On 24th of June, 2022 in H. City Park-Skopje we held a panel discussion on the topic: Civil organizations as licensed service providers – challenges and opportunities, where we discussed the challenges that civil organizations (CSOs) face when securing a license to provide social services, as well as emerging challenges after obtaining the license.
Namely, with the reform of the law on social protection in 2019, The Ministry of Labor and Social Policy (MLSP) recognized CSOs as potential providers of social services, after which it began to implement the process of licensing providers of social services, for which it also prepared Regulations on the manner, scope and norms for providing various social services.
On 29th of April, 2022, MLSP adopted a Decision on determining the prices of social services which, in addition to victims of domestic and gender-based violence, also included services for other vulnerable categories: help in the home, non-family protection, professional help and support, day care, temporary housing, counseling and postponement of family care. According to the predicted prices, several CSOs reacted to the low amounts predicted by the decision and warned of the risk of unsustainability of the services they provide. Motivated by this, we organized the panel discussion to see what the challenges are, but also opportunities to improve this situation with the ultimate goal – providing adequate financial support and sustainability to service providers for women victims of gender-based and domestic violence.
Vesna Matevska (First Family Center/HERA), Nena Smilevska (Shelter for Women Victims of RBN and SN), Natasha Petrovska – Women’s Support Center Skopje and Jasmina Trajcheva (Sveti Nikole Community Center) spoke at the panel discussion as representatives of CSOs who run a specialized service for women victims of violence that is not licensed by the MTSP. They shared the results achieved in the past years, confirming the quality of these services and their necessity for women victims of violence. In the second part of the panel discussion, Biljana Jovanovska (Otvorena Porta), Heidi Shterjova (HOPS) and Elena Dimushevska (National Network to End Violence against Women and Domestic Violence) discussed the challenges of obtaining a license for service providers, as well as the low amount of funds provided by MLSP to support these services.
The conclusions of the discussion are as follows:
– Amendments to the rules for licensing social services are needed;
– Changes are needed to the methodology for calculating the cost of the services;
– It is necessary to make a decision on the prices of the services that will meet the costs of the specialized services for women and children victims of GBV and DV.
This activity is part of the project “Counseling centers for women and children victims of GBV and DV”, financially supported by the Balkan Trust for Democracy, a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the Royal Embassy of Norway in Belgrade.