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Help in Montenegro
HELP - Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe opened its office in Montenegro's capital, Podgorica, in April 1999 during the height of the crisis in Kosovo. 1999 was a tumultuous year for humanitarian organizations working in Montenegro. Benefi-ciary profiles and numbers changed dram-atically, from a peak influx of over 84,000 Kos Albanian IDPs in May, to their sudden and massive return in July, followed by a second influx of Serbian, Montenegrin, and Roma IDPs as a result of continued unrest in Kosovo.  

Internally, the socio-economic and political context of the Republic was equally turbulent. With substantial amounts of aid flowing into the Republic, the focus of the humanitarian community widened to include the needs of Montenegro's social cases: social welfare recipients, institutionalized individuals, and others who are unable to provide for themselves. Estimates of the number of social cases in Montenegro range from 55,000 to well over 200,000, with the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare estimating the number of those in need of assistance to be more than ten times the number actually receiving assistance. From the start of its operations in Montenegro until May 2001 HELP provided a wide range of humanitarian assistance such as food, hygienic items and the like.

Later on HELP adjusted its programmes to the developments and needs in the country. After the initial phase that had focused on the Kosovar displaced subsequent programmes aimed at supporting displaced persons from Kosovo, refugees from the wars in Croatia and Bosnia and Hercegovina as well as the socially disadvantaged groups in Montenegro. The changing needs also required a change in HELP's programmes. Humanitarian emergency aid was replaced by programmes aiming at rehabilitation and self-reliance (for further details: link to project list).

Rehabilitation projects were geared towards improving the housing situation of displaced persons and refugees and also included some of Montenegro's social cases both in private accomodation and collective centers. On the other hand rehabilitation focused on the repair of public buildings such as kindergartens, schools and libraries. The latter programmes had become possible through funding provided by the German government for the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe: public buildings were repaired in the cities of Ulcinj and Kotor. The basis of this support was the project partnership with the German towns of Kehl am Rhein and Wülfrath as the Stability Pact had stipulated closer contacts between the people of Europe and those in Sebia and Montenegro. Being present in Montenegro HELP could greatly facilitate the contacts between Kotor and Kehl am Rhein as well as between Ulcinj and Wülfrath. HELP continues this role as mediator and is about to implement another programme in Ulcinj where it will supply the newly founded music school with much needed instruments. It is hoped that the partnerships with the German towns will develop into fully fledged city partnership arrangements.

The start of HELP's self-reliance programme in summer 2001 is an important landmark away from traditional humanitarian assistance towards longer- term economic rehabilitatiion/development assistance. A feasibility study commissioned by HELP in spring 2001 had already shown that new job opportunities and own income generation were the main route for improving the socio-economic status of IDP, refugee and social cases households in Montenegro. In the second half of 2001 HELP provided more than 250 IDPs, refugees and social cases with material inputs that allowed them to start their own small business activities - and thus providing them with an alternative to further dependence on humanitarian assistance. The programme was a huge success and HELP to date strifes to continue this programme.

June 2002 saw the start of HELP's communal infrastructure programme in Podgorica. Under this programme the main sewage collector will be built linking two settlements with hitherto mainly illegally built houses to Podgorica's sewage system. The project comprises the legalisation of land tenure thus providing longterm durable housing solutions for many of the settlements IDP and refugee households. At the same time HELP carries out a feasibility study for an area-upgrading scheme for the two settlements focusing on an extension of infrastructure, provision of housing improvement loans, and the generation of an estimated additional 1,000 housing plots (through "re-blocking") for use by other locally needy families and refugees, for which the project will provide building materials packages. In regularising the land layout, the project will effectively protect environmentally sensitive areas, such as drinking water wells and woodlands (which are currently being encroached upon by the irregular settlement patterns). The beneficiary families will purchase their plots from the municipality through an instalment payment scheme. Building materials will be provided on credit with long-term repayment options.

