Social inclusion, as the second pillar of the Programme, is an area where numerous Programme activities are conducted in order to lead to its improvement, as well as the improvement of social services.
The Swiss PRO treats social inclusion as one of the processes which contributes to better cohesion of a society. Social inclusion should facilitate that all members of a society, regardless of their characteristics, have a possibility to achieve equal access to resources such as social activities, income, public institutions, social protection and other programmes and services for assistance and care. Another aspect of social inclusion implies equal participation in economic, social, political and cultural life and to enjoy a standard of living that is considered normal in the society in which they live which should ensure their equal participation in decision making process.
For this reason, the Programme empowers and enhances the capacities of local self-governments and organisations to develop and conduct policies leading to the enhancement of social inclusion and the improvement of social services, but also for providing support to citizens and civil society organisations (CSOs) for being included in the decision-making.
An example of good practice in the area of social inclusion
The predecessor of the Swiss PRO Programme – the European PROGRES Programme – supported the Roma Women’s Association “Osvit” to pilot the measure in the area of social protection that was envisaged in the Strategy of Social Inclusion of the Roma people. The project envisaged a systematic approach to resolving the problems of child marriages among 1,500 members of the Roma population in Aleksinac. The project was conducted in partnership with the Municipality of Aleksinac.
As a result, the Municipality of Aleksinac set up a Local team for preventing early marriages, composed of representatives of relevant institutions, which offers a systematic approach to the resolution of this problem. A database for monitoring early marriages was created in the Municipality of Aleksinac and is now used by the Centre for Social Work.
Through the workshops, as many as 43 schoolchildren and 35 parents improved their knowledge about the consequences of early child marriages and the preventive legislation.
The project sustainability perspective has been confirmed since the municipality of Aleksinac continues the activities conducted by the Local team for preventing early marriages. Moreover, the Roma Women’s Association “Osvit” received additional financial support for two projects dealing with the improvement of the status of Roma women, financed by the Ministry of Culture and Information and the Office for Human and Minority Rights.