4.4 Inclusive programmes for young people
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Programmes specific for vulnerable young people
One of the priorities of the Central State Office for Demography and Youth is certainly to provide funds to support and operate youth organisations and further encourage the work of youth associations and youth organisations in order to improve the quality of life of young people. In addition, tender documentation is being prepared for the public call for national financing of projects aimed at young people in 2022.
The Central State Office for Demography and Youth published the Call for proposals in 2021 for youth-oriented projects which will be implemented in 2022. Resources for the financial support distributed through the call are ensured from the state budget and from a portion of the state lottery funds.
In the context of social inclusion, the call points out that the priority for funding have organizations that include volunteers in their work, and which intend to employ at least one young unemployed person in the implementation of the project in an appropriate profession and/or as a volunteer. Specific priorities include encouraging young people to actively participate in society, encouraging young for sustainable community development and for quality organized leisure time and supporting youth initiative in the community. The call points out and the priority of working with young people in NEET status through increasing their knowledge and skills, employability and competitiveness in the labour market and encouraging social inclusion of young people. New initiatives in communities with fewer opportunities such rural areas and earthquake-affected areas are also mentioned, as is including young people affected by addiction or violence against and among young people.
When defining priorities of a call, the Central State Office for Demography and Youth recognized that young people who are leaving education early face numerous employment barriers and it is of utmost importance to offer ways to return to the formal education system. Also, initiatives for non-formal education can help young people to become qualified for employment. With focus on creativity and innovation, civil society organizations play an important role in providing support to young people at the local level. In addition, the Youth Guarantee Implementation Plan contains reforms and measures implemented in close partnership of various stakeholders. A significant part of the measure refers to working with young people not in education, employment or training (NEET). Measures aimed at supporting youth work will also strengthen youth organizations and organizations for youth to work with young people and support the development of programmes and support projects for their peers, with a special emphasis on hard-to-reach and vulnerable groups.
In view of the above, one of the priority areas of the Call for proposals was "Increasing knowledge and skills, employability and competitiveness in the labour market and encouraging social inclusion of young people (working with young people in NEET status)”.
Based on Call the Central State Office for Demography and Youth was conducting the abovementioned call for proposals (see previous paragraph and/or 1.7. Funding youth policy).
The annual amount for calls differs depending on current financial obligations under previously agreed programmes and defined priorities. In 2021, for example, the total amount for the call for proposals for all priorities was amounted of 9,976,372.40 HRK . Four projects within priority area Increasing knowledge and skills, employability and competitiveness in the labour market and encouraging social inclusion of young people (working with young people in NEET status) were awarded a total of 469,785.40 HRK (approximately EUR 62,638.00) and 23 projects within priority area “Youth in rural areas” were awarded a total of 2,075,000.00 HRK (approximately EUR 276,666.00) Additionally, new priority area in 2021 was “Work with young people in areas affected by the earthquake” and 16 projects were awarded a total of 1,275,000.00 HRK (approximately EUR 170,000.00).
In addition to youth-oriented calls, the former Ministry for Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy opened in December 2019 a Call for project proposals oriented towards social exclusion reduction and prevention and social inclusion and integration of socially vulnerable groups for 2019/2020 (Poziv za prijavu projekata usmjerenih smanjenju i prevenciji socijalne isključenosti te socijalnom uključivanju i integraciji socijalno osjetljivih skupina za 2019. /2020. godinu). The call is aimed at non-profit organizations targeting work with socially sensitive, vulnerable and marginalized groups, people with approved international protection, former prisoners, and those targeting work with older people and homeless people. Youth organizations and organizations for youth may also apply for financial support for projects contributing to social inclusion if they act according to the priority areas of this call. Total planned value of the call is HRK 6.500.000,00. The same call was implemented for 2018/2019 and total sum for 33 projects amounted to 5,237,000.00 HRK.
The call for proposal entitled ‘Support for youth-oriented programmes’ (Podrška programima usmjerenih mladima) was opened in 2017 with the aim of increasing social inclusion of young people. The call determined programmes’ activities as follows: quality spend leisure time, informing young people and providing counselling on relevant topics, youth violence prevention, improvement of social skills and competences development, which contribute to the labour market competitiveness and social inclusion, and active participation of young people in society. Total grants within this call amount to HRK 12,000,000 (85%:15% ratio of EU and national funding) which were ensured through the European social fund, Operational programme the efficient human resources. The public body in charge for its implementation was the former Ministry for Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy. The Ministry awarded 15 programmes within priority area “Youth work-oriented activities” and 2 programmes within priority area “Establishment and activities of youth centres” in May 2018.
The same Ministry was in charge for implementation of the following calls for proposals from the European social fund, within the Operational Programme Efficient Human Resources 2014-2020:
- Inclusive society through reading (Čitanjem do uključivog društva), opened from December 2020 till March 2021. Total value of the grant is 41,000,000 HRK.
- Including children and young people in the risk of social exclusion, people with disabilities, and children with developmental difficulties in community through sport (Uključivanje djece i mladih u riziku od socijalne isključenosti te osoba s invaliditetom i djece s teškoćama u razvoju u zajednicu kroz šport), opened from June 2018 till December 2019. During that period 57 projects were awarded a total of 63,702,712.05 HRK.
- Support to the marginalised groups’ social inclusion and employment (Podrška socijalnom uključivanju i zapošljavanju marginaliziranih skupina), opened from September 2017 till December 2019. During that period 80 projects were awarded a total of 263,240,256.50 HRK.
- Support to the deinstitutionalisation process and the prevention of children and youth institutionalisation (Podrška procesu deinstitucionalizacije i prevencije institucionalizacije djece i mladih), opened from March 2017 till December 2020. During that period 7 projects were awarded a total of 39,657,575.31 HRK.
- Art and culture for youth (Umjetnost i kultura za mlade). The call was opened in 2017 and during 2017 and 2018 29 projects were awarded a total of 17,968,221.23 HRK.
The Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds was competent body for implementation of the Call for proposals ‘Improving the social services providers’ infrastructure to the children and youth as a support to the deinstitutionalization process – phase 1) (Unapređivanje infrastrukture pružatelja socijalnih usluga djeci i mladima kao podrška procesu deinstitucionalizacije – faza 1), from the European Regional Development Fund, within the Operative programme Competitiveness and Cohesion 2014-2020. The call was opened from 2016 till 2018. During that period 5 projects were awarded a total of 51,471,423.28 HRK.
In 2020 the former Ministry of Labour and Pension System opened the Call for project proposals "Find me!" - implementation of activities to reach and educate inactive young people in NEET status (UP.01.2.0.04) under Priority Axis 1 "High employability and labour mobility", Specific Objective 8.ii.1 (IZM) Increasing employment and rapid integration of the NEET Group through the Youth Employment Initiative (IZM) into the labour market, Operational Program "Effective Human Resources 2014-2020". The Minister of Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy and the Director of the Croatian Employment Service A presented 31 contracts with a total value of HRK 50 million within the Call to civil society organizations, public bodies, sports societies, etc.
Applicants whose projects were approved are obliged to submit a narrative and financial report to the competent public bodies, in accordance with the provisions of the financial support agreement.