Regional workshops on children on the street, as part of project “Tackling issues of discrimination and raising awareness of Roma and other minority groups within the community” implemented by the OSCE Mission to Skopje, aim to improve the coordination between Ministry of Internal Affairs and Labour and Social Policy, implemented during the second half of 2011 and identify joint initiatives and solutions to the issue of children on the street/street children at the local and regional level
During the second half of 2011, the OSCE Mission to Skopje /Police Development Department (OSCE MS/PDD), in close cooperation with the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MoIA) and the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy (MoLSP), implemented the project “Tackling issues of discrimination and raising awareness of Roma and other minority groups within the community”.
The objective of the project was to increase the capacities of the MoIA to cooperate and coordinate with other relevant institutions on safety issues concerning the Roma population, especially when dealing with children on the street . This will lead to a more efficient response to the problem. In this context, the expression “children on the street” refers to unattended minors on the street, most often engaging in activities like begging, cleaning car windows, sniffing glue, or petty crime.
The project activities consisted of three one-day workshops aiming to identify joint initiatives and solutions to the issue of children on the street/street children at the local and regional level.
Three regional workshops were held in the period October – November 2011 in Skopje, Ohrid and Stip with more than 120 participants attending in total. These included police officers from all eight Sectors for Internal Affairs in the country (prevention officers, inspectors for juvenile delinquency, uniformed police officers from intervention groups, patrolling officers, etc), representatives of Centers for Social Care (CSC), local NGOs targeting issues related to children on the street, Roma Information Centers and representatives of Local Self-Government Units (LSGU).
The participants were introduced by representatives of the MoIA and the MoLSP to relevant national legislation, with a particular focus on the recently adopted “Multidisciplinary Protocol for dealing with children on the street/street children”. Following this theoretical part, each of the workshops also included an interactive session, in which participants identified practical problems they faced while implementing the Protocol and other legal acts through discussions and group exercises.
Subsequent to completion of the workshops, a final assessment and recommendation report was prepared by the OSCE MS/PDD. This final report presents the findings of the workshops as well as proposals for joint future activities, i.e. multi-disciplinary initiatives for resolving problems with children on the street/street children at the local and regional level, which will, at the same time, contribute to better cooperation among all involved actors in the future.