Jesuit Refugee Service Serbia – Integration House Presentation

Jesuit Refugee Service Serbia – Starting our mission in Serbia in 2016 we explored needs and opportunities to find the best possible way to help those who need it. Working on the field, communicating with other civil society organizations and with government institutions we identified a gap in the protection of unaccompanied minors which is why we established Pedro Arrupe Integration House back in May 2017. Since then, we provided accommodation to more than 70 children, who were identified as victims of sexual violence, exploitation, smuggling and potential victims of human trafficking or they were just too young to be alone anywhere. Supported by our donors, in cooperation with Serbian authorities, our experience was being presented as an example of good practice to all actors involved in refugee protection in Serbia in the fields of integration, protection and promotion of human rights of children. This gives us a good position to advocate for the rights of children in other fields such as education, community-based services and better legal protection. Telling a story about our work is always hard; sometimes we think we are too critical of ourselves and sometimes that we give ourselves too much credit. So, it is best when you get inputs from someone who has been for a short time part of our team, and perception he gets tell us a lot.



In spite of the global scale, severity, and widespread uncertainty of the coronavirus outbreak, which hindered the efforts of the Iris Network and its members, the Network has been regularly following the activities of its members, especially their responses throughout the ongoing  COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the lessons learned in the face of the pandemic was that the ability to react promptly and tackle the new challenges in an innovative way have been pivotal in surpassing the crisis.  For that reason, the January – June Edition of the Newsletter features the stories of the Network members, in which they shared how they managed to adapt their activities to the new reality.

Along the same lines, the Iris Network conducted a survey among its members and based on the thorough analysis of their responses complied a Report  on  Social  Services  during  Coronavirus  Pandemic  in  Western  Balkan  Countries (link).

Members of the Network reported that they have not been included by local governments to participate, discuss and create adequate responses and policies pertaining to the protection of rights of vulnerable categories during COVID-19.  Likewise, IRIS Network members indicated that only a few local authorities have implemented measures in order to maintain current social services, support them and mitigate the critical situation. More so, sources of funding constitute by far the greatest challenge in the current situation, while majority of the survey participants expressed their concern regarding future sources of funding and declared that their expectations lay within the pool of international donors.


Montenegro in the integrated migration management process – Monitoring report

Montenegro in the integrated process migration management – Monitoring report

The Government of Montenegro, in February 2017, after obtaining an opinion from the EC, adopted the Strategy for integrated migration management in Montenegro for the period 2017-2020. Monitoring and reporting on the implementation of measures planned by the strategy is the responsibility of the Ministry of internal affairs. This is the second strategic document in the field of migration because the Government of Montenegro, in March 2011. adopted the Strategy for Integrated Migration Management in Montenegro for the period 2011-2016.

The main goal of the Strategy is full harmonization and establishment of the legal framework, as well as additionally strengthening the institutional framework that provides the opportunity for effective policy implementation control of migration movements in accordance with EU rules and standards, as well as the establishment monitoring system for monitoring the Strategy and implementation of action plans. The ultimate goal of the Strategy is establishing a society with a late system and recognizable results in the field integrated migration management, which will contribute to regional and overall stability in accordance with EU rules and standards.

Full report:

Iris Network member Lastovica – Analysis of the needs, interests and skills of young migrants as a precondition for successful social inclusion through employment – Report from the research

Iris Network member Lastovica – Analysis of the needs, interests and skills of young migrants as a precondition for successful social inclusion through employment – Report from the research

Today almost 200-300 millions of people are treated as migrants. The vast majority of people that migrate are in search for betterment, whether is employment or economic opportunities. Migration has always been a consequence of the inequality in and between the countries. These inequalities are amplified by wars, conflicts, natural disasters and climate changes. Migration is an inevitable global phenomenon that affects almost every continent and country in the world, and we believe that it will continue for decades to come. On September 19, 2016, a high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly on Migration called on the international community to respond immediately and provide long-term, strategic evidence-based responses through research.

Analysis of the needs, interests and skills of young migrants as a prerequisite for successful social inclusion through employment is one of the most important studies that will show the current situation in North Macedonia in the period from 15.07.2019 to 15.07.2020. With the help of this study, a part of the global research conducted in the field of migration will be supplemented. Meanwhile in Europe public perceptions of migration continue to stray from the truth. Most Europeans overestimate the number of migrants in their countries, often by 10% or more. In the UK, for example, the public believes that 24% of the British population is now made up of migrants. The actual number is half that, about 13%. In Italy, the figure is even higher. The public believes that 30% of the population is of foreign origin, so the reality is closer to only 7%. These informal realities are important because they affect public opinion, public debate and policy-making processes. Informed public dialogue supported by evidence-based research is key to improving European migration discussions.

