Strengthening Roma civil society as independent and transparent watchdog organisations

Strengthening Roma civil society as independent and transparent watchdog organisations

ERGO members from the Western Balkans, Turkey and the ‘Visegrad countries’ Hungary, Slovakia and Czech Republic met in Brussels on 24-25 November to prepare a new ERGO project that will strengthen Roma civil society as independent and transparent watchdog organisations.

Being transparent and accountable are important prerequisites for the effectiveness of civil society organisations that are taken seriously by their institutional counterparts. It also shows public authorities that civil society take transparency and accountability very seriously and demand the same from the public sector.

With financial support from the International Visegrad Fund and the European Commission, ERGO Network member organizations therefore agreed on joining their efforts and put their thorough expertise together to set up a list of ‘transparency criteria’ and capacitate Roma civil society in their countries in implementing them.

During the meeting, all partners agreed that using transparency criteria would give them more legitimacy, better fundraising opportunities and more trust from both the grassroots level and institutions. They then drew up a list of criteria, divided into the chapters ‘governance’, ‘finance’ and ‘performance’. These include points such as giving access and distributing information about statutes and funding sources of CSOs, clear decision-making structures that divide responsibilities and ensure gender equality in CSOs, as well as the participation of target groups in the development of strategies and goals.  The partners furthermore stressed the importance of open leadership and regular training within the organisation that contribute to a positive performance of the staff, as well as the need not to use ‘dirty money’ coming for example from illegal sources or from companies using child labour.

Transparency also demands a proper and clear communication strategy (both internal and external) that communicates the vision, mission and the long term goals of the organization. If applicable, diversification of funds also contributes to more independence of organisations.

In 2018, ERGO Network will organise a training for trainers on the transparency criteria in order to help their usage and dissemination in the participating countries as well as offer coaching visits to the partner organisations. You will be able to find regular updates on our website.

CLLD Training for Local Action Groups and potential beneficiaries

ERGO member Nevo Parudimos from Romania organised its first training on Community-Led Local Development for Local Action Groups and potential CLLD beneficiaries. The training was held in cooperation with the National Federation of Local Action Groups on 15/16 November 2017 in Tecuci, Romania.

The 40 participants, representing 10 LAGs from the South-East region of Romania, Roma NGOs and Roma from local communities, learned how CLLD can be used for the development and funding of projects targeting Roma communities. Parts of the programme were held for both LAGs and beneficiaries together in order to exchange ideas and create partnerships. During other parts the group split into two in order to focus on the specific needs of both groups.

The training was made possible thanks to the financial support of the European Commission’s EaSI programme through a Framework Partnership Agreement between ERGO Network and DG Employment.

If you would like to read more about ERGO’s work on the CLLD, visit our website.

 

Call for RomaReact Online Competition

“Investing in our future: What work(s) for young Roma?”

DEADLINE EXTENDED!!

Participate, compete, win, travel to Brussels and present your story at ERGO Network’s public event in November!

To win, just follow three easy steps:

  • Share either an inspiring or a challenging story with one image (photo, painting, drawing or graphic), a video or a short story.
  • Upload your entry to the RomaReact platform by midnight, 5th November.
  • Wait to hear the results. If you win, we will see you in Brussels on 26/27 November 2017!

To submit your material, register at https://romareact.org/loginpage/. Then click on +New on the top of the RomaReact website and create a new post to upload your media and/or submit your story.

What is this contest about?

The competition is part of the launch of ERGO Network`s campaign “Investing in our future: What work(s) for young Roma?” to raise awareness of the obstacles young Roma face on the labour market and convince EU decision makers and national governments to invest in Roma youth employment.

The aim of this competition is to hear about striking and inspiring stories of Roma youth employment and to share your experiences with a broader public.

ERGO Network is inviting RomaReact followers to participate in our online competition and the launch of the campaign. We are looking for both inspiring and challenging examples and testimonies in employment. You can use a selection of genres to share your story: edit a video, write an essay, take a photo or draw a graphic.

The contest will close at midnight, Sunday 5th November.

Which stories are we looking for?

Think personal, think creative, think effective:

Share an interesting and inspiring story that had a positive or negative impact on you and/or your community. What support did you get in finding a job? What efforts did you take to get employed? What problems did you face? You can tell us your own story or capture the story of your neighbor, friend, cousin…

If you take part in the competition with an image, don’t forget to write a few lines explaining the image.

