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EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki
Serbia

Serbia

4. Social Inclusion

4.4 Inclusive programmes for young people

Programmes for vulnerable young people

Тhe project “Support to Improve Social Inclusion in the Republic of Serbia” (Podrška unapređenju procesa socijalnog uključivanja u Republici Srbiji) is a comperhensive project aiming to enhance the social inclusion process in the Republic of Serbia, in period 2009 – 2021.  The project activities are financed by the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the Swiss Confederation, represented by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

The project supports numerous activities, including those related to programmes/projects for young people. The responsible authority for project implementation is the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit. 

There are 2 local programmes including youth supported by this project:

1. “Local Initiatives for Increasing Social Inclusion and Reducing Poverty” (Lokalne inicijative za povećanje socijalne uključenosti i smanjenje siromaštva) aiming to improve social inclusion and poverty reduction in Serbia by providing support to the development and implementation of effective social inclusion policy measures at the national and local level. This programme supported 11 local projects in period 2015-2016 targeting vulnerable groups, including vulnerable young people. 

The second phase of the programme has been initiated in February 2019. The second call covered two regions in Serbia: Southern and Eastern Serbia, and Šumadija and Western Serbia, i.e. 53 local self-governments. The goal of this call is to contribute to the social inclusion of vulnerable social groups (women, youth, the Roma, migrants, persons with disabilities). Special emphasis was given to those living in rural and extremely poor areas, through the development of innovative approaches to social inclusion at the local level.

 2. “Support to Innovative Approaches to Increasing Youth Employment and Employability” (Program podrške inovativnim   pristupima za povećanje zapošljavanja i zapošljivosti mladih) with the overall goal to support innovative approaches in     addressing the issues of youth employment or employability through strengthening partnerships between civil society        organisations and the private sector. Ten innovative approaches and solutions were supported in 2016, through three         different support models, depending on the degree of development of the innovation:

  • MODEL 1, encompassing the early development of innovative ideas,
  • MODEL 2, testing or improving innovative solutions,
  • MODEL 3, expanding the application of innovative approaches.

Employment and Social Reform Programme – ESRP is a strategic process, structured according to the model of the Strategy "Europe 2020" applied by member states and which monitors the process of European integration as the main mechanism for dialogue on the priorities of the Republic of Serbia in the field of social policy and employment in the EU accession process.

The programme covers primarily the labour market and employment, human resources and skills, social inclusion and social protection, as well as challenges in the pension and health care systems. Special emphasis is put on youth employment, due to the high youth unemployment rate.

Thus, within the goal “Improving the position of young people in the labour market”, specific measures necessary to reduce the number of young people who are not employed or in the education and training system (NEET) and to reduce youth unemployment are:

  • Improve the legislative and institutional framework, as well as standards for internship programs in order to provide young people with their first work experience after leaving school;
  • Improve the system of informing young people on possibilities in the fields of education, employment, youth entrepreneurship, European integration as well as in use of EU funds and other areas of partnership with youth civil society organizations (CSOs), all with support of the Youth Offices and the Fund for Young Talents;
  • Promote lifelong learning and the development of programs for young people who have dropped out of school, i.e. for people without qualifications, which would include training in combination with a subsidy to the employer;
  • Develop a concept of student work with a limited number of working hours per week;
  • Further develop the system of early profiling of unemployed youth in the National Employment Service (NES);
  • Develop innovative models and services to support youth employment at the local level through a broad partnership of local partners - educational institutions, the NES, business and civil society;
  • Promote and further develop system of career guidance and counselling;
  • Improve youth service packages.

Additionally, the Ministry of Youth and Sports annually publishes call for applications for programmes and projects of public interest in the field of youth. More precisely, the calls are for:

  1. support to local self-government for implementing local youth policy measures (Javni konkurs za podršku jedinicama lokalne samouprave u sprovođenju omladinske politike na lokalnom nivou)
  2. enhancing different forms of employment, self-employment and youth entrepreneurship (Javni konkurs za stimulisanje različitih oblika zapošljavanja, samozapošljavanja i preduzetništva mladih)  
  3. financing and co-financing projects and programmes for implementation of aims defined in National Youth Strategy and Youth Rule programme (Javni konkurs za finansiranje i sufinansiranje programa i projekata za sprovođenje ciljeva Nacionalne strategije za mlade i programa „Mladi su zakon”). One of the specific goals of this Call is to improve the context of social inclusion of youth in Serbia.

