About us

CARE International, Balkans

The initial reason for CARE to work in the Balkans were the 90s wars–the destruction, traumatisation, displacement and inter-ethnic hatred they caused. In the first years, CARE focused on humanitarian and life-saving work. CARE’s aim in the Balkans today is to ensure social, economic and political rights of vulnerable and marginalized groups are recognized and fulfilled, contributing to sustainable peace in the region.

CARE International has developed two programmes strategies that guide our work in the Balkans.

Socio Economic Inclusion Program

CARE promotes social and economic inclusion of vulnerable minorities and other marginalised groups by contributing to stronger capacities and improved opportunities for these groups to enable them to integrate into society and access their rights. CARE also tries to address the structural conditions and barriers that maintain people in a state of vulnerability and poverty.

Impact Goal: Marginalised, socially excluded and poor are integrated into society and are accessing rights.

• Objective 1: Improved social and economic conditions of vulnerable and marginalized groups.
• Objective 2: Improved institutional and policy response, equal access to rights and services.
• Objective 3: Strong civil society organizations representing vulnerable groups (multiplier).
• Objective 4: Stable, peaceful and tolerant relations across ethnic groups.

Gender Equality Program

CARE’s Gender Program seeks to promote the values and practices of gender equality, diversity and non-violence by strengthening the capacities of local, national and regional human rights and social justice actors and by creating opportunities for innovation, participation, learning, cooperation and advocacy. Women and girls vulnerable to violence, discrimination and poverty will be empowered to reach better life opportunities and social justice by CARE’s engagement and contribution to strengthening sustainability of key regional, national and/or local civil society organizations and networks promoting gender equality and diversity, in the context of social inclusion and non-violence.

Impact Goal: All women and girls have full life opportunities and social justice.

Objective 1: Improved implementation of existing national legislation related to gender based violence and discrimination of women (policies and institutional support mechanisms).
Objective 2: Changed/Improved attitudes and behaviors of relevant communities and government institutions towards gender equality and masculinity (combat all forms of discrimination).
Objective 3: Strengthened sustainability of key regional, national and/or local civil society organizations and networks promoting gender equality and diversity, in the context of social inclusion and non-violence.
Objective 4: Enhanced life opportunities for economically and socially deprived women & girls.

CARE's Work in the Balkans

• Socio-Economic Inclusion

- Support to National Action for Roma Inclusion

CARE fosters the social integration of the Roma national minority in the Balkans and seeks to ensure the rights under the ratified Conventions and adopted legislation on national level are fully exercised.

The Roma constitute the poorest and most marginalised ethnic community in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo . All available socio-economic indicators demonstrate that their situation in sectors such as education, housing, health and employment is far worse than the situation of the majority population and of other ethnic groups. This situation is recognised by the governments, which have initiated or participated in several initiatives to improve the situation of the Roma. Thus, through its engagement CARE seeks to establish an effective and inclusive mechanism for implementation and monitoring of the National Action Plans (NAP) in the fields of employment, housing, health and education through support, institutional strengthening and capacity-building of both governments and non-governmental actors.

- Youth and Peacebuilding

CARE’s projects seek to increase stability and peace and promote a culture of human rights amongst youth and the community in the region. Specific objective of the activity is to stimulate improvements in the socio-economic life and the attitudes and behaviors of the youth. The activities CARE carries out include capacity building of youth organizations: coaching and consultancy for institutional development, and training in rights-based approaches, peace building, religious tolerance and community development; youth awareness raising campaigns and community mediation and peace building; volunteer community development; training of volunteer Peace and Development Advocates in facilitation, non-violent action, peace building, advocacy, youth mobilization and community development; national level policy-oriented peace advocacy campaigns based on research on youth policy legislation and its implementation.

- Providing Economic Opportunity

Since 1999 CARE has been involved in the region in promoting inclusive local economic development, fighting poverty and strengthening civil society and municipalities´ capacities to assist local agricultural SMEs and producers. CARE seeks to help shape economy, with a focus on rural areas, and to move it towards prosperity based on a holistic approach. It seeks to improve the policy framework in which SMEs operate, to promote public private partnerships, to strengthen regional and local service providers, and to build the capacities of enterprises. This approach ensures sustainability, and is meant to serve as a model that can be replicated.

• Gender Equality

- Roma Women Empowerment (RWE)

CARE seeks to enhance the advocacy position of Roma women’s organizations, strengthen capacities of the partner organizations to implement projects aimed at empowering Roma women in Western Balkan region, establish an effective regional network that would be instrumental in exchanging the best practice models and policies and raising awareness on status of Roma women, as well as on the risks of trafficking the Roma girls are facing. CARE is supporting Roma women lead NGOs and Roma women activists to engage in policy dialogue, defend their rights, advocate for changes at community, entity and national levels as well as to implement projects that either tackle the vulnerability of Roma women in specific communities, and/or address policy issues on national level.

The added value of CARE’s work is a joint regional response to the issue that is a common for all countries and the replication of best practice models within the region that would lead to improved policies related to discrimination of Roma people and particularly Roma women in the target region.

- Women Economic Empowerment

CARE's engagement in women's economic empowerment aims to foster economic participation of marginalized and women vulnerable to all forms of violence by enabling them to exercise rights, compete on the labour market and start-up their own businesses.

CARE seeks to empower women through building their skills and capacities and ensuring their economic participation while exercising all rights. CARE intention is to target women who had been deprived of the right to employment because of their social or ethnic background as well as women who had survived or are vulnerable to violence and thus would benefit from the assistance related to the economic empowerment. Alongside the assistance that will be provided to individuals, CARE will work in partnership with and build capacity of the local civil society organizations (CSOs) that are lead by women and work for women.

- Young Men as Allies in Preventing Gender-based and Peer Violence

CARE works with young men in deconstructing the challenges they face, particularly around certain social and cultural norms around masculinity. Addressing gender norms both in terms of promoting gender equality and addressing some behavior risks young men face around health and violence requires engaging with boys and young men (men throughout society) to address attitudes, beliefs and actions that impact boys and men`s (and girls and women) choices. Within this context CARE aims to mobilise targeted youth and adults to address the wider socio-cultural influences that support violence and harmful practices of masculinity in the Western Balkans. CARE has developed an innovative and wide ranging partnership involving local and international organisations that will work at a regional level to address this challenge. CARE support key local partners as national and regional resource centers for work with young men on conflict, violence and healthy development. Building on established relationships with key government ministries for education and youth, the project plans to support efforts to scale up our program methodology as an important positive tool for addressing this vital regional problem.

- Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health

CARE seeks to contribute to improving the wellbeing of populations in the region through better reproductive health and informed family planning choices. By improved universal access to reproductive health to vulnerable groups in our region, CARE directly contributes towards achieving MDG 5.B (achieving universal access to SRH), in developing countries which have the worst indicators. With an aim of improvement and better access to reproductive health services, CARE supports resource organisations and it is strengthening capacities of local CSOs - representatives of vulnerable populations for the issues of SRH and access to SRH; CARE partners with media to help on spreading information to enhance access to SRH and CARE and its partners conduct extensive advocacy on SRH issues aimed at the authorities and institutions on local, but also on the state level.


Project: For Active Inclusion & Rights of Roma Women in the Western Balkans III


Design & development: triptih
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