the education system, to highlight examples of good practice, to identify obstacles faced by parents from vulnerable groups and to point out the importance of involving all parents in the education system in order to contribute to the education of every child.

The conference is one of the activities within the “Inclusion of parents in the education system” programme which was initiated by the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia in order to strengthen the collaborative relationship between parents, teachers and local community, and therefore contribute to the development of democracy and fairness in the education system. Furthermore, the programme will support the activities implemented by the National Association of Parents and Teachers, as well as the future establishment and work of Municipal Parent Associations.

Training on Gender Equality and Introduction of Gender Perspective into Public Policies Organised for Civil Servants

On 21 September, the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, in cooperation with the Coordination Body for Gender Equality of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, and with the support of the Human Resources Management Service, organised a training for civil servants on gender equality and introduction of gender perspective into public policies.

The aim of the training was to improve the knowledge of civil servants regarding key international obligations and national legislative and institutional framework for achieving gender equality in the Republic of Serbia, as well as to provide a better understanding of the process of introducing gender perspectives into public policies and identifying gender aspects within the competence of public authorities.

The participants of the training had the opportunity to learn more about the importance and the manner of usage of gender-sensitive data, and to get acquainted with the Gender Equality Index, measuring instrument used by the European Union. The calculation of this Index in Serbia was initiated by the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, Coordination Body for Gender Equality of the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia.

Training Held on Gender Sensitive Reporting and Affirmative Media Representation of Vulnerable Groups

Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, in collaboration with the Coordination Body for Gender Equality of the Government of the Republic of Serbia and United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), organised a training for journalists on gender sensitive reporting and affirmative media representation of vulnerable groups. The training took place on 20 September on Fruška Gora.

The aim of the training was to provide journalists with the information on the concepts of discrimination and violence against women, as well as to enable them, by analysing the examples of good and bad practice in reporting on women, Roma men, and women, and persons with disabilities, to learn how to recognise discriminatory and stereotypical reporting. The participants would, therefore, be able to give the members of vulnerable groups an affirmative representation in the media.

Strengthening the capacity of journalists for gender sensitive reporting, elimination of sexist representation of women, and sensationalism in cases of reporting on violence against women is envisaged by the Action Plan for Chapter 23, as well as by the Action Plan for the implementation of the National Strategy for Gender Equality (2016-2018), therefore, this training was organised to enable a successful implementation of these documents.

The 39th Belgrade Ignite “Get Involved No 5” Held

Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the association “Serbia in Motion” organised the 39th Belgrade Ignite called “Get Involved No. 5” dedicated to social inclusion. The event was held on Tuesday, 24 October 2017 in the Impact Hub in Belgrade. For the fifth consecutive year, the organisers celebrated the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and encouraged visitors and participants to fight for an inclusive society.

The visitors of the Belgrade Ignite had the opportunity to hear presenters’ personal stories and how, with their everyday efforts, they are trying to build an equal society for all and find answers to questions such as: how does active aging prolong youth; how to develop skills of children without parental care; what does a day in the life of a LiceUlice magazine vendor look like; how do migrant children live and go to school; can girls be rock stars; is there freedom after serving a prison sentence; who are the people providing support to women with disabilities; which are the everyday problems faced by trans persons in Serbia; how to empower people with disabilities through programming; how did one young woman become a successful entrepreneur.

You can watch the videos containing the presentations of the 39th Belgrade Ignite on our YouTube channel.


European PROGRES Art Competition for 2018 (Deadline: 15/11/2017)
Open Call of the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO) for Project Proposals (Deadline: 15/11/2017)
International Fellowships for Advancement of Women and Girls through Civic and Local Community Activism, and Professional Work (Deadline: 01/12/2017)
You may follow the news on open calls regularly at:


The First Meeting of the Focus Group for the Development of Control Mechanisms for the Process of Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals
200 Projects Implemented in South-East and South-West Serbia in Three Years
New Erasmus+ General Call for Proposals for 2018 Announced
“Professional Training for Local Self-government Employees”
“Introduction to Gender Mainstreaming at Local Level”
Report on the State of Institutional Capacity, Employability of Vulnerable Groups and Social Protection in 34 Towns and Municipalities in Serbia
The Analysis of Interdepartmental Committees and Additional Support in 10 Municipalities and Towns Published
Publication “Minimum Standards for Youth Participation in Decision-making Processes in Local Communities” Published
Europe for You: Youth and the Economy – How to Develop a Successful Business
You may follow the news on social inclusion and poverty reduction regularly at:


E2E Youth Employment Initiative: Now we know what they did last summer

On this July day in Niš, the thermometers showed 39 degrees in the shade.

Unlike their peers, who sought relief from the heat at the pool, the seaside, or the numerous cafes of Niš, the students Aleksa, Natalija, Katarina, Dušan, Ivana, Milica, Katarina, Marko and Aleksa are at the Kamenički vis camp, attending Practical Academy.

