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skat » Projects » Building & settlements » Slum-upgrading in Serbia and Kosovo

Slum-upgrading in Serbia and Kosovo

Mandated by HEKS, Skat supports a local NGO in implementing a SDC funded Slum-Upgrading Project in the Serbian Province of Vojvodina. Skat provides methodological and technical expertise in the design and management of dweller driven low budget construction.

The wars in former Yugoslavia have caused massive migration of ethnic minorities within the region and towards Western Europe. While most refugees and Internally Displaces People (IDPs) were integrated in national or international hosting and return programmes, displaced Roma usually ended up in overpopulated peri-urban Roma Slums without basic infrastructure. Although the International Community massively invested in stabilising the South East European economy, the Roma community has remained excluded from the benefits of recent economic growth. Today, ten years after the end of the war, numerous Roma Refugees are being sent back from Western European countries and soon finding themselves in the shanty towns, in the same living conditions as during wartime, and are putting additional stress on the existing Roma Slums.

 Mandated by HEKS, Skat strategically, technically and methodically supports a local NGO in the implementation of a Slum upgrading project, funded by SDC. The project enables slum dwellers to repair and extend their existing houses and to build private basic sanitation facilities (water, toilet, shower, septic tank). Since the existing Roma dwellings are of very heterogeneous quality, the project foresees flexible solutions, for a tailor-made response to the individual needs of each family. For making best use of available funds, the dweller driven construction approach encourages the Roma to maximise their contribution in work and building material. Since Roma traditionally deal with second-hand material, they highly appreciate the opportunity to self-supply used building material. It allows an individual tuning of the comfort level and focusing of the external funds (1,000-1,500 EUR per family) on expensive new material only where the dweller personally wishes to apply it or where it is technically required. In the Pilot Roma Slum “Bangladesh” in Novi Sad, this approach has enabled an enlargement of the housing extensions by 50-100%.

In the meantime, more than a dozen Roma slums and settlements have been upgraded, applying the same approach. The local authorities' involvement and financial contribution increased every year and a Guide for Municipal Authorities for the upgrading of Roma Slums is being finalised in 2013.


Western Balkan
2008 - 2014
Funded by:

HEKS with co-funding by SDC


Roma Resource Centre of EHO in Novi Sad (Serbia)