:: PROJECT MNE – 150
Strengthening of individual economic capacities of displaced persons in Berane
US Government – U.S. Embassy Podgorica – Julia Taft Fund
:: REALIZATION / BUDGET
September 2020 – August 2021 /25,000 $
The action is the result of its approach of streamlining actions with national policies, consulting local stakeholders, creating synergies and replicating good practices, while maintaining contact with beneficiaries through field work. The high unemployment rate in the country, caused by the transition and economic crisis, hits primarily vulnerable groups. One of the measures to fight unemployment is to organize quality and specialized skill training so that they enable reallocation of labor among different economic sectors. On that basis the action intends to fill the gap between the demand and availability of skills by providing skill training. Another measure is to support individuals in their efforts for self-employment and/or to support those who have already established a small business and enable them to improve and extend their income-generating activities. Income-generation activities have proven to be one of the best ways to enable vulnerable population groups to sustain an acceptable standard of living based on their own resources, focusing on long-term solutions for the beneficiaries. The provision of material inputs will create and/or increase much needed job opportunities for the most impoverished segments of the population in Montenegro
This proposal will fill a vast gap in terms of support for strengthening livelihoods of vulnerable population groups in Berane municipality.
Overall objective: To contribute to the inclusion of internally displaced persons (I/DPs) into the social and economic life in Montenegro
Specific objective: To improve livelihood of DPs and IDPs in Berane municipality
R1. Increase of skills and competencies among ID/Ps population
R2. The most vulnerable IDP families have have started up an income-generating activity or expanded an on-going income-generating activity
The northern region of Montenegro is mostly rural and makes up 53% of the territory of the country with 31.5% of the total population living there. This region contributes less than 18% of the GDP of Montenegro. The northern region is the poorest in Montenegro with 19.2% of residents living below the poverty line. Given this lacking behind the other regions special economic development, income support efforts and targeted support of educational opportunities are needed to assist the people, in particular those belonging to vulnerable groups, of the northern region. In order to ameliorate the situation in the north it is mandatory to stimulate entrepreneurial activities there. The employment growth especially that of vulnerable groups, remains a major challenge for Montenegro. Displaced and internally displaced persons (I/DPs) belong to one of the most vulnerable groups. As many of them are below the poverty line and in big extend unemployed there is an urgent need to strengthen them in improving their livelihood.
Unemployment is recognized as the main problem for the sustainable livelihood of the targeted beneficiaries. Employment opportunities are unfavorable, given the difficult economic situation in the Berane municipality and the Northern Montenegro overall.
Berane has second highest unemployment rate in the country (58,36%, share of women: 56,5%). Among unemployed, I/DPs have even more limited access to labor market. Help has been implementing in Montenegro various active employment measures such as subsidized employment and training programmers.
- Displaced and internally displaced persons living in Berane municipality. According to the information provided by the Administration for Care for Refugees, the number of I/DPs in Berane is 1417. They represent about 5% of local population.
- Municipality of Berane as well as representatives of relevant national institutions (Employment Bureaus in Berane, Vocational Training Agency; line ministries, National Employers’ Federation). Municipalities, especially those in the northern region, have limited capacities and expertise to develop and support vulnerable groups.
Detailed description of the project activities:
The project aims to contribute to the inclusion of vulnerable population groups into the social and economic life of the country and reduction of poverty among ID/Ps. More specifically, the project will empower unemployed ID/Ps to access labor market by providing vocational training for 5 I/DPs and supporting income generation activities for 10 ID/Ps through provision of equipment or materials all in direction of making potential for self-generating income which is the starting point for release from poverty and ensuring full integration in the society.
Activity 1: Motivational workshop for interested ID/Ps in vocational training and income-generating activities
One half-day motivational workshop for ID/Ps will be held in Berane. The idea is to enable participants to promote the project and its activities among ID/Ps community, so that potential beneficiaries are aware of it and specifically on vocational training opportunity and want to get involved. The workshop will focus on the training possibilities for target group within the project. In particular, the vocational training as well as income-generating activities program will be presented, and participants encouraged to apply for them when the public call is published. Also, they will be informed of the criteria of the public call, the assessment procedures and when to expect the program to commence. It is expected that at least 30 ID/Ps will attend workshops. The workshop will be organized during the second month of the implementation of the project prior to the publication of the Public call (Activity 2).
Activity 2: Public call and selection of the trainees and beneficiaries of IGA grants
Selection of the trainees and IGA beneficiaries will be undertaken through a Public call. The criteria and application form have already been developed by Help and the partner institutions in the previous actions, therefore the implementation will start in the first month of the Action. The ad hoc Evaluation Committee consisting of Help staff, the Employment Bureau and Municipality of Berane will choose the 5 trainees in accordance with local labor market needs. The same committee will choose the 10 beneficiaries of IGA in accordance with set criteria.
Activity 3: Implementation of vocational training programme;
Implementation of vocational training program will last for 3 months and it will draw on the identification of training topics based on priorities of Berane labor market needs. During the design of the action, Help has collected available data on labor market needs and offer in Montenegro, with some data desegregated by municipalities as well. The information was provided by the Employment Agency and includes data analysis from 2018 as well: overall, the sectors in which there is the biggest need for less-educated skills are catering/hospitality services, commerce/sales and vehicle repair, and civil works. When the project starts, the updated data and more precise information at the level of municipality will be collected from the Employment Agency. The vocational training will be implemented as per national standards, with proscribed number of lessons, and with interactive and practical methods adjusted to beneficiaries, i.e. work in small groups, pair work or individually. At the end of the training, the exams will be organized, both theoretical and practical, and successful candidates will receive certificates for obtained skills.
Activity 4: Income-generating activities
10 sets of material/equipment in the average value of 1,500 US$ by the end of the project for starting up or expanding income generating activities to selected IGA beneficiaries will be delivered. Support with registration of new or existing economic activity will be provided by Help with assistance of the Regional Business Centre Berane. The beneficiaries will receive regular business advice and monitoring visits within the period from receiving IGA support until the end of the project by Help and Regional Business Center Berane.
Project sustainability :
The project has a direct impact on economic and social inclusion. Its activities will remove obstacles to raising the educational level and strengthening the competences of poor and marginalized ID/P population as well as ensure technical equipping of at least 10 beneficiaries and thus enable them to earn for their own living. Income-generation activities have proven to be one of the best ways to enable the vulnerable population to sustain an acceptable standard of living based on their own resources, focusing on long-term solutions. Capacitating beneficiaries to be competitive at labor market will directly improve their standards of living. The allocation of individual income-generation grants is based on the applicants’ sound and sustainable business ideas; their viability is evaluated by the project team. Financial sustainability is a major criterion for approval of individual requests for an income-generating activity. Generally, sustainability is in-built into the project design, no running costs are taken over by the project and the generation of income and profit is aimed at as one of the major outputs of this component. Hence, the beneficiaries will be able to continue their economic activities on micro-level independently.
As part of the overall project management Help will engage internal capacities and resources for employment of ID/Ps.
The Municipality of Berane supports through mentoring of the Regional Business Center staff the income generating activities.