Zene sa Une

Protection for 700 women and children in Una – Sana Canton

Round table “The role and importance of local partnerships in promoting non-violent behaviour” brought together representatives of relevant institutions and organizations in a field of prevention of domestic violence and violence against women in Una – Sana Canton in Bosnia. Organized by the IRIS Network’s members – Zene sa Une and Foundation LARA from Bijeljina under the project “Local partnership for preventing and combating violence against women”, event has addressed the challenges which all relevant stakeholders are facing to in the status quo – women and children who are (potential) victims on the one hand and social service delivery centres, on the other.

Discussion reflected a necessity of implementing changes in domestic violence law, improving the protocol for handling the cases of violence and strengthening cooperation between local government and CSOs. Also, the representatives of Ministry for Health of USC, Office for free law help providing of USC, Coordination Committee for gender equalities of USC and non-government organizations have agreed on lack of their communication in the past and expressed strong will to collaborate in a future.

Via project “Local partnership for preventing and combating violence against women” approximately 700 women from USC, including real and potential victims, are to be protected. Protection is possible thanks to awareness raising campaigns aimed at prevention of violence against women; strengthening cooperation between key institutions; improving skills and capacities of the organizations which are providing social services for woman. All of these goals are integrated in project’s actions implemented by Zene sa Une and Foundation LARA. Project is funded through Small Grants Programme of IRIS Network.

Violence against woman is still a huge problem worldwide, especially in patriarchal societies. Balkan countries, unfortunately, pretty much reflect this claim. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, violence against women together with domestic violence is one of the major societal challenges, recently transferred from private into public sphere. Victims are numerous and statistics are incomplete.

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Call for applicants – traineeship programme in France

IRIS Network in cooperation with SOLIDAR is presenting a Professional Staff Training Programme in CSO Ligue de l’enseignement des Pyrénées atlantiques in France. Application is open to staff members of CSOs providing social services in the Western Balkans, that are part of the IRIS Network.

Training Programme will allow one selected candidate to spend 4 weeks in premises of Ligue de l’enseignement des Pyrénées atlantiques at the mountain center ‘Le Cardet à Gourette’ in France, where she/he will be involved in the organisation and development of leisure activities, non-formal learning and animation with children and teenagers, among which persons with intellectual disabilities.

Deadline for applying is 31 May 2016.

More information can be found here.

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When it concerns them – they have a say

First group meetings of activists in Perrënjas and Librazhd, organized by IRIS Network member Partnerë për Fëmijët, have marked the successful beginning of the implementation of the project “Strengthening Citizenship and Advocacy with Persons with Disabilities” in Albania. Meetings have connected young people with disabilities, their parents and family members with representatives of local authorities and relevant institutions involved in delivering social services to disabled.

Project implementation is ongoing in two municipalities with high rate of people with disabilities – Perrënjas (app. 600 among 27000 inhabitants) and Librazhd (app. 950 in a community of 50000 citizens). Within the project, Partnerë për Fëmijët is investing efforts to motivate and educate youth with disabilities to advocate their rights and teaching how to institutionalize their participation.

Project activities are directly engaging 125 beneficiaries. They are learning how to develop conduct surveys, analyse data and develop priority action plan, lobbying to relevant institutions ensuring adequate social policies and practice. Approximately 1500 youth with disabilities are to be indirect beneficiaries.

Being a young person with disability in Albania means narrowed opportunities for a decent future and lack of social integration. Ineffective institutions and social stigma leave youth with disabilities and their parents in non-optimistic chances for improving life conditions. The necessary support for this vulnerable group of youths as well as to authorities in integrating people with disabilities, comes through project. The mission of the project is to provide young people who are struggling with different types of disablement with proper social services, based on their expressed needs.

The project “Strengthening Citizenship and Advocacy with Persons with Disabilities” is one of 12 projects financially supported by IRIS Network through small grants programme “Improving the provision of Social Service Delivery in South Eastern Europe through the empowerment of national and regional CSO networks”.

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Better life for Roma in Tuzla Canton

Establishment of strategic and action framework for the improvement of life conditions of Roma citizens in 6 municipalities of Tuzla Canton will be available thanks to the project “Development of Local action plans for effective social inclusion of Roma”, implemented by the IRIS Network member – Association “Euro Rom”. Efforts of the Association to involve the Roma population in Tuzla Canton in decision making processes, by overcoming weaknesses of the National Action Plan for Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina, are supported by local authorities and relevant institutions in social and minority protection sector. The policies and practices in the area of social inclusion of Roma in Tuzla Canton are to be improved by the end of 2016.

City of Tuzla and five surrounding municipalities –- Zivinice, Lukavac, Srebrenik, Celic and Kalesija, are home to approximately 15000 Roma (app 20% of total Roma population in B&H). The process of their inclusion in society is not complete yet. Up until today, stepping stone was missing – defining of a strategy and local action plan for inclusion. Within the process, Roma people will be provided with high quality social services, understanding the importance of the inclusion in the community and decision makers. These are the main goals of “Development of Local action plans for effective social inclusion of Roma” project.

The latest round table event organized by “Euro Rom” brought together 52 participants, among them representatives of the Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees B&H, Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Tuzla Canton, Ministry of Interior TC, City Council of Tuzla and Commission for National Minority Rights Protection. They were involved in meaningful discussion on challenges of Roma community within the inclusion process and expressed the support to the project activities.

The project “Development of Local action plans for effective social inclusion of Roma” is one of 12 projects financially supported by IRIS Network through small grants programme.

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Awarded candidates for mentoring program

In framework of Mentoring program, IRIS Network awarded successful candidates for the purpose of assisting in acquirement of licences for provision of social services and introducing ISO standards in CSO management system.

