16. 7. 2021.

Project "Reduction of additional vulnerability of Roma men and women and other marginalized groups, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in 18 local governments" was presented

Belgrade, July 14, 2021 - An event was held in the building of the Government of the Republic of Serbia on the occasion of the beginning of the project "Reduction of additional vulnerability of Roma men and women and other marginalized groups, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in 18 local governments". pandemic COVID-19 in the field of education, then improving access to water, information and promotion of immunization against COVID-19, as well as technical support to relevant local institutions for monitoring the course of the pandemic COVID-19.

The signatory of the Project Implementation Agreement is the General Secretariat of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, and the Implementation Team is responsible for Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction of the Government of the Republic of Serbia (SIPRU) with sub-implementation partners Center for Interactive Pedagogy (CIP Center) and Ecumenical Humanitarian Organization (EHO) with the support of the program of German development cooperation "Inclusion of Roma and other marginalized groups in Serbia", implemented by GIZ. The main political partner is the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue.

Gordana Čomić, Minister for Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue, said that great troubles are always the hardest for those who have the least opportunity to defend themselves from troubles, regardless of whether the troubles are local, such as earthquakes and floods, or a global pandemic, which stopped the planet and made us think about how difficult it is to survive in closed conditions. "It is a great pleasure that we as the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue, in cooperation with GIZ, SIPRU and local governments, participate in a project that will prove for the next six months that we do not want to leave anyone behind because it is more vulnerable," Čomić said. She pointed out that because of that, it is extremely important to support education for about 500 children, which will be provided by this project, then drinking water for more than 500 Roma and other families, as well as immunization, which is necessary for everyone. "Only through mutual dialogue and joint cooperation we can reduce the difficulties that the pandemic has brought us," concluded Comic.

Daniel Mohseni, political advisor of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Belgrade, pointed out that human rights, access to services and relevant information are key building blocks of any society. "Through project activities, access to education and information will be improved during the pandemic, as well as in the post-crisis period." It is planned to improve access to quality learning, as well as help schools in the form of IT equipment for 500 Roma men and women and other socially vulnerable children, "said Mohseni. He stressed that the project will provide expert and technical support in providing access to water for 545 families living in inadequate conditions. On this occasion, an Agreement on Cooperation was signed between the General Secretariat of the Government, eight cities and municipalities and the Ecumenical Humanitarian Organization, in order to improve access to water in substandard settlements.

The President of the Municipality of Smederevska Palanka, Nikola Vučen, pointed out that the municipality strives to respond to the needs and challenges that all citizens face, especially those who are on the edge of existence. "The agreement we are signing today is another proof that we, as a municipality, are ready to make all our resources available for the needs of our citizens." "Thanks to this project, 170 families in the village of Pridvorice in Smederevska Palanka will have access to drinking water," Vučen said.

Measures and activities through this project seek to contribute to reducing the additional vulnerability of Roma families and other marginalized groups living in 18 local governments (Nova Crnja, Zvezdara, Kruševac, Kraljevo, Loznica, Bor, Niš, Vranje, Pirot, Vladičin Han, Stara Pazova , Kovin, Zrenjanin, Smederevska Palanka, Topola, Valjevo, Kanjiža and Alibunar), through capacity building of local actors for urgent response with an inclusive approach.

In the field of education, support will be provided to primary school students in learning, as well as support to parents to help their children during schooling. In addition, technical equipment will be provided as a prerequisite for distance learning and fulfillment of school tasks. When it comes to informing, preventing and promoting immunization against the COVID-19 pandemic, Roma families will be provided with advice on preventive measures, information on the importance of the immunization process and protective equipment will be distributed.

Improving access to water will be provided by finding permanent solutions for 545 marginalized families living in 11 substandard settlements in the municipalities of Stara Pazova, Kovin, Zrenjanin, Smederevska Palanka, Topola, Valjevo, Kanjiža and Alibunar, through the construction and upgrade of water supply networks, ie providing individual connections to water supply network. The beneficiaries of the project are primarily Roma men and women, returnees living in 18 local governments, but also members of other marginalized groups.