HELP will continue to play a very active role in all aspects that are suitable to improve the life of Montenegrin citizens, IDPs and refugees alike in the country. HELP acknowledges that it would not have been in a position to provide the assistance to Montenegro without the support of its international donors: the Humanitarian Aid Office of the European Union, Italian ARCOBALENO, the German Foreign Ministry and the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development. Among HELP's international partners are also to be named the German towns of Kehl am Rhein and Wülfrath as well as the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe.

Where feasible HELP seeks the cooperation of local partners for the implementation of its programmes; recently HELP has cooperated with the Society for the Protection of Animals and the Public Utilities Company (recycling programme). The construction of communal infrastructure in Podgorica is done together with the city of Podgorica which has at the same time taken responsibility in funding parts of the programme.

The foundation

HELP – help to selfhelp is a German non-governmental charity organisation duly registered with the courts of law in Bonn . In the wake of the war in Afghanistan and the hereby caused refugee crises Members of Parliament of all parties represented in the German parliament and other distinguished personalities founded HELP in July 1981. HELP started its work by providing humanitarian assistance for Afghan refugees having fled to Pakistan . After the very first years of its existence HELP started to continuously expand its humanitarian work to other countries. Aid is given regardless of the race, creed or nationality of the recipients and without adverse distinction of any kind. Aid priorities are calculated on the basis of need alone.

HELP today

Meanwhile HELP has enlarged its activities and is nowadays operational worldwide with current focus on Bosnie-Herzegovina, Kosovo , Turkey , Zambia and Nicaragua . HELP is engaged in emergency assistance as well as in rehabilitation and development projects. Whenever possible we are linking emergency aid with selfhelp. It is our aim to encourage the efforts made by the communities affected by catastrophes and misery in order to have them improve their living circumstances themselves. For this reason we are closely cooperating with indigenous partners and NGOs knowing that these people are best familiar with local conditions, culture and needs. Thus we are complementing local efforts and provide external assistance when needed. With our projects we are not only covering immediate humanitarian needs, but we are fighting the causes as well thus aiming at durable solutions. Trying to work most effectively we do of course coordinate our projects with national and international organisations.

Project examples

Emergency assistance for earthquake victims in Turkey, rehabilitation and reconstruction programmes in Bosnie-Herzegovina and Kosovo, demining and mine-awareness programmes in Bosnie-Herzegovina and Kosovo, social services in favour of old and disadvantaged people in Bosnie-Herzegovina, assistance for refugees returning to Bosnie-Herzegovina, aid for people having contracted AIDS and in Zambia rehabilitation programmes for the victimes affected by the hurricane "Mitch" in Central America.

Funding

For our projects and programmes we count on public donations. On the other hand we rely on governmental, European and third parties' funding. For example: the German Foreign Office, the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO) and other and European Commission offices.

Montenegro

HELP opened its office in Montenegro 's capital, Podgorica, in April 1999 during the height of the crisis in Kosovo. 1999 was a tumultuous year for humanitarian organizations working in Montenegro . Beneficiary profiles and numbers changed dramatically, from a peak influx of over 84,000 Kosovar Albanian IDPs in May, to their sudden and massive return in July, followed by a second influx of Serbian, Montenegrin, and Roma IDPs as a result of continued unrest in Kosovo. From the start of its operations in Montenegro until May 2001 HELP provided a wide range of humanitarian assistance such as food, hygienic items and the like. Later on HELP adjusted its programmes to the developments and needs in the country. After the initial phase that had focused on the Kosovar displaced subsequent programmes aimed at supporting displaced persons from Kosovo, refugees from the wars in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as the socially disadvantaged groups in Montenegro. The changing needs also required a change in HELP's programmes. Humanitarian emergency aid was replaced by programmes aiming at rehabilitation and self-reliance (for more details link to project list).

