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After holding the National Conference on 27th and 28th October and after summing up the

conclusions based on the report of the conference in November, the Association of Students and
Youth with Disabilities in cooperation with a representative from the organization Humanity
(member of IRIS MK), in December started with preparations on Policy Paper based on analysis
done the previous couple of months. From the analysis conducted from July till November,
derives the following condition in Republic of Macedonia, which is also a base for the
preparation of this document.

The social protection system is crucial for providing social security and welfare of the citizens in
each social state. After independence, the Republic of Macedonia inherited social system based
on large centralization, the dominant role of the state as a provider of protection and insignificant
participation of non-governmental, private and religious sector in the field of social protection.

Within that system, social protection is largely realized through cash transfers and benefits for
citizens exposed to social risk. Social services as nonfinancial measures aimed at improving the
social functioning of individuals and groups at social risk were underdeveloped, and were
reduced primarily to institutional forms of protection.

In order for us to be able to say that each provider of Social protection system of the Republic of
Macedonia enables the development of the institutional protection of persons in need of a socio
services as well as persons at social risk that use these services, but the process of
decentralization among social care isn't completed yet, decentralization of social services
especially the non-institutional protection or development of social services at local level is still
with unresolved status in the country.

Ministry of Labor and Social Policy as a leading institution which should provide and create
conditions for the development of social services, i.e. services at the local level with the local
government has given too long term for these social services to start functioning locally.

The Civil Sector till now provided social services according to the possibilities and conditions
required by the state and local government, but it all was reduced to the project activities and
according to non-prescribed protocols to implement the minimum standards which should be
implemented as providers of social services.

A quality and professional service must have standards that should be taken and to ensure that
the user at the end will receive a social service by any standards. Also needed is developing a
licensing program for staff who work in the field of social service provision. In Macedonia there
is only a program developed for licensing nurses who work with children. The Institute for
Social Affairs is giving license to higher education staff who works in public or private
institutions for social protection.
To overcome this problem it is necessary to develop licensing terms of staff and their prior
education in existing licensed education programs that are developed from civil sector, the
Ministry of Education and Science, the Centre for Adult Education and the Vocational education.

Additionally a major problem in our country is the sustainability of these social services, lack of
minimum standards for social service providers and a lack of local plans for the promotion and
development of social services.

The state does not allocate funds for the support and development of social services also units of
local government have designed a socio budget funds for services and service providers. The
business sector is not sufficiently motivated to support social services although in the part of the
social responsibilities of society they have the opportunity to project financial resources.

There are several national strategies such as the National Strategy for Poverty Reduction,
National Strategy for Older Persons, the National Strategy for Demographic Aging, National
Strategy for Equal Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which in its frame has a section on social
protection, but unfortunately the state has no separate budget funds for action and plans to
implement the strategies, and again it comes down to project activities in certain areas of civil
sector.

In Macedonia there are more target groups who need any kind of help and support for their
normal functioning and those are: the elderly, people with disabilities, homeless people, single
parents, victims of domestic violence, persons with HIV, people who use or being treated for
alcohol, drugs and other substances) and the percentage taken in Macedonia there are 16.6%
elderly population, 90,000 persons with disabilities

It is for this reason IRIS MK will contribute a part in encouraging dialogue and resolve the bitter
problem between the creators of public policies and civil sector as an important link in this
process, but also to consider the huge needs for the functioning of social services and the quality
of services provided which on the other hand will enable improving cross-sector cooperation.

Offered solutions to overcome the situation

1. Enhanced dialogue between civil organizations and local authorities, Parliament, ministries
that are relevant in the field of social protection and developing social services.

2. Improvement of existing legislation

Establishment of a working group to prepare proposals for amendments in the area of social
protection by IRIS MK and representatives of the relevant ministries and commissions of the
Parliament

3. Establishing mechanism for more effective policy planning and protection programs (social
services) at local and national level
4. Develop models and plans for financial sustainability and subsidized by the state and ZELS

5. Greater inclusion of vulnerable groups in Macedonia

6. Joint training programs and protocols for licensing and provision of minimum standards for
social service providers.

Recommendation

Our recommendation leads to better access to social services for vulnerable groups, developing
social services locally as public private partnership between civil society and local government
or civil Sector and Ministry. The draft amendments to the law on social protection should
actually ensure a flexible access to social services, defined ways of implementing this kind of
non-institutional social protection, set minimum standards that will guarantee quality service and
set standards to providers of this kind of social service get licenses. Campaigns that will enable
citizens receive adequate information on how the use of social services and what benefits they
will have in the future from them.

Opening of cooperation between public institutions and civil sector as equal partner and
recognition of civil sector as a provider of social services.

Policies and measures established in National strategies should really be applied, I.e. the state
must allocate budget to implement these strategies which in the future will provide relief and
active inclusion of vulnerable categories of citizens in providing and receiving timely quality
services.

The last and most important recommendation relates to subsidize these social services by the
state, i.e. the establishment of a social fund which equally both the state and the LGU will
provide funds for this fund will be intended for the providers of social services.

Target groups:

All persons in need of receiving services from such social services.

Key actors:

The civil sector, the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, Ministry of Finance, Government of
RM. The Parliament, Ministry of Health, LGUs, business sector, the Institute of Social Affairs
and centers for social work.

From the previously mentioned condition we went into making the Policy Paper, a document
which was a challenge and will be prepared accordingly.

The next activity of the team in December was preparing Advocacy plan, in accordance with real
possibilities for implementation of all activities of the campaign. Given that in the first year of
inclusion in the project the team was focused on the formation of the network, preparation of
basic documents, primarily a strategic plan of the network, exploring existing legislation and so
on decided at the beginning of the second year to put special emphasis on media presentation
which is provided in Advocacy plan, because there are already results and activities that deserve
media coverage.

In late December the Association of Students and Youth with Disabilities, by the Assembly of the
Republic of Macedonia was invited to the session as part of the parliamentary lobby group for
people with disabilities since 2005. By 2007 we always had participation in the sessions
broadcasted on the parliamentary channel on national television, but then the government
thought that there was no need for civil society organizations to attend. After a long break in
December 2015, lawmakers decided that those sessions require the presence of civil society
organizations, so representatives of the Association again participate in all sessions. There we
had the opportunity to meet with the national network IRIS MK pointed out the need to work
with the representative body of parliament, MTSP representative from social centers as well as
representatives from the network. Given that it was shown interest in this body, during January
we had several meetings with the MP, who is also Chairman of the Committee on Labor and
Social Politics in the Macedonian Parliament. He showed interest to create a lobby group, and
then held several meetings in an expanded format with the MPS- members of this committee that
began considering the frameworks within which will act this body. Final answer is a working
body parts or lobby group will also be launched by the end of March (it should have been until
the end of February, but it was delayed because of everyday new political developments).

In late December the Association of Students and Youth with Disabilities in partnership
with the Foundation "Preda PLUS", won the project "Organizational Capacity Building to
Aid Disabled Persons in Macedonia" (Reference: Europe Aid / 136-625 / ID / ACT / MK) .
The overall objective is to promote and enhance partnerships between various CSO's, public
institutions and the private sector, with the aim of building capacities to improve social services,
networks, and work and learning space designs to achieve full human rights and participation of
persons with disabilities in society through public-private-CSO dialogue and action.

During January meetings were held with representatives from different institutions to promote
national network IRIS MK.

In the second half of this month, the Association of Students and Youth with Disabilities met
with the association "Rcsr Minus i plus", Association "Our message Kumanovo", winners of
small grants, about some consultations regarding planned activities which should be realized.

On 16/02/2016, the coordinator from R. Macedonia in charge of the project "Improving the
provision of Social Service Delivery in South Eastern Europe through the empowerment of
national and regional CSO networks", attended the promotion of the project "LOCAL, but
VOCAL", with financial support of Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund, Deutschland e.V, in South Eastern
Europe who conducted Association of social workers in the city of Skopje and Resource center
for single parents MINUS & PLUS - Skopje. General objective of the project is, advocacy for
rights of children from one-parent families for social protection, through needs analyses and
bigger involvement of their parents in development of polices and measures in area of social
protection at local level. With this project pioneering steps are made to establish the rights of
children of single parents, who will be directly involved in the planned activities with
representatives of municipalities, primary schools, kindergartens, centers for social work, and
other relevant institutions in the field of social and child care on local level. The launching event
was in line with the target audience of the relevant institutions and participants from the target
group showed interest and need for this type of activities that will help in detecting the needs and
overcome the barriers faced by these people. Also there were announced focus groups which
should begin during the month of March.

On 19/02/2016, the coordinator for R. Macedonia in charge of the project "Improving the
provision of Social Service Delivery in South Eastern Europe through the empowerment of
national and regional CSO networks" was in Kumanovo on the presentation of the project of
IRIS "Early adaptive physical development and socialization." The presentation of this
project was implemented within the schedule, in the presence of all stakeholders and received
with great interest.

At the end of this month were opened these following social media:

IRIS MK social media

e-mail : irismknetwork@gmail.com

Facebook page>
e-mail : irismknetwork@gmail.com

Website> IRIS0MK Network


http://www.irismk.simplesite.com
announcement irismknetwork@gmail.com

At the end of March we plan other social media, and completion of the creation of the above
mentioned media.

Below are details of the Advocacy Plan

Main activities ffline activities

(please list main activities that you are


planning to implement during your
campaign) 1.Strengthened dialogue between the civil
society organisations and the local
authorities, the Parliament, the ministries
relevant in the field of social protection
and social services development

- Organizing round tables in 8 regions in


Macedonia with key actors on local level pril-June 2016
(Skopje, Northeast, East, Southeast, Vardar,
Pelagonia, Southwest and Polog)

- Public debates open to general public to


express their need and solutions
- Formalizing intersectional cooperation

2.Improving the existing legal regulation

- Forming a working group to prepare


proposals of amendments in the field
of social protection by IRIS-MK and
representatives of the relevant ministries
and commissions in the Parliament

4. Development of models and plans for


financial sustainability and subsidies by the
country and ZELS (Association of the Units of
Local Self-government of the Republic of
Macedonia)

- Opportunities and ways to subsidize and


sustainability of social services

5. Greater inclusion of the vulnerable


groups in Macedonia In process

- Inclusion of vulnerable groups of people


in the process of policy making at local
and national level

during the roundtab


conclusions derive
August

After forming a lob


capacity building o
people

April- October

Public awareness activities nline activities: creating social


22.03.2016
(please describe - When? And which National and local media, social media
channel of communication/media you will (Facebook, Twitter, Wordpress)
choose) Offline activities:
will go during the e
Guest in shows, preparation of short campaign April-Oc
videos, blog posts about the need for
services and life stories