SHAPE PROJECT (Strengthening Serbia’s Human Capital through the Active Involvement of Young People)

Implemented by the IOM from September 2008 to December 2011 and funded by the Italian Government (EUR 1,1 million), SHAPE project was one of the most significant response measures aimed at bringing youth issues back to centre stage. It supported initiatives of the Serbian Ministry of Youth and Sports, (MYS) in promoting socio-cultural, economic and civic integration of young people and it invigorated youth participation and activism in local communities as a means to prevent brain-drain, following the priorities defined in the National Youth Strategy.

The project enabled the establishment and capacity building of youth offices in 10 target municipalities, developed and promoted effective positive strategies and measures to increase the social, cultural and economic integration of young people.

The approach undertaken within the project considered youth as the main actor in achieving the objectives outlined by the strategy and was focused on investing in the wellbeing of the younger generation on enhancing inter-ethnic social cohesion through community based approaches involving youth from all the key ethnic groups in Serbia and on strengthening local governmental and NGOs/CSOs capacity through capacity building, assistance and mentoring. While building upon the achievements and recommendations of previous socio-cultural integration-centred initiatives carried out by IOM, the SHAPE project was implemented with the following three specific objectives in mind:

  • To improve needs identification of youth population, with a particular focus on social, cultural, educational sectors;
  • To increase the capacities of young people in the development of appropriate community based programmes addressing these needs and the social and cultural complexities associated with them and to strengthen capacities of local professionals in the youth offices dealing with youth related issues;
  • To strengthen coordination, information sharing and systematic collaboration among local institutions and other organizations active in the field of psychosocial and cultural integration of young people both at national and local level;

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