SOLIDAR briefing on social progress in WB now available

This briefing paper provides policy recommendations on how to promote human rights and social investment in the Western Balkan region in response to European Commission’s Progress reports on the Enlargement Strategy and challenges 2014 – 2015. Specific recommendations on how to tackle the ongoing migrant and refugee crisis along the Western Balkan route are also presented in this briefing paper.

Briefing paper

Helping refugees in Croatia – activities of Volunteer Centre Osijek

Based on the latest information from the Ministry of Internal Affairs over 130 000 refugees have entered Croatia so far. Hundreds of volunteers have shown great motivation to help save people’s lives and dignity. Many organizations try to help with their resources. From September 18th Volunteer Centre Osijek, in cooperation with CARE International, has organized over 100 volunteers in everyday support activities for refugees in transit centre Opatovac, a place near Croatian eastern border with Serbia, but also border crossings Tovarnik and Bapska. Volunteers are engaged in delivering humanitarian aid (food packages, clothes, raincoats, etc.) in the camp, providing support to refugees, mothers with young children who need medical and social care and helping with registration of refugees. The profiles of volunteers are very different by age, professions, education etc.  Many prominent individuals in communities are taking part in the action: actors, writers, university professors, psychologist etc. This crisis has shown a great potential for solidarity and volunteerism, proving  the need for active and strong civil society.

National Congress of IRIS Network – Konekta

National Congress of Konekta Network was held on 1.10.2015, in Paraćin with the presence of 32 member organisations. Guests on the Congress were representatives of: Social inclusion and poverty reduction unit, Centre for social policy Belgrade, National organization of persons with disabilities of Serbia, Lokalpress network – association of local media in Serbia and media partner Medijacija – Portal Who is responsible that follows the activities of Konekta network in last 12 months.

Following the needs for the positioning and formalisation of national network, members of Konekta decided to start official registration process after three year operations as informal network. The network will be registered as Association of organisations social service providers – Konekta Network.

During the Congress, Statute and Network activity plan for 2016 was adopted. Following Konekta Network Congress will be held in June 2016 for the purpose of expanding membership and Strategic plan development.


In the framework of the project “Improving the provision of Social Service Delivery in South Eastern Europe through the empowerment of national and regional CSOs”, implemented by the consortium of SOLIDAR, LIR CD BiH, OGI Croatia, EDC Serbia, SOS TELEPHONE Montenegro, CLARD Kosovo, ARSIS Albania, ASYD FYROM – led by ASB Germany, SOLIDAR is organising a Professional Staff Training 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 one selected candidate the opportunity to spend 4 weeks in the premises of Movimiento por la Paz (MPDL)  in Madrid (Spain) and provides a learning experience on the provision of social services and civic movement in Spain, as well as insight into how the provision of services and the policy advocacy is shaped. Travel, accommodation and living costs of the selected candidate will be covered.

For more information please see the on the description of the Programme.


IRIS Network has a great pleasure to announce the continuation of its small grants program, which will provide financial support to the member organisations in: Albania, FYROM, Montenegro, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia.

This call will support implementation of advocacy initiatives.

Proposed advocacy initiatives should focus on:

  • Improving policies and their practices in the area of social inclusion and provision of social services on local level;
  • Improving policy framework for CSOs providing social services at local level;
  • Introducing of innovative models in provision of social services;
  • Improving policy framework and practices of involvement in decision making process  vulnerable groups and/or beneficiaries of social services.

Total budget of the call is 60 000 EUR.  Funding will be provided for minimum 12 projects lasting up to 6 months maximum. It is anticipated that  maximum of € 5,000 per project will be available.

Project proposals should be written in English language. Applicant must submit filled application package and additional documentation consisted of:

  1. Application form;
  2. Budget proposal;
  3. Scanned copy of Registration of organization;
  4. Scanned copy of Statute of organization;
  5. Scanned copy of Balance Sheet and Income Statement for the previous year (2014.)

In case of partnership, corresponding additional documentation should be enclosed, as well as “Partnership agreement” from the Application form, signed and stamped by the legally authorized representative.

If you have a project which may fulfill the requirements of  above described program, please send your proposals to: no later than 31.10.2015 midnight, with the email subject  “Call for proposal for the CSO support”.

Supporting documents: Application form; Budget proposal; Guidelines.

PREDA Plus helps to refugees in FYROM

PREDA Plus is providing immediate help to the refugees on exit point in FYROM in Tabanovce.  In cooperation with ASB, PREDA Plus distributed 150 humanitarian packages per day, out of which 50 for women and 100 for men. This number roughly covers 5 to 10% of the total distributed humanitarian aid at the spot.  Additionally, PREDA Plus provided food and milk for the refugee children, as well as the blankets.

The situation at the border-crossing Tabanovce is changing from hour to hour. At the moment, 4000-5000 people are crossing to Serbia daily. Most of the refugees are using trains for transit, but some of them are transiting via busses and/or taxi.

Due to the change of weather conditions (lower temperature, rain and fog) there is a need of additional type of aid packages: warm clothes (jackets), boots and raincoats.

IDC is helping refugee children

Since the beginning of September 2015, IDC has started implementing the program for refugee children and their families residing in the park near the bus station and the Faculty of Economics in Belgrade. Together with their parents, children are travelling long way through the often dangerous and inhospitable places, without much food and water, sleeping in tents or under the open sky, in a situation of existential insecurity. In these circumstances, their psycho-social needs are often put aside. Therefore, the IDC started a program primarily designed for children refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Eritrea and other countries, travelling through the territory of Serbia. Program is consisted of: workshops, watching cartoons, visits of clown, games playing and other activities targeting children. Also, along with a number of organizations, including the Foundation Ana and Vlade Divac and organization ADRA, IDC’s young volunteers distributed food, water and sweets to children, which were donated by Mondelez International.

Second Call for Proposals – Small Grants Facility soon to be launched

The IRIS Network informs its membership that the Second Call for Proposals will be launched in October 2015.

The Small Grants Facility will be organised according to the lessons learned from the First Call SGF, focusing on: greater involvement of the stakeholders in discussion on provision of social services, partnerships promoting innovative services, analyses, advocacy and monitoring of social sector reforms.

The SGF will be open only to Network member organizations, especially those who show initiative in active approach in implementing quality standards in their work. Priority will also be given to joint initiatives between two or more Network member organisations.

Application documentation will be distributed through National Networks and available on the web site of the IRIS Network.

National Congress of IRIS Network BIH

On 2nd and 3rd June 2015, the first National Congress was conducted in Bosnia and Herzegovina, at Vlasic Mountain.

The participants were members of the IRIS BiH network and representatives of Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Policy,  Ministry of Health and Social Welfare from RS, Academic institutions, ASB and LIR CD, in total 27 participants.

The Strategic planning mission was structured as an interactive workshop in order to outline main strategic areas for the future work of IRIS BiH Network, highlighting the most important points as a key factors to the IRIS Strategy Plan and discuss the basic organizational structure of the future network.  The strategic planning helped founders and members of the IRIS network reaching consensus and creating more dynamic network with capacity to influence policy and decision making processes in BiH. At the end,  along with the definition of the vision, mission, principals, values and main strategic goals, 3 Advocacy plans are developed and discussed with representatives from public sector, consequently receiving the concrete suggestions and recommendations  how to approach respective Ministries to achieve the results.

The detailed agenda of Strategic planning