STRENGTHENING ROMA NGOS AS TRANSPARENT AND INDEPENDENT WATCHDOG ORGANISATIONS

STRENGTHENING ROMA NGOS AS TRANSPARENT AND INDEPENDENT  WATCHDOG ORGANISATIONS

ERGO Network’s new transparency and accountability criteria give recommendations on how grassroots civil society organisations should be governed and managed in order to be reliable and accountable.  Fulfilling the criteria will bring attention to an organisation’s quality work. The set of criteria focuses on governance, financial management and performance.

ERGO Network together with its member organisations – Roma Advocacy and Research Centre (Slovakia), Roma Active Albania (Albania), Slovo 21 (Czech Republic), Autonomia Foundation (Hungary), OTAHARIN (Bosnia and Herzegovina), RROMA (Macedonia), Mladi Romi (Montenegro) and Zero Discrimination (Turkey) – developed a set of transparency and accountability criteria for grassroots organisations with the aim to strengthen civil society organisations. Using the criteria will give more legitimacy, better fundraising opportunities and more trust from both the grassroots level and institutions and ultimately reinforce the power of civil society organizations. Being transparent and accountable are important prerequisites for the effectiveness of civil society that is taken seriously by its institutional counterparts and other partners.

Furthermore, the members of ERGO Network agreed on joining their efforts and putting their thorough expertise together to empower Roma and pro-Roma civil society in their countries in implementing the transparency criteria. For this aim, ERGO Network has developed a board game that leads the players through different steps necessary to become more transparent and accountable. Anyone can download the game and play it by themselves, or invite an ERGO Network facilitator to support them through the process. Besides the offline game, there is also an online self-audit that you can go through to discover how far you are in applying the criteria in your organisation.

Fulfilling the transparency criteria means not only being able to show that Roma and pro-Roma civil society takes these very seriously, but also having the right to demand the same from other stakeholders.

Find out more about the transparency and accountability criteria and download them in several languages: http://ergonetwork.org/transparency/

Do the online audit and know how well your organisation fulfils the transparency and accountability criteria http://ergonetwork.org/transparency/transparency-audit/

‘Dikh he na bister’ presentation at Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre

 

‘Dikh he na bister’ presentation at Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre

On the 5th of September, over 30 invited guests gathered at Pavee Point to hear the experiences of 10 young Irish Travellers and Roma who participated in the Roma Genocide Remembrance Initiative.

This is the first time an Irish delegation had attended the Roma Genocide Remembrance Initiative, which involved a visit to Auschwitz and meeting Holocaust survivors. The trip also gave the participants the opportunity to meet other young Travellers and Roma, and work together in sessions on history, racism, and remembrance.

The participants described their visit to Auschwitz as difficult, and emotional. Bianca Paun, a participant from Kildare said: “When you’re walking there, where people took their last steps and try to feel what they feel – it’s very hard”.

During their time in Poland the participants also heard from two Roma survivors, including Raymond Gureme, who hadn’t spoken about his experience in Auschwitz for 70 years. On August 2nd, the Irish group attended a special Roma Genocide memorial, lighting candles and presenting roses to remember the victims.

The presentation in Pavee Point also involved a question and answer session, and audience members were eager to share their thoughts on the topic, and to ask participants about Auschwitz. Jason Sherlock, a participant from Galway, said that he found the rooms of shoes and glasses at the Auschwitz museum to be the most powerful exhibits. By sharing photos and stories, the group succeeded in raising awareness of the Roma Genocide in Ireland, and inspired the audience to stand up for the human rights of minority groups.

2017 ERGO Network Annual Report

2017 ERGO Network Annual Report

ERGO Network’s annual report for 2017 is now available. Read the  2017 ERGO Annual Report and learn how ERGO Network and  its members introduced and pursued numerous initiatives to fight antigypsyism and to empower Roma in 2017. In addition the annual report 2017 presents the initiatives undertaken by ERGO to ensure networking between, and capacity building of member organisations. The report contains relevant information and graphs on the achievements and progress made to strengthen the Roma community. ERGO Network will definitely keep the wheel rolling to support the implementation of more and better measures for Roma.

Read the  2017 ERGO Annual Report

Call for applications: Study Session on Antigypsyism

Study Session: Knowledge is Power – Strengthening the voices of young people against antigypsyism

7-13 October 2018 – Budapest, Hungary

Are you an anti-racist and human rights activist? Are you a youth worker or a youth leader combatting antigypsyism with young people? Then you should apply to take part in our study session ‘Knowledge is Power: Strengthening the voices of young people against antigypsyism.

When?            7-13 October 2018 (including arrival and departure)
Where?          European Youth Centre, Budapest
Who?              18-30 year olds from Council of Europe member states
Deadline        Sunday 26 August, 23:59 (CET)

The study session is organised by TernYpe International Roma Youth Network and ERGO Network in the framework of the Alliance against Antigypsyism together with the European Youth Centre Budapest of the Council of Europe.

The study session will advance a common understanding of the roots, mechanisms, manifestations and implications of antigypsyism among youth activists so that they can actively contribute to combating it.

