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.


Iris Network Covid19 reaction stories – Women’s Association “Nature”, Bratunac

Women’s Association “Nature”, Bratunac immediately after declaring the Corana virus emergency made all its available resources available to the Bratunac Red Cross Municipal Organization and the Center for Social Work. The staff and volunteers of Nature have become volunteers of the Red Cross, and the Chancellery of Nature and the technical resources at our disposal serve the needs of this situation. Volunteers distribute masks (which some of our members and sew) on a daily basis, on calls coming to the Red Cross info center deliver food to elderly people who cannot move, deliver medicines according to prescriptions delivered from the health center, pack and distribute food and hygiene packages to vulnerable populations. “Nature” pay particular attention to vulnerable categories, which are their beneficiaries, such as women victims of war, women from large family, single mothers, women at risk of domestic violence or women victims of domestic violence.
Women’s Association “Nature” currently considering setting up a SOS line for psychological support for this vulnerable category.

IRIS Network survey for CSO’s: Social services – Covid19 pandemic

IRIS Network considers important to assess the situation, challenges and difficulties its members as well as others CSO’s that are facing in the provision of social services and their everyday work as a result of the current COVID 19 pandemic.

We have responsibility towards its members as well as to other parties to have a detailed overview of their current situation and to provide this information to the EC, as the donor. This will be conducted through a questionnaire CSO’s can fill in on link below.

Therefore, the objective of the questionnaire is to assess the current situation and consequences caused by COVID 19 pandemic on the provision of social services to beneficiaries provided by IRIS Network members in their local communities. The results of the questionnaire will be used for developing a Report on Social Services in South East Europe under the COVID 19 pandemic and will include the following countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and North Macedonia. The Report will be used to assess the actual challenges that civil society organizations providers of social services face in working with beneficiaries and to map the assistance models.

The Report will also be used as an instrument in advocating for policies and measures of national/regional/ EU Institutions which focus on service providers during and after the crises.

Please provide detailed information in the questionnaire and include all information you consider relevant. Also, please include your projections and the assessment of the consequence caused by the crises that will affect your services and the whole social protection system.

For all interested CSO’s providing social services – you can fill in the questioner on the link below .

Please feel free to contact us through National Coordinators and / or Network Secretariat.

Stay well and healthy.

IRIS Balkan Media Caravan on the way through the migrants route

After 6 days of visiting refugee camps along migrants route in Macedonia, Serbia and BIH, we concluded the Balkan Media Caravan, an initiative of IRIS network which was held from 3rd – 8th of November. The event was organized by IDC Serbia and ASB South East Europe, with support of national partners.

The aim of the caravan was to enhance human, sensitive and objective reporting on migrations in the region by increasing the level of knowledge and information among journalists.

The caravan gathered 20 young journalists of reputable national and local radio stations, television, newspapers and digital media on the 6-day training aimed at sensitization of reporting about migrants and refugees while tackling the topics of integration of migrants and reintegration of returnees into the society.

The Media Caravan included trainings, workshops, lectures from human rights defenders and journalists from the region and field visits to refugee camps in North Macedonia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the possibility to conduct interviews with migrants in these countries.

Participants were journalists from media outlets in Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and BIH.

During the Caravan, the journalists had a task to produce, as an output of the Media Caravan, up to 15 reports in their media outlets, which have been prepared under the guidance of experienced trainers-journalists and which have been published and broadcasted by journalists in their media outlets.

Besides training and field visits to migrant reception and transit camps in 3 countries the journalists had an opportunity to meet local CSOs providers of social services to migrants/refugees/returnees and the representatives from local health institutions.

The Balkan Media Caravan had high coverage during the trip and afterwards.

