Equality, fight against discrimination and inclusion of vulnerable groups constitute an important part of the negotiations in the EU accession process. The South-East Europe region faces vast socio-economic challenges, while the economic consolidation is slow and only reaches part of the population. Those suffering the consequences are primarily the vulnerable groups, such as persons with disabilities, economically disadvantaged people, residents of rural areas, single parents, elderly, young people, ethnic minorities as well as women and girls. Traditional roles, prejudices against ethnic minorities, and exclusion of people with disabilities are anchored deep in the society and influence the political discourse.
Many citizens belonging to the vulnerable groups lack knowledge about their social rights and access to social services, education, and healthcare. On the other hand, municipalities and other relevant stakeholders that need to bridge this gap often face the lack of knowledge and competencies, as well as insufficient financial resources. In addition, the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its 17 development goals, and especially the “Leave No One Behind” principle, enjoys little attention among the authorities and is progressing slowly.
In the frame of NALAS’ project “Enhancing local capacities to implement the 2030 Agenda and the “Leave No One Behind” Principle”, 12 municipalities went a step further, learned and implemented different social inclusion approaches that ensured inclusion of the most vulnerable ones.
This booklet presents these 12 good practices on provision of social services to the left behind communities piloted by local governments throughout the region. The practices were developed in the frame of the regional peer-to-peer exchange learning clusters on social inclusion approaches, managed by NALAS’ member associations from the target economies, supported by resource persons.
The practices are presented in five chapters related to the five social inclusion approaches:
- Day-care centre;
- Minority inclusion models (social dialogue forum and minority commissioner);
- Mobile outreach teams;
- Raising the awareness on the rights of the vulnerable groups; and
- Inclusive disaster risk management.
All of the 12 practices are inspirational, they change the perspectives, include, engage and achieve more with limited resources, in most of the cases by joining community forces. We hope that these examples will motivate other local governments, local practitioners and stakeholders to learn, analyse and scale-up and therefore contribute to the social, economic and cultural rights of their citizens in line with the overarching principle “Leave no one behind” of the 2030 Agenda.
The project “Enhancing local capacities to implement the 2030 Agenda and the “Leave No One Behind” Principle” is realised with the financial support of the project “Social Rights for Vulnerable Groups II (SoRi II)”, implemented by GIZ, in partnership with NALAS, within the program “Strengthening Good Governance in the Western Balkan Countries”.