IRIS Network in cooperation with SOLIDAR is organizing the Round Table “CSOs PROVIDING SOCIAL SERVICES IN THE WESTERN BALKANS: CHALLENGES & OPPORTUNITIES”, dedicated to challenges and opportunities for CSOs providing social services in the Western Balkans, which are related to overcoming current refugee crisis and the latest political and economic pressures inside the European Union that provoked a slowdown of the Enlargement process.

Civil society organizations (CSOs) need to find ways to revamp the Enlargement process and its social dimension in order to enhance economic, social and territorial cohesion. In particular the innovative capacities of CSOs providing social services needs to be strengthened and they need to be supported to strengthen their capacity and directly engage local and regional beneficiaries in decisions around the ‘EU Social Acquis’. These are the main objectives of the EU funded project “Improving the provision of Social Service Delivery in South Eastern Europe through the empowerment of national and regional CSOs” led by ASB-SEE that will be presented at this round table.

The Round Table will bring together policy makers and members of the civil society the possibility to discuss main challenges and opportunities for CSOs providing social services in the Western Balkans as well as the best solutions to make sure that Enlargement process is a catalyzer for social progress and enhancement of socio-economic rights.

More information on the even could be found here.

Traineeship in France awarded to IRIS Network candidate Megi Kushi

Professional Staff Traineeship Programme in organization of IRIS Network and SOLIDAR has officially started few weeks ago in the premises of Ligue de l’enseignement des Pyrénées atlantiques at the mountain center ‘Le Cardet à Gourette’ in France. Traineeship is involving participant in the organization and development of different activities, non-formal learning and animation with children and teenagers, among whom persons with intellectual disabilities.

After they carefully reviewed numerous applications received, the IRIS Network in cooperation with SOLIDAR confirmed participation of Megi Kushi. Let us meet her and hear the impressions of the Training.

Megi Kushi, coming from Albania, is young intern at the National Association Education for Life-SHKEJ, one of the IRIS Network member organizations. She has Master Degree in Organizational Psychology and, even though she is just 23 years old, has quite an experience in the field of social service provision and working with vulnerable groups gained through formal and non-formal education and trainings. Over the last few years she had been working with children in need – groups of Roma and Egyptian children in Albania, as well as with children with autism. Beside Albanian, she fluently speaks English and French.

Within Professional Staff Training Programme, Kushi got the opportunity to improve skills related to her psychological work-profile: She has useful conversations with the children, helps them to feel comfortable and develop their interests in social interaction, based on healthy roots of self-esteem.

“I learnt how efforts of the team are the key in organizing multidisciplinary areas that are focused on the well-being of children. I also noticed the importance of motivation as the staff priority. Cardet centre represents this perfectly”, said Kushi.

Mountain Cardet centre, which is hosting ongoing Professional Training, hosts open school – discovery classes for children during holidays. The school is providing different activities whose topics range from discovering the environment to sport and human activities, all connected to the mountain. “Children can enjoy the company of each other, explore themselves and the nature surrounding them and become engaged with life rules”, explained Kushi.

In addition, Kushi mentioned that she learns a lot spontaneously, through the work routine, the discipline and the responsibility that the mission of Cardet is accomplishing with the children. She hopes of using most of skills and knowledge gained through this Training in her future work, after she gets back to Albania.

IRIS Network members attended SOLIDAR Training Academy

SOLIDAR Training Academy “INTEGRATION, INTERCULTURAL DIALOGUE AND PEACEFUL COEXISTENCE – Addressing challenges and opportunities in the social services, education and training sector”, which took a place in International Training Center ILO in Turin, has been officially closed last Friday. The training brought together representatives of 13 Civil Society Organizations from different European countries.

During three days of training, participants were discussing on the current challenges their NGOs are facing to, improved their skills in intercultural dialogue and laid the groundwork for future cooperation. Main topics covered migrant issue and cultural diversities by defining strengths and weaknesses of different social environments, as well as external opportunities and threats which are recognizable through activism of represented organizations. Participant also had the opportunity to share good practices with colleagues from other organizations and to improve skills in the field of promotion of their work through using modern social media approach.

Among the participants, the training was attended by representatives of IRIS Network from Serbia and Albania.

Supporting Social Investment – the Enlargement Perspective

Supporting Social Investment – the Enlargement Perspective

ROUND TABLE Organised by IRIS Network and SOLIDAR

At the beginning of the new parliamentary term when enlargement process is still ongoing, it is undoubtedly relevant to emphasize the importance of the socio-economic development of the Western Balkan region. Cutting the unemployment rate, social services enhancement, empowering the social investments and job creation in this sector are the priorities in the forthcoming times. In order to achieve aforementioned goals and to give a new impulse to the integration process, it is essential to include and to highlight social dimension of the enlargement in the policies shaped by the EU decision makers.

This round table will offer the possibility to discuss services of general interests, active inclusion and the role of social service providers in the Western Balkans in promoting quality jobs, economic growth and social investments. Members of the “IRIS Network – Improving social services in SEE” will present their daily work in the context of the EU Enlargement policies and will give good practices examples on combating poverty and promoting social cohesion. In addition, SOLIDAR’s Annual Monitoring report on the EU enlargement will be launched.


SOLIDAR roundtable “Ensuring social…


European round table starts today at 09:30 am in European Parliament.

This round table will offer the possibility to discuss about social cohesion, active inclusion as well as the role of social service providers in the Western Balkans in promoting social progress. Members of the “IRIS Network – Improving social services in SEE” will present their daily work in the context of EU Enlargement policies. In addition, the results of the FEPS-SOLIDAR research program on the Social Dimension of EU Enlargement will be launched.

Europe has been faced with one of the worst economic, financial and social crises. The one-sided focus on fiscal and financial consolidation through austerity measures has led to increasing disparities within our society, hitting the most vulnerable groups the hardest. NOW it is time for social consolidation to increase social cohesion between and within Member States.

This roundtable will give the floor to a discussion between experts from several Member States and decision makers at EU level on the mid-term review of the Europe 2020 Strategy and to present national recommendations to promote active inclusion, cohesion and social progress. These recommendations will be based on the results of the Social Progress Watch Initiative that SOLIDAR launched in December 2013 and the baseline-study Ensure Social Progress: Recommendations to strengthen the social dimension of the European Union.

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