Seven GRC grantees began implementing projects for advocacy at local level in February. Due to the crisis caused by the coronavirus, many of the project activities had to be postponed, adjusted or replaced with alternative activities. However, these extraordinary circumstances did not prevent the organisations from achieving their goals and making positive changes in their local communities.
Representatives of the Roma-Turkish Association Hayаt NGO Strumica in the past period were active in Roma settlements in Strumica, where they talked to parents of children who did not receive any vaccine. After the crisis measures were decreased, in cooperation with the PHI Health Center Strumica, they managed to detect over 120 children who fall into this category of unvaccinated persons, of which 24 are without personal documents. The hard work of the association has resulted in 21 vaccinated children, and in the coming period they expect this number to double.
“Achieving our goal gives us more strength and motivation to double what we achieved so far. We always use the motto that nothing is over but that we are just beginning to find the right path to success and achievement,” said the organisation.
The association “Bright Future” from Kocani, on the other hand, managed to use the funds from the Civil Society Resource Centre to respond better to the emergency situation. They formed a local action group for Roma advocacy at the local level which currently has 12 members with a tendency to reach the optimal number of 15 members. After the beginning of the crisis, a portion of the grant funds was reallocated for 30 humanitarian packages distributed to 30 families i.e. 97 people.
Such reallocation of funds was made by some of the other grantees. For example, the Sveti Nikole Women’s Civic Initiative provided 200 gloves, 100 protective masks and printed 60 leaflets with information on protection and seeking support. This donation was intended for the residents of the villages of Amzabegovo, Kadrifakovo and Gorobinci, where they actually implemented their project for the promotion of gender equality. Also, Hayat NGO Strumica allocated 30,000 MKD from the grant, which provided 30 humanitarian packages in food and hygiene items, each worth 1,000 MKD.
The organisations, each in its own domain, have managed to overcome the challenges of the pandemic and continue to carry out their advocacy activities at the local level.