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31.01.2019 - Final conference of the project "For Each Roma to Have a Home"

Konf icoOn January 31, 2019 in Belgrade, the final conference of the project "Supporting the adequate and sustainable housing of Roma in Odzaci – For Each Roma to Have a Home" was held. The conference was opened by Nenad Ivanisevic, Special Advisor to the Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of Serbia and a member of the Coordination Body for Monitoring the Implementation of the Strategy for Social Inclusion of Roma 2016-2025, Zoran Lakicevic State Secretary at the Ministry of Construction , Transport and Infrastructure of the Republic of Serbia, Latinka Vasiljkovic, President of the Odzaci Municipality, Branislava Žarković, Director of Housing Center and Aleksandar Bajić, technical coordinator of the project. The conference gathered housing experts, representatives of the Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure and Ministry of Finance, Office of Human and Minority Rights Office, non-governmental organizations, Odzaci municipality, Housing Center and project beneficiaries.

The conference underlined the importance of the project, not only for the Roma in the Odžaci municipality, but also for the entire population on the territory of the municipality. With the infrastructure improvements that were implemented by this project and the displacement of the substandard and segregated New Settlement, the long-term goals of the Municipality of Odžaci have been achieved, which will have an impact not only on the social inclusion of the direct beneficiaries of the project, but also on the social cohesion of the entire Odžaci community. Within this project the asphalt road, water supply, rain drainage and public lighting in the settlement Deronje were built, as well as 34 residential units in 5 settlements in Odžaci for the resettlement of the substandard and segregated Novo naselje. By this, the housing conditions for 64 Roma households with 198 members were improved.

The conference was an opportunity to stress the complexity of this project, to identify the key steps and to share the lessons learned. When we started this project, we believed that the main focus of our activities will be on the construction and improvement of infrastructure - that is, otherwise, the name of the whole program from which this project is funded. As far as its implementation is concerned, the focus of our attention slowly has turned towards people, project beneficiaries. The dimension of their social exclusion was increasingly opening up with each new step in the project realization, and the focus shifted from the infrastructure, which remained the main project activity, towards the users. We became aware that with the relocation of the settlements we enter into their lives and their destinies, and that careful, continuous and open communication is one of the prerequisites without which such a project can not be realized. With partners from the municipality of Odžaci and local NGOs, we have been creatively complementing the project activities with a series of tailored educational workshops and volunteer activities, supporting education, creating employment opportunities, and such like.

The conference presented pre-project and project activities, a documentary about the project, as well as the goals and results of the project. The total duration of this venture was 4 years, of which 2 years of preparatory activities and 20 months of realization. The project "For Each Roma to Have a Home" was financed by the European Union, co-financed by the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the Municipality of Odžaci and implemented by Housing Center in partnership with the Odžaci municipality. The project was implemented in the period 07.06.2017 - 06.02.2019.

Presentation of  the documentary about the project is available here.

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