Rehabilitation projects were geared towards improving the housing situation of displaced persons and refugees and also included some of Montenegro 's social cases both in private accommodations and collective centers. On the other hand rehabilitation focused on the repair of public buildings such as kindergartens, schools and libraries. The latter programmes had become possible through funding provided by the German government for the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe : public buildings were repaired in the cities of Ulcinj and Kotor. The basis of this support was the project partnership with the German towns of Kehl am Rhein and Wülfrath as the Stability Pact had stipulated closer contacts between the people of Europe and those in Serbia and Montenegro . Being present in Montenegro HELP could greatly facilitate the contacts between Kotor and Kehl am Rhein as well as between Ulcinj and Wülfrath. HELP continues this role as mediator and is about to implement another programme in Ulcinj. It is hoped that the partnerships with the German towns will develop into fully-fledged city partnership arrangements.

The start of HELP's self-reliance programme in summer 2001 is an important landmark away from traditional humanitarian assistance towards longer- term economic rehabilitation/development assistance. A feasibility study commissioned by HELP in spring 2001 had already shown that new job opportunities and own income generation were the main route for improving the socio-economic status of IDP, refugee and social cases households in Montenegro . In the second half of 2001 HELP provided more than 250 IDPs, refugees and social cases with material inputs that allowed them to start their own small business activities – and thus providing them with an alternative to further dependence on humanitarian assistance. The programme was a huge success and was resumed in 2003.

June 2002 saw the start of HELP's communal infrastructure programme in Podgorica. Under this programme the main sewage collector was built linking two settlements with hitherto mainly illegally built houses to Podgorica's sewage system. The project comprised the legalisation of land tenure thus providing long-term durable housing solutions for many of the settlements IDP and refugee households. At the same time HELP carried out a feasibility study for an area-upgrading scheme for the two settlements focusing on an extension of infrastructure, provision of housing improvement loans, and the generation of an estimated additional 1,000 housing plots (through “re-blocking”) for use by other locally needy families and refugees, for which the project will provide building materials packages. In regularising the land layout, the project will effectively protect environmentally sensitive areas, such as drinking water wells and woodlands (which are currently being encroached upon by the irregular settlement patterns). The beneficiary families will purchase their plots from the municipality through an instalment payment scheme. Building materials will be provided on credit with long-term repayment options.

HELP will continue to play a very active role in all aspects that are suitable to improve the life of Montenegrin citizens, IDPs and refugees alike in the country. HELP acknowledges that it would not have been in a position to provide the assistance to Montenegro without the support of its international donors: the Humanitarian Aid Office of the European Union, Italian ARCOBALENO, the German Foreign Ministry and the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development. Among HELP's international partners are also to be named the German towns of Kehl am Rhein and Wülfrath as well as the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe. Where feasible HELP seeks the cooperation of local partners for the implementation of its programmes; recently HELP has cooperated with the Society for the Protection of Animals and the Public Utilities Company (recycling programme). The construction of communal infrastructure in Podgorica is done together with the city of Podgorica, which has at the same time taken responsibility in funding parts of the programme.

In 2003 HELP implemented a major housing project 'Construction of 950 square meter living space for Serbian refugees in Podgorica' with financial assistance from the German Foreign Ministry. 24 new apartments were built for Serbian refugees in order to provide long-term and durable housing solutions for them and allow them to fully integrate into the local society. With the completion of construction of a primary school in Tuzi HELP could in 2003 also continue its communal infrastructure programme thus providing much needed educational facilities for the Albanian minority in this community.

Finally income-generating activities, the crucial element of HELP's self-reliance programme in Montenegro were continued. 90 micro-businesses received HELP's assistance between May and November 2003. Humanitarian assistance was provided to some 4.500 persons during the winter period. Winterization assistance included basic food, ovens, hygienic items as well as firewood, coal and heating oil for residents of collective centers.

Finally income-generating activities, the crucial element of HELP's self-reliance programme in Montenegro were continued. 90 micro-businesses received HELP's assistance between May and November 2003. Humanitarian assistance was provided to some 4.500 persons during the winter period. Winterization assistance included basic food, ovens, hygienic items as well as firewood, coal and heating oil for residents of collective centers.
 
 
Account for donations
Konto 2 4000 3000
Commerzbank Köln
(BLZ 370 800 40)
  DZI Siegel  
SWIFT-BIC: DRES DE FF 370
IBAN: DE4737080040024000300
 
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