The reaction to crisis, either man or nature made, is always demanding, dynamic, and is moving the focus from institutional approach to effective and rapid response to the problem in question. We are very thankful in ASB SEE that we had a chance in the last three years to have a break from immediate response and were able to regroup and rethink our strategy and to continue supporting strategic and institutional empowerment of the most vulnerable.      

Still, exactly the crisis has:

– taught us all the weaknesses of the social protection systems and the scale of the need for investments;    

– showed us the true strength of the local grass-root and civil society organizations and the force of the local partnerships between the authorities and NGOs (especially if supported by national authorities and international donors);  

– revealed the true and honest partnership of the EU towards the WB region, often invisible to ordinary citizens due to heavy bureaucratic language. The efficient financial and logistic EU support to the WB countries substantially alleviated the burden of the crisis, but also helped the EU to understand that apart in process, the concrete investments in the social sector are needed as well, and are often much more visible to the people on the local level.      

With this in mind, ASB SEE launched Social Dimension initiative by the end of 2017. Under the Initiative, ASB mainstreamed all of its WB’s projects with the clear goals: to support the people through direct interventions in the field of provisions of social services; to support the social welfare systems in the WB countries to develop long-term sustainable services for its most vulnerable citizens.  

We are working on these goals with the clear support from the EU, social welfare Ministries in the WB, and our friends from the local civic organizations.

As a result – we would like to see that the national Governments in the WB, jointly with the EU, are planning and programming IPA funds with much more sensibility for the social issues.

The bases have been already set – in November 2018 ASB SEE organized a ministerial conference and hosted social Ministers from all 6 Western Balkan countries. In the presence of high officials from the EU Parliament, and with the support of the Commissioner Hahn, the Ministers signed the Social Dimension Declaration, the document highlighting the need for stronger investments in the social sector.    

ASB took the process even further – in cooperation with the local partners and communities, we prepared 195 ready-to-be-funded projects, originating from 65 municipalities from WB.

Apart from working on institutional improvements, ASB continued to support the most vulnerable. We invested 1.2 mil EUR in economic empowerment programs in Kosovo; more than 2.5 mil EUR in housing, economic, social and humanitarian support in Serbia; more than 3 mil EUR in disaster-recovery and economic support programs in B&H. 

We continue to support people with disabilities, migrants, refugees, and returnees, mine victims, Roma, women and the most vulnerable. And alongside our new initiatives and strategies the main ASB motto remains our inspiration – WE HELP HERE AND NOW.

Elmir Bojadzic
Regional Director SEE
Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund Deutschland

ASB South East Europe Newsletter 2020 you can find here.

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ASB is a German aid and welfare organisation, engaged in areas such as civil protection, rescue services and social welfare services. As a non-political organisation, ASB has, since its foundation in 1888, provided rapid and direct help to all those in need of our support.

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ASB SEE Main Office Sarajevo, Aleja Bosne Srebrene 4, 71 000 Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina


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