Peer educators combatting antigypsyism online

Peer educators combatting antigypsyism online in time of a pandemic

– A new internet era for Roma youth will begin soon!

Living in the era of web 2.0, soon to be 3.0 sure has its advantages. Everything that we need, want and desire is just a click away (literally)! However, it is as well a  vivid example of how technologies with a transformative potential such as the Internet bring with them both opportunities and challenges. Opportunities in terms of exercising freedom of expression, and on the other hand the challenges of defending  human dignity online. This being said, we are left with something called Online hate speech.[1]

Having this in mind, ERGO Network and its partners from 10 European countries (Integro Bulgaria, Nevo Parudimos Romania, FAGiC Spain, Romaversitas Hungary, RomanoNet Czech Republic, Roma Active Albania, RROMA North Macedonia, Chiricli Ukraine, Upre Roma Italy, La Voix des Rroms France) are starting to implement the project called PECAO – Peer education to counter antigypsyist hate speech online supported by DG Justice and Google.Org for the next 24 months.

Knowing that hate speech as a manifestation of antigypsyism needs particular attention because of its multiplier effect, where it influences public opinion, fuels tension and paves the way for discrimination and hate crimes, the consortium of the project manages to bring clear objectives to the table:

  1. To reach out to at least 2000 young people in Spain, Hungary, Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Italy, France, North Macedonia and Albania through peer education activities in universities or youth clubs to raise their awareness of the adverse impact of hate speech on Roma and to empower them to recognize and report hate speech online.
  2. To empower 50 young Roma peer educators in 10 countries to monitor hate speech in online media and report cases of hate speech to IT companies, national equality bodies and relevant state institutions to reinforce implementation of anti-discrimination legislation. Their work will lead to national datasets of at least 150 cases, as well as at least 50 reported cases.
  3. To advocate towards national and EU decision-makers for anti-discrimination policies that take into account the online sphere as well as antigypsyism as a bias motivation for hate speech and hate crime.
  4. To use the experiences of peer educators and results of the monitoring to raise awareness of other stakeholders (wider civil society, educational practitioners, young people) of antigypsyist hate speech in online media and the urgency to counteract.

The target group are young Roma peer educators and other young people, as they are primary users of social media and often lack media literacy and critical thinking. Indirectly, the project targets Roma people across Europe who will benefit from reduced hate speech, which impacts negatively on their well-being and their position in society.

Working online enables the partners to be innovative and use peer education to reach a high number of young people, with young Roma themselves being the peer educators. At the same time as educating their peers and raising their awareness of antigypsyist hate speech, they will automatically also act as role models for other young people. The project combines peer education and media monitoring in order to obtain two-fold results: the peer education methodology can achieve a direct change in attitudes and actions of a high number of young people, and the monitoring will contribute to better understanding and a more systemic change of policies through advocacy based on the results.

Having in mind the pandemic COVID-19 that is spreading cross out Europe, the PECAO partners are starting to organize their work online, taking into consideration their well-being and the safety of their community. The main focus this period is utilizing platforms such as ZOOM for online meetings and preparation, setting up the foreseen calls for peer educators and mentors. And for the first time, ERGO will try to host an online Kick-Off meeting and bring in the partners, by having a nice agenda and working plan for a couple of days in April! Updates on how it goes will follow soon!

Meanwhile, many ERGO members are following protocols regarding the pandemic COVID-19, as well as helping the Roma community by sharing information, products they need and by staying organized, safe and well!

[1] Online hate speech is a type of speech that takes place online, generally social media or the internet, with the purpose of attacking a person or a group on the basis of attributes such as race, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, or gender.

Roma youth empowerment trough Rromani language

Roma youth empowerment trough Rromani language

Our partners from Roma Community Centre in Vilinus, Lithuania for the first time ever gather a group of young Roma for 2 days seminar from 2-4 Of December, 2019 with a programme in rromanes on topics such as: discrimination, equality, access to the labor market and empowerment.

The event took part under the frame of Roma platform and was organized by the department of National minorities together with the Public institution Roma Community Center.

ERGO’s policy officer Carmen Tanasie and its member from France La Voix des Rroms, Samir Mile delivered the workshop in rromani language engaging in deconstructing the consequences of social exclusion and came together with the participants to a set of recommendations such as:

  • Roma youth should be consulted by the National Minorities department when issuing calls or implementing activities that includes Roma youth
  • Provide high-level jobs in the public sector for Roma
  • Improve cooperation between young Roma and labor offices
  • Tackle the discrimination in schools and include the Roma history in the school curricula

The young Roma got empowered by the fact that could freely express in their maternal language and asked the organizers to follow organizing seminars and meeting not just for young people but involving   more Roma communities in Lithuania.

