In the next four years, FOSM efforts will be deployed to achieve two strategic goals:
1) To shape the policy debate on reducing inequalities faced by marginalized communities. By securing evidence on root causes and effects of social determinants on injustice and by empowering marginalized groups to participate and articulate their needs, FOSM’s advocacy efforts are expected to result in: sharpened focus on structural deficiencies in three main areas of intervention, i.e. education, health and environmental protection; increased understanding and willingness of policy makers to address inequalities in systemic manner; shifted dominant public narrative that responsibility for policy design and implementation lies only with the authorities; and improved representation, participation and contribution of socially marginalized groups in policies and processes that affect their wellbeing.
2) To strengthen civil society agency for scaling up their engagement and input by mainstreaming inter-sectoral approach in policy shaping. By employing structured oversight conducted by thematic civil society networks, FOSM’s efforts are expected to result in: justified intersections among corruption, deficiencies in the rule of law and social injustice; increased inter-sectoral knowledge, coordination and cooperation between thematic civil society networks; and increased advocacy power of civil society for transformation of policies based on the social justice principles.
FOSM’s strategy is devised across four distinctive bodies of work: Health in All Policies, GREEN LEAP, Education of Minority and Socially Deprived Students and Civic Engagement for Social Justice. All bodies of work are interconnected by their focus on addressing structural social inequalities and application of the inter-sectoral approach.
GREEN LEAP – Climate Action Partnership
The intention of this new body of work is to empower civic actors and socially and economically marginalized citizens to be able to assume and maintain a leadership role in shaping the debate on sustainable development policies. These groups need to gain power and capacity to voice their concerns and needs, conduct credible monitoring and advocate for policy solutions that adequately and promptly address their needs and rights to prosperous life. Massive amount of work, developed as part of active dialogue between civic actors and central and local authorities is needed, to compensate existing policy and legislation gaps and to harmonize policies that fail to incorporate the needs of socially deprived. Moreover, by conducting intensified public education and campaigns we will seek to challenge dominant public awareness and narratives that responsibility for sluggish policy design and implementation lies only with governing authorities. FOSM interventions will include grant support for civil society organizations, activist groups and movements, facilitation and coordination of dialogue and actions. FOSM will build capacities and support civil society actors in defining solutions for sustainable environmental change through active dialogue with central and local authorities, ensuring that needs of economically and socially deprived communities are integrated. We will continue to challenge dominant narratives and to motivate wider participation and interest for the specifics of climate action through creative activism.
Health in All Policies
FOSM is introducing an initiative with an overall goal to maintain health as high priority on the political agenda beyond the COVID-19 crisis. We will use an intersectional approach to address social determinants that cause inequity and disparities in health outcomes and support affected communities to demand equitable access to health services that are based on just and fair distribution of healthcare resources. Early insights into the manner in which institutions are managing financial resources signal the need for close monitoring and assessing the impact of the economic factors, as well as other policy measures within and outside the health sector. We will support cross-sectoral collaboration and engagement of various stakeholders (including policy experts, civil society organizations and community members) to ensure integration of health considerations into decision-making across sectors and policy areas. Baseline research on social determinants will bring understanding about the ways in which individual, but also societal factors intersect to the extent that create health inequalities and further harm health. Simultaneously, policy analysis across different sectors (health, socio-economic and environmental) will enable us to detect how imbalanced distribution of political and economic power shapes policies that produce unequal opportunities for different social groups to access resources and achieve equal state of wellbeing. Both interventions are expected to provide substantial body of evidence related to structural factors that generate gaps across social groups, enabling a joint push for policy change across sectors, to demand equity and to fight societal and structural disorder.
Education of Minority and Socially Deprived Students
In the next strategy cycle we intent to address education inequalities that mostly affect schools with minority students (Turks, Serbs, Boshnjaks) and most economically and socially deprived students (Roma and students in rural areas). COVID-19 context shifted the entire public’s attention to education due to challenges emerging from online teaching, providing an opportunity for us to engage in advocacy for systemic changes pushing for reforms aimed to deal with root causes of inequalities. We will provide direct support to targeted schools, including technical support to establish or to advance online school platforms, digitalization of teaching and learning resources, production of teaching and learning contents in minority languages, teacher training for improved digital competences, etc. Also, we intent to deploy serious efforts in identifying root causes of education inequalities that would inform our advocacystrategy.Aimed at alleviating the financial burden, FOSM provides 615 scholarships to the most deprived and most vulnerable Roma children enrolled in the first cycle of primary education through the EU-funded project Stay @School: Action for Inclusion of Roma in Primary Education. Under the same project, we support 50 primary schools to create inclusive and stimulating learning environments. Envisaged interventions are expected to improve digital competences of teachers working in rural and remote schools and to focus attention on effective teacher training policies at the highest policy level, making meaningful contributions to policy debates, resulting in systemic solutions that eliminate inequalities.
Civic Engagement for Social Justice
FOSM will encourage and support direct participation of civil society in inter-sectoral policy design and oversight to limit corruption effects on attainment of social justice and to improve human rights protection. In post COVID-19 context, FOSM will primarily support revival and upscaling of sectoral dialogue between civil society and government in decision-making processes. We will support novel research that seeks to better explain policy interrelations among social justice, corruption and deficiencies in the rule of law. We will support civil society networks to encourage innovative inter-sectoral collaborations and to conduct evidence-based monitoring of policies for social justice, such as health, education and environmental protection that are exposed to highest risk of corruption. We will advocate for changes to public polices in line with the inter-sectoral approach. This portfolio is expected to contribute towards inclusive policy dialogue, increase effectiveness and power of consultative mechanisms and strengthen and increase the sector-based civil society networks on anticorruption and antidiscrimination scope of work, by conducting evidence-based monitoring that intersects their respective sectors with health, education and environmental protection.
OSF and Regional Cooperation
In the forthcoming period FOSM will continue to contribute to the joint initiatives implemented in collaboration with many OSF units: The Anticorruption Initiative managed by EJP, FOSM and OSIWA co-lead the Regional Creative Hubs Anticorruption Initiative, the Anticorruption Initiative in Education and Health and the Anticorruption Narrative Initiative, the EJP Network Impact Investment as well asFOSM’s project Microfinancing for the Marginalized that will support economic inclusion of Roma and women by improving their access to finances.
Additionally, through the COVID-19 Rapid Response Pooled Fund we provide administrative support and legal assistance to informal workers, mainly women, Roma and single parents, who have lost their income, in order to obtain timely access to state-funded relief measures.
FOSM continues to participates in the Western Balkans Foundations’ Regional Initiative aimed to ease immediate suffering among low-wage, informal and gig workers, but with forward-looking agenda to exert pressure on the government to support and implement state-sponsored relief policies to address socio-economic effects of the crisis on these groups.
Together with the foundations in Albania, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, we implement an initiative co-funded by ESP, aimed to enable children from poor families to participate in online education. We see this initiative as opportunity for a more strategic regional cooperation in the field of education.