Social inclusion of Roma in rural areas through CLLD process
Better integration of Roma people in rural areas is not only a social, but also a demographic and economic issue. The European Roma Grassroots Organization (ERGO Network) has been working actively to use bottom-up/ partnership-based approaches (such as LEADER/CLLD) as a tool to engage Roma people more actively in shaping the future of their rural areas.
CLLD can offer opportunities for Roma communities to participate in developing and implementing Local Development Strategies (LDSs). From case studies we conducted in 2014, however, we know that Roma involvement is not obvious. Also, the monitoring and evaluation of LDSs mostly takes a narrow quantitative approach, neglects the perspectives of beneficiaries and fails to analyse why Roma communities very often hardly benefit from them.
ERGO Network’s Quality Audit addresses these shortcomings. The Quality Audit is a tool to involve Roma communities in the monitoring of CLLD, which at the same time strengthens their voice in the process, and to evaluate the quality of LDSs, both in terms of participation and results. The Quality Audit has two aims:
- To assess the quality of CLLD local development strategies;
- To empower local groups and create/strengthen accountability mechanisms at local level.
The Quality Audit provides data for shadow monitoring and – as it is a multi-year effort – also the opportunity to follow the process from start to finish. It will thus allow us to formulate recommendations for the next programming period.
Secondly, the Quality Audit strengthens the position of Roma communities at local level and empowers local activists. It introduces a comparative measure for how Local Action Groups (LAGs) perform in each phase of the CLLD process. By sharing the outcomes, activists and local NGOs stand stronger in their negotiations or their participation in the CLLD process. Conducting the QA also enhances the knowledge of communities and activists of the process, which further strengthens their position. The QA also evaluates LAGs and LDSs against some of the formal criteria set for CLLD by the European Commission: it thus strengthens accountability mechanisms at local level.
The Quality Audit exists alongside the ERGO Network Local Scorecard: this is an online tool where local activists can rate how well their locality is doing in terms of Roma inclusion. The QA is a much more in-depth evaluation focusing specifically on CLLD, providing a deeper level of analysis. The tools are complementary however; activists conducting the QA can also use the Local Scorecard – which gives a less in-depth, but also more general picture of the state of Roma integration in their locality.
The first synthesis report of the Quality Audit in 2016 will soon be published by ERGO Network.
Here you can download overviews of the participating organizations: