For generations, Roma families in Serbia have collected scrap materials to sell to recyclers as a way to make money. Now, they've banded together to form a union to help them get much needed services, recognition, and dignity.more
ISC has worked in Serbia since 2002, when we began helping teenagers and young adults in Serbia, many of whom are unemployed, develop leadership skills and create positive change for themselves and their communities. In the course of this work, we honed an approach to engaging young people that one of our partners, Civic Initiatives, has gone on to use at the national level. We also supported the Youth Coalition of Serbia's work in engaging young people in developing a national youth policy for the country that would give young adults—historically undervalued by adults—a stronger voice in public debate.
Today, ISC is working with nonprofits in Serbia to help them better represent the needs of ordinary people and become more influential partners with business and government. Because nonprofits are an important means through which citizens can influence public life, our ultimate goal is for civic participation to become the norm, and, in the process, contribute to a renewed sense of individual and national dignity. Our partners on this project, the Civil Society Advocacy Initiative (CSAI)—launched in 2006—include:
- Balkan Community Initiatives Fund (BCIF)
- Civic Initiatives
- European Center for Non-Profit Law (ENCL)
- SMart Kolektiv
- The Youth Coalition launched "bottom up" campaigns promoting youth policy advocacy and inter-ethnic cooperation in 13 communities, including Pozarevac, the hometown of Slobodan Milosevic—where young activists contacted the youth coalition asking to participate. We also trained trainers to expand the national coalition's outreach to additional towns.
- The coalition held a series of local discussions based on a documentary film, State of EXIT, which told the story of two young people jailed under Milosevic who started a music festival and inspired youth people to take action. The discussions prompted a surge of participation in youth organizations and the national coalition.
- For the first time, Serbia now has a Ministry of Youth and Sport thanks to concerted press outreach that drew attention to the coalition's efforts. In May 2007, the Ministry and our partner, Civic Initiatives, agreed to work together to adopt a formal National Youth Strategy to better address the needs of young people and engage them in determining the future of their country.
Twelve nonprofits in Serbia banded together with businesses, festival organizers, and even the Army to turn the tide on illegal dumping and inspire environmental awareness.view slideshow
ISC helped organize Serbia's first Pride Parade since 2001, which drew more than 1,000 activists marching through the streets of Belgrade to demand equal rights and celebrate their place in Serbian society.more
In June 2008, company executives from across Serbia came together to launch a Business Leaders Forum that will stimulate socially responsible practice among companies in Serbia, supporting and encouraging companies—and their employees—to contribute to social and environmental causes as part of their everyday operations.more
ISC and our partners have launched the Visibly Better campaign to call attention to the work that Serbian nonprofits do every day on behalf of ordinary citizens.more