Promotion of sustainable gardening and healthy food: training, booklet and e-book Butterfly Developments 2019

Promotion of sustainable gardening and healthy food: training, booklet and e-book
Butterfly Developments 2019

Pro Cseherat had a busy year 2019. It organized several community events and published two publications on sustainable eating and gardening. Pro Cseherat can proudly state that the participants in the programs have become a community.

Garden: chemical-free vegetables for home
In 2019 we continued our garden program in Nagydobos, a small town in one of the poorest areas of Hungary. With our community garden, we help the livelihood and the integration of Roma families living in extreme poverty. Those who join the Butterfly Garden program learn gardening practices throughout the agricultural year, and can take home all the vegetables they produce. Each garden can satisfy the yearly vegetable needs of several families.

Training: healthy and sustainable households
This year, gardener practices have been completed by a series of trainings promoting chemical-free gardening, recycling, healthy eating and household planning. We explained to our gardeners how chemical-free vegetable growing contributes to the sustainability of our planet. During several cozy joint picnics, they learned healthy cooking and preservation techniques. They also learned about composting, waste management and recycling. We even sew reusable shopping bags together. In September we presented our vegetable delicacies (jams, salads, spreads, cakes etc.) with success at the International Pumpkin Festival in Nagydobos. We have also published our trainings in a brochure with tips and recepies that can be used daily to support the everyday sustainable life.
http://www.bffd.hu/tedd-jobba95

E-book: Would you love to love lentils? – Everything about the fabulous pulses
Why are pulses useful for sustainability? How can we integrate them into any kind of diet? What basic nutrients do we get from them? All of this is summarized in one e-book, decorated with wonderful illustrations. The book concludes with a chapter entitled “Creative Kitchen,” which provides tips for readers to create different lentil-pea-bean wonder dishes every single day of the year. The book’s chapters were presented at tasting events throughout the year.
http://www.bffd.hu/szeretned-szeretni-a-lencset-e-konyv93

Women’s economic empowerment – a prerequisite for a life without violence

Women’s economic empowerment – a prerequisite for a life without violence

The Citizens’ Association for the Promotion of Roma Education “Otaharin” in cooperation with the Association of Roma Women are committed to implementing measures for the prevention of gender-based violence. Through the project “Accepting Gender Equality for Better Prosperity for Roma Women and Girls” supported by The Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI), OTAHARIN organized the official launch of the 16 Days of Activism Campaign, followed by youth workshops and training for Roma women representatives.

On 25 November, OTAHARIN organized a meeting with representatives of the city administration, institutions, non-governmental organizations and representatives of the Roma community. On this occasion, Mayor Mićo Mičić supported  the organization in its efforts to prevent gender-based violence through economic empowerment of women.

With this meeting, OTAHARIN officially launched the International Campaign “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence”, which is celebrated annually from 25 November (International Day Against Violence against Women) to 10 December (International Human Rights Day) around the world.

The goals of the campaign are:

  • raising awareness of gender-based violence as a human rights issue at local, national, regional and international levels;
  • strengthening local work to prevent violence against women;
  • creating a clear link between local and international efforts to stop violence against women;
  • showing solidarity with women around the world organized against violence against women;
  • Creating tools to deliver on the promises made to end violence against women

National Grassroots Advocacy Academy in community organizing for women

National Grassroots Advocacy Academy in community organizing for women

Slovo 21 organized a National Grassroots Advocacy Academy in Prague in November. 31 Roma activists and representatives of Roma NGOs participated in the event. They received a training in basic advocacy skills as well as coaching for concrete community work and organizing.  During the meeting the participants also learned more about the phenomenon of antigypsyism, aiming to enable them to better address this issue. Thanks to this series of workshops Roma women gained skills and abilities in advocacy, community work and community organizing and became agents of change. For members of the Roma Women´s Group Manushe, the Grassroots Advocacy Academy was especially useful, as the group plans to improve its advocacy, community work and community organizing in the coming period. At least 6 of these women got motivated and mobilized and will organize community activities in cooperation with other community members to improve living conditions in their communities.

The Grassroots Advocacy Academy was funded by the International Visegrad Fund and the European Commission through projects of ERGO Network.