News Archive 2021

German Government continues supporting the economic empowerment of the Western Balkans

German non-governmental organisation Help – Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe (missions to Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia) is informing the public on the release of the 3.35 million Euros worth German-supported programme “Socio-economic empowerment of the Western Balkans”

Western Balkans, 28  May 2021 – The German non-governmental organisation Help – Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe is implementi a 3,35 million Euros, German-supported programme “Socio-economic empowerment of the Western Balkans” to enhance the socio-economic stability of the region in 2021 until the end of December 2022.

The programme objective is to create mechanisms and networks for the empowerment of marginalised groups including COVID-19 recovery measures and thus facilitate their inclusion and social prosperity.

The focus of the activities, in all Western Balkans countries,  is on the job-creation through the establishment of new businesses and provision of support to the existing ones affected by the COVID-19.  The assistance will be provided to socially vulnerable groups, women, youth, people with disabilities, prisoners, and local communities, through economic empowerment involving the building of personal and professional skills.

By the end of the project, it is expected that in the Western Balkans, Help will have supported at least 470 small scale businesses. At least 900 people will have increased their personal and professional skills. The penitentiary support to 18 prisons and at least 15 local initiatives completed, and a social platform fully operational on the regional level.

Timo Stegelmann, Help Deputy Managing Director:

“Following the principle of “Help towards self-reliance”, Help supports the efforts of low-income families, women, youth, prisoners, and former prisoners, people with disabilities to improve their living conditions through their own means and for the long-term to strengthen the resilience of communities.”


In Montenegro, the project will facilitate access to the labor market for vulnerable, young people and women, with on-the-job training in private companies and firms to help them gain knowledge, qualifications and skills attractive at the labor market. It is expected to have at least 40 unemployed, to perform a six-month on-the-job training, out of which at least 15 will have a certified three-month vocational training. The employers will be supported with the provision of necessary equipment for the expansion of their businesses. The prison support to the facility in Spuz through equipment and training will also be provided.

 Klaus Mock, Regional coordinator of Help:

“I am glad that we will be able to continue our support for vulnerable population groups in Montenegro through activities that will strengthen the economic capacities of women and youth. Support for income generation activities have proven to show the best results when aiming to improve living conditions of vulnerable groups. Equally great results have been achieved through our support to the Institute for the Execution of Criminal Sanctions in Spuz and I am looking forward to cooperate also within this project with this institution. As in the past the UIKS makes a considerable financial contribution for our joint activities there what I greatly appreciate. The support of the German Embassy for our activities is crucial and I would like to use this opportunity to express Help’s thankfulness for their and the German government’s support”


At least 45 beneficiaries will be supported with in-kind grants including the business and vocational training, as well as the 20 micro-farmers through equipment and capacity building. At least 30 unemployed young people will have gained their professional skills and competencies to facilitate their labor market access through on-the-job training.  For the improvement of the local communities, one kindergarten will be renovated enabling safe conditions for at least 90 children.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

The project in Bosnia will cover eight municipalities with at least 150 small businesses and 100 people having their professional performances improved, including the measures for alleviation of COVID-19 impact to local economies. Eight local communities will be strengthened, two prisons supported and at least 20 former prisoners empowered towards self-reliance.


In Kosovo, at least 160 empowered small businesses will be supported with in-kind grants and at least 190 attendees to business and professional training to increase their capacities as well as to facilitate labor market access. Three prisons will be supported within the resocialization component. As for the local communities’ improvement, at least four kindergartens will be supported to create a stimulating environment. In addition, previously established local structures will be utilized in synergetic action for a common good to produce and set up outdoor trash bins installed in the capital of Kosovo, Prishtina.


In Serbia, it is expected to have at least 80 small businesses generating sufficient income, in addition to 25 vulnerable people (women and people with disabilities) and at least 10 former prisoners. The penitentiary treatment programmes improved in 12 prisons.  As for capacity building at least 400 people will have attended advanced business, professional and specialised training sessions. Social platform placed as a collaborative network of relevant stakeholders and socially vulnerable groups making the most effective use of existing resources and potentials towards sustainable development.

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