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Exchanging valuable lessons learned about enhancing social inclusion, and creating protective environment for children in 24 municipalities

On 5-6 April 2011 a two-day seminar was held for the representatives of 24 municipalities in which UNICEF has implemented projects with the purpose of improving social protection and inclusion and creating a protective environment for children. Representatives of 10 municipalities in which the project “Enhancing the Social Protection and Inclusion System for Children in Bosnia and Herzegovina - SPIS” is currently being implemented, had the opportunity to exchange experiences on the first day of the seminar. On the second day of the seminar, they exchanged their experiences with the representatives of the remaining 14 BiH municipalities in which UNICEF previously implemented projects such as “Improved Mechanisms for Child Protection in BiH”, “Support to the Child Protection System Reform in BiH” and “Child-Friendly Schools and Communities”.
“We have gathered representatives of 10 municipalities which are currently included in SPIS, along with the 14 so-called ‘old municipalities’ in which the projects have been conducted since 2004, and we put an emphasis on the exchange of experiences. Participants were given the opportunity to present their lessons learned, talk about the positives sides and possible shortcomings of the project. All this was done in order to implement SPIS and future projects and fulfill the goals set by previous projects in the best possible manner”, said Alen Zaimović, the IBHI coordinator for the SPIS project. He also revealed that it can be noted that almost all projects received a positive response of the local community, and have continued to be implemented on a smaller or larger scale:
“It is evident that they are eager for further work according to the multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary HRBAP principles“.

Judging by the introductory presentation made on the second day of the seminar by Ljubo Lepir, the Assistant Minister of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of the Republic of Srpska, UNICEF projects have initiated a positive trend in this BiH entity.

“In addition to the direct support to SPIS, we also intend to build future projects on the basis of this and previous UNICEF projects. Moreover, the project organization and realization models are being included in the drafting of amendments to laws, as well as the development of strategies related to social and health protection of children.
Municipal committee models observed in the projects will become obligatory models of multi-sectoral work in municipalities“, said Lepir.

Representatives of municipalities, social work centers and non-governmental organizations stated that they are satisfied with the seminar, and most of them took pride in coming to the seminar to share their positive experiences with others and to hear from other participants some solutions they could apply in their municipality.
“We helped each other with various recommendations, and some municipalities adopted the models and projects that have proven to be successful in other municipalities. We exchanged a lot of contacts, shared our experiences and problems and talked about ways of overcoming them“, said Valentina Vujinić from the Laktaši Youth Centre.

Dobrivoje Stanojević, the Head of the Višegrad Municipal Board and the Head of the General Services Administration in the Višegrad Municipality, also couldn’t hide his satisfaction with the seminar.
“In their reports, representatives of all the municipalities emphasized the good results they have accomplished. A lot has been achieved during trainings, workshops, creating databases, and one can simply notice how everybody is fighting for every child to live in a safe environment“, said Stanojević.

Almir Dervišević from Breza was the Head of the Municipal Managing Board for the project “Support to the child protection system reform in BiH” in the municipality.
“The project was successful, and I would point out the monitoring of child enrolment in primary schools. This has been considerably helpful for everyone, and now there are records of child enrolment in schools, which didn’t use to be the case. At this moment, there are records of children registered in primary schools up until the March of this year, and planning the enrolment and the enrolment process itself have been significantly facilitated“, said Dervišević. He added that the managing board hasn’t been directly integrated into the municipality as planned, because there was already a similar committee in place.

“We handed the action plan with all the accompanying materials over to them, and they continued their work in line with the plan and the methods we established“, said Dervišević.
Representatives of the Novi Grad Municipal Board told us that good results have been achieved in the municipality, and that they are glad to see a similar situation in other municipalities.
“The multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary approach has proven to be efficient, and this is one of the rare projects realized almost in full“, said Mira Drljača, the Head of the Office of the Novi Grad Municipality Mayor. Rade Gačeša from the Novi Grad Social Work Center was also pleased. He told us that what contributed the most to the successful implementation of the project was the very fact that people from various sectors have gathered at one place in order to work together on solving the problems of children. 



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