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Taking Action for Social Inclusion of Older People: Study visit to Slovenia


A study visit of project partners to Slovenia was organised within the Taking Action on Social Inclusion of Older People project. This project is funded by European Union through its IPA fund as well as the Austrian Development Agency and Austrian Red Cross. The study visit was a learning opportunity focused on protection of older people at both local and national levels. Slovenia as destination was chosen because of the similar experiences in the area of social and health policies to the project countries, but also because Slovenian decision-makers recognised the importance of including older people in policy creation and because they also realised the importance and urgency of putting the rights of older people on public agenda. In addition, all of the project countries are in one of the stages of their EU accession processes so Slovenia was chosen as one of the closest EU members with similar institutional history and with system solutions that can be analysed and applied across Western Balkans.

The visit took place between 28 and 30 September and it had two parts. On the first day the delegations of project countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia) and the representative of the Austrian Red Cross with support provided by Slovene Philanthropy NGO and the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities participated at the 16th Festival of the Third Age in Ljubljana: The delegations were comprised of representatives of civil society organisations coordinating the project, representatives of relevant authorities and older people themselves. In addition to being present at the opening ceremony, we also participated in a reception with the Minister of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Dr Anja Kopač Mrak and the Slovenian Ombudsman Ms. Vlasta Nussdorfer, where we had the opportunity to present our project and ask questions.

Afterwards, we were there for the panel discussion on the directions of development of public policies for older people and then, thanks to the kindness of the Ministry that paid for a room, we organised a two hour panel discussion where Dr Milutin Vračević of the Red Cross of Serbia presented the project and representatives of all project countries had the opportunities to discuss the position of older people in their countries and provide recommendations on how to improve it. Dr Mateja Kožuh Novak of Slovene Philanthropy moderated the panel.

The second day of the visit was focused on services so the project partners visited the Intergenerational Centre in Žalec. This visit confirmed how important it is for sustainability to have the local community recognise the significance of activities and the significance of building the social cohesion through joint work of different organisations and sectors as well as different generations of people. This allows for a wider reach, broader spectrum of relevant activities and continuing exchange of knowledge and experience.