From 26th – 29th November, First Regional Social Academy of IRIS Network was held in Belgrade. This event gathered 18 distinctive mid-career public servants, scholars, activists and professionals from civil society organizations from the region. The Academy offered participants a unique opportunity to benefit from a diversified training package, exploring migration policy and governance in the region, linkages between migration and social service delivery, and instruments and mechanisms for protecting migrants’ rights. Participants attended 4 day tailor-made training consisted of different learning methodologies including lectures, workshops, discussions and field visits. The aim of academy was to increase access to and level up the practical social service skills and competences of participants, raise awareness about the importance of practice-oriented protection based migration management in region and ingrain it in the activities of various stakeholder groups in follow up.
First day on IRIS Regional Social Academy was reserved for Vladimir Petronijević, director of group 484, who presented EU response to migration – current situation and announced steps forward.
Afterwards, Introduction Workshop was held, on topic Refugee and Migration Crisis and Western Balkan- Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. All participants from Serbia, FYROM, Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina had opportunity to present migration policy and situation in their countries, and also to exchange mutual experiences, as well as the situations and problems they faced as social service providers.
Good practice of migration management was topic of second day on Academy, where two experts showed participants examples of treatment migration population: Prof. dr Ivana Krstić, professor on Faculty of Law in Belgrade presented the standards of treatment different categories within migrant’s population and Svetlana Velimirović, Deputy of Commissar for Refugees and Migration of the Republic of Serbia presented international legal ground for reception of migrants and introduced participants with EASO reception standards.
Additional to this, as best field practice, participants had opportunity to visit one of the biggest reception camp and asylum centre in Serbia – Camp Krnjača and Elementary School “Branko Pešić “in Zemun.
Manager of the Asylum Centre in Krnjača Mrs Djurdja Šurlan, presentend the short history of Centre, with retrospective on migrant crisis past few years. She spoke about the toughest times when the migrant crisis was on the rise and several thousand asylum seekers were approaching the door of these baracks daily. She also presented the problems and challenges they have been faced with, cooperation with goverment sector and social service providers, then, as today.
„Branko Pešić“ is an elementary school that mainly works with a marginal and vulnerable group of children and those who have fallen out of the education system. Thus, it has become an example of good practice when it comes to educating young migrants. The director of the school Mr. Nenad Ćirić presented to Academy participants the system of working with migrants that is being conducted in this school and the way that he and his staff motivate these children to learn in special conditions.
On third day of Regional Social Academy, Maša Vukčević Marković from PIN network shared her experience in empowering the migrants’ population. Psychosocial working with migrants, universal standards in providing mental health services, multisectoral approach, were just few of the topic covered in this lecture. About working with unaccompanied minors, Ivana Vukašević from HCIT introduced the participants with legal framework, definition of minor groups and working with them, pedagogical and psychological approach, role of NGOs and government sector. Sanja Kljajić wrapped up the third day with topic: role of the social welfare system in securing and providing protection and services to the vulnerable groups of migrants and refugees.
Academy was closed on fourth day with final workshop: Agreement on the structure and content of the presentations for home country communities.
Successful Academy participants obtained certificates, and entered Alumni Association of the IRIS Network.
Upon this training each of the participants will be delivering informative session/workshop to their communities/organizations/institutions. Outstanding results at the Academy will be seen as an advantage when applying for EU based traineeships organized by IRIS Network. This is the first of four Academies planned to be held within IRIS Networking in next two years. After the Academy, five participants will have the opportunity to receive the scholarship for traineeship in the relevant organization social service providers located in EU.