Convince the audience that our stories and our voice matter.

Terms and Conditions

Participants

This contest is for young Roma (16 years-35) from a European Union member state.

Materials to be submitted:

  1. One entry per contestant is allowed. Please submit one photo, video, drawing or a short piece of writing.
  2. You need to submit your entry together with a short description (max 100 words) to www.Romareact.org. Additionally, please e-mail them together with your personal details (see annex) to info@ergonetwork.org.

Winner selection and announcement 

The winners in the contest will be selected by the ERGO Network team after the deadline of 31st  October. Two winners will be invited to Brussels to present their story at ERGO Network`s public event on 27th November, before the start of the European Roma Platform. All costs (including travel from an EU member state, a guided city tour, accommodation, food) will be covered.

You warrant and undertake that entries submitted will not infringe intellectual property, privacy or any other right of any third party. You must ensure that any person or persons whose image, video or writing is used in an entry has given valid consent for the use of it or has waived any rights they may have in the material submitted. Failure to adequately demonstrate such consent may result in the entrant’s disqualification and forfeiture of any prize.

By participating, you agree to these terms and conditions and to the decisions of the selection committee, whose decisions are final and binding in all respects.

Further advice, information, assistance: info@ergonetwork.org

You can download here the call as pdf document.

ERGO Summer Academy showcases campaign ideas for Roma youth employment

In ERGO’s Summer Academy, taking place from 26 August to 2 September in Barcelona, a group of outstanding participants from across Europe joined forces to work together on a thematic campaign to raise awareness on Roma youth unemployment. The one-week long ERGO Summer Academy hosted 19 young professionals alongside the team of ERGO Network and guest trainers from Greece and Bulgaria.

The academy invited participants to join as experts from ERGO member organisations, other Roma NGOs and local or national administrations to discuss emerging issues of social exclusion, education and employment, and what a multi-stakeholder agenda for quality education and better employment can achieve regarding Roma youth.

Raising awareness on the plight of Roma youth employment has never been more important: 58% of Roma aged 16 to 24 are not in employment, education or training. At the same time, in countries such as Romania or Bulgaria up to 20% of new labour market entrants are Roma.  The new financial cycle of the European Commission will start in 2021, thus reminding decision-makers on what is at stake is of great importance.

The participants used the Academy to create an awareness raising campaign that will be launched at this year’s EU Roma Platform in Brussels.  The work started with differentiating the terminology and discussing the issues relevant to the context of employment. After hearing experiences and personal stories of participants, the group gained first-hand knowledge on the employment context in Barcelona through the initiatives of `FAGIC`, a Catalonian Roma network. To conclude the learning part of the week, Leonor Rebassa from Amnesty International introduced the group to all to the very details and best practices of thorough campaign planning.

In the second half of the week, innovative ideas for an ERGO youth employment campaign were brought to the table from working groups. In the last two days, it started to be clear what the campaign will look like, and finally, 4 initiatives made it to realization. They will be launched at this year’s European Roma Platform, which will be held in Brussels on 27/28 November on the topic of ‘Transition from Education to Employment’. ERGO’s campaign will focus on antigypsyism and discrimination on the labour market and addresses decision-makers and employers from the perspective of young Roma themselves.

Besides all their hard work, the participants of the event soon acclimatized to the fantastically located venue of Mare de Deu del Coll, and enjoyed mid-summer heat from the very early mornings till late nights that left enough time for networking between ERGO’s members and making new friends. Not only the sea at Barceloneta, but the whole week has been a refreshing experience to all participants.

Advocacy Training in Romania

Between 14 -16 August, the association Center of Resources for Social Inclusion CRIS, ERGO member, organized a training course on ‘Advocacy for combating antigypsyism and discrimination towards Roma’. The training was organized in Sinaia, Romania for ten Roma students and higher education graduates from Prahova County. Today, the ten participants are good friends and well-trained in undertaking advocacy for combating negative attitudes towards Roma in Romania and not only, as they said after the training. All because they understood that if they do not train and do not get involved, tomorrow they can be the next victims.

The training is part of CRIS’ Annual Work Plan 2017 in cooperation with ERGO Network. It has received financial support from the European Union Programme for Employment and Social Innovation “EaSI” (2014-2020).