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Roma Early Childhood Inclusion Overview Report

February 24, 2020

The Roma Early Childhood Inclusion (RECI) studies and reports aim to build a comprehensive and detailed picture of the extent of early childhood provision and services, available to Romani families. The studies have been carried out in five countries—Czech Republic, Hungary, Macedonia, Romania and Serbia—and  endeavour to identify the major obstacles that Romani families face in accessing high-quality, socially inclusive, early childhood care and education. More generally, the studies and reports deliver data and information about communities that are often ignored or misrepresented by official statistics, government policies, ministerial strategies and plans for spending.As previous studies carried out by Open Society Foundations have shown—No Data—No Progress, 2010—the lack of reliable data hampers any attempt to measure the impact of government or international NGO intervention. Planning services and allocating resources to Romani communities are the consequence of "guesswork" rather than knowledge and careful study. The Roma Early Childhood Inclusion reports present a distillation of the most recent and reliable data to be had, in these circumstances, drawn from the actual communities themselves, through interviews and focus groups. Government strategies, policies and action plans are all assessed in this context; what has been the effect of the initiatives aimed at improving the economic and social position for Romani families, in these countries?This Overview Report draws upon data from the five country studies, carried out by Romani and non-Romani researchers working together, to present what are the themes and topics of most relevance to families and young children in settlements and neighbourhoods across central, eastern and south-eastern Europe. A profound lack of equality of access and services, beset by numerous obstacles, characterizes the overall picture, for Roma. The numbers of Romani children that have access to good quality, early childhood education and care provision or who can participate in community and home-based learning programmes, remains minimal in comparison with the surrounding, majority populations.The desperate need for Romani children to be able to access, at least for two years, high-quality, socially inclusive, early childhood education and care services and benefit from effective home visiting and community-based early childhood development (ECD) programmes, is a particular theme throughout the report. This is a minimum requirement that the partner organizations (UNICEF, Open Society Foundation's Early Childhood Program and Roma Education Fund) advocate for at national and international levels, if progress is to be made in improving education outcomes for Romani children.The scale of the changes that need to be undertaken in order to provide equal opportunity for Romani children and families requires that national governments and international institutions (such as the Council of Europe, the European Commission and the European Union's Parliament) act, following the recommendations that these reports deliver.

Civil Society in Central and Eastern Europe: Monitoring 2019

August 1, 2019

Presently, the culture of open discussion seems to be threatened in an increasing number of countries. In Central and Eastern Europe's (CEE's) democracies, recent political developments appear to jeopardize progresses made in the past. Against this background, this study aims at shedding light on the dynamics of CEE'scivil society and gives a brief overview of the status quo and recent developments that directly affect civil society. The study was conducted by the Competence Center for Nonprofit Organizations and Social Entrepreneurship at WU Vienna (Vienna University of Economics and Business), commissioned by and in collaboration with ERSTE foundation as well as with a group of country experts. The inclusion of expert assessments on civil society aims at giving a voice primarily to practitioners. Therefore, the study included an online survey in each participating country, addressing CSO representatives operating in various fields of activity.

North Macedonia: What’s Next?

January 1, 2019

In January 2019, Macedonia's parliament approved, by a two-thirds majority, a constitutional amendment to change the country's name to the Republic of North Macedonia. While this represented a major step toward North Macedonia's ultimate goal of establishing a durable, stable democracy, the name change must still be endorsed by Greece's parliament before it can go into full effect. But as a new report from the Open Society European Policy Institute shows, a newly-named North Macedonia would still face significant challenges—and opportunities.North Macedonia: What's Next? examines the 2018 Prespa Agreement between neighboring Greece and North Macedonia, which laid out agreed upon conditions for resolving the longstanding dispute over Macedonia's name, and what it means for the larger project of integrating the countries in the Western Balkans more fully into the political and economic systems of Europe, the British Isles, and the United States. The report further explores how key players—such as the European Union, NATO, Russia, other Western Balkans states—approach the Prespa Agreement, explains the significance of the name change in larger geopolitical terms, and offers insight into possible scenarios for the final resolution of this fraught and lengthy conflict.

Civil Society in Central and Eastern Europe: Challenges and Opportunities

March 1, 2017

More than two decades have passed since nonprofit and third-sector researchers "discovered" Central and Eastern Europe as an area of scholarly interest. After the collapse of the communist regimes in Eastern Europe and the fall of the Iron Curtain, scholars noted the emergence of new civil society actors and were curious to understand the role these actors would play in their societies. Since that time, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) has experienced intensive periods of transformation, conflict and renewal. This study is guided by the intention to develop a better understanding of the current state of civil society in Central and Eastern Europe, the diverse pathways of its development, and its possible future trajectories.

Closed Borders: The impact of border closures on people on the move, with a focus on women and children in Serbia and Macedonia

November 24, 2016

In 2015 there was a huge increase in the number of migrants, including refugees, arriving in Greece and travelling along the Balkan route on their way to destination countries further north. According to UNHCR, more than one million refugees and migrants crossed the Mediterranean in 2015.This report looks at the protection concerns of people on the move, especially women and children, in Macedonia and Serbia following the closure of the Balkan route. It is based on research and information gathered by Oxfam and its partners: the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights and Atina in Serbia, and the Macedonian Young Lawyer Association and Open Gate/ La Strada in Macedonia. The report includes recommendations on how to protect and promote their safety, dignity and human rights. 

