Association “Parent” – Belgrade (Serbian Parents Network) profile
Association “Parent” is an association of citizens founded in 2006 in Belgrade, Serbia, as Serbian Parents Network (SPN) with 15 grass-root branches in 15 different local communities. It was founded as a membership based, politically independent, non-governmental, non-profit organization. It is established with the mission to support and advocate better conditions for parenthood and childhood in Serbia.
Association “Parent” in Belgrade implements various sets of activities (advocacy and awareness campaigns, workshops, counseling…) through program areas related to family (parents and children) protection and support, children’s rights and safety as specified in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, human rights and gender equality, violence prevention, healthcare awareness, social issues, early childhood development and education. We advocate the development of an inclusive society by increasing visibility and participation of marginalized groups in the field of social and economic policy.
Development and implementation of local and national policies that affect families, particularly vulnerable groups (single parents and single-parent families, children with disabilities and their families, parents and children), in the areas of gender equality, violence prevention, health care, social care and education, all in line with the related national strategic documents.
Promotion and protection of children’s rights, advocating Human Rights and Gender Equality and Labor Rights for Women: protection/prevention of women discrimination and mobbing, particularly maternity gender-based (pregnant women and nursing mothers),promoting the importance of prevention of all forms of violence directed at children.
Improvement of Healthcare: children and the young, pregnant women and nursing mothers, promotion and protection of women’s reproductive health and breastfeeding, importance of proper early childhood development and promotion of healthy lifestyles.
Improvement social protection: poverty reduction, higher and more efficient budget allocation for children and families, social protection and social inclusion of children and families especially vulnerable and marginalized groups: single mothers/parents, parents of children with disabilities and parents with disabilities.
Improvement of educational setting: support for the process of inclusive education, promotion of best practices and developing programs focused on early learning and early childhood development, strengthening parental competencies through participation in decision-making in the education system, promotion of child participation in the creation of national and local education policies.
Our organization has over 50 volunteers (citizens, our members and students), and over 30 of them are educated and available for various kinds of activities. Since our founding, we have achieved a number of important contacts and developed cooperation with CSOs, governmental institutions, local self-governments and independent bodies. Serbian Parents Network is one of founders and a member of Serbian CSOs network for children (MODS), a member of Coalition of CSOs for monitoring the implementation of children’s rights in Serbia, member of SEKO initiative for CSOs and media and culture, and of the signatories of Code of ethics for CSOs in Serbia.
Main projects and activities:
We are engaged in all-areas of parental support since 2006, through counseling services, thematic and counseling workshops (expert and peer-to-peer, for parents, parents and children together, and for children), advocacy activities, awareness campaigns, etc. More than 7 years of providing parental support and counseling services enabled us to grow into a strong network of professionals: we have psychologists, psychotherapists, special educators and speech therapists working in our Psychological and Developmental Counseling Center, lawyers and legal experts providing legal advices, and trained peer counselors available for a number of parenting-related topics. Over the past several years we dedicated special attention to the projects and activities related to early childhood development programs, violence and child abuse prevention programs.
Continuously –voluntary based:
Parenting Info Center is online (through email, web site and FB page) and telephone information and counseling center, available to parents 7 days a week.
Thematic programs – workshops and support service: Children’s safety in car-seats, Children’s safety in cyber space, Breastfeeding peer-to-peer support.
Advocacy /awareness non-budget campaigns:
“Positive parenting” –awareness campaign for discontinuation of practice of corporal punishment of children in Serbia, led by MODS; we are one of the 6 core organizations, 2014.
“Rights for mothers” – to change the flawed procedures of reimbursement payments to employed mothers on maternity leave; we are one of the 3 core organization, 2013/14. (Successful, the Law changed in 2015/16.)
“Vote for babies”– campaign for the elimination / reduction of VAT on children’s equipment (2012); we were one of the 5 core organizations, but almost every MODS member took part. (Successful, the Law changed in 2012)
“Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative – Plus”– campaign for revival and improvement of BFHI in Serbian hospitals and for promoting/supporting breastfeeding;we are the only organization in Serbia dealing with this topic, since 2006 till present.
- “Early Childhood Development Center”– program for children (from birth to 6 y.o. who are not enrolled in kindergartens or any other related program) and their parents, designed for strengthening parental competences. It started in Belgrade and Nis, and now expanded to two more towns. Supported by UNICEF Serbia, 2012– 2015 and Secretariat for child care of City of Belgrade, 2012 -2013.(Ongoing, leading applicant with 4 organizations -MODS member engaged as project partners)
- “Parental involvement in schools” – strengthening parental competences and establishing Parent Councils in local communities. Supported by Fund for an Open Society Serbia, 2011–2014 (Ongoing,leading applicant)
- “Jointly against violence” – local advocacy campaign for improvement of mechanisms for the protection of children from violence at the local level – establishment of local coordinating body for prevention, protection and monitoring – supported by BCIF (Balkan Community Initiative Fund, granted by British embassy 2010, leading applicant) and UNICEF Serbia, 2012/13 (project partner with 5 more CSO’s MODS members).
- “Jointly against corruption” – advocacy and media campaign focused on the problem of corruption in reproductive health services. Supported by UNDP, 2011(leading applicant)
Also, from its beginning, SPN has been identified as a relevant partner by all media (on national and local level). Both national and local media (where we have branches) are happy to report about SPN activities. This is confirmed in the Press clipping section on our web site www.roditelj.org with numerous media reports.