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Civil Society Organisations

Cooperation with Civil Society Organisations

Civil society organisations are fundamental partners of UNICEF in creating change on behalf of all children around the world.

UNICEF’s valued partnerships with civil society organisations contribute greatly to the implementation of programmes, the expansion of services targeted at children, and advocacy for better national policies for children. Civil society organisations have a long affiliation with UNICEF. Immediately after the end of World War II civil society advocated for assistance without discrimination for all children and this contributed to the founding of UNICEF in 1946. UNICEF in Croatia cooperates with a number of civil society organisations that contribute to the realisation of the national goals for children, in line with the Programme Action Plan 2012-2016 of the Government of the Republic of Croatia and UNICEF.

You can learn more about the various forms of cooperation between UNICEF and civil society organisations in UNICEF’s ‘Guide to Working with Civil Society’.

Examples of successful Cooperation with Civil Society Organisations

Support for Parents of the Youngest Children

In cooperation with the Croatian Education and Teacher Training Agency and the Centre for Parental Support ‘Growing up Together’ , UNICEF launched a parenting support programme through the workshops ‘Growing up Together’ and ‘Growing up Together Plus’.

After completing the programme one of the students of the ‘Growing up Together’ workshop said

"The workshop has encouraged me to persist in the things I considered I do well, ‘forced’ me to become aware of the things I did wrong and showed me how to try to correct this. I hope I will make it. Thank you!"

Thousands of parents from all parts of Croatia gave the workshops very high marks. The manuals ‘Growing up Together’ and ‘Growing up Together Plus’ were created as part of the workshops.

Support for Children in Conflict with the Law

Compared to other measures, mediation in criminal procedures involving children and youth has a number of benefits for both the offender and the victim. Application of out-of-court settlements gives the perpetrator of a minor criminal act an opportunity to take responsibility for and repair the damage caused rather than taking the punishment handed out by a court. The victim is given an opportunity to face the offender, receive an apology and agree directly on the form of indemnification he or she prefers.

A one-year education programme on out-of-court settlement was organised in cooperation with the Association for Out-of-Court Settlement. The programme was attended by 55 new mediators that will work in all county centres in Croatia. Mediators in out-of-court settlements in criminal procedures involving children and youth are largely social pedagogues, social workers, psychologists and legal professionals. All 55 had to undergo extensive training that included gaining knowledge on the theory, learning through role play and mentored practical work.

The handbook ‘Out-of-court Settlement in Criminal Proceedings for Youth in Conflict with the Law in the Republic of Croatia’ was created through cooperation with the Association for Out-of-Court Settlement and the Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences of the University of Zagreb.

Support to Parents in the Protection and Well-being of Children

In cooperation with the Society for Psychological Assistance, from 2013 to 2015 UNICEF implemented a project focused on improving expert assistance measures for parents aimed at the protection of children’s well-being. The goal of the project was to assist parents by empowering families to take better care of their children and thus avoid removing children from families in cases where the family was able to overcome the crisis.

The project involved more than 200 experts from social welfare centres all over Croatia. Through joint meetings they exchanged their experiences and examples from practice and agreed on improved standards of operation.

A handbook for social workers, other experts and collaborators of social welfare centres titled Pomoć roditeljima u zaštiti dobrobiti djeteta Child’ was developed as part of this cooperation.

Support to Children on the Move

In cooperation with the association ‘Our Children’ from Vinkovci, the Society for Psychological Assistance, and the association Parents in Action (RODA), UNICEF ensured 24/7 support for refugee and migrant children at the detention centres in Opatovac and Slavonski Brod. This support includes the collection and distribution of clothes, the provision of necessities and supplies for mothers with the youngest children and psychosocial support. Cooperation with these civil society organisations has ensured that children and mothers escaping from war receive a warm and humane welcome.

Inclusion of Excluded Children: ‘Step towards Inclusion’ and ‘Let’s Go Together’

Children with developmental difficulties, children living in isolated areas, and children of the Roma national minority have lower access to preschool education. In cooperation with the Open University Step By Step and as part of the Step towards Inclusion programme local capacities for including vulnerable and excluded groups of children have been strengthened in kindergartens in three counties.

In the Sisak-Moslavina and Slavonski Brod-Posavina counties children of the Roma national minority encounter their first day at school with curiosity and a smile.

Thanks to the cooperation between UNICEF and the Open University Step By Step these counties have implemented the Let’s Go Together programme, which prepares children for the start of primary school and helps them to achieve better results.

Early Childhood Intervention

In cooperation with the Croatian Association for Early Childhood Intervention, UNICEF launched a web portal and an early intervention search engine ‘Rani klik’ (Early click) ), which helps experts and parents to identify and secure appropriate services for children at neurodevelopmental risk or with developmental difficulties.

Support to Breastfeeding Mothers

In cooperation with the Croatian Breastfeeding Support Group, support to breastfeeding mothers has been expanded to cover almost all of Croatia.

The ‘Handbook for Leaders of Breastfeeding Support Groups’ as well as the internet webpage www.hugpd.hr, which contains contact information on all breastfeeding support groups, were prepared as part of this cooperation.