CESI – Center for Education, Counseling and Research is established on 8th March 1997 - International Women's Day, in response to problems of the violation of human rights, in particular women's and minority rights, nationalism, militarisation, and the deterioration of economic standards in the post-war period. Members of several women's and peace initiatives founded it, all of which have many years of professional experience working with women war survivors. Many volunteers and activists contribute to development and achievement of our goals and activities.
We were conducting varios activities in Croatia, and particularly we were active in geografically neglected areas affected by war, in local communities. In Western Slavonia we worked on project "Women to Women" and organized activities for women and also initiatied establishment of Center for youth in Pakrac. Experiences gained in this work were foundation for further advancement and realisation of activities for women and youth.
In 1997 we have started with new projects in Okučani and Vojnić with the aim to ensure support to women in local communities and economic empowerment through organising courses and education, which can increase their chances for employment (typewriting courses, computer skills, English language course) which were attended by 300 participants.
Various lectures were organised for youth: on drug and alcohol abuse and contraception, and for women on family planning, women's health, stress, nutrition, hormones and third age problems.
Women in Vojnić expressed their interest to organise and establish women's group, and CESI organised workshops on communications skills, organisational development and leadership skills. Later women registered and founded their organisation.
Project for women and youth from Roma community was organised in one settlement in Zagreb, and activities were: literacy courses, computer courses and lectures on women's health, hygiene, contraception and social rights. CESI worked with a group of Roma women to empower them and identify potential Roma leaders who will continue to work on improvement of Roma women's status in society. In 1999 Cesi helped establishment of the first Roma women's group in Croatia "Better Future".
Members of CESI have participated in foundation and empowerment of many local multi-ethnic women's groups in war devastated areas and economically disadvantaged. Women's problems were manifold: unemployment, increased domestic violence, and multiethnic turbulence.
Vast number of lectures on women's health was organised for more then 4000 women in Croatia.
Educational project aimed for civil initiatives helped women's groups in Pakrac, Rijeka, Zagreb, Knin, Karlovac, Vojnić, Vukovar, Gvozd, Sisak, Dvor, Vinkovci; Petrinja, and Benkovac. We have organised workshops on communication skills, conflict-resolution skills, advocacy, organisational development, strategic and operational planning, financial management, leadership skills, teamwork, supervision and consultation.
Several conferences were organised: in cooperation with Roma women's organisation "Better Future" and Open Society Institute international conference "The Rights and Status of Roma Women in Countries in Transition" was held in Zagreb in June 2000; conference "What Can We Learn from our Experiences" for rural women was held in Topusko in June 2003; and "Realisation of Gender Equality on Local Level" was held in Pula in April 2005.
We have realised different forms of cooperation with local governments: working premises and organisation and participation in public discussion and workshops.
Psychosocial aid for girls through individual and group counseling was organised in children's homes.
In March 1999, our first publication was published – educational manual on violence against women and children "No excuse for violence against women", sponsored by UNIFEM. Other publications followed and more information can be found in Publishing.
CESI TRIBUNELA – our magasine published in 10 issues (each in 500 copies). It contained information about our work and work of other organisations, and women's issues in Croatia (Women and New Technologies, Right to be Different, Social Rights and Women, Women and Media, Economic Status of Women).
In the implementation of program - training for trainers on gender issues and sexualities, we have realsied cooperation with huge number of secondary schools, with the stete institututions and local government.
We are organising educational program for secondary school professors for the implementation of the program "Building Gender Awareness", as well as for young educators. This education in included in the Catalogue of Institute for Education of RH, for the year 2004.
On-line counselling through web page "SEZAM – Sexual Education for Youth" (SEZAM is focused on sexuality, reproductive health and on identification of dating violence). Young people have possibility of using e-mail to ask questions, which are answered by experts. During 2005, we have answered about 360 questions on contraception, sexually transmitted infections, psychological aspects of sexuality and gender-based violence, and web had about 28 000 visits.
Within the education we have conducted numerous lectures, seminars, round tables, forums and conferences for the representatives of various institutions, NGOs, political affairs and profit sector.
Along with all this we have been active in the development of our organisation, its structure, continuous education of our staff and members, and equipping of library. You can read more about our current activities on our web site.