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Social inclusion, as the second pillar of the Programme, was an area where numerous Programme activities were conducted in order to lead to its improvement, as well as the improvement of social services.
The Swiss PRO treated 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 empowered and enhanced 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.
In result, it contributed to building the capacity of 52 LSGs for planning policies and implementing social inclusion measures based on the citizens’ needs, while the implementation of 107 projects directly improved the socio-economic status of 15,172 vulnerable individuals (8,190 of them women). The opening of 300 new jobs was the value added of the projects.
ONE STOP SUPPORT TO ALL VULNERABLE GROUPS
After successfully implementing two social protection projects funded by Swiss PRO, the City of Loznica adopted a Rulebook providing for the establishment of a Social Inclusion Counselling Centre extending services to all vulnerable groups. The Counselling Centre is designed as a one stop centre extending support to various vulnerable groups in overcoming life crisis situations, acquiring skills for independent living and preserving their quality of life to ensure their faster and better inclusion in the community.
“Cooperation with the Swiss PRO Programme motivated us to improve our social protection services in order to ensure the fullest possible social inclusion of various vulnerable groups in the local community,” says Ljiljana Ranković from the Loznica City Administration.