Mon – 29 Support for income-generating activities for refugees, IDPs and social cases
German Foreign Ministry
:: REALISATION / BUDGET
10.08.2004 – 28.02.2005 :: € 144.000
:: SHORT DESCRIPTION
The economical development of Montenegro shows the first signs of improvement; in 2002 the gross national product reached again 63 % of the level before war (in 2000 it amount to 60 %), after a decade of regression. The real economical growth for 2003 is estimated at about 1,5 %. Among other things, beside a big budget deficit and high foreign debts inflation and unemployment are problems, which handicap economical development.
According to Montenegro ‘s Employment the number of people registered as unemployed amount to 72.544 in November 2003, a quite important decline in contrast to the situation in 2000. In 2003, according to Montenegro ‘s Employment Office, 25.130 new jobs have been added. However, due to the change of law concerning the payment of social insurance contribution, independent observers are of the opinion that in most of the cases it is a legalization of already existing jobs of people, who used to be employed in the non-official sector before; furthermore, it is questionable, if the legalized employment is planed for a longer period or if the employees will be logged off after a short time. The institution for strategic studies names the unemployment rate for the year 2002 with 23,25 and for 2003 with 21 %.
All in all, one can say that the economy of Montenegro is still in a critical situation. Especially the fact that most of the unemployed are young people, who are the most productive elements of the society, causes concern. So, the inquiries of the independent Research Institutes for Strategic Study and Prognosis result in that 70 % of the unemployed in Montenegro are younger than 30 years. The number of unemployed, born after the 08.12.1973, presently amounts to 29.610 according to the current figures of the Employment of Montenegro.
The bad economical situation of the country has also an effect on the living conditions of the population. According to the Ministry for work and social welfare at the moment 12,2 % of the total population of Montenegro have an income of less than € 116,00 € per month and live under the absolute poverty level. The poverty level is the lowest among the native population (9,6 %), however, much higher among the Roma (52,3 %), refugees (38,8 %) and the IDP `s (38,6). Indeed, one must keep in mind that Roma, refugees and IDP`s account only 27,5 % of the poor in Montenegro, whereas 72,5 % of the poor are natives.
Since the end of the war on the Balkan and the return of the Kosovo-Albanians to Kosovo altogether 14.000 refugees from Bosnia and Croatia still live in the Republic of Montenegro , as well as 18.000 other persons, who fled from Kosovo. Under the present conditions a return of the displaced persons from Kosovo is not realizable. Also, it is very likely that the bigger part of the refugees will not return back to their homes. Therefore, especially the displaced Serbian part of the population tries to get integrated into the society of Montenegro . The Montenegrian government reckons that most of the IDP `s as well as the refugees of the wars in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina will remain in the country.
A Feasibility study realized by HELP in January 2001 shows that employment opportunities and income generating activities are the most important chance to improve the socio-economical situation of the refugees and IDP`s.
From July 2001 till January 2002 HELP realized a pilot project where social vulnerable persons, refugees and IDP`s were provided with factors for production (average value per applicant: DM 1.600,00), which allowed them to ensure their livelihood by independent work.
The results of these measures were very encouraging. Beside the economical net receipt the improvement of the social status and the bigger self-confidence of the beneficiaries could be seen as an excellent result. Most of the beneficiaries work in the technical sector, followed by the service and the agricultural sector. Due to the fact that a big part of the beneficiaries live as displaced persons in the collective centers, activities were chosen, which do not depend on a permanent place of employment. This is in so far important as it makes sure that this strategy does not prevent the refugees and IDP`s from a possible return (the whole productive equipment that was bought is small and handy and as a consequence of this it can be taken along).
Another project of this kind was realized in 2003, financed by funds of the Foreign Ministry from the Stability pact for south eastern Europe. The realization of this measure was also very successful and it was finished within the project duration. In the near future the demand for this kind of direct help for economic vulnerable persons and also for social institutions will be very considerable. The project connects in an exemplary manner economical help for able and motivated persons with social involvement for those who can not help themselves any longer due to handicaps or for reasons of age or other reasons.
In so far, such a project can be put in connection with the “Strategy plan for development and reduction of poverty in Montenegro ”, which was passed by the government in November 2003. The total costs for the realization of this plan amount to € 440 millions for the next three years! The Montenegrin Government hopes that approximately 60 % of these costs will be provided by foreign countries, actually one half as a credit and the other half as nonrefundable allowance.
Only for the reduction of poverty of those, who live below the poverty level (12,2 % of the population of Montenegro ) the costs are estimated at € 38 millions per year. Thereby for a lasting improvement of the living conditions in Montenegro also the huge group of people, who live barely above the poverty level, have to be also taken into account.
Even in 2004 HELP realizes therefore further activities, which will enable social vulnerable persons to ensure themselves a source of income by independent work.
In total 100 families will get productive equipment (machines, animals, utensils itd.), which will enable them to boil their pot alone in future. The target group consists of refugees and IDP`s as well as social vulnerable persons. Due to the price increase of the past years the grant for productive equipment should amount to an average of € 950,00.
The beneficiaries have the obligation to pay back in cash 15 % of the value they got in the form of productive equipment and they have to provide 10 hours of social work for community projects. The financial funds are used for community projects respective investments for public institutions.
The total costs for the project amount to € 144.000.