The Serbian business community responded during the pandemic

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The business community in Serbia has shown a high degree of preparedness and provided support to alleviate the situation caused by the pandemic, Regina de Domentis, UNICEF’s director in Serbia, told Nova Ekonomija.
I must emphasize that at the time of the slowdown in economic activities, business leaders from Serbia showed great solidarity by deciding to direct part of the proceeds to UNICEF and thus support our health system to cope with the pandemic.
Almost a million dollars were collected for the purchase of necessary medical equipment, protective equipment for health workers, and hygiene packages for the most affluent families.
We are especially grateful that the employees of the companies themselves, primarily members of the Digital Serbia Initiative, got involved in collecting donations and showed a high level of solidarity.
Thus, for example, the employees of Nordeus, with the personal donations, with the leadership of Branko Milutinovic and the support of the management of this company, were among the first to start collecting donations for the purchase of respirators.
This initiative was joined by Fi Academy, Raiffeisen Bank, Vojvodjanska Bank, Eco Hellenic, Katena Media, Orion Telecom, Symphony, Mulikom Group, Vega IT Sourcing, Typhoon Hill, Steel Impex, I am not a robot initiative, marketing agency I&F McCann group, EKO Hellenic, Lidl, Mol, Endava, Telenor Foundation, Telegrup, Multicom group, Continental Automotive Serbia.
UNICEF National Ambassador, Ana Ivanovic, was among the first to donate and personally invited her partners and friends to donate as well.
Thus, in a very short period of time, Petit Geneve Petrovic Serbia, the Association of Recyclers of Serbia, EXLRT, Execom, Kalemegdan Development, Prozon responded to her invitation.
Business leaders from Serbia, who do business abroad, gathered associates and contributed to their country with their personal donations. This is the case with Nikola Bozinovic, who initiated Nutanix associates, partners and employees on the other side of the Atlantic, in America and Serbia.
UNICEF and the International Labor Organization are urging governments to step up social protection measures, especially for vulnerable families, inter alia by helping employers not to lay off employees and continue to pay wages.
This has long been more than just a health crisis. This is especially true for vulnerable families and children who are beneficiaries of the social protection system, says De Domentis.
We are talking about the beneficiaries of financial social assistance, child allowance, cash benefits based on disability, as well as those who use services due to problems in family functioning, including due to domestic violence.
It should be said that the crisis can certainly affect the well-being of all those who were on the brink of poverty before the crisis and those who lost their jobs or earnings in this situation.
Ensuring the continuity of social protection measures in the conditions of a pandemic, which requires the application of strict preventive protection measures in order to preserve the health of both users and service providers, is certainly a great challenge for all countries and systems.
We must express our satisfaction with the efforts to ensure the continuity of existing cash benefits and the functioning of key social protection services for the most vulnerable families and children.
The Government of the Republic of Serbia has adopted other one-time economic measures, which is also positive and should be acknowledged. These are all significant efforts aimed at preventing and mitigating the negative effects of the pandemic on the most vulnerable families, especially those with children.
However, it is equally important to think about the secondary, prolonged effects of a pandemic today. UNICEF will continue to provide assistance to the Government to ensure continuity in the provision of services for children and families at multiple risk.
UNICEF pays great attention to monitoring the situation and needs. In order to determine exactly what their needs are now, we are currently conducting a survey that should provide us with indicators on the effects of the pandemic on families with children.
We believe that the results of this survey will provide us with useful insights for shaping certain socio-economic measures, in the context of economic challenges, equal, fair and balanced approach to measures in the period after the immediate crisis, says Regina de Domentis, UNICEF Director in Serbia.

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