Participants were from different national and regional media outlets, covering all together more than 10 million people in Western Balkans countries:

1.            Radio Television Serbia

2.            Radio Television Bosnia and Herzegovina

3.            Radio Television  Montenegro

RTCG NVO Sektor – Balkan Medija Karavan

4.            Radio Television Albania

5.            Regional television N1 (Belgrade, Sarajevo, Zagreb)

N1 u kampovima Tabanovci i Vranje – Balkan Medija Karavan

6.            TV Alsat M North Macedonia

Alsat M on Balkan Media Caravan

7.            TV Clab TV Albania

8.            Radio MOF North Macedonia

Radio MOF on Balkan Media Caravan

9.            Daily newspaper Danas Serbia

Migranti od Avganistana do Severne Makedonije

10.          Daily newspaper Nezavisne novine Bosnia and Herzegovina

11.          Weekly newspaper Monotor Montenegro


12.          National Agency FoNet Serbia

13.          Web media Faktor Albania

Up till now, 23 reports were produced and broadcasted regarding Caravan and migrants crisis on Balkan route: 10 TV, 8 printed, 1 radio, 3 agency and 1 web reports.

Additional to this, reach was increased by posting all reports that were produced in traditional media on their web sites, Facebook and Twitter pages, increasing also the frequency of the event and closely influencing on the our target group.

Over 7million people were potentially reached through broadcasting TV reports, with additional reach of almost 500,000 people trough newspapers, web and radio publications. Campaign on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram brought us reach over 200,000, so we can easily say that IRIS Media Caravan media outputs potentially reached over 7,5 million people across the Western Balkan countries.


20 journalists from 5 countries spent 6 days on the caravan visiting 3 countries, 7 migrant camps and 10 CSOs providers of social services for migrants along the route

Balkan media caravan is organized in the framework of the project ” IRIS networking CSOs for protection sensitive migration management”, implemented by IDC Serbia in cooperation with partners ASB South East Europe, LIR CD, SOS Podgorica, Отворена Порта – Open Gate: La Strada, North Macedonia, and Nisma për Ndryshim Shoqëror, ARSIS Albania

Project is funded by the European Commission.

PAL Call for Participants North Macedonia

For International Week 2020: Innovation in Humanities and Social Science

Date: 17 – 21 February 2020

Organizer: Faculty of Philosophy Skopje, North Macedonia

Peer Review Instrument


The project IRIS NETWORKing – CSOs for protection sensitive migration management is implemented by Initiative for Development and Cooperation (IDC) in partnership with The Initiative for Social Change Arsis – National Coordinator for IRIS Network Albania, LIR CD – National Coordinator for IRIS Network Bosnia and Herzegovina, La Strada – National Coordinator for IRIS Network North Macedonia, SOS Telephone – National Coordinator IRIS Network Montenegro and ASB – General Secretariat Serbia. One of the project activities is Peer Review Instrument within which Peer Review Reports will be prepared.

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 Review Reports will lead to innovative recommendations on how to combine existing practices. The mechanism is to strengthen CSOs IRIS Network members in building monitoring capacities for social service provision.

International Week 2020 Innovation in Humanities and Social Science


The Faculty of Philosophy in Skopje (North Macedonia) is the organizer of International Week 2020 Innovation in Humanities and Social Science that will promote the exchange of ideas and critical discussions between participants and lecturers related to the topic of ‘Innovation in Humanities and Social Science’. The five day event will include lectures, presentations and facilitated discussions in which both lecturers and participants will contribute.

Applications from participants involved in psychology, sociology, social policy and social work are welcome.

Selection of participants – CSOs IRIS Network members

IRIS Network members (staff members and/or volunteers) from the following countries can apply: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia.

Excellent command and understanding of the English language is a precondition for the application as English will be the working language.

