Project Factsheet
Tools for » Promoting Peace Building in Southern Serbia
Project ID:00067229Description:MDGF-1972-F-SRB Promoting Peac
MDG Achievement Fund
Start Date *: 31 Dec 2008
MDGF Conflict Prev Peacebld
End Date*: 31 Mar 2013
Country: Serbia Project Status: Financially Closed
  Participating Organization:   Multiple


The Peace-Building and Inclusive Local Development (PBILD) programme is composed of two joint UN Programmes: the ‘Promoting Peace- Building in South Serbia’, funded by the Spanish Millennium Goals Achievement Fund (MDG-F), and ‘Strengthening capacity for Inclusive Local Development in South Serbia’. They were designed to be paired and implemented together with a shared overall objective to reduce the discrepancies that currently exist between Jablanicki and Pcinjski Districts and the remainder of Serbia. They were implemented as one programme through joint planning, implementation, reporting and had a combined M&E framework.

Under Outcome 1 the JP helped improve cooperation between political representatives of the ethnic minorities and majority through capacity development on gender equality and minority rights issues. This resulted in having 30% of women in the newly elected local assemblies, (baseline 18,5 %). While at the beginning of the JP only 6 of the 13 municipalities had gender mechanisms established, by the end of the programme all had Councils/Committees or at least gender coordinator. The JP supported the establishment of six new Safety Councils, and reactivation of three through capacity building and support to development of safety strategies and action plans. In addition, 14 Local Safety Diagnoses were formulated, including Regional Diagnosis, and 11 Safety Strategies. Furthermore, improved cooperation between around 160 political representatives of the ethnic minorities and majority was done through the capacity development programme covering two topics: gender equality and minority rights issues.

Conflict mediation effected a real change not only with respect to beneficiaries in improving their skills and expertise in the field of conflict mediation, but also in raising awareness and promotion of mediation as an instrument for conflict management. It also managed to bring together and network different sectors (institutions and organizations) and different ethnicities, which is of significant importance in a polarized society such as Southern Serbia.  The network of local professionals, trained in conflict mediation, was established  and institutionalized in the form of local NGO Decendo, a significant local resource for different future initiatives towards peace building in this geographical area.

Training and mentoring support for the production of 16 gender-, minority-, and conflict-sensitive TV, print and radio broadcasts was provided to local media.  These productions were tackling the most prominent problems faced by vulnerable groups and ethnic minorities and represented the proof that the journalists had been empowered to recognize problems existing in the society and have the integrity to draw attention to them as the first step in providing solutions. Well-trained local media in gender-, minority-, and conflict sensitive reporting also contributed to better integration and reducing of conflict risk reporting.

This outcome directly contributed to the National Strategy for Closure of Collective Centres (CC) allowing for 262 IDPs (out of 823) to move from collective centres to acceptable accommodation through purchase of villages houses (24 houses purchased), provision of building material (33 building material packages) and in kind and cash grants (40 in total). This enabled beneficiaries to focus on other important matters such as job hunting and paying for school fees, while extending their social networks and speeding up their full integration into society.

The ability of municipalities to formulate, implement and monitor public policies was strengthened through Outcome 2 with the creation of the Municipal DevInfo database containing 142 disaggregated indicators recommended by local stakeholders in PBILD municipalities. DevInfo Municipal Profiles enable easy comparison across municipalities and are accessible to all, improving transparency and accountability. They are also useful information to national level decision makers by evidencing disparities among municipalities.

In addition to this, seven municipalities (Vlasotince, Bujanovac, Vladicin Han, Surdulica, Crna Trava, Bosilegrad, Medvedja and Vranjska Banja) had their sustainable strategies revised through gender and minority rights perspective.  Monitoring manual was developed during the revision process to support the implementation of those strategies.

Access to health care for vulnerable groups was significantly improved resulting in an increase in visits to doctors amongst women, men and children as well as an increased share of immunized children which rose from 49% to 90%, with nearly 1,000 healthcare professionals sensitized to the needs of vulnerable groups, particularly Roma. In addition, quality of education, especially for children from minority groups, and those with disabilities, was improved through increased capacities of teachers and improved conditions for inclusive education.

