The four-day Summer School on Social Inclusion brought together the representatives of local governments and civil society organisations, facilitating knowledge sharing and the development of innovative approaches to improving the social inclusion of vulnerable groups at the local level.
At the launch of the Summer School, Ms Sascha Müller, representative of the Embassy of Switzerland to the Republic of Serbia, emphasized the key role of local governments. They are the level of government that is the closest to citizens in designing policies that reflect the needs of people, including the most vulnerable. “Non-governmental organisations are also an important factor in the provision of services and in speaking up on behalf of those most marginalized”, said Ms Müller.
Through the exchange of knowledge and professional experiences, representatives of local governments and civil society organisations from 15 municipalities across Serbia designed and developed innovative models in the fields of social protection, health care, education and employment, aiming to contribute to more inclusive and more equitable local communities. “The Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit (SIPRU) strives to promote social inclusion policies and practices in local communities in cooperation with all stakeholders, as well as to address lessons learned and practical challenges identified, through evidence-based policymaking”, concluded Ms Dragana Jovanović Arijas, SIPRU Manager.
The Summer School on Social Inclusion is an introduction to the implementation of the second phase of the Local Initiatives Programme– Support for the Development of Innovative Social Inclusion Models – LIP 2. The objective of the programme is to promote social inclusion of vulnerable groups (women, youth, Roma, migrants, persons with disabilities), especially those living in rural and extremely poor areas, by improving existing and establishing new and innovative measures, services and programmes in local communities.
The LIP 2 programme is a part of the “Support to Improve Social Inclusion in the Republic of Serbia” project, implemented by the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit (SIPRU) of the Government of the Republic of Serbia from 2018 to 2021, with the financial support from the Government of Switzerland amounting to € 4 million.