The participants will contribute to producing a ‘youth-friendly’, easy-to-read version of the Reference Paper on Antigypsyism that the Alliance against Antigypsyism has developed in 2016.

The study session will introduce participants to the concept of antigypsyism, discuss its manifestations and give the space to develop activities, case studies, counter-strategies and visuals that will foster the understanding of antigypsyism.

Objectives

  • To advance a common understanding of the roots, mechanisms, manifestations and implications of antigypsyism
  • To contribute to the development of a ‘youth-friendly’ version of the reference paper on antigypsyism for better use in youth work, human rights education and advocacy
  • To share approaches of combatting antigypsyism and other forms of racism
  • To experience, develop and test activities that introduce the concept of antigypsyism to empower young people to articulate and fight antigypsyism
  • To further the work of the Alliance against Antigypsyism through education, advocacy, communication and networking activities

Profile of participants

We aim to invite a diverse group of Roma and non-Roma participants from a variety of organisations that are active in their respective (youth) organisations with experience and commitment to combat antigypsyism. We aim to have a wide international outreach and diversity, as well as multiple experiences of activists (grassroots, European, non-formal education, youth participation, advocacy, from general anti-racist and minority organizations).We aim to have a gender-balanced group.

Participants must:

  • be able and committed to act as multipliers in youth work and activism on the theme of combating antigypsyism and other forms of racism.
  • Have some experience in nonformal education and knowledge on antigypsyism or other forms of racism.
  • be motivated to develop their competences in human rights education and to share their experiences with other participants.
  • be motivated to contribute to developing the youth-friendly version of the Reference Paper on Antigypsyism and corresponding tools during the study session.
  • Come with an open-minded and sensitive attitude towards discussing antigypsyism and share related experiences.
  • be aged 18 – 30.
  • be committed to attend for the full duration of the course.
  • be able to work in English.
  • be resident in a member state of the European Cultural Convention of the Council of Europe.

We welcome applications from all candidates who fulfil the specific profile of activities, irrespective of gender, disability, marital or parental status, racial ethnic or social origin, religion belief or sexual orientation.

Costs

The following costs will be reimbursed by the Council of Europe Youth Department:

  • Travel from and to your place of residence
  • Accommodation and meals
  •  Visa costs

There is a participation fee of 50 € per person, which will be deducted from the participant’s travel  reimbursement.

If you are interested to participate, please apply through our online form by 26 August 2018.

Download the call for participants

Questions? Contact Christine Sudbrock from ERGO Network: c.sudbrock@ergonetwork.org or +32 2 893 10 49

 

 

Local Dialogue Meeting in Bijeljina, Bosnia-Herzegovina

Local Dialogue Meeting organised by ERGO Member OTAHARIN

Through ERGO Network’s project Strengthening Roma NGOs as transparent and independent watchdog organisations in the framework of the  Joint initiative to Empower Roma Civil Society in the Western Balkans and Turkey our member OTAHARIN organised a Local Dialogue Meeting with the city administration in Bijeljina on 31 May 2018.  The city was represented by Milan Lazić (Social affairs) and Ljubiša Stanišić (Office for National minorities). From the civil society side, the organisations Otaharin, WA Romkinja and the youth organisation “Senat mladih OMOTE” were present with their representatives Draga Joković, Sabira Hašimović, Fatima Džanić and Mladen Đurić.

Different topics to discuss

A wide range of topics was covered during the intensive meeting between the civil society and local authorities’ representatives:

  • Organization of working group meeting for drafting a Local Action Plan
  • Proposal for renovation of streets in Roma settlements (asphalting and lighting installation)
  • Initiatives of young Roma through support of CARE International (renovation of objects of social vulnerable families)
  • Environmental problems near residential buildings for Roma near the canal Dašnica
  • Problems with documentation of Roma families to solve housing issues
  • Problems with families abusing the facilities they received in terms of renting an apartment for other family
  • Problems with families who received objects for living, but still force children to beg
  • Suggestions for the organisation of a youth camp within the project implemented by Otaharin
The meeting resulted in the following recommendations:
  • Organise a meeting of the working group for reviewing the Local Action Plan with the presence of the Mayor
  • Collect necessary information about the target group and their community in order to establish a plan for solving problems of asphalting and lighting (Streets: Bogdana Zimonjića, Baje Pivljanina, Ilije Garašanina, Vojvode Petra Pojovića i Ratka Perića)
  • In order to solve environmental problems near residential buildings for Roma, it is necessary to find out what the company received on the tender for maintenance
  • Make a call for citizens to donate used furniture, clothes and similar things in order to support social vulnerable families  (joint initiative of Otaharin and city administration)
  • Define relationships in terms of how much and what can be done in case of unregulated housing documents of Roma
  • Define mechanisms for controlling life in buildings built for Roma due to housing problems (non-living and rent to other families) and non-payment of maintenance money – work on changing contracts and rules for obtaining an apartment – include a centre for social work
  • Organise a meeting of the working group for the protection of children to resolve problem of begging.
  • Proposal of cooperation with the armed forces for maintenance of a youth camp in Bijeljina

The meeting was organised with financial support of the International Visegrad Fund and the IPA Civil Society Programme of the European Commisison.

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