In front of you is the Annual report for our work during the year of 2021, a year overshadowed by the pandemic caused by COVID-19. It was also marked by the deepened social and healthcare crisis that affected particularly the vulnerable communities.
Our healthcare and social services are aimed primarily at them, taking into consideration their everyday needs, but also challenges that surround them, including those of women living in a violent environment. If we add the intensive hate speech and attacks on the social media from the so-called anti-feminist groups and initiatives against the comprehensive sexuality education, and especially against our organization, our members and staff, then it will not be an overstatement to say that 2021 was undoubtedly a challenging year for us to achieve the goals we had set at its beginning.
Last year was also marked by a number of exceptionally important accomplishments. Together with the Education Development Bureau, we implemented the CSE experimental programme in three primary schools in Macedonia, and the evaluation will show us how the lessons in comprehensive sexuality education can further be integrated in the formal education system. Medical abortion was piloted at the University Gynaecology and Obstetrics Clinic: for the first time in our country, 200 girls and women could feel the benefits from this healthcare service, which proved to be efficient, safe and acceptable.
As part of the working group in the Ministry of Labour and social Policy, we took part in preparing the new Law on the Prevention of Violence and Domestic Violence, which was passed by the Assembly at the beginning of the year and which is very important because it provides for harmonisation of service standards for gender-based violence with the Istanbul Convention recommendations. Moreover, we succeeded in ensuring acknowledgement of comprehensive sexuality education in this Law, as part of the competences of the Ministry of Education and Science in designing primary and secondary education lessons and in organising continuous training for the teachers.
Finally, we would like to thank all our members, associates and donors for giving us their support and for everything they have done for HERA over the last years. We strongly believe that success will not escape us in the year to come. Let us stay healthy and safe!