Education, Skills and Labor Market Outcomes: Results from Large-Scale Adult Skills Surveys in Urban Areas in 12 Countries

May 5, 2016

In recent years, skills development has become a priority among developed and developing countries alike. The World Bank Group, in its quest to end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity, has joined efforts with countries and multilateral development partners to ensure that individuals have access to quality education and training opportunities and that employers can find the skills they need to operate. The skills towards employability and productivity (STEP) skills measurement program is part of the World Bank's portfolio of analytical products on skills. The STEP program consists of two survey instruments that collect information on the supply and demand for skills in urban areas: a household survey and an employer survey. STEP has been implemented in waves, the first surveys being implemented in seven countries in 2012 (Bolivia, Colombia, Ghana, Lao Peoples Democratic Republic (PDR), Ukraine, Vietnam, and the Yunnan Province in China), and the second in five countries in 2013 (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kenya, and Macedonia, Former Yugoslav Republic of (FYR)). The data presented in this publication correspond to these countries. It illustrates the similarities and differences among groups that have completed different education levels on a wide range of issues and outcomes. Section one analyzes the trajectory of skills acquisition: participation in early childhood education programs, educational attainment by gender, and participation in training and apprenticeship programs. Section two explores background conditions associated with educational attainment, including the socioeconomic status of survey respondents at age 15, the educational attainment of their parents, their households' asset levels, their health (as expressed by the presence of chronic illness), and their overall satisfaction with life. Section three covers cognitive skills: writing, numeracy, and reading (which is also evaluated through a direct reading assessment). Section four covers job-relevant skills, which are task-specific and which respondents possess or use on the job; and section five covers socio-emotional skills, using established metrics to measure personality and behavior. Section six covers the status of survey respondents in the labor market: whether they are employed, unemployed, or inactive.

Comparative Highlights of Foundation Laws: The Operating Environment for Foundations in Europe 2015

June 7, 2015

This publication aims to provide the reader with a comparative overview of the diverse legal and fiscal environments of foundations in 40 countries across wider Europe: the 28 EU Member States, plus Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Montenegro, Norway, Russia, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, and Ukraine. It includes charts, draw on the basis of the updated online EFC (European Foundation Centre) Legal and Fiscal Country Profiles, which are available to download at www.efc.be. The EFC online profiles include more detailed country information and further explanation of the information presented in those charts.

Comparative Highlights of Foundation Laws: The Operating Environment for Foundations in Europe 2015 (Chinese Translation)

January 1, 2015

This publication aims to provide the reader with a comparative overview of the diverse legal and fiscal environments of foundations in 40 countries across wider Europe: the 28 EU Member States, plus Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Montenegro, Norway, Russia, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, and Ukraine. It includes charts, draw on the basis of the updated online EFC (European Foundation Centre) Legal and Fiscal Country Profiles, which are available to download at www.efc.be. The EFC online profiles include more detailed country information and further explanation of the information presented in those charts. (Edition translated from English to Chinese)

The Operating Environment for Public-Benefit Foundations in the Western Balkans Region : A Project Supported by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund

November 1, 2014

That study explores the operating environment for public-benefit foundations in the Western Balkans region. Examining the legal and tax framework for foundations in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia, it draws on data provided by local foundation law experts in each of the countries surveyed and presents a comparative analysis.

Re/integration of Trafficked persons : Working with Trafficked Children and Youth

October 1, 2014

This paper was developed in the context of the Trafficking Victims Re/integration Programme (TVRP), which funds NGO's in several countries of Southeastern Europe. It is the fifth of a series that aim to shed light on good practices in the area of re/integration as well as on important lessons learned.This paper addresses the issue of the re/integration of trafficked children and youth, drawing on the first hand experiences of service providers in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia and Serbia.Children and youth have become an increasing portion of persons being trafficked from and within the Balkan region. Some are exploited sexually, others are exploited for different forms of labour, including begging and street selling. This paper discusses each of the different services and types of support needed to meet the specific re/integration needs of trafficked children and youth in the light of international standards. It also looks into challenges facing service providers such as the identification of trafficked children, prosecution of perpetrators due to gaps in the criminal code as well as forster care.

Data Matters: Data-Driven Policy Research Projects from Central and Eastern Europe

July 15, 2014

Since 2010, the Open Society Think Tank Fund has supported projects that propose new uses of data for advocacy and target non-traditional stakeholders, to develop challenging and complementary information sets for broader application in the policy sphere, and to use data sets to challenge commonly accepted facts in a given policy field. The Fund assisted think tanks with bringing these data sources to light; enhancing their usefulness by expansion, maintenance, and use of this information; integrating such enhancements into their daily routines; and promoting a new culture of presenting policy research findings and thus reaching untapped audiences.The Data Matters presents highlights and successes of projects supported between 2010 and 2013, illustrating how data matters in the everyday lives of citizens of many countries. This portfolio is offered as inspiration for members of NGOs, think tanks, and advocacy organizations who are focusing on using data for informing discussion on policy cha

Nations in Transit 2014

June 12, 2014

This is the the 18th edition of Freedom House's comprehensive report on post-communist democratic governance -- highlights recent setbacks to democracy across Eurasia and the Balkans, as well as in Central Europe. Russia served as the model and inspiration for policies that have led to an uninterrupted retreat from free institutions throughout Eurasia and in 2013 brought a new and alarming level of repression. In Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, and several other countries, civil society responded with remarkable resistance to repressive governance. The year also featured improved elections and peaceful transfers of power in Kosovo, Albania, and Georgia.