The participants should:

  • Be engaged in an organization IRIS Network member
  • at least 3 years of active involvement and proven experience in CSOs and in the area of migration management and social policy
  • Proven familiarity with social and migration policies
  • Motivated to increase professional capacity and knowledge in areas covered by the International Week 2020
  • Demonstrated interest to increase quality standards of social services provided by his/her organization or to introduce new services
  • Open to new practices and willingness to implement them in his/her organization
  • Possibility to transfer gained knowledge and experience into policies and everyday work of his/her organization
  • Experience in conducting analysis and preparing similar Reports


Participant’s obligations

Following the International Week 2020 each of the selected participants IRIS Network members will be obliged to prepare a Peer Review Report on issues relevant for their organization and professional development based on one of the topics covered during the International Week 2020. The Participants will be obliged to submit the Peer Review Reports no later than February 28, 2020 to

Participation in International Week 2020 is free of charge for those participants selected through the Call. The participants will receive board and accommodation free of charge, travel will be organized and costs covered by IRIS Network.



The deadline for applications is October 31, 2019 at 5 p.m. Only selected candidates will be contacted.

If you are interested to participate in the event and are willing to prepare the Peer Review Report, please send the following documents/information in English, to Jelena Leskovac at and Stojne Atanasovska Dimishkovska at

  1. A short CV in Europass format
  2. 1 page cover / motivation letter clearly stating your motivation and objectives/learning outcome from attending the International Week 2020 and what you expect to achieve through attending; in the cover letter the applicant should indicate in which topic(s) covered he/she is most interested in.
  3. Recommendation Letter from your current employer – IRIS Network member

International Week 2020 starts on February 17 and ends on February 21, 2020.

Based on criteria indicated in the Call and submitted applications, in total six (6) participants will be selected.

Assessment of applications

The assessment of applications (in order to be placed on the shortlist) will be based on the application submitted by the candidate. Please clearly indicate in the motivation letter of your application:

  • How the International Week 2020 will impact your professional capacities and your organization’s

Selected participants will receive a fee for covering travel, accommodation and meals during the duration of the International Week 2020. Each participant will be responsible for organizing travel, accommodation and meals.

Int Week 2020, List of speakers


IRIS Network has a great pleasure to announce the continuation of its Small Grants Scheme (SGS), which will provide financial support to the member organizations in: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia.

Small Grant Scheme  is open only to IRIS national networks member organizations from 5 countries, especially grass roots, those who show initiative in implementing quality standards in their work, have active approach to policy making and advocacy during project implementation. Priority will be given to joint initiatives between two or more IRIS member organizations.

 The overall objective of the SGS is to build capacities of the grass-root organizations for service provision and  advocacy at the local and/or national level, as well as to have outreach in the communities for the purpose of building a more resilient and inclusive society, bringing positive change in the community.

For the first time applicants have opportunity to apply in their own local language within the simplified procedure.

If you have a project which may fulfill the requirements of  Small grants program, please send your proposals to: no later than 17/05/2019 at 17.00, with email subject stating “Call for proposal for the Small Grants Scheme – IRIS Networking”.

For more information please follow documents attached below.

Bosnia I Herzegovina


Call for mentoring program for IRIS Network member organisations

IRIS Network is pleased to announce call “Assisting CSOs in acquirement of licences for provision of social services (fulfilment of quality standards) and Mentoring in overall strategic development of the CSO in question” aiming to provide mentoring services for the CSOs in process of licensing of existing social services.
Mentoring program is open only to IRIS national networks member organisations from 5 countries: Albania, Montenegro, the Republic of North Macedonia, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially those who show initiative in active approach in implementing quality standards in their work.
Successful applicants will receive mentoring support and guidance through the process of initiating licensing of social service they provide or assistance in development of strategic / action plan for specific services in accordance with CSO needs and required documentation for licencing process in accordance with standards for development of services.
Mentor will assist CSOs to prepare for the successful service licensing process or assistance in development of strategic / action plan for specific services in accordance with CSO needs and required documentation for licencing process in accordance with standards for development of services.

All information and application forms are available on links below.
Application should be sent to email address and Cc to no later than 15.03.2019. noon (12.00 a.m.), in accordance with the Guidelines.

