Anti-Poverty Network Created in Serbia
Twelve NGOs gathered in Leskovac on December 21 to sign the Memorandum on Creation of Anti-Poverty Network in Serbia. The "Networking against poverty" Project is implemented by SeConS development initiative group, in partnership with European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN).
Žarko Šunderić, Manager of the Team for Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction in the Office of Deputy PM Božidar Đelić, said that contemporary societies treat poverty as an illness, and that 80 million people in Europe have fallen ill.
„There are estimated half a million poor people in Serbia. Some estimates place the figure much higher, should we take into account marginal groups in society“, Šunderić said, adding that the network was a major step forward in the fight against poverty, having in mind that only a strong civil society could help the Government's anti-poverty efforts.
Željko Plavšić, Chairman of the Board of Educational Centre, believes that the Memorandum is the path to systemic approach to poverty reduction and inclusion of vulnerable groups for civil society organisations. He commented that the National Strategy yielded results, but that key measures were not implemented in Southeast Serbia to the extent the Strategy envisioned.
„While poverty figures dropped nationally, they grew in Southern Serbia", Plavšić said.
Serbian Anti-Poverty Network was founded by Amity, Autonomous Women Centre, Centre for Independent Life for Disabled Persons – Serbia, Association for Protection and Improvement of Mental Health of Children and Youth Niš, Leskovac Education Centre, Civic Initiatives, Group 484, the Roma Information Centre Kragujevac, Sun Kragujevac, IDC, Regional Centre for Minorities, SeConS.