The quality of education, especially for children from minority groups, and those with disabilities, was improved by investing in capacities of teachers and improving conditions for inclusive education (infrastructure and assistive technologies). Teachers’ increased capacity for teaching Serbian as a non-mother tongue using active learning methods directly benefited 2,240 pupils. Inclusion of vulnerable groups into education was supported through improvements in physical accessibility of schools and provision of assistive technologies, as well as capacity building of teachers to apply individualized approach in teaching. This package of support advanced the quality of education for 4,966 pupils.

Better access to public services to all citizens, improvement of the level of human rights and promotion of better governance in the region with the special focus on the position of national minorities in the region, their access to rights, gender equality, and improvement of the whole culture of human rights were the result of the work with the Ombudsman`s office. Three outreach offices (in Bujanovac, Presevo and Medvedja) were established in 2010 and capacities of both national and outreach offices staff were developed through the on-the-job mentoring by the Ombudsman office.

Employment interventions under Outcome 3 were accompanied by staff development to strengthen institutional capacity. Approximately 145 unemployed women and men participated in the different programmes. Follow up showed a placement rate of 46.2%.Employment interventions with local Self-Governments resulted in access to employment for at least 600 people through various employment programmes such as: women entrepreneurship, start-up business support, high school students trained in entrepreneurship etc.

As a result of activities under Outcome 4, migrants have better access to social protection programmes as new social protection strategies were developed which recognize migrants as a vulnerable group, while existing strategies were revised in another 7 municipalities to include migrants as target groups. Direct work with 13 Centers for Social Welfare resulted in improved provision of home care services, health care and social protection to people affected by migration in the mountainous area. In cooperation with the Government Office for Human and Minority rights several brochures and leaflets were revised and developed providing information on readmission agreement, reintegration of returnees, as well as to raise the attention to the topics such as a) White Schengen List, b) Illegal stay abroad and c) Asylum. 

In order to raise awareness on the complexity of migration issues and migration problems faced in South Serbia the programme conducted an Inclusive Development Survey, research studies were commissioned to collect data on migration in southern Serbia (to discover the reasons for migrating, but also to find out the needs of migrants) and high-level round tables, conferences and outreach campaigns were held.


Outcome 1:

Community Cohesion and Human Capital: Communities in South Serbia are stronger,more integrated, and better able to reduce inter-ethnic tensions and conflict risk.


Outcome Achievements:

  • Improved cooperation between political representatives of the ethnic minorities and majority through capacity development, gender equality and minority rights issues (160).
  • Women members of assembly in Pcinjski and Jablanicki Districts municipalities rose to 30%.
  • 13 Gender Local Action Plans were developed and 8 adopted by Municipal Assemblies in south Serbia. The same project covered the capacity development of local gender mechanism.
  • Strategic policy documents recognizing existing gender gaps and providing action plans for the promotion of gender equality adopted in all municipalities of  Pcinjski and Jablanicki Districts for the first time.
  • Two new Youth Offices, four Youth Clubs and four Voluntary services were established in 10 Local Self Governments. They offer a variety of programmes that bring young men and women of different social and ethnic backgrounds together. Local self-governments and the Ministry of Youth and Sports have committed themselves to these new programmes and services, thus ensuring their sustainable continuation.


Outcome 2:

Public Services: More equitable and improved access to public services and welfarebenefits (including basic registration documentation, health and education).


Outcome Achievements:

  • Development of the Municipal DevInfo database, containing142 disaggregated indicators recommended by localstakeholders in PBILD municipalities.

  • Capacity building program on monitoring, evaluation and data utilization. Pre- and post-test results revealed that the competencies andknowledge of participants in these trainings increased by 88%.

  • Access to health care for vulnerable groups has also been improved. Interventions by Roma health mediators and primary health care centers have resulted in a 12% increase in children with a selected pediatrician (74% to 82%), a 20% increase in women with a selected doctor (62% to 74%) and a 30% increase among men (57% to 73%). The share of immunized children rose from 49% to 90%. Almost 1,000 professionals from primary health centers are more sensitized to the needs of vulnerable groups, particularly Roma.

  • The quality of education, especially for children from minority groups, and those with disabilities, was improved through increased capacities of teachers and improved conditions for inclusive education (2,240 pupils exposed to the delivery of higher quality teaching of Serbian as a non-mother tongue.  In addition 4,966 pupils exposed to the delivery of higher quality inclusive education).