Format for Declaration
Application Form-Serbia
Guide for Applicants-Serbia

La Ligue de l’enseignement – EU Traineeship Programme

EU Traineeship Programme – Call for Applications for members of IRIS Network
In the framework of the EU-funded project IRIS NETWORKing CSOs for protection sensitive migration management, implemented by Initiative for Development and Cooperation (IDC) in cooperation with partners ASB Germany, LIR CD BiH, La Strada – Open Gate the Republic of North Macedonia, Initiative for Social Change ARSIS Albania and SOS TELEPHONE Montenegro. IDC is organizing an EU Traineeship Programme open to staff members of CSOs providing social services in the Western Balkans, that are part of the IRIS Network.

The programme offers to two selected candidates an opportunity to spend up to 4 weeks in the premises of La Ligue de l’enseignement, Arras, France, and learn about solutions to fight social exclusion and empowering the most vulnerable groups, specifically foreign unaccompanied minors and get in-depth knowledge in the area of migration and social inclusion. The traineeship programme in La Ligue de l’enseignement, Arras, France will start in September 2019.

About La Ligue de l’enseignement

The programme offers to two selected candidates the opportunity to spend up to 4 weeks in the premises of La Ligue de l’enseignement in Head Office in Arras, France, and provides a learning experience in the area of migrant management and social inclusion of foreign unaccompanied minors. Travel, accommodation and living costs for selected candidates will be covered.

La Ligue de l’enseignement (the League of Education) is a secular and independent movement of popular education that acts for the citizens and social transformation. It was founded more than 150 years ago and brings together women and men who act daily to create the conditions for living together, offering educational, cultural, sports and leisure activities for all. In France, it brings together, through 103 federations, nearly 30,000 local associations and 1.6 million members. In Palais-de-Calais, La Ligue de l’enseignement represents 900 Associations and 43,000 members. The Head Office is in Arras, where the traineeship will be organized. For more information about La Ligue de l’enseignement please visit:

What does the traineeship offer?
• EU knowledge – insight into the work of EU civil society organization working with vulnerable groups, specifically foreign unaccompanied minors
• Practical experience – an opportunity to take part in the La Ligue de l’enseignement day-to-day operations on programmes up to a period of up to 4 weeks
• Opportunity to put knowledge and skills into practice in your local community.

What do we and La Ligue de l’enseignement expect from you?

• Willingness to learn about La Ligue de l’enseignement and their programmes
• Contribution to everyday work with fresh insights
• A proactive attitude

Education, key skills and competences of applicants

• University degree in social science – Law, Psychology, Sociology, etc.
• Fluent French, speaking and understanding; fluent English is acceptable but the impact of the traineeship would be limited
• Active involvement and proven experience in CSOs and the area of migration, specifically foreign unaccompanied minors
• Proven familiarity with social and migration policies
• Possibility to transfer gained knowledge and experience into policies and everyday work of your CSO.

Please note that this call is exclusively open for members (staff members and/or volunteers) of CSOs providing social services in the Western Balkans that are part of the IRIS Network.

How to apply

If you are interested in participating in the EU Traineeship Programme, please send:

• your CV in Europass format
• 1 page cover letter that clearly states your motivation and your objectives/learning outcomes from this experience
v Recommendation Letter from your current employer – IRIS Network member

Assessment of applications

The assessment of applications (in order to be placed on the shortlist) will be based on the application submitted by the candidate. Please clearly indicate in the motivation letter of your application:
• How the traineeship will impact your professional capacities and your organization’s
• How you met the education, key skill and competences indicated above

Terms and conditions

The following costs will be covered:
• Travel costs (including costs for VISA permit, if required)
• Accommodation costs
• Health insurance
In addition according to available funds, the selected candidate will receive a modest daily allowance to cover subsistence costs (i.e. food and local public transports).
The traineeship in La Ligue de l’enseignement for both candidates will be at the same period. The duration of the traineeship will be up to 4 weeks.

