Initiative for Development and Cooperation (IDC) and IRIS Network organized a meeting with the members of the Serbian Network in Belgrade on 11. September 2018. Member organizations, new members and the old ones had the opportunity to hear about the current cycle of activities on the project IRIS NEWORKing implemented by the IDC and its partner organizations ASB South East Europe, LIR CD SOS Podgorica, Otvorena Porta – Open Gate: La Strada Macedonia, ARSIS – Association for the Social Support of Youth and the opportunities for the empowerment of member organizations through financial support and other forms of assistance.
The closing part of the meeting was moderated by Žarko Šunderić, the director of Center for Social Policy, in order to encourage the participants to share their experiences and ideas for mutual cooperation and development, exchange examples of good practices and compare experiences of different organizations involved in providing social services to migrants, refugees, asylum seekers and other vulnerable groups in Serbia.
The Association of Roma “EuroRom”, member of the IRIS BiH network dealing with Roma people, announced the information on the follow up activity completed in previous project phase of CSF funded IRIS project, that The Action plan for Roma in Tuzla City 2018-2021 was enacted in November 2017 by City Council of Tuzla. Additionally, it was financially supported in amount of 40.000,00KM for its implementation. This advocacy activity was funded within Small Grant Facility program Phase II and the title of the Action was “Development of Local action plans for effective social inclusion of Roma” with the main goal to improve policies and practices in the area of social inclusion and establishment of the system of providing quality social services for the Roma population in the area of Tuzla Canton.
Regional IRIS Network, in cooperation with National IRIS Networks from Albania (National Coordinator Arsis Initiative), Bosnia and Herzegovina (National Coordinator LIR CD), FYROoM (National Coordinator La Strada), Montenegro (National Coordinator SOS Telephone) and Serbia (National Coordinator ASB), is announcing a Call for Peer Reviewers who will conduct the Peer Reviews within the IRIS NETWORKing initiative project. The Call will be on-going throughout the project duration i.e. until April 2021.
The aim of the instrument is to enhance regional know-how exchange between CSOs dealing with provision of social services to vulnerable groups, including migrants, and to support focused peer-to-peer exchange. The peer-reviewers will be responsible for a review focused on the work of CSOs outside their country of origin. The Reviews will lead to innovative recommendations on how to combine existing practices. Within the project duration it is foreseen to prepare 30 independent peer-review reports based on pre-prepared methodology in line with the Peer Review mechanism developed at EU level under the Open Method of Coordination.
The purpose of this mechanism is to strengthen IRIS Network members in building monitoring capacities for social service provision. National teams of peer-reviewers will be established in each country and will be included in National Database of Peer Reviewers. Specifically, the mechanism aims to improve capacities of CSOs social service providers in a wide range of areas such as – project implementation, networking, service delivery to migrants and campaigning at the local level.
The responsibility of the peer-reviewers will be to provide written reports and analyses for predefined tasks, which will closely follow implemented activities. Special priority will be given to field visits of the reviewers, during which they will be able to directly interview their peers as a part of the peer-review process. The topics of each Peer Review will be defined prior to each round, Peer Reviewers included in the Database will be timely informed and will have an opportunity to apply for specific topic(s) of their interest.
IRIS member CSOs are welcome to apply by sending their CVs and motivation letters to e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
During May 2018, IRIS continued with partnership building meetings with National IRIS Networks in B&H and Albania. For this purpose meetings were organized in Sarajevo and Banja Luka (B&H) and Tirana (Albania). The aim of the second round of meetings was to facilitate the accomplishment of the Network’s goals and present objectives and main activities planned by the project IRIS NETWORKing – CSOs for protection sensitive migration management.
Representatives of more than 28 organizations, members of the IRIS Network, gathered around the idea of contributing to long-term goals of the Network – increased quality of social and legal services provided by CSOs through capacity building activities, increased resilience and social cohesion of the local communities through civil society networking initiatives, strengthened national/regional coordination of the CSOs and public institutions in migration management and influenced reform processes in Western Balkans in order to improve service delivery for the migrant population.
The meetings were co-organized by two Project partners, LIR CD in B&H and ARSIS from Albania.
LIR CD, Bosnia and Herzegovina – founded in 2012 in Banja Luka as a citizen association. LIR Civil society arises as a successor and advocate of the Local Development Initiative (LIR). Through its engagement, the LIR Civil society wants to contribute to ensuring that the policies and programs of socio-economic development are adequate and effective. LIR CD is active in the field of strengthening social inclusion, establishing and strengthening CSO networks at the local and regional level in the field of social entrepreneurship development, conducting public advocacy and research campaigns in the field of human rights protection, providing the necessary assistance to refugees and displaced persons and other vulnerable categories of population.
ARSIS, Albania – Established in 2006 in Albania, ARSIS is a non-profit organization focused on providing youth support. For years, ARSIS has built the reputation of an active provider of quality programs for children within vulnerable groups, young people, women and families at risk. ARSIS is committed to establishing strong and influential relations with government representatives and civil society organizations. ARSIS programs are tailored to the user, with the aim of providing access to basic services, social inclusion and sustainable solutions for those who need it most.
Following the current developments regarding migrant route along Western Balkans, an unexpected result of the project will be exchange of experience and knowledge regarding migrants trans-passing Western Balkans on their route to EU countries. During the drafting of this project proposal the main migrant route lead through Macedonia and Serbia on route to EU countries. At the time there were no projections that the route could be altered in the near future and would run through other countries in the region. However, recently the route has changed and runs through Albania and B&H, where the number of migrants is continuously increasing. Therefore, IRIS Network partners from Serbia (IDC and ASB) and Macedonia (La Strada) will transfer their knowledge and experience regarding migrant management to Arsis (Albania) and LIR CD (B&H), which will impact migrant protection, including provision of services and referral pathways.