  • Three outreach offices (in Bujanovac, Presevo and Medvedja) were established in 2010 and capacities of both national and outreach offices staff were developed through the on-the-job mentoring by the Ombudsman office.


Outcome 3:

Economic Development: Increased overall economic prosperity of the region, and reduced discrepancies in wealth and employment between ethnic groups, and with other parts of the country.


Outcome Achievements:

  • Employment interventions were accompanied by staff development programme to strengthen institutional capacity.  Approximately 145 unemployed women and men participated of labor market programmes.
  • Employment interventions with local Self-Governments resulted in supported access toemployment for at least 600 people through: 35 new jobs created through support to women entrepreneurship through the establishment of two cooperatives;  58 start-up business supported; 200 youth instructed in job search skills; 160 youth gained English and IT skills; 200 high school students trained in entrepreneurship.
  • 20 Roma promoters were educated on National Employment Service programmes which resulted in awareness raising for more than 600 Roma.


Outcome 4:

Migration Management: Migrants from the region fully participate in the social andeconomic life of the region and thereby contribute to the development of their wider communitiesand Serbia’s EU integration aspirations.


Outcome Achievements:

  • Successfully implemented 25 Social Partnership Projects in 12 municipalities, contributing to improved provision of home care services, health care and social protection to people affected by migration.

  • Leskovac, Medvedja and Bojnik have developed a database which provides information on a family’s assets, allowing for evidence-based decisions on benefit entitlements and better targeting.

  • 845 elderly persons with disabilities, Roma and people living in rural areas received home care assistance.

  • 3,630 advisory services were given to obtain personal documents or exercise given rights,20,100 individual registry book records and certificates digitalized in Bujanovac from church and mosque records to enable easier access to documents; 1,003 social welfare cards created and entered into databases in Medvedja and Leskovac to easeaccess to entitlements from health care to welfare benefits.

  • Information booklets were developed focused on the revision of the`Guidebook on how on proceed within the readmission agreement` which is a necessary tool for all stakeholders involved in the process of reintegration of returnees.


Best practices:

  • Integrated multi-sectoral approaches: PBILD stands out for creating a good synergy among key stakeholders leading to integrated results that better serve the beneficiaries.

  •  PBILD provided interesting and replicable practices. The reason for its success was the close collaboration with the government to achieve ownership and visibility of results.

  • The JP projects targeting youth and women have been successful because they focus on creating economic opportunities for marginalized populations. These youth and gender initiatives have a good chance of being replicated across other vulnerable communities in Southern Serbia.

  • Increased access by vulnerable communities to social services and legal aid is crucial, as is better access to information about their rights and about services. The example of PBILD showed how this approach helps vulnerable and ethnic communities be less marginalized.

  • A  locally based management structure allowed for a high level of flexibility and ability to react.

  • Efforts must be made to develop the capacities within the municipalities and to encourage partnership relations. This may be achieved through traditional means of capacity development such as, training programmes, peer exchange and study visits, but also through initiatives such as partnership grants, as it was the case of the PBILD programme. Peer learning and exchange was recognized as an extremely efficient and effective methodology for capacity building. This model also fostered constructive competition among municipalities.



 Lessons learned:

  • Pairing the Albanian minority representatives with those of the Hungarian minority,which has more experience and success in advancing the position of their ethnic minority inSerbia,proved to be an excellent mechanism.

  • In tackling cross cutting issues such as gender equality it is necessary to assume anoverarching multifaceted approach.

  • Safety Strategies can be feasible, valid and sustainable only if all relevant stakeholders and citizens take an active part in the process of formulation and implementation.

  • In tackling complex and difficult issues, such as the access of Roma to personal documentation, inter-sectoral cooperation is essential.

  • Outreach services are the most effective way of reaching the most vulnerable groups and they should be organized in a way to allow inter-sectoral cooperation and referral thus enabling aholistic approach in services provision to the most vulnerable.  

  • Governance of solutions needs to be at the local level. The participatory approach allowed for the increased involvement of stakeholders and enabled the establishment of cooperation agreements and municipal financing extending beyond the life of the project.

  • Peer learning and exchange was recognized as an extremely efficient and effective methodology for capacity building. Unlike conventional training, it opened more space for exchange among municipalities and learning from concrete examples, successes and failures of their peers.


More details can be found in the documents below.

Recent Documents
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