Furthermore, additional financial support to students and persons that are in a risk of poverty provided by the state are:

  • National student scholarships and credits (Učenički i studentski krediti i stipendije) aiming to promote education and support young people to gain higher level of education by providing financial support to students. Both credits and scholarships are non-refundable if the student fulfils some of the obligations of the legal contract (e.g. finishes high-school/ graduates on time with certain average grade). The scholarships are provided by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development.
  • The Fund for Young Talents of the Republic of Serbia (Fond za mlade talente Republike Srbije), under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Youth and Sport, provides scholarships and rewards as well.  Annually over 3,300 students receive the financial support from this Fund. 
  • According to the Law on Social Welfare (Zakon o socijalnoj zaštiti) following options are available for persons regardless of age (including youth): 
    • right to financial social assistance,
    • right to allowance for assistance and care of another person,
    • right to an increased allowance for assistance and care of another person,
    • special monetary compensation,
    • training for work,
    • one-time assistance.

The provision of one-time assistance (in cash or in kind) is within the jurisdiction of local self-government, while funds for other abovementioned payments are provided in the budget of the Republic of Serbia.

When it comes to targets for the level of participation in these programmes and the information and data on national organisations involved in the programme, no reliable/updated data on youth participation in these programmes exists.

Funding 

Тhe project “Support to Improve Social Inclusion in the Republic of Serbia” (Podrška unapređenju procesa socijalnog uključivanja u Republici Srbiji) is financed by the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the Swiss Confederation, represented by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.  The programme “Local Initiatives for Increasing Social Inclusion and Reducing Poverty” (Lokalne inicijative za povećanje socijalne uključenosti i smanjenje siromaštva) is financed by the Swiss Government. The total budget of the call 2016 was EUR 122,188, and for the call 2019 CHF 435,000.

The programme “Support to Innovative Approaches to Increasing Youth Employment and Employability” (Program podrške inovativnim pristupima za povećanje zapošljavanja i zapošljivosti mladih) was financed by the Swiss Government as well. The total budget was CHF 150,000.

Total budget for financing and co-financing projects and programmes of the Ministry of Youth and Sports is allocated from budget of the Republic of Serbia for 2019/Ministry of Youth and Sports, function 810 - Recreation and sports services, appropriation 481 - grants to non-governmental organizations, within the Program 1302 - Youth Policy, Program activities 0005 - Programmes and projects supporting youth in education, upbringing, safety, health and participation. The amounts for 3 types of programmes in 2019 are as follows:

As financial support for the implementation of the Employment and Social Reform Programme – ESRP, in addition to the national sources of financing within the republic budget, international sources of financing  primarily through IPA funds is predicted. In addition, the participation of bilateral donors in the implementation of certain measures is also included.

Quality assurance 

Applicants whose projects were approved are obliged to submit a narrative and financial report to the responsible authorities, in accordance with the grant agreements. Additionally, taking into consideration all reports for projects approved in separate calls, the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit prepares evaluation reports of the overall results of the call. 

The evaluation of the programme “Local Initiatives for Increasing Social Inclusion and Reducing Poverty” can be found here.

The periodical evaluation of the programme “Support to Innovative Approaches to Increasing Youth Employment and Employability” can be found here.

Employment and Social Reform Programme – ESRP predicts strict mechanisms for monitoring and reporting on the implementation and effects of measures within the programme. Therefore, besides using existing mechanisms that function within the system of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, monitoring and reporting on the implementation and effects of ESRP measures financed through the pre-accession instrument (IPA II) will be implemented through a national monitoring system established on the principle of joint monitoring committees between the European Commission and the Republic of Serbia.