During March 2018, Partnership building meetings were held in Skopje and Podgorica. The aim of the first round of meetings was to facilitate the accomplishment of the Network’s goals and present objectives and main activities planned by the project IRIS NETWORKing – CSOs for protection sensitive migration management.
Representatives of more than 25 organizations, members of the IRIS Network, gathered around the idea of contributing to long-term goals of the Network – increased quality of social and legal services provided by CSOs through capacity building activities, increased resilience and social cohesion of the local communities through civil society networking initiatives, strengthened national/regional coordination of the CSOs and public institutions in migration management and influenced reform processes in WB in order to improve service delivery for the migrant population.
The meetings were co-organized by two Project partners, Open Gate – La Strada in FYRo Macedonia and SOS Telephone from Montenegro.
Open Gate – La Strada, FYRo Macedonia – Open Gate La Strada is a leading Macedonian organization, known for its commitment, perseverance and professionalism. The activities of this organization are focused on the needs and interests of victims of human trafficking, but also on members of other vulnerable groups. The main goal of Open Gate La Strada is to invest all efforts and capacities in creating a society free from inequality, poverty, prejudice and discrimination. Open Gate La Strada is an organization committed to combating violence and human trafficking, which aims to build society as a place where human rights are widely respected and all citizens have equal opportunities for socio-economic independence.
SOS Podgorica, Montenegro – SOS Podgorica is a non-governmental, non-profit and non-partisan organization that provides support services to women and children who are victims of violence. Their mission is to eliminate every form of discrimination and violence against women and children through education, providing assistance and support to victims of violence and through cooperation with governmental institutions.
For the purpose of launching of the project „IRIS NETWORKing – CSOs for protection sensitive migration management, first partnership building meeting was held in Hotel Palace in Belgrade on 24th and 25th January 2018. The meeting was organized by IDC and attended by all project partners: Open Gate (FYROM), SOS Podgorica (Montenegro), LIR CD (B&H), ISC ARSIS (Albania) and ASB (Germany). The aim of the meeting was to strengthen the cooperation between project partners and communicate clear strategic goals for the following period.
Partnership agreements were signed by all partners. The Agreements indicated operational basis for the functioning of the project team and stipulated roles and responsibilities of signatory parities, financial part of the agreement as well as technical and financial reporting arrangements.
The Standard Operating Procedure is agreed indicating all relevant project implementation modalities to be used during implementation. The SOP is a “living” document and will be adapted during the course of the action depending on needs which might arise during implementation.
Having the procedures set up at the early stage of the action will allow the smooth implementation of the entire project. It will simplify monitoring, evaluating and reporting on the project outcomes.
Project is supported trough the European Commission Programme Consolidating Regional Thematic Networks of Civil Society Organizations.
At the beginning of the year IRIS Network commenced new initiative within the project “IRIS NETWORKING-CSO for protection sensitive migration management” that is focusing on quality of the social service and policy improvement for the migrants in 5 countries of South East Europe (Albania, BiH, FYRoM, Montenegro and Serbia). Main objective of the project is to empower CSOs to be effective and accountable independent actors and to improve their capacity to dialogue with governments influencing policy and decision-making processes.
The dynamic of the recent migration crisis exposed all challenges of the migration management systems, particularly visible in the lack of coherence of all stakeholders and in establishing inclusion mechanisms for those migrants who are residing for longer periods of time. Existing regional cooperation is seen only through security lenses of border management and police cooperation, with minimal inclusion of CSOs. Lessons learned in protection sensitive migration management are still to be communicated, considering uncertainty of existing and future migration issues. Therefore, CSOs will remain key players in the process of services provision and advocating more inclusive migration policies.
Project initiative will affect the situation on two levels: a) enhancing the impact of civil society by strengthening capacities of CSO service providers for actively engaging in protection sensitive migration management and b) supporting structured civic dialogue with governments at all levels promoting CSOs’ involvement in public decision-making and reform processes in order to improve service delivery for migrant populations.
In the next 40 months, Initiative for Development and Cooperation (IDC) from Serbia as the lead applicant, will be implementing the project in partnership with the Open Gate (FYROM), SOS Podgorica (Montenegro), LIR CD (B&H), ISC ARSIS (Albania) and EU based organization ASB (Germany). Project is supported trough the European Commission Programme Consolidating Regional Thematic Networks of Civil Society Organizations.
IRIS Network is established in 2012 through the EU funded project within CSF Partnership Programme for Civil Society Organizations. In scope of this initiative, 200 CSOs network members will continue to facilitate and advance social services to vulnerable groups (people with disabilities, older persons, children and youth at risk, women victims of domestic violence and Roma), most of whom are migrants.
Out of 37 received project proposals, PREDA Plus in partnership with ASB awarded 20 grants under Small Grants Facility Programme “Activate!” to projects of civil society organizations (CSO) in FYRoM.
Implementation of all supported project started on 1 st February 2018 with the duration of eight to ten months. Each project focus is on important local issues and strives to strengthen civil society organizations role in creation of policies and programmes at the local level. Overall objective of the SGF is to achieve more dynamic civil society that actively participates in public debates with the capacity to influence policy and decision-making processes.
PREDA Plus and ASB congratulate all organizations who received grants, but also to thank all applicants who sent us their project proposals.
Small Grants Facility is implemented in the scope of the project “Improving the Macedonian CSO’s active participation in decision-making process through the empowerment of grass-root CSO’s” and supported by Delegation of European Union in FYRoM.
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