Together we are building a coexistence of migrants and local populatio

The project “Let’s Build Together – Community Monitoring and Advocacy” (“Let’s Build Together”) is aimed at improving the position of migrants and refugees in Serbia and Macedonia, especially women and children among them. It is being implemented by Konrad Adenauer Foundation, in cooperation with Citizens’ Association “Atina” and NGO Macedonian Lawyers Association, with the financial support of European Union.

The focus of all project activities is support to local governments in these two countries with the highest number of migrants; the aim is to help these communities, through a series of concrete proposals, improve the quality of coexistence between migrants and the local population. The project encompasses six municipalities in Serbia - Subotica, Sid, Sremska Mitrovica, Belgrade, Presevo and Vranje, and four municipalities in Macedonia - Kumanovo, Gevgelija, and two municipalities in Skopje. In these municipalities, Local Networks will be formed, which will bring together representatives of local institutions and authorities in charge of the care of migrants, as well as civil society activists and other professionals. The Local Networks will include representatives of the police, centers for social work, health and education system, management of local governments - all those actors who deal with the care of migrants in their daily work, and who are often, due to the lack or inconsistency of procedures, faced with problems on the ground.

Three organizations that are implementing the project, with active participation of professionals from local institutions and civil society organizations, will create a comprehensive analysis of the position of migrants and refugees in Serbia and Macedonia, improve the system for evaluation of the quality of services for the most vulnerable groups among refugees, and formulate recommendations for improving the conditions of their coexistence with the local population in Serbia and Macedonia. It is also planned for ten representatives from local governments in Serbia and Macedonia to visit Germany and become informed about examples of good practice in the integration of refugees. In addition, a documentary will be filmed about the life of migrants in Serbia and Macedonia, and local nongovernmental organizations will be supported to implement the advocacy actions of sustainable coexistence in their communities.

Today, Serbia and Macedonia, two countries on the so-called “Balkan Route” are a temporary home for thousands of migrants from Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and other countries of the Middle East. Accommodated in camps and centers, mostly in the municipalities included in this project, determined to continue their journey toward Western or Northern Europe, constantly targeted by smugglers, insufficiently integrated in the communities they currently reside in - they make up an army of more than ten thousand people with an uncertain future and in a difficult situation, who require every kind of support.

Women and children migrants are in a particularly difficult position, and according to current estimates, they make up more than half of the total migrant population in this region. The project “Let’s Build Together” will therefore address the position of women and children migrants and the specific issues they are facing.

The project began in February 2017, and it will last for two years.