Project recognized for non-formal education advocacy efforts
February 15, 2013 - Project presented its youth related project activities at a seminar on non-formal education organized by the Ministry of Education and the European Training Foundation (ETF). ETF is an EU agency that helps developing countries reform their education, training and labor market systems in line with European standards.
The EU agency recognized Project accomplishments in advocating for the recognition of non-formal education mechanisms by introducing the first model for validation of previous educational and work experience in Serbia. This model was developed in 2012 by the National Association of Youth Workers NAPOR, within a Project grant.
Seminar participants discussed the opportunities and challenges for the recognition of prior learning as well as the possible models that can provide efficient and quality non-formal education in Serbia.
The Project and CSO “Group 484” jointly work to increase youth employment
February 14, 2013 - With Project grant support Group 484 has successfully implemented measures to increase youth employment in the Novi Pazar, Vranje and Uzice–led inter-municipal cooperation (IMC) areas, encompassing 12 municipalities in the Sandzak, West and South Serbia regions.
Up-to-date Group 484 has enabled 19 short-term internships in various companies and institutions by matching the skills and preferences of young people with the work force needs of employers. These efforts have resulted in the first long-term employment in Vranje and Bujanovac.
As part of the overall project, Group 484 has also developed databases of unemployed youths which match their skills with prospective employers or mentors. To ensure the sustainability of this activity, aimed at decreasing youth unemployment, the Regional Development Agencies of all three IMC areas have agreed to host and maintain the databases for each of their respective regions.
Promotion of regional competitiveness and innovation through improved broadband infrastructure
February 6, 2013 - The Project and the Vojvodina Provincial Secretariat for Economy and Employment organized a joint conference promoting "Broadband Networks as Part of the National, Regional and Local Infrastructure." The conference served to highlight the need for a modernized and competitive knowledge-based economy and to publicly present a Project-funded feasibility study for a fiber-optic broadband network covering the Novi Sad-led inter-municipal cooperation area (IMCA) which also encompasses Temerin, Beocin and Sremski Karlovci.
Participants were introduced to the basic concepts of broadband networks and the importance of optical networks for the development of local communities and economies. These ‘information highways’ enable local governments to attract new investments in high-technology industries; generate new jobs; ease communication with citizens and businesses; as well as improve the quality of life in rural and remote areas.
The feasibility study concluded that a broadband network covering the Novi Sad IMCA will enable an additional 25,000 citizens’ access to faster internet connections, will increase consumer choices and lower prices (for electronic services such as e-governance, e-healthcare, e-education, e-commerce, cable TV, internet access etc), and will provide for more transparent, accountable and improved local government throughout the region.
The conference was attended by the State Secretary of the Ministry of Telecommunications and the Provincial Secretary for Economy as well as Vojvodina local government and 83 members of the businesses and academic communities. The State Secretary and the Provincial Secretary both thanked USAID for its support to local governments in developing information infrastructure in line with national and provincial strategies and recently adopted action plans.
Project helps Youth Offices launch Local Mobile Career Guidance Teams to increase youth employment
February 5, 2013 - Thanks to the Project support, Local Mobile Career Guidance Teams (LMT) will enable youths in Bujanovac and Vladicin Han to receive career counseling services, information about education opportunities, learn about prospective employers needs and adopt new skills for career development and employment.
The promotion of LMTs was organized with the support of the Belgrade Open School which recently received a SLDP grant to implement career guidance activities and institutionalize LMT (established through previous Project assistance).
The main objective of LMTs is to enable better coordination and unification of existing resources for career counseling at the local and inter-municipal levels. The mobile teams will engage in various activities in the coming period, ranging from career informing sessions, organizing student visits to specialized fairs and job shadowing visits. More than 200 people attended the promotion of these career guidance and counseling local mobile teams in the two South Serbia municipalities. LMTs are comprised of local government representatives, teachers and psychologists from local high schools and career guidance counselors and led by the two municipal Youth Offices.
The Project will support Local Mobile Career Guidance Teams in an additional six municipalities in the coming period.
Project builds public-private partnerships across all eight Inter-Municipal Cooperation Areas
February 4, 2013 - Continuing the practice of establishing successful public-private partnerships (PPP), the Project has approved a $98,000 grant to the National Alliance for Local Economic Development (NALED) enabling it to create at least eight PPPs throughout Serbia. Thirty prospective investors will be individually targeted and involved in the development of viable, innovative PPP projects with significant economic growth potential. Through this grant, all partner municipalities will be enabled to critically assess their own investment potential and to prioritize project initiatives suitable for PPPs. For these partnerships to be successful the private partners will contribute at least 50 percent of the capital cost for the activity with LGs contributing the other 50 percent.
