The Head of the EU Delegation to BiH/Special Representative of the EU to BiH Ambassador Peter Sorensen and the representative of UNICEF to BiH Florence Bauer visited Derventa today as one of the municipalities in which a joint project is being implemented of the EU and UNICEF called “Strengthening the system of social protection and inclusion of children in BiH (SPIS)”.
The Director of the USAID Mission to BiH David Barth took part in the visit, and within the framework of the preparation for the continuation of initiatives in a joint campaign focused on children with disabilities in the development of “talking about the possibilities”.
During the visit, they met with the Minister of Health and Social Protection of the RS Slobodan Stanić, Mayor of Dervent Milorad Simić and the Deputy Mayor Igor Žunić, as well as members of the municipal commission for improving social protection and inclusion, and they visited the day care center for children with disabilities, which is an example of the social protection services for children.
“Derventa is one of the 21 municipalities in which commissions for the improvement of social protection and inclusion has been established. The commission is made up of representatives of the health, education, social protection, police and other sectors, as well as nonprofit institutions, who work together to identify the most vulnerable children and their families and provide the best specifically targeted social services. The day care center for children with disabilities is one of the services for the most vulnerable in society’’, said Bauer.
The project “Strengthening the system of social protection and inclusion of children in BiH” is financed by the EU since 2008 from the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance in the amount of 4,1 million euros with the goal to help build a system that will ensure an adequate social protection policy and social protection and inclusion of children and their families.
UNICEF implements the project in cooperation with BIH institutions at all levels.
Sorensen said that the day care center for children with disabilities is just one example of the results of joint work with UNICEF, with various levels of government and representatives of civil society in the last three years.
“We have acted together and we will continue cooperation in order to ensure better living conditions for children through adequate social protection and educational services so that they could become equal citizens of the family of nations of the EU’’, said Sorensen.
The approach is modeled in 21 municipalities and will expand to the rest of the country. One of the activities in the continuation of the SPIS program will be the joint campaign of the EU, UNICEF and USAID and will be focused on children with disabilities “Talking about the possibilities’’.
Barth explained that the way in which a society treats its most vulnerable members says a lot about that society.
“It is our human obligation to ensure that everyone receives the best opportunities to equally participate in all aspects of life. Our primary obligation is to help people realize that the group we call “people with disabilities’’ are our children, our neighbors, colleagues and friends. They are an important part of our society and they deserve full attention under the law and social policies. USAID is fully committed to the inclusion of the rights of people with disabilities in all our activities’’, concluded Barth.
Through the testing of municipal models of social protection and inclusion, UNICEF, in partnership with the EU, succeeded in influencing legislation, policy and strategy at the entity and state level.
In 2012, the RS adopted a law on social protection inspired by the municipal access to social protection and inclusion. Currently, the FBiH is revising laws on social and child protection in order to harmonize social benefits in all cantons, with the technical support of UNICEF and the World Bank.
The SPIS program also enabled stronger cooperation between sectors of health, education and social protection at all levels, announced UNICEF.