Partnership to build and reinforce accountability for children

© UNICEF Serbia 2011

  • Civil society: UNICEF works with civil society to ensure that the vulnerable know their rights, demand those rights, and can take action when their rights are denied. Serbia’s civil society has emerged, gathered strength and become very vocal in just two decades and is, increasingly, holding the Government accountable on behalf of the most marginalized children. Roma non-governmental organizations (NGOs), for example, mobilize and educate Roma communities to help families claim their entitlements. And concerted pressure from mothers’ groups – with support from UNICEF – led to the evaluation of breastfeeding standards in hospitals that reinvigorated the push to increase breastfeeding rates.
    UNICEF has been instrumental in the creation of the Network of CSOs for Children in Serbia (MODS), a network of around 40 NGOs speaking with one voice on the needs of marginalized children to the government, the EU and other international institutions.
  • The private sector: We work with corporations that have a growing sense of corporate social responsibility, going beyond donations to offer their time and skills to help marginalized children. We promote the Principles for Business on Children’s Rights, drawn up by UNICEF, the Global Compact and Save the Children, which call on businesses to consider the interests of children in their business practices and decision-making. One key example is the unique tri-partite agreement between the Ministry of Health, UNICEF and the telecommunications company Telenor, which has provided mobile phones, laptops and back-up expertise for the Roma Health Mediators initiative. Another is the support of the private sector to Schools Without Violence, with more than 30 businesses ‘adopting’ schools across Serbia. This is the first such initiative in Serbia to be funded by local – rather than international – resources.

© UNICEF Serbia 2011

  • The media: We look beyond media coverage of UNICEF activities to build media partnerships on the rights of children, particularly those who are excluded and marginalized. With UNICEF support, a Child Rights Syllabus for journalism students has been introduced in two Serbian universities, making knowledge on child rights and integral part of their professional training. The aim is to strengthen ethical report on children and their rights. In 2010, collaboration between UNICEF, the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy and Serbia’s national public service TV station (RTS) addressed attitudes towards children with disabilities. By highlighting the topic in regular programming, RTS seized public attention and has helped to change the mind-set on these vulnerable children.
  • Research institutes and think tanks: We work closely with research institutes and think tanks to build knowledge on marginalized children. In 2010 for example, UNICEF conducted an analysis of the likely effects of a proposed increase in Value Added Tax (VAT) on the most vulnerable groups. This led to a public debate on the possible costs and benefits and a call for more evidence on the potential impact before proceeding with the increase. From our work on justice for children with the International Management Group to our work on child care reform with the Republic Institute for Social Protection and the Centre for Liberal Democratic Studies, we aim to build up a complete picture of which children are marginalized and why, and what measures are needed for their full inclusion in society.

  • Children and adolescents: UNICEF works to give marginalized children and adolescents a voice in local decision-making through partnership with, and support for, youth-led organizations and peer networks. Young people themselves have carried out research with their own peers on key issues. And we support the active engagement of vulnerable adolescents in the work of Youth Offices, so that they have a voice in the decisions that affect them. Plans are underway to assess the channels for child and adolescent participation in municipal decision-making – the results will guide recommendations to improve this participation.



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