Since several target countries from SEE region have adopted quality standards for social services and introduced the licensing of social services, CSOs are faced with lack of resources to prepare documentation and fulfill standards in order to be able to use public funds for financing. This is influencing state-civil society dialogue at all levels and damages legitimacy, transparency and accountability of CSOs which are providing social services. Part of capacity building process of Network members is engaging of experts for specific sectors in order to consult CSOs in preparation of required elaborates and reports.

Lack of efficient management is very visible at the CSOs providing social services. IRIS members expressed willingness to introduce standards into their management system in order to raise the level of quality, reliability, safety and efficiency. CSOs will introduce ISO 9001:2015 standard into their management enhanced credibility and access to funding from the corporate sector.

Awarded CSOs for licencing program can be found here.
Awarded CSOs for certification program can be found here.

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Apply for training placement in organisation Volunteering Matters in UK

IRIS Network in Cooperation with SOLIDAR is organizing second traineeship programe. The programme offers to one selected candidate the opportunity to spend 4 weeks in the premises of Volunteering matters in Ipswich (UK) and learning about volunteer led solutions to fight social exclusion and empower the most vulnerable groups (young people, people with disabilities, migrant women). The programme will start in May 2016.

As part of this placement, the Ipswich office is looking for assistance within  R.E.S.P.E.C.T. project. The project delivers domestic abuse programmes and supports volunteers to mentor families experiencing domestic abuse.

Application deadline 22.04.2016.

For more information please see the attachment.

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Introducing ISO standards in CSO management system- Call for the applications

IRIS Network is pleased to announce call  “Introducing ISO standards in CSO management systemaiming to provide mentoring  services for the CSOs in process of acquiring quality management certification.

Since several target countries from SEE region have adopted quality standards for social services and introduced the licensing of social services, CSOs are faced with lack of resources to prepare documentation and fulfill standards in order to be able to use public funds for financing. Part of capacity building process will be engaging of experts for specific sectors in order to consult CSOs in preparation of required elaborates and reports. At least 10 CSOs IRIS Network members providing social services will be assisted in their certification process.

Application form and Guidelines of the call are available from 04.03.2016.

Deadline for the applications is 22.03.2016.

European Round table, st April 2014, Europan Parliament

Social service policy influencing in SEE

Based on the national congresses of the IRIS networks in the region, each national IRIS network prepared Policy paper with the aim to focus on several specific issues within social service delivery in SEE which they decided to raise as being the most important ones.  Topics of the policy documents were widely discussed in consultations with the national networks membership, as well as the authority representatives. Policy papers topics are:  Victim Protection and Safety in Cases of Domestic Violence in Kosovo, Decentralization of Services and Cooperation Between Government  and Non-government  Providers of Social Services in FYROM, Implementation of National/Regional Strategies in the Field of Mental Health Protection in Serbia, Development of Social Services on Local Level in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Improving the social service delivery by enhancing the role Civil Society Organisations in Albania, Applicability of Standards for the Provision of Social Services in CSOs in Montenegro. Additionally, another policy paper was created reflecting situation in SEE and possible joint actions to be implemented.  Based on these Policy Papers the National IRIS Networks will conduct Advocacy Campaigns in 2016. To read policy papers click on the following links.

Policy paper Albania

Policy paper Bosnia and Herzegovina

Policy paper Kosovo

Policy paper Macedonia (FYROM)

Policy paper Montenegro

Policy paper Serbia

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Call for the applications for the IRIS Network members – mentoring program

IRIS Network is pleased to announce call  “Assisting civil society organizations (CSO) in acquirement of licenses for provision of social services – fulfillment of quality standards in SEE in scope of the project” aiming to provide mentoring services for the CSOs in process of licensing of existing social services.

Since several target countries from SEE region have adopted quality standards for social services and introduced the licensing of social services, CSOs are faced with lack of resources to prepare documentation and fulfill standards in order to be able to use public funds for financing. Moreover, the state does not perceive CSOs as an equal partner if they are not able to fulfill the standards needed for licensing. This is influencing state-civil society dialogue at all levels and damages legitimacy, transparency and accountability of CSOs which are providing social services. Part of capacity building process will be engaging of experts for specific sectors in order to consult CSOs in preparation of required elaborates and reports. At least 15 CSOs providing social services will be assisted in their licensing process.

Application form and Guidelines of the call are available from 08.02.2016.

Deadline for the applications is 22.02.2016.

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First impressions of our trainee in Madrid

Jasmina Hasanagić, IRIS Network candidate participating in professional training in Movimiento por la Paz (MPDL) in Madrid (Spain) is spending her first week at the assignment. These are her first impressions.

“My first week of traineeship in MPDL was very very interesting. The first day I spent in Escuela de Paz (School for Peace) where I got a lot of information about this part of MPDL program from MPDL responsible staff. Through direct involvement in one of workshops for children I had a great opportunity to see how everything goes in practice. My second day was also very interesting because I was involved in Humanitarian Aid Program which I like the most, for now.

For the rest of the week I was involved in MPDL Community Meditation Program in Fuenlabrada. I had an opportunity to see how MPDL and partner organization work in the field of women issues in this area which I consider very important for my work too. Especially, I like the possibility to discuss about these issues with a real professionals and some of beneficiaries and to exchange a bit of my experience with them in this field. I have noticed  that so many problems we’re both dealing are very similar and overlapping, but solutions varies. I consider this as very inspiring!

In general, program is very well organized, my colleagues are so polite and friendly and do their best to involve me in all parts of proposed activities. I really feel as a part of the team! I like that everything is so interactive and without a pressure which makes every work day very motivating. I already feel like I have learned a lot and appreciate the opportunity to participate in this traineeship programme.”