The crisis caused by the COVID-19 epidemic has seriously affected all segments of society and all citizens, but still, a disproportionately greater effect and damage is caused to disadvantaged groups, women and marginalized communities.
In order to mitigate the socio-economic consequences of Covid-19 on vulnerable groups, the Foundation Open Society – Macedonia provided $ 148,000 in local support through the regional project “Responding to the Socio-Economic Effects of Covid-19 by Supporting Vulnerable Groups, Low-payed workers, workers in the informal economy and occasional employees”. The project is being implemented in the Western Balkans, with the support of the Joint COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund of the Open Society Foundations.
The project aims to contribute to a better understanding of the effect of government policies on vulnerable groups, and through the implemented activities to contribute to mitigating the socio-economic consequences for them. At the same time, the project will promote long-term mitigation measures and will test and develop new models and development initiatives in the region, specifically for the employment of people from vulnerable groups.
The local grant support for the three associations and the three think-tank organizations, through the implemented activities within the project, will enable:
- direct support for organizations representing vulnerable categories of citizens, to create specific models and interventions for protection from the consequences of the crisis and to stimulate employment, as well as direct support to vulnerable groups of citizens;
- analysis of the real socio-economic situation, which will enable monitoring and creation of public policies based on facts, as well as providing neutral and independent recommendations for the government, opposition, media and public debate;
- improving the representation capacities of the associations, but also of the most vulnerable groups, which will enable their direct influence on the creation of long-term policies, and
- contribution to the establishment of a regional platform for public dialogue to discuss the effects of the crisis on the economic sectors and to build a strategic vision for the development of the Western Balkan countries after the end of the Covid-19 crisis.
Support for mitigating the socio-economic consequences of the impact of Covid-19 for the most vulnerable groups of citizens will be provided through the implemented activities within the projects of the following civil society organizations:
- Policy Research Association Analytica Skopje – a project aimed at determining the situation and the effects of the measures taken to deal with COVID-19, on vulnerable groups of citizens (workers in the informal economy or cultural workers, catering sector, trade and domestic workers), as and creating a basis for improving existing measures/policies and creating greater resistance among this category of citizens to the consequences of similar crises in the future.
- Institute for Economic Research and Policy Finance Think Skopje – a project to reduce the socio-economic consequences of the crisis caused by Covid-19 on vulnerable categories of workers.
- Association for Research and Analysis, ZMAI Skopje – a project that aims to contribute to increasing the transparency of data describing the real economic situation and the impact of Covid-19 during the phase of economic recovery in the Republic of North Macedonia.
- Citizens ‘Association of Textile, Leather and Shoe Workers “Glasen Tekstilec” – a project that aims to lobby, advocate and monitor the implementation of regulations and measures related to safety at work, respect for workers’ rights and payment of wages during the epidemic. The project will be implemented with mentoring support from ZMAI Skopje.
- Association for Rural Development Local Action Group AGRO LEADER – a project to strengthen the social and economic situation of women in rural areas, by building economically sustainable agricultural farms and local facilities, establishing access to advisory support and creating public policies for legal equality. The project will be implemented with mentoring support from Finance Think.
- Association for Promotion and Protection of Workers’ Rights “Dignified Worker Prilep” – a project aimed at ensuring proactive socio-economic analysis, education, solidarity and protection of workers from the informal economy (domestic workers, cultural workers and catering workers) in the municipality of Prilep. The project will be implemented with mentoring support from Analytica Skopje.
We at the Foundation Open Society – Macedonia strive for dignity for all citizens equally and continue to respond quickly and flexibly to all threats to open society.
—————————————————29 July 2020