Red Cross of Serbia
Established on 25 January 1876, the Red Cross of Serbia is the largest non-profit humanitarian organisation in the Republic of Serbia and one of the oldest National Red Cross Societies worldwide. It is a founder and coordinator of a national advocacy network on ageing HumanaS comprised of older persons’ organisations and other civil society partners working in the area of ageing. It has also initiated and supported the creation of similar networks in neighbouring countries such as Montenegro and North Macedonia.
The Red Cross of Serbia is an affiliate of HelpAge International. Through its associates, the organisation is also a member of the International Network for Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA) and one of its associates is INPEA’s Representative for Europe.
Structure and mission
Currently the Red Cross of Serbia has 183 municipal branches and two provincial branches, covering the whole territory of Serbia with its network, ensuring its activities can reach every community and that no one is left behind.
The mission of the Red Cross of Serbia is to alleviate human suffering. This includes providing support to vulnerable population in natural, ecological and other disasters, as well as in armed conflicts, saving lives and preserving people’s health and mental health. The Serbian organisation also disseminate information on international humanitarian law, acting preventively and educationally with citizens in the areas of healthcare and social welfare, improving humanitarian values in the society and, when needed, providing social care and shelter.
Skills and knowledge in the field of ageing
The Red Cross of Serbia is active in service delivery as well as in research and advocacy activities at national, regional and global level. The organisation works to empower older persons to take on responsibility and decisive action in matters that affect them directly.
Services for older persons
The Red Cross of Serbia has a long running, volunteer-based home care programme which supports older persons to live in their preferred environment. This programme seeks to decrease the need for institutional assistance and motivate older persons in fully using their physical and mental potential. It was over the years expanded to more dynamic forms such as self-help groups, which involve some 400 older persons and are organised in urban and rural communities. Through this programme many older persons have been energised and inspired to transition from receiving support to being active in providing support themselves. One of the biggest successes of the programme is the high percentage of older volunteers active in it and the self-help groups acting not only as mutual support groups but also as local advocacy initiatives taking on a variety of local issues. During the COVID-19 epidemic, the self-help groups quickly evolved into telephone-circle support groups, showing their potential for adaptability.
Research on ageing
Aware that evidence-based advocacy is the best way to work toward lasting change, the Red Cross of Serbia has implemented numerous research studies in cooperation with researchers of different profiles over the past decade. This research covers a wide range of topics, looking into ageing in cities, rural areas, social inclusion and human rights of older persons, elder abuse and violence against older persons and older women specifically, digital exclusion of older persons, informal caregivers and intergenerational solidarity, exchange and cooperation. The published research reports serve as evidence for advocacy at national level, and for influencing public policy.
The Red Cross works with decision makers alongside older persons to facilitate their access to human rights and necessary service.
At global level the Red Cross of Serbia participates in the main processes related to ageing, such as the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA), Open Ended Working Group on Ageing (OEWG), Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and Ageing, and advocating for adoption of the New UN Convention on the Rights of Older Persons.
An expert from the Red Cross of Serbia is a member of the Regional Civil Society Engagement Mechanism (RCEM) for the SDG / Agenda 2030 process of the European and North American region. She represents older persons in this context, ensuring their capacities are recognised and their voice presented.
At national level the Red Cross of Serbia participated in the development of different national level strategies and advocated for changes in legislation in favour of improving the quality of life of older persons. Older persons themselves are always included in the advocacy activities so that their own voice is heard when arguing for change.
Services for older persons
The Red Cross of Serbia has also been active in the region in working on and coordinating EU-supported projects such as “Access to Human Rights of Older persons”, “Taking Action on Social Inclusion of Older Persons”, “Empowerment of older women: preventing violence by challenging social norms in Serbia and Austria”, “Addressing and preventing care needs through innovative community care centres” and “Strengthening resilience of Older Persons and Persons with Disabilities during COVID-19 and future disasters”.
Added value of being a member of AGE
The Red Cross of Serbia hopes to access the wide spectrum of experience and good practices accumulated among AGE members. The organisation looks forward to new opportunities for cooperation, joint advocacy and projects, but also to contributing with its own experience and expertise on research and advocacy. One of the goals of the Red Cross of Serbia is also
to intensify its advocacy for the new UN Convention on the Rights of Older Persons.
Natasa Todorovic, MPH
Health Programme Manager
Dr Milutin Vracevic, MPH
Health Programme Manager
Become a member
Given the great diversity present in older age, we want our network to be as inclusive and representative as possible!