Serbia has, up-to date, had limited success in developing and establishing economically feasible, environmentally safe and socially acceptable private-public partnerships.
SLDP has identified PPPs as an effective mechanism that encourages private investments at the local level and contributes to job creation.
Zrenjanin and Novi Sad–led inter-municipal cooperation area representatives trained in anti-corruption measures
January 30, 2013 - Thanks to a SLDP grant, civil society organizations Business Improvement District, PALGO Center and the Novi Sad School of Journalism trained 37 local government, business representatives and CSO members in the Zrenjanin and Novi Sad IMCAs (encompassing 7 municipalities) in identifying sources of corruption and taking active measures against it.
Prior to the training, local government representatives completed a self-assessment on local anti-corruption initiatives and transparency, which served as a basis for the participant discussions. The workshop also served to increase citizen participation and inter-sectoral collaboration in decision-making processes at the local and inter-municipal levels.
In the last few years significant progress has been made in reducing corruption in Serbia, however, in the perception of citizens, it remains one of the biggest problems. Only a small number of anti-corruption action plans has been adopted and implemented amongst local governments. Changing this negative perception remains a challenge and will significantly contribute to increase public confidence in public institutions.
SLDP assists partner municipalities to forge partnership between the public, private and civil sector to address issues impeding economic growth.
Youth Networking Guidelines published to increase youth participation in development
January 29, 2013 - Through an SLDP grant, the Serbian Youth Umbrella Organization (KOMS) published Guidelines for Youth Networking at the Local and Regional Level and Participation in Decision-making Processes.
In 2012, KOMS held a series of workshops on youth networking and strengthening the capacities of young people to reduce the high rate of youth unemployment and to achieve a higher level of youth participation in decision-making. The recommendations from these workshops were incorporated in the Guidelines and include: increase cooperation between local youth offices, improve information distribution regarding youth employment and participation, introduce a formal system for youth activism, and establish youth networks to influence regional development projects.
The Guidelines were presented at three regional roundtables in Novi Sad, Nis and Uzice, and are now being distributed to local youth organizations, youth offices, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Provincial Secretariat for Sports and Youth, international donor organizations and other interested institutions and media.
Project support improves investment environment in Nova Varos and enables the municipality to gain Business Friendly Certification (BFC)
January 22, 2013 - As a result of technical assistance provided by the Project, the partner municipality of Nova Varos has been certified as business friendly by the National Alliance for Local Economic Development (NALED).
BFC represents a certain level of efficiency and transparency within local administrations, and provides an evaluation of the quality of services and information that local governments offer to investors and businesses. In assisting Nova Varos to gain certification, the Project provided technical assistance for: improving local permitting procedures (developing a permitting guide, templates); creating a database of investment locations for potential investors; preparing documents necessary for the establishment of an Economic Development Council; and developing promotional material (a new municipal investment potentials guide, updated website with relevant investment information).
BFC is designed for municipalities and cities in Serbia that seek to improve their business environment and attract new investments to accelerate local economic growth.
Nova Varos is the third Project partner municipality to gain BFC with Project assistance, with Sombor and Novi Sad receiving their certification earlier in 2012.
Project supported internship program results in new jobs
January 21, 2013 - Nine interns found employment as a result of Project's internship program, which began in 2012. As part of a Project grant to civil society organization Smart Kolektiv (SK), internships are developed through the Youth Business Serbia (YBS) program and implemented by SK in partnership with the Ministry of Youth, the National Employment Service and Erste Bank.
Upon completion of the training, participating companies, who hire the young people for a trial period, select the most appropriate applicants. The nine employed individuals were part of the initial group of 25 interns placed in 11 companies in the Subotica, Novi Sad, Kraljevo and Nis-led Inter-municipal Cooperation (IMC) Areas.
SK began the second phase of the internship program two months ago, placing an additional 42 interns in 19 companies. In January, SK rolled out the third public call for unemployed youths to enter the internship program.
The Project helps IMC areas forge partnerships between the public, private and civil society sectors to curb youth outmigration and unemployment.
Request for Proposals - Preparation of the Feasibility Study for Water Supply System Pusta Reka
January 18, 2013 - USAID Sustainable Local Development Project is inviting eligible Serbian organizations to submit a proposal for preparation of the Feasibility Study for Water Supply System “Pusta reka”.
The Project will respond to questions from interested organizations received by January 23, 2013. The Deadline for the Submission of Proposals is February 4, 2013.
For further information and application, pls. download:
Request for proposals and Budget template