THERE IS A NEED FOR A MAPPING OF LOCAL ROMA COMMUNITIES!

THERE IS A NEED FOR A MAPPING OF LOCAL ROMA COMMUNITIES!

Our member, Center of Resources for Social Inclusion CRIS from Romania, organized in Ploiesti, on 18.10.2018 and 31.10.2018, two meetings with the representatives of 10 Local Action Groups (LAG) from South-Muntenia and South-East Regions and of 2 newly established Urban Local Action Groups from Ploiesti and Campina, within the framework of the Annual Work Program 2018, supported by the European Commission, the Program for Social Innovation and Employment.

The aim of the meetings was to strengthen the cooperation between Roma civil society from local level and LAGs in regards to accesing, implementing and monitoring of measures affecting Roma communities in the Local Development Strategies (LDS).

The handbook on Training for local stakeholders and Local Action Groups teams on CLLD and how to increase the access the funds available in LEADER program for Roma developed by Nevo Parudimos, another member of ERGO from Romania, was presented to participants and it was considered to be useful for the implementation of the LDSs.

While improvements have been done since last year’s meetings with the LAGs, by having Roma communities from local level and especially the urban marginalized communities from Ploiesti and Campina included in the LDSs, through specific measures, more needs to be done according also to the representatives of LAGs.

For example, the Urban LAGs mentioned they had to reffer to the official number of Roma in the two cities according to the lates census in 2016, when they developed the strategy. As this number is obviuolsy lower than the realilty, the measures targeting Roma in the strategy could have been more than only one or maximum two as it is now.

Therefore one of the main conclusions of the meetings was the need for a mapping of the local Roma communities to be recognized, assumed by each ministry, and to be taken into account in the future financial allocations, with Roma among the target groups.

Study Session ‘Knowledge is Power – Youth Understanding Antigypsyism’

Study Session ‘Knowledge is Power – Youth Understanding Antigypsyism’

A study session “ Knowledge is Power  – Youth Understanding Antigypsyism” was organized by ERGO Network and TernYpe International Roma Youth Network in cooperation with the European Youth Center Budapest of the Council of Europe from 7  to 13 October 2018.  During this study session, 20 Romani and Non-Romani young people came together to gain a deeper understanding of what antigypsyism is through different means of portraying elements of antigypsyism. The aim of the study session was to contribute to the development of a youth-friendly version of the reference paper on antigypsyism that can be understood by all. The participants had the chance to be creative and work together to comprehend, interpret and shorten some parts of the aforementioned reference paper.  Afterwards they could present the outcomes and outputs of these working groups. What was really interesting and praiseworthy noticing was the eagerness of the group to participate in the production of this exciting publication, which will be available soon.

The study session started with getting to know each other in order to get comfortable with one another, since antigypsyism is a very sensitive theme and the youth group consisted of  a diverse group of young people such as the Roma youth, travelers and non – Roma participants. Some of these youngsters were students at universities and some were already working for an NGO or had just started to run their own NGO. One thing they had in common was their experience with discrimination and realizing that antigypsyism has several stages.

In the last two days, the working groups were divided according to different themes. There were four themes; case studies, counter strategies, visuals and non – formal education. The participants from the case studies group found cases related to antigypsyism from different countries (eg. sterilization of Romani women). The group on counter strategies prepared some strategies how to combat antigypsyism on the basis of what they have learnt throughout the week. The group on visuals prepared very interesting material on how the “youth-friendly” version on antigypsyism could look like. And the group for non – formal education prepared detailed workshops whereby youth could learn about this theme.

 

A great deal of work was done by all the participants of the study session. The inputs were of a great importance and will further be used for drafting the youth friendly version of the reference paper

The European Pillar of Social Rights and European Semester as tools for delivering Social Europe

The European Pillar of Social Rights and European Semester as tools for delivering Social Europe  

On 2 October, the European Commission’s DG Employment together with the European Centre of Expertise (ECE) in the field of Labour Law, Employment and Labour Market Policies organised a reflection with civil society on the European Pillar of Social Rights and the European Semester.

Through ERGO Network’s Annual Work Programme RISE (Roma Included in Social Europe), ERGO Network closely follows the European Semester process as a possible tool to foster the social inclusion and poverty reduction of Roma in the EU, with a special focus on the five countries with the highest Roma population  – Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia and Czech Republic.