The purpose of the information presented in this report is to help establish the basis for reviewing the full range of migration policies: strengthening current integration programs for those already in Europe; designing effective reintegration policies for those who will not be allowed to stay in the countries where they have migrated; and setting up regular channels for more managed and safe migration in and out of Europe.Finally, we hope that this study will spark a discussion on the broader socioeconomic drivers of migration and guide policy makers in our and other countries to collaborate and invest in migration and young migrants for more sustainable policies and migration management.
This year, UN member states have pledged to ensure safe, orderly, regular and responsible migration. If evidence-based policies are implemented, lives can be saved and migrants can contribute to economic development and strengthen the countries in which they move.

See the full report at the links below:

Recommendations for CSOs in providing services to migrants on the Serbia – Bosnia route

Recommendations for CSOs in providing services to migrants on the Serbia – Bosnia route

Support to projects of Civil Society Organizations (CSO) – social service providers in SEE in scope of the project „IRIS NETWORKing – CSOs for protection sensitive migration management

Author’s word
The recommendations at your disposal are the result of research that was intended to assist the work of civil society organizations (CSOs) working in the field in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Seen from the perspective of migrants as beneficiaries, as well as CSO representatives, the authors wanted to draw a parallel and a kind of self-assessment is the fieldwork of the organizations recognized by the migrants, and is it considered useful?
Given that state institutions are primarily responsible for the registration and reception of refugees and asylum seekers, we need to carefully set and build our position to become a reliable pillar of support that both the state and beneficiaries can count on. In this coordination, mutual praise and constructive criticism are a necessary prerequisite for progress, in order to create the conditions for qualitative and quantitative improvement of
the overall efforts to overcome the migrant crisis that had its biggest breakthrough in 2015. The research did not aim at assessing the work of state structures, on the contrary, but overview and analyze services provided by CSOs, bearing in mind that the role of CSO is not only providing direct help, but also the role of mediator in referring beneficiaries to an already existing institutional framework of support and services.
With the best intention of helping and doing our job well, we forget to evaluate our work by those who are being helped. Equally important, an evaluation of our work is needed by others who provide this assistance, which may be the object for some future research. With sincerely hope that these Recommendations can be of use to you as a CSO representative, we thank you for your time.
Association of citizens Sigma Plus – Nis, Serbia
Association Nova Generacija – Banja Luka, BiH

**Recommendation are made within the project „Route services“ implemented by NGO Sigma Plus, Serbia in cooperation with Association Nova Generacija, BiH within the IRIS Network small grants scheme with financial support of EU

Publication, download link:

Iris Network COVID19 reaction stories – Naše doba

NGO Naše doba deals with issues of interest to senior citizens, and our members are mostly retirees. Our age group was particularly vulnerable to the Corona virus and, while required by epidemic protection measures, we did not gather. We used only electronic communication and created a project that encourages other older people to use this type of communication more. Almost everyone in our generation has chronic diseases and we need doctors more often than younger ones, and medicines every day. In Montenegro, there is an electronic service through which health insured persons can make an appointment with their doctor and request medications that the doctor regularly prescribes. However, the elderly rarely use e-services, although most of them have a smartphone and use the Internet. That’s why we made a video guide for using the eHealth service. It simply explains and shows step by step how to register, schedule an examination and order regular therapy. The video was published on the Facebook page of NGO Naše doba and on the website –

We believe that this instruction will continue to help many, and not only the elderly, and spare them unnecessary going to the clinic. During the corona crisis, we were supposed to learn to use applications on smartphones at the Club for the Elderly in Podgorica. Thus, with the consent of fAKT donors, we mastered an unplanned lesson.

Iris Network COVID19 reaction stories – Defendologija

The resulting epidemiological situation affected all spheres of life, but with strict adherence to all prescribed measures, the Center for Security, Sociological and Criminologist Research continued its work with users, children and parents primarily by providing basic foodstuffs to vulnerable families, who remained without basic means of subsistence, without food, hygiene. During the entire period behind Defendologija, with the support of our strategic partners Save the Children from several divisions, over 100 families received assistance, while with the support of private individuals, the Red Cross, the National Kitchen, the Center for Social Work, the Center for Roma Initiatives, Repopulation Affirmation Center, Miljanić cheese factory, Goranović butcher shop, doo Popović, NTC shop, managed to deliver help several times upon request and need to families whose children are directly involved in life and work on the street.

Good cooperation again showed the strength and importance of togetherness, support and mutual understanding, anti-discrimination and anti-marginalization. This period was critical when it comes to monitoring regular classes for members of the RE population, but the common will and struggle, as well as the built system of trust with users and this time resulted in support by phone, social networks and all other available means, so the users of the Day Center had the full support of the expert team of Defendology in this situation as well. On this occasion, according to the children’s requests, we handed out school supplies for over 100 children (notebooks, crayons, blocks, tempera). This period, although very negative in many aspects of life, in part contributed in a positive way, in a way that some families connected, so in regular communication with parents together we supported learning, family cohesion, togetherness and the importance of the family as a main pillar of one society.

This whole period has shown us once again that we are an integrated support service that is trusted and that only in this way we create a bridge to fight poverty, social exclusion, on the path to understanding, acceptance and togetherness.

Iris Network COVID19 reaction stories – Osmeh Vlasotince

Eliminating emergency conditions takes a new look at the responsibility and the desire to help people in the community. The volunteers of UG “Osmeh Vlasotince ” from the first day of the state of emergency were at the service of about 320 elderly citizens in 17 villages in the vicinity of Vlasotinca, respecting the protection measures prescribed by the Government of the Republic of Serbia. Some of them were sewing masks and donated to the Health house in Vlasotince, retailers, residents and users on the ground. The telephone of psychosocial support 060/6016210 was available all the time.

Iris Network COVID19 reaction stories – Red Cross of Montenegro


From the very beginning of the corona crisis, the Red Cross of Montenegro reacted in line with its role and responsibilities in the system. There are some 100 employees, 130 professional home helpers and around 450 volunteers who are involved in the response across the country.

Red Cross continued with visits to older people (both professionals and volunteers), respecting all preventive measures, except in cases where beneficiaries are refusing the visit due to a fear of disease.

There is a Red Cross Call center for people in need (older people, persons with disabilities, people who live by themselves…) who can call and ask for assistance after which the Red Cross volunteers procure what is needed instead of them. To those in need, and after appropriate assessment, the Red Cross also provides food and hygiene items. Vast majority of the calls are related to requests for humanitarian assistance. In addition, there is a hotline for providing psycho social support where trained RC psychologists provide the necessary assistance.

Since the Call center was opened (from 19 March in the afternoon hours) until May14, Red Cross provided assistance for 33 176 beneficiaries; distributed 47366 humanitarian parcels; volunteers organized groceries shopping, paying bills, etc, for 2240 persons, including older people, people with disabilities, etc, and PSS through the hotline, the Call centre and in person (at local level) was provided to 3263 persons.

Beds, mattress and linens were provided for the location defined as quarantine by the National Coordinating Body. 5 prefabricated containers were also provided as triage facilities that are placed in front of the 3 hospitals in the country. Some tents were also set up in front of emergency centers.

Red Cross Training center in Sutomore is also used as a location for quarantine and Red Cross volunteers assisted in food distribution in some of the quarantines.

Assistance is also being provided to Roma population (food and hygiene). Red Cross of Montenegro has been working with Roma community in the country for almost 20 years now – activities related to education, health, but also provision of humanitarian assistance. RCM also has an office in the camp near Podgorica with around 2.000 Roma refugees from Kosovo. RCM is well aware of their needs and the response is currently mainly on the distribution of food and hygiene items and being organized in cooperation with community leaders. Besides this, RCM is continuously communicating with other Roma NGOs and some other organizations throughout the rest of Montenegro to provide assistance.

The Red Cross of Montenegro continuously provides assistance to socially vulnerable people in the country – older people, people without any or with extremely low income, persons with disabilities and the Roma population. However, the current situation with the Covid-19 pandemic is also affecting new categories of people – people who stayed without jobs due to restrictive preventive measures adopted by the Government of Montenegro. These are people who were receiving daily income (taxi drivers, waiters, hair dressers…) and due to complete lockdown of the country they were now forced to stay at home. Some of them also lost their job. This has increased the need for basic items such as food and hygiene items.