The initiative, abbreviated as "Activate!", aims at activating young people who thrive on the margins of society – the unemployed, those outside the education system, as well as those who do not possess the skills necessary for employment in the 21st century. Its goal is to foster the creation of opportunities for this population by means of efficient social policies and improved social services.
Peter Lundberg, the UN Resident Coordinator in Montenegro, pointed out that initiatives like this are especially important in times of instability and crisis, such as the Covid-19 pandemic.
"A key to accelerating development is through innovation, at all levels – in policies and service design. We hope that these new models will respond to the need and help decentralize cost-planning at all levels, so social protection systems can serve all people in need everywhere," Lundberg said.
Edina Dešić, State Secretary at the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, assessed that the program opened a significant space for the transformation of social policies.
"The results obtained from this project will be a significant input for the creation of social and child protection policies based on empirical evidence, in such a way that the support of the system is directed to those who really need it." Dešić emphasized.
Nenad Rava, Head of Programmes of the Sustainable Development Goals Fund, pointed out that Montenegro has the opportunity to accelerate sustainable human development through programs like this one.
"We expect that 500 young people will be trained in digital skills thanks to the development of a new service for uptake in digital skills. Almost 1,000 refugees/asylum seekers received support for their 'first time' encounter with the social protection system" said Rava.
"We raised awareness of the dangers of trafficking through an awareness-raising campaign. We supported the reintegration assistance. All this gives me hope that what was achieved within the Activate project in Montenegro with the support of SDG Fund will move beyond its borders and reach other SDG Fund partners in 118 countries and territories," Rava pointed out.