ERGO Network Director Jamen Gabriela Hrabanova presented ERGO’s work in this area and pointed out the great discrepancies between the poor living situation of Roma in these countries and the attention Roma inclusion receives in the European Semester. Czech Republic, for example, is under the infringement procedure for segregation of Roma children in education, while this topic is not anymore included in the Czech country-specific recommendations.  Also Roma employment is not found among the CSRs in any of our target countries, even though Roma unemployment – and particularly youth unemployment – remains extremely high. Around 64% of Roma aged 16 to 24 are not in education, employment and training according to research by the Fundamental Rights Agency – a fact that should be reflected in the European Semester and the European Pillar of Social Rights, but that does not attract any special attention in mainstream EU policies.

ERGO Network chair Stano Daniel and ERGO Network member Katalin Nagy added insights from the Roma grassroots in Hungary and Slovakia to the discussion in order to stress the importance of mainstreaming Roma inclusion in European policies, if the EU really wants to deliver on a Social Europe.

TRANSITION FROM EDUCATION TO EMPLOYMENT FOR ROMA YOUTH – A Key step in Roma Inclusion

TRANSITION FROM EDUCATION TO EMPLOYMENT FOR ROMA YOUTH – A Key step in Roma Inclusion

 

On 25-26 September, ERGO Network policy officer Carmen Tanasie took part in an international expert Seminar of the Council of Europe Ad hoc Committee of Experts on Roma and Traveller Issues (CAHROM), focusing on the transition from education to employment for Roma youth.

Despite the efforts to expand and improve education for Roma children over the years, as many as 50% of Roma children in Europe fail to complete primary education and only a quarter complete secondary education. Participation in education drops considerably after compulsory education where only 15% of young Roma adults have completed upper-secondary general or vocational education. Without compulsory education completion, many young Roma are unable to meet the basic requirements for vocational education programmes and therefore to find employment. On average 63% of Roma aged 16 to 24 are consequently not in work, education or further training, and 72% of Roma women.  

This year’s expert seminar under the Croatian Presidency of the Council of Europe followed up on the recommendations brought forward by the 4th meeting of the Council of Europe Dialogue with Roma and Traveller civil society of 2017, with a focus on vocational education and training. The different panels discussed, among others, second chance educational programmes for school drop-outs, social enterprises as an opportunity for young Roma and travellers, certification of professional skills and reach out of EU programmes for NEEET towards Roma.

Carmen Tanasie presented ERGO Network’s research on Roma youth employment ‘What work(s) for Roma, with a special focus on discussing the question: How successful is the “Youth Guarantee” programme in reaching and creating meaningful opportunities for young Roma? ERGO’s research has shown that most young Roma have never heard of the Youth Guarantee, and  are not offered meaningful options for further education or training by the Public Employment Services. She brought forward ERGO’s recommendations on better targeting of the Youth Guarantee towards those hardest to reach so that young Roma can also benefit from EU programmes.

More information on ERGO’s youth employment work: http://ergonetwork.org/our-work/monitoring/youth-employment/

Realising the rights of Roma women in Ukraine

Realising the rights of Roma women in Ukraine

On 17-18 October, ERGO Network director Gabriela Hrabanova spoke at a conference on ‘Realising the rights of Roma women in Ukraine’, organised by UN Women in cooperation with ERGO Network member Roma Women Fund Chiricli.

The conference brought together Ukrainian Members of Parliament, government representatives and members of the judiciary with local decision-makers, MEPs, UN officials, civil society organisations and grassroots Roma women to discuss the multiple discriminations of Roma women and provide recommendations for the elimination of discrimination.

According to UN Women, the estimated 100,000 – 200,000 Roma women are the most socially excluded and marginalized group in Ukraine. They are discriminated for being Roma, for being women and for being poor.  Roma women have limited access to education, health care, do not participate in public and political life and live under constant threat to their security. These problems become even more severe through the lack of ID documents – in some areas of Ukraine only 15% of Roma have passports, a situation that obstructs them to access social services, education and official employment.

“In our work with Roma activists in Ukraine, we sometimes feel their fear they cannot have an impact. Roma rights activists should not feel isolated. A great number of experts and activists from the around the world, as well as from Ukraine, are present in the Parliament today, to support Roma activists and to build a network which can be empowering, and strengthen our joint advocacy efforts” – Anastasia Divinskaya, Representative of UN Women Ukraine.

ERGO Director Gabriela Hrabanova stressed that mainstreaming gender equality alone is not enough, there needs to be a special focus on empowering Roma women and to include them in designing strategies targeting them, so they are able to fully participate in society.

The participants gave gender-specific recommendations to national, regional and local authorities to address the pressing needs of Roma women and to ensure their equal rights and opportunities.  They should inform the new approach of the current and future legislation or policies that promote rights of Roma.

Photo: UN Women/Volodymyr Shuvayev