Conference on the importance of social entrepreneurship for vulnerable social groups:
"Caring for vulnerable categories is not only an obligation, but also a question of moral values of each system"
A two-day Conference "Social Entrepreneurship and its Significance for Vulnerable Social Groups" was opened in Sarajevo with the aim of exchanging theoretical and practical experiences related to the concept of social entrepreneurship in the country and the region, which will ultimately contribute to better knowledge and faster development of social entrepreneurship in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as one of the important factors of socio-economic recovery after a pandemic, especially for vulnerable groups
The conference was organized by the Federation of Social Workers of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Federation of Associations of Social Workers from Republika Srpska, within the project "Strengthening social and health protection in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Bosnia and Herzegovina", in partnership with UNICEF BiH and financial support from USAID in BiH.
At the opening of the Conference, Dr. Rownak Khan, Head of the UNICEF Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina, emphasized the importance of social entrepreneurship in supporting the most vulnerable groups. She pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic affected the lives of all of us, but not equally everyone, and that vulnerable populations were affected more than the rest of the population.
"Social entrepreneurship will support those who are already part of the social protection system in BiH, and within that group the focus will be on working with the most vulnerable - families with children with disabilities, young people with disabilities, and I think we have a moral obligation to bring social inclusion in every work we do in Bosnia and Herzegovina ", said Dr. Khan and called on the participants to be innovative and to create practical solutions that will be sustainable, considering that this is not something that can be solved with a one-time approach:
"We should try to create a system that can be taken over by institutions and associations, because we do not want to start something that will not be sustained," she said, emphasizing the importance of the international character of the Conference.
USAID Deputy Mission Director in BiH Robert Lopez addressed the Conference online, emphasizing the importance of improving the social protection system in order for the country to better respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, adding the importance of the role of governments in situations when a new concept needs to be supported and implemented.
"During the pandemic, the number of those who needed the support of the social protection system increased, and the pandemic was also a wake-up call to improve disaster preparedness. USAID, in partnership with UNICEF, is working to strengthen social and health care in response to the pandemic, and one of the project's aim is to establish stronger and more sustainable institutions to support the most vulnerable groups through effective social services, ”said Robert Lopez.
The Minister of Labor and Social Protection of the Federation of BiH, Vesko Drljača, thanked UNICEF and USAID for the improvement of social protection in FBiH and expressed satisfaction that the importance of implementing such a project, which is extremely important for BiH, was recognized.
"Caring for vulnerable categories is not only an obligation, but also a question of the moral values of each system. Social entrepreneurship is an important factor in social protection reform in the FBiH. Innovative solutions and the development of social entrepreneurship will contribute to social and economic development, employment of vulnerable groups, assistance to their social inclusion, development of rural areas, and finally fairer social protection ", said Vesko Drljača, adding that the development of social entrepreneurship is one of the directions. The FBiH Government should act in order to alleviate the social and economic crisis, but also to further improve social protection, which is why it is important to legally regulate this area and create preconditions for further development. He emphasized that this ministry, as a department in the implementation of reform processes in the field of social protection, will continue to cooperate with professional associations, while respecting professional opinion and practical experiences.
Srđan Baralić, President of the Board of the Association of Social Workers from Republika Srpska, said that the topic of social, ie social entrepreneurship, implies a comprehensive approach through working groups, includes employment sectors, local communities and NGOs:
"Through this conference, we want to open the topic of social services in social entrepreneurship, to try to see from different angles what is appropriate for the context of our living conditions and system capabilities, especially in responding to the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic," he added.
Mirnes Telalović, president of the Association of Social Workers of FBiH pointed out that social entrepreneurship is not just a matter of supporting vulnerable social groups, but that it has a wider social significance:
"Apart from the economic aspect, it primarily emphasizes the human, human dimension. In the emergence of general alienation of people, the development of social entrepreneurship gives hope for the preservation of human and moral values, and continuity of social care for vulnerable social groups. Social entrepreneurship is an innovative, integrative and modern approach to systematic, institutional and humane solutions to socio-economic issues of vulnerable social groups", he said, explaining that these are issues of social integration, social and economic independence, employment, rural development and women's entrepreneurship:
"Finding answers and clearer directions for future systemic action will mean a lot to vulnerable social groups, but it will also contribute to social protection institutions and their employees who receive an additional support mechanism for vulnerable social groups."
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/bih