“There are over 30,000 students in the city of Niš. The basic premise is to increase their employability, by delivering them with locally applicable practical knowledge, through networking with businesses. At the same time, students have the opportunity to help their environment, covering six underdeveloped municipalities, through practical work.

Everyone has an interest here: students acquire knowledge and practical skills, businesspeople acquire catalogues, logos, packaging, a pro forma invoice for construction, a report”, explains Dejan Mitić from the Local Development Association Kamenica, implementing this initiative. (...)

We developed the model through the project ‘Youth Employment Initiative’ with the financial support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. This is the second phase of cooperation with the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit. And the cooperation is excellent, because they are results-focused“, notes Dejan. (...)

We asked the students how they learned about the internships and what their experiences are.

“We heard about this through the faculty. We were immediately interested, because it is a win-win situation: we can help certain companies in some way, while at the same time acquiring reference experience and direct contact with clients and the market. For the time being, everything seems interesting, the environment is inspirational”, says Aleksa Skočajić, a student of the Faculty of Arts in Niš.

Everyone is seeking experience, agrees Katarina Stanković, a student of economics, and adds: “We are working on the project of an agricultural cooperative from Svrljig: they are planning to build a distillery, and we need to present the project from the economic standpoint: e.g. cost-effectiveness, time for return of investment, all of it with specific data, and with the help of mentors from the faculty. Our professor recommended that we apply for this internship, because we will gain references that will mean a lot when we apply for an open call”.

“This internship allowed us to cooperate in various fields. As an architect, I am producing the main design for the construction of the distillery, it is very useful to cooperate with the Faculty of Economy, doing the calculations, and designing the structures jointly with the construction department”, believes Natalija Gagula, final year student of architecture.

“I am working on innovations, I am interested in what is available in the market regarding machinery, workforce, how trained they are, because when I come up with an invention, I have to know whether someone can build it”, says mechanical engineering student Marko Živanović. “I’ve had the opportunity here to see which faculties can cooperate more, which is important for the work process, because as a mechanical engineer, I have to come up with that bit and determine whether it is all feasible in the end.”

“For us, it was important to encounter a real situation, i.e. a company. We have quite enough of theory, so this meant a lot. For the first time, real practice. The person tasked with occupational health and safety, fire protection and environmental protection within a company has a lot of responsibility. Generally, we realized that we can do the tasks and respond to the challenges. The fact that five of us worked together also helped”, believes Katarina Jović, a student of the Faculty of Occupational Safety.


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

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Women are Fighters

Written by: Milana Lazić

(…) Lieutenant Colonel Svetlana Janković was among those women who applied for a voluntary term of military service, namely for the six-month variant that covers the school for reserve officer. To this date, Svetlana is the only high-ranked woman in the Morava County. (…)

The most important thing for her was to be a good officer, meaning: good organization, physical fitness, loyalty, innovation. The key factor in deciding to be a professional soldier was precisely the professionalism and organization of the defence system. (…) After completing her term of service, Svetlana became a lieutenant colonel in reserve in the territorial defence headquarters of the city of Čačak and enrolled and completed the Faculty for General People’s Defence and Social Self-Protection (author’s note: today’s Faculty of Security). She always passed all her exams in June because, as she says, she had no intention of gifting her summers to the faculty and studying. (…)

After completing her studies, Svetlana spent three years applying without success to every open post in the army. However, she believes that no one wanted to hire her, because she is a woman. In the meantime, during the summer she worked as platoon commander in pre-military training for men and women in Čačak and Gornji Milanovac. “That’s when I realized there are differences in the approach. And one thing that did not change to this days is that if you have the right approach – it makes no difference if you are a man or a woman. Because I was an only child, and my mother always taught me to be diligent and orderly, I did not find it hard to take up a role in a men’s world. I think that upbringing means a lot.” (…)

Thirty four years after saying her oath and putting on the uniform, lieutenant colonel Svetlana Janković says that the fact that she is a woman, and as of 24 years ago, a mother, helped her a lot to see her colleagues, the soldiers, as brothers and sons, particularly during the time she was in command and in the position of a supervising officer. “The gender dimension is like a moving train. Today, I see things changing in the minds of people, yet in the past I never thought about these things from a gender perspective and I am proud to have taught my son these values, because it would be in vain if I hadn’t transmitted them to him.” (…)

With all this experience, the message the lieutenant colonel has for other women is: “Women must stop to be disunited and need to realize that only united can they make this synergy an engine of change. Quantity, such as 50% of participation in decision making, means nothing unless those 50% are transformed into decision making quality. Therefore, we should all start acting in a preventive manner, from the beginnings and the causes of things, not correcting consequences. We can only change the world by changing ourselves. All goals are achievable.”

There are many professional and capable people in the category of women. If something needs to be done, it should not be done in a superficial manner, but with professionalism and dedication. For example, lieutenant colonel Svetlana Janković was the first and only female officer in the transport service. At age 52 she started playing tennis, while at 53 she enrolled in PhD studies. The topic of her dissertation is in regards to the impact of international factors in the gender equality of the security system – the case of the Republic of Serbia.


The text in its entirety can be found here.

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