Access to Services in Rural Areas

Access for Women and Children to Services in Rural Areas of Serbia and Proposed Measures to Improve Their Situation
Supported by: UNICEF Serbia, Ministry of Economy and Regional Development of the Republic of Serbia, Tourism Organisation of Serbia , Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection of the Republic of Serbia

June - October 2010

The issue of rural development is primarily viewed in terms of economic development. This analysis focuses on other preconditions for sustainable rural development, mainly the social element. The main objective was to identify the greatest barriers to access for rural women and children to social services, and to discover the most important problems which prevent women and children from achieving better living conditions. On the basis of these findings, recommendations were formulated for adopting various policies and measures aimed at rural development and improving living conditions for the rural population.

Desk analysis and qualitative research (focus groups and in-depth interviews) on social services for women, youth and children were conducted in four regions in Serbia (Central and Eastern Serbia, Southern Banat on the Danube and the Lower Danube region). Results indicate that overcoming obstacles to access for women and children who live in rural areas to social services requires linking elements from economic, educational, health, social, municipal and other sectors, as well as confronting complex mechanisms of economic decline and social exclusion in rural areas in Serbia.

Recommendations from the Project Report correspond to criteria of the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance in Rural Development (IPARD program). They represent relevant guidelines for the National Plan of Action for Rural Development, as well as all policy creators and implementers whose agenda includes rural development or whose activities significantly impact development of rural communities.