Many members of the Serb national minority live in economically undeveloped and subsidised areas of Croatia. Also, most of them live in rural, isolated and infrastructurally undeveloped areas. Such life conditions increase exposure to poverty and social exclusion. Social exclusion is seen primarily as unemployment, social isolation, and unavailability of health, social, educational, traffic and other services in a community.
High unemployment rate among Serbs is largely caused by economic and demographic devastation during and after the war, but also by the non-compliance with the principle of affirmative action and the absence of legal mechanisms to implement the law related to employment of minorities in public services. Furthermore, discrimination based on nationality remains one of the significant problems in employment of ethnic minorities and in exercising other rights.
Apart from these problems, Serbs are faced with the problem of ageing population. The average age of Serbs in Croatia according to 2011 Census, is 50.3 years which is 11.3 years more than the average age in Croatia (41,7 years).
For this reason, SNV’s social program is directed towards solving and decreasing these problems.
The program’s main goals
- To reduce social exclusion of Serbs in Croatia
- To improve quality of life and social position of Serbs in Croatia
- To create equal opportunities for Serbs in Croatia
Main activities through which mentioned goals should be achieved
- Drafting and implementing projects aimed at developing and organizing the community with the goal to boost employment and other services for various vulnerable groups (services of transport and assistance for elderly and frail persons, mobile teams for psycho-social and health assistance, warm meals for children in schools and for elderly persons in isolated areas…)
Analysis and advocacy of social policies
(family, residential and tax policies and employment and education policies) aimed at improvement of legal framework and exercising human rights
Fight against discrimination and stigmatisation
- Initiating projects and campaigns which contribute to society’s awareness, empowerment of vulnerable groups and development of social activism
- Connecting with other civil society organisations and activists
- Informing users about their social rights and providing expert assistance
- Providing various forms of material assistance to reduce material deprivation and curb negative effects of poverty. This activity is carried out through field work and cooperation with Serb national minority councils and other organisations. In addition, this activity includes initiating humanitarian actions and charity events
Creating the social picture of Serbs in Croatia
- Registering users, following different types of vulnerable groups, mapping services and needs at local and regional level