Project country: Serbia
Project region: Southeastern Europe
Sectors: Social, Civil society and conflict, Education
Development organisation: GIZ
Partner organisations: The Serbian Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veterans and Social Affairs (MoLEVSA) and the Serbian Ministry of Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue (MHMRSD) in their roles as political partners. Multiple municipalities and civil society organiations will be the implementing partners of the project.
Implementation period: 04/2023-03/2026
Objective and background:
Note: The following information is based on a brief assessment and the experience of two currently ongoing projects in Serbia. The appraisal mission will be conducted in October 2022. A successful application for the DEVAL RIE funding program could influence project specifications/ design.
Despite economic progress in Serbia, social inequalities are worsening. The living conditions of marginalized population groups, especially the Roma population, continue to be precarious. Most Serbian local self-governments are unable to provide integrated, needs-based social services on a sustainable basis, especially for members of vulnerable population groups. Among other things, they lack the financial resources and structural support to integrate solutions on a permanent basis. The project is a follow up measure of two currently ongoing social inclusion projects.
To strengthen social inclusion at the local and district level with a focus on an inclusive, needs-based gender transformative approach.
(1) Strengthen inclusive and integrated services with a focus on local self-governments and communal structures.
(2) Support for anti-discrimination measures, initiatives and policies at national and local levels will strengthen existing efforts to combat discrimination and stereotypes, support the implementation of existing anti-discrimination legislation, and promote government/civil society platforms and formats aimed at better inclusion of all groups in Serbian society.
(3) At the national level, policy reforms for better social inclusion, as well as the implementation of new legislation based on best practices at the local level, will be advanced.
Social service providers at the municipality level.
Persons who find it difficult or impossible to participate in social, economic, and political processes. The new module will focus on Roma and other minorities, and includes older people, the unemployed, illiterate people, single parents, and people with disabilities. Special attention is paid to returnees and migrants and their specific needs.
Measures for RIE:
Impact of Antidiscrimination trainings:
Description: Employees of local social service providers (education, health workers, police, judges, and municipality employees) will participate in antidiscrimination trainings.
Expected impact: Customers of local social services experience less discrimination. Trainees are better sensitized how to avoid discriminatory practices in their work.
Selection of intervention participants: Selection method to be determined.
Size of the target group: Around 400.000 persons in Serbia work in public local enterprises, administration (local level), health and social work, as well as education and culture.
Estimation of number of participants: 1000-1500
Impact of capacity development of social service providers:
Description: Through expert and financial support social service provision will be expanded, improved, and made more accessible.
Expected impact: Improved customer satisfaction with local social services. Local social service providers offer broader, more accessible, and higher quality services.
Selection of intervention participants: Presumably based on the outcomes of the appraisal mission.
Size of the target group: 174 self-government units. The target group could be broken down into different units of local social service provision (e.g. employment, health, education, administrative services etc.).
Estimation of number of participants: to be determined during the appraisal mission.
Impact of antidiscrimination campaigns:
Description: The project will implement several local and nationwide antidiscrimination campaigns. Those will consist of broadcasts of media and social media productions, workshops and other awareness raising format.
Expected impact: Improved sensitivity to discrimination against vulnerable groups in the general population.
Selection of intervention participants: General public using different kind of media. Alternatively, the media users in selected municipalities.
Size of the target group: 6.9 million (6 million weekly TV users, 3.6 million radio users, 57,5% of the Serbian population is using social media).
Estimation of number of participants: Between 30.000-150.000 depending on the scope of the campaigns.
Project implementation process:
The project, which is currently underway, provides anti-discrimination training to, school officials, public employees, and health care workers in the form of 1-3 day live seminars, live online webinars, and digital self-learning tools.
Anticipated Timeframe: Anti-discrimination trainings were conducted over a period of 2-6 months as part of the current project. Each individual training lasted between 1-3 days. In the next project, there could be multiple rounds of anti-discrimination trainings (adapted based on the results of the RIE) throughout the project duration.
Impacts on training participants would be expected immediately after the training. However, we would be interested in medium-term impacts (6 months after training) and impacts on training participants' clients (social service users).
Because the trainings are conducted in smaller groups and in different locations, there is a time lag between different participants attending the trainings. There is likely to be an additional time lag before the impact on clients is felt.
Capacity development of social service providers:
Expected timeframe: Actions to strengthen the capacity of local social service providers will be implemented over a 1-2 year period (e.g., 11.2023-11.2025). This will include baseline analysis and mapping, development of action plans and strategies, training, and implementation of interventions.
Impacts on the quality and quantity of social services are expected to improve halfway through the project.
Different interventions are likely to be implemented in different communities at different times. We therefore expect a time lag between the implementation of measures in different municipalities.
In the projects currently underway, campaign formats range from special clips distributed on television, social media, and radio, to live workshops in communities, to door-to-door information and exchange formats.
Anticipated timeframe: Anti-discrimination campaigns will be conducted throughout the life of the project (specifically between 10.2023 and 12.2025). Multiple campaign rounds would ensure that lessons learned from past campaigns are incorporated into the next campaign. In the current project, each campaign lasted between 5 and 12 months.
Again, we are interested in medium-term impacts (6-12 months after each campaign).
Participants will benefit from the campaigns with a time lag.
1. the medium-term impact of the various anti-discrimination measures (training and campaigns). Is it possible to change attitudes towards discrimination in Serbia with these measures? Which type of measures, for which target group, produces the greatest impact, in the short or medium term?
Changing the attitudes of the Serbian public, and especially public service providers, towards marginalized populations is and has been a goal of German development cooperation for some time. So far, only the short-term impact (e.g., directly after a training) has been studied, without taking into account various biases and without control groups. The impact of national and local campaigns remains unclear.
2. Which changes in local social service delivery have the greatest positive impact on clients who use these services? Which changes are most cost-effective?
GIZ improvements to local social services have not been thoroughly evaluated. Best practices are based on casual observations, anecdotal evidence, and individual feedback.
The issue of anti-discrimination will most likely remain an important topic of German development cooperation in Serbia and in the entire region. The findings from the RIE could be used continuously to adapt project implementation and inform other projects and donors in the region. Existing (internal and external) exchange networks would ensure timely dissemination of findings and results.
The appraisal mission for the project will be conducted in October 2022. Information provided are based on the brief assessment and subject to change.
Several studies and surveys on discrimination against marginalized persons have been conducted as part of the projects currently underway. An ongoing study conducted by the Serbian Institute of Economic Sciences evaluates measures for employment promotion, psychosocial and legal support, education promotion, and access to water.