One of the main pillars of COD Kosovo’s work is promotion and setting up of innovative Social Services for vulnerable groups in our society. What are Social Services? Social Services are services provided directly to a person in need of support. Social Services are including social, health and education services. They can be provided by the public authorities, private providers and non-for-profits. Social Services are mainly financed by the taxes, social security contributions, and in the underdeveloped regions and countries such as Kosovo support is provided through different donors that recognized their importance.
Social Services are including services such as care, training, counselling, empowerment, and play a preventative and socially cohesive role. Examples include old people’s homes, long-term care, adult education and child care services, as well as services for disabled, people living or affected by HIV (PLHIV), victims of violence, homeless people, migrants, etc.
COD Kosovo team is actively following European developments and trends, and in line with other service providers in Europe trying to make an impact on the development of strategies on Social Services. The current debates around the Europe 2020 Strategy, quality in Social Services of General Interest (SSGI), public procurement and social innovation/experimentation show that SSGI are attracting a lot of attention, and that there is space for a formal, strong network that can promote the not-for-profit agenda. SSGI are a key component of the European social model, and COD Kosovo is working actively on its promotion and implementation in Kosovo.
It is not only Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) representing vulnerable groups who should advocate and influence the policies in the field of Social Services. They should make coalitions with the Social and health care providers. In the same time Social and health care providers need to build up capacity as advocates and influencers. COD Kosovo has identified its main role as interlocutors between the local CSOs, service providers and European level umbrella organizations. Pooling resources and contacts with the most important European umbrella organizations of social service providers seems to be a good strategy to increase effectiveness of our lobby activities. The co-operation is based on mutual interest, shared responsibilities, pooling of information, respect for the specificities of each organization and consensus.
The most general criteria used in the evaluation of the social serviceprovision are called also 4 A’s in social provision as following:
a. Availability- Services exist and are available when needed.
b. Accessibility- Services can be reached and used by all citizens who need them.
c. Affordability- Social services must have a reasonable price for all citizens who need them.This refers to all measures required to allow vulnerable populations financial access to social services at community level.
d. Accountability – Service providers are financially and organizationally transparent.
Two other criteria are currently used in the evaluation of social services:
a. The quality of the service
b. The continuum of services, especially in the disability field, where the need for social services(mainstreamed, support or specialized) could occur for long term periods and covers differentages.
DISABILITY RELATED SOCIAL SERVICES
COD Kosovo with its partners is continuously working on the promotion and initiation of innovative services based on the needs of final beneficiaries, as support for their inclusion and active participation in our society. The equalization of opportunities and the participation of persons with disabilities in the sociallife is strongly related to the development of a variety of social services provided at communitylevel.
Access to education, health care, vocational training and employment are as for any otherperson, the main guarantees of participation in social life. The access to social services also represents a “safety net” for populations with multiple vulnerable statuses, representing the most excluded and poor among all disadvantagedgroups, such as for example unemployed disabled women coming from minority community. In Kosovo, the access of people with disabilities to social servicesis still limited. The reasons are multiple: significant lack of services at local level, insufficientdevelopment of professional networks and qualifications, traditional and inefficient gate keepingsystems, limited awareness of the general population in relation to disability issues and a medicaland outdated perspective on disability in general.
Social services represent a lever toward the full citizenship of people with disabilities if they
respond to the users’ needs:
a. in an individualized way,
b. at the community level,
c. in a mainstreamed perspective,
d. with a twin track approach to quality services,
e. enhancing the participation of all stakeholders to the service provision
COD Kosovo is actively working on the international level to promote and in the same time to gather necessary info and exchange experience at the European level in the field of Social Services. This work is done through partnership with different services providers, and through membership in the European association of the Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities – EASPD.
Being member of the EASPD, COD Kosovo has an opportunity to access to the biggest European Network of Service Providers representing more than 15.000 service providers all over Europe. For more information on the fields of work of the EASPD, programs and spheres of interest please visit web page: www.easpd.eu
Through membership in the EASPD, COD Kosovo has access to the biggest network gathering different social service providers all over Europe – Social Services Europe. Social Services Europe aims to strengthen the profile and position of social services, and to promote the role of not-for-profit social service providers throughout Europe. For more info please visit web page: www.socialserviceseurope.eu