February

2008

Rapid Response Grants – Urgent Action Fund

Approved – February 2008.

Number of grants: 2

1. Women’s and Human Rights Organizations 
  • RSD: 89.286
  • Name of the project: Solidarity is Our Strength!
  • Project goal: Nedzibe Mitrovic owned and was living in her house since her birth, 1959 and couple of months ago was illegally and forcibly expelled out with her two children, without any secured accommodation. This process was conducted by local community authorities with the assistance of local secretary of internal affairs (police). The house was planned for tearing down by local investor, even though it was out of law decision. Since he wanted to build the “capital object” on this location, local investor decided to compensate the owners of the neighboring houses, except Nedzibe. Advocate of Nedzibe Mitrovic confirmed that at the beginning he was offering her the compensation as well, but when he found out that her father was Albanian he refused to do so, saying her: “You are Albanian; you have to go from where you came from.” Soon, it turned out that it was the reason why the local authorities also didn’t respect the court decision of banning the tearing down of Nezdibe’s house. This object was more important to local authorities than basic human rights, just because this woman has an “undesirable nationality”.
  • Activist of Women in Black and Helsinki Council for Human Rights witnessed the whole situation and they decided to urgently react and call on solidarity action of the citizens of Belgrade against another case of repression towards citizens of Albanian nationality, this time from the side of local authority and city assembly. Nedzibe needed temporarily accommodation till the end of the final court procedure, when either her house will be backed to her or the investor will give her proper compensation. Reconstruction Women’s Fund decided to use Rapid Response Grant in this situation of common initiative of women’s groups, human rights organizations and citizens to stop the ethnically based discrimination.
  • Follow up: the public announcement of the whole case was posted on one of the most visitedblogs and sent through couple of mailing lists, which caused the numerous reactions of people to support Nedzibe and to react against local authorities and put the pressure on them. Finally, local investor contacted Nedzibe, offered her fair compensation and paid it immediately.
2. Center for Education, Communication and Research – “Alternativni krug”, Kragujevac
  • RSD: 128.000,00
  • Name of the project: Safe House
  • Project goal: Safe House as a project of NGO “Alternativni krug” exists in Kragujevac from 2005. After one year of successful project realization, sustaining of the Safe House became the responsibility of Czech humanitarian organization ADRA, Serbian branch. From the very beginning there was a lot of misunderstanding in cooperation between ADRA and Alternativni krug, because ADRA was not aware of the basic needs and capacities of the organization that is realizing the project of Safe House (Alternativni krug). Anyway, the project continued and the coordination was given by ADRA to one of the members of Alternativni krug. Soon after, it turned out that the other members of the organization (14 of them) are not satisfied with the coordination of the project, complaining on the lack of transparency towards finances, manipulation with the team and with the beneficiaries of the Safe House as well. They were insisting on the expert’s supervision which showed all difficulties in further functioning, discontent of the team members with the work of the coordinator which was endangering further realization of the project. To try to solve the problem, members of Alternativni krug were asking for coordinator’s resignation and asked management of ADRA to help them in that, because they didn’t want to let this situation to reflect on the women who were beneficiaries of the Safe House at that time. Without any arguments and explanation, manager of ADRA informed the members of Alternativni krug about breaking of the cooperation with them, suspended further donation and continued to work only with the coordinator who was actually the main source of all problems. Soon, they find out that the whole situation was planned in advance with the support of some people from state Centre for social work and some members of local authorities.
  • Sudden suspension of the donation, faced members of Alternativni krug with the crises of the project, especially because they had two women, victims of violence accommodated in the Safe House in the moment. They urgently needed funds to cover one more month for the shelter’s premises, because they didn’t want to leave two of their clients on the street, unsafe. Also they needed the legal aid to sort out all financial and legal aspects of the situation. They wanted to organize press conference and to publicly and actively react against misuse and abuse of violence against women problem in the name of any personal or political interest that this situation turned to be and to protect their integrity and reputation as an autonomous organization that has 8-years long experience and expertise in the work with victims of domestic violence.