Local dialogue meeting, Bijelo Polje

A local dialogue meeting under the project “Strengthening Roma NGOs as transparent and independent watchdog organisations” was organised in Bijelo Polje on 8th May 2018. in cooperation with local NGO Klub kulture and coordinated by NGO Young Roma, partner of ERGO Network in the project funded by the Visegrad Fund.

The aim of the local dialogue was to discuss the issues of the community with Roma and the representatives of the local authorities. The meeting discussed the results, extracted good practices used by the municipalities and provided ideas on future joint initiatives.

Recommendations from the meeting:

  • Increase the level of transparency of local municipalities in the process of allocation of funds (to publish all information – public call, public and final decision, total score lists as well as individual score lists)
  • Local authorities in charge of implementing policies related to social inclusion of the Roma should cooperate intensely, in an organised and structured way with NGOs dealing with the issues related to the protection of Roma’ rights. Local authorities should provide continued funding of joint activities with NGOs, in line with the Strategy.
  • Local action plan is in the process of development and it should be made in close cooperation with community representatives and local NGOs.
  • It is necessary to provide for adequate quality of education and care for all Roma children, primarily through the intensification of additional lessons (language learning and learning backlogged subject matter) with the help of teaching assistants.
  • It is necessary to work more intensely on raising awareness about the importance of education and removing the barriers between Roma children and children from the majority population
  • Introduce mediators to all schools attended by members of Roma populations. It is necessary to additionally train mediators and organise their work so that they can help schools update lists of children to be enrolled with schools as well as to regularly keep track of the risks, contact parents, schools and social welfare centres.
  • Vocational training for Roma should be designed on local level to combine the needs of the labor market and the demands for skills and knowledge of Roma.
  • Particular attention should be paid to the adequate employment of Roma in local institutions
  • Funds for solving the housing problems of Roma should be urgently taken into consideration.
  • The housing programs implemented for Roma on local level have to ensure sustainability of the solutions, meaning ensure possibility for the beneficiaries to cover their rental fee and communal services and ensure integral social services. It is also recommended that the housing programs ensure desegregation of Roma and prevent forming of new ghettoes.

The participants at the meeting were able to watch a short film produced during the realization of the project “Roma from the North” organized by the NGO Klub kulture from Bijelo Polje. This video was realized through the program of granting small grants within the project Joint Initiative for Empowering the Roma Civil Sector in the Western Balkans and Turkey, in which the NGO Young Roma is a partner, while financial support is provided by the European Commission.

Roma Active Albania and ERGO Network Award the Most Roma Friendly Mayors

PRESS RELEASE

Brussels, 09/04/2018

 

Roma Active Albania and ERGO Network Award the Most Roma Friendly Mayors at the 3nd EU Roma Week on April 9, 2018

 

Roma Active Albania and European Roma Grassroots Organizations (ERGO) Network organized an award ceremony in the European Parliament to acknowledge positive examples of local authorities – eight Mayors from the Western Balkans and Turkey. The campaign “The Most Roma Friendly Mayor” is part of the project Joint Initiative to Empower Roma Civil Society in the Western Balkans and Turkey aiming to mobilize Roma communities and strengthen their existing capacities to engage in a dialogue with public authorities.

The eight winning mayors, selected from 49 competing municipalities, were welcomed by the Member of the European Parliament Ms Soraya Post, the Minister of Labor and Social Policy of The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Ms Mila Carovska, the Director-General of the European Commission DG Near Mr Christian Danielsson and the Director of Roma Active Albania and General Manager of the project Mr Adriatik Hasantari.

Ms Post explained the importance of cooperation between all the stakeholders by pointing out the relevance of participation of mayors in fighting antigypsyism. “We are looking forward to have more mayors who will take full responsibility”, she stated. Mr Danielsson highlighted the ways of support by the DG Near and the investments of the European Union under IPA II in the Western Balkan and Turkey. “The commitment shown by the mayors and local organizations should inspire future efforts to continue the good work”, he asserted, and assured future commitment of the DG NEAR as well. Ms Carovska highlighted the importance of partnership of governments with Roma civil society organizations in implementing the strategic plans for Roma integration. “We have to work for the development of the whole region”, she argued by pointing out the importance of joint efforts. Mr Hasantari introduced the project Joint Initiative to Empower Roma Civil Society in the Western Balkans and Turkey focusing on “the Most Roma Friendly Mayor” component. He concluded with the strong message: “When Roma civil society is strong, authorities perform better!”

The awards were given to the following eight mayors: Mr Erion Veliaj, Municipality of Tirana, Albania; Mr Mićo Mićić, Municipality of Bijeljina, Bosnia and Herzegovina; Mