In accordance with the general aims of the BIM-FV project on Social Inclusion and Human Rights in Macedonia, a Baseline Study on Poverty and Social Exclusion in Macedonia, Local Social Problems and Needs was elaborated and published. The objective of the Baseline Study was to assess the social needs and problems of the impoverished and socially-excluded communities in the selected municipalities, thus to provide methodological instruments that supported drafting a policy document on social inclusion, social protection and poverty reduction in the selected municipalities.
The findings of the Baseline Study showed that despite the changes in the legislation, the municipal functions in the area of social protection are still underdeveloped in most of the municipalities. However, the Law on Social Protection from 2009 introduced an element that binds the municipalities to relate their social programs with the strategic programs of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy (MLSP) thus in the coming period, it is expected that the municipal activities in the area of social protection will increase.
The consequence of the abovementioned situation is a poorly developed
network of social services in the municipalities in Macedonia. The access to certain social services is provided in the legislation, yet other legal or administrative obstacles deny it. Moreover, the social services at local level are often established without prior and appropriate analysis of the situation, of the local social problems and needs assessment. As a result, on one hand, the social beneficiaries are only passive users of the system of protection while on the other, certain groups of the population face multiple social problems without access to social services because they are already socially excluded.
Therefore, the Baseline Study researched the ideas of the respondents for overcoming the identified social problems, as well as the social relations and forms of mutual influence, and the forms of inclusion/exclusion of the impoverished and socially-excluded communities in the selected municipalities.