Round table

On December 18, 2018, IRIS Network observed the International Migrants Day by organizing a Round Table on Protection Sensitive Migration Management in Brussels. The Round Table event was organized as a part of the project IRIS NETWORKing – CSOs for protection sensitive migration management, funded by the European Union.

The purpose of the event was to present the current situation related to migration in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Albania and Montenegro as well as Findings and Recommendations from the Guide on referral system/social service delivery for migrants to relevant Embassy representatives and Brussels based decision makers.

Miodrag Nedeljkovic, IDC Executive Director, gave an introductory speech, explaining that the goal of IRIS Network is to bring together national networks of social service providers from WB region. He also added that the main and most important goal of this project is better social care for most vulnerable groups who do not have proper services provided by local or national governments. Jelena Andjelic, IRIS NETWORKing Project Manager, stressed that the main goal is to put a focus on the significance of the networking among CSOs in Western Balkans in terms of capacity building of all national actors as well as enhancing the regional cooperation on all levels. It was a pleasure to host Liselotte Isaksson, Head of Sector – Civil Society and social inclusion – Western Balkans Regional Cooperation and Programmes in European Commission, DG NEAR, as one of the speakers. She stressed that migration remains to be on the EU Agenda, that CSO are key partners to work with and that social welfare should be more integrated into EU policies.
While, Masa Mitrovic, project partner representing ASB, gave an overview of IRIS Network background in the period since 2012 and explained the synergy with ongoing Social Dimension Initiative project. She concluded that IRIS Network is now more than project and is a platform for exchange, cooperation and influencing at all levels.

Following, IRIS Network National Coordinators, presented the migration related situation in their respective countries.
Jelena Anđelić presenting the situation in Serbia, said that the regional cooperation is particularly important in the context of the most vulnerable migrants and refugees, such as unaccompanied minors, women victims of trafficking, victims of torture, in order to ensure protection in line with international standards, but also to demonstrate responsibility towards the most vulnerable individuals. In the context of protection of the most vulnerable, it is also important to strengthen mechanisms for early identification and differentiation of various categories identified in the migration flow. Biljana Zgonjanin, from LIR CD, IRIS Network Bosnia and Herzegovina, informed the participants that the most recent data on migrants shows that there are 21.201 migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the crisis influenced methods of working with beneficiaries, which have been adapted to new circumstances. The refugees crises should in no case be considered as ended, the movement is still a reality, however on unregulated routes, which makes the refugees invisible and away from the protection system and on the mercy of the smuggling criminal groups, said Stojne Atanasovska Dimishkovska, from Open Gate: La Strada Macedonia, IRIS Network National Coordinator. Ana Majko from Social Organization for Support of Youth – Arsis, IRIS Network National Coordinator Albania, informed that participants that the number of migrants passing through Albania is higher than reported and that human trafficking is a big issue. She also said that UNHCR in Albania is working on a new database that will contribute to improved migration management in Albania. Biljana Zekovic, from SOS Telephone, National Coordinator Montenegro stressed that protection monitoring results, among 1.600 migrants, showed that were no reported violations by the police and migrants’ rights were fully protected.

The following session dealt with Recommendations on the regional level by indicating areas which have been recognized as ones where regional cooperation is needed and can contribute to protection sensitive migration management on the level of Western Balkans, which were presented by regional expert on social issues Mr. Zarko Sunderic.

The last session was dedicated to more networking opportunities in WB and on the EU level in terms of discussing the possibilities for the enhancement of the cooperation and communication as well as creating synergies between different stakeholders. Mr. Alexander Friedrich from Samaritan International presented the cooperation in terms of providing emergency response to migration crisis, among other activities.

It can be concluded that the participants were provided with an in-depth overview of migrant management in Western Balkans, that important networking was established between IRIS Network and EU decision makers engaged in migrant management and Embassy representatives. The Round Table is definitely a significant and important step forward in brining closer the issue of migrant management in Western Balkans to EU interlocutors for the purpose of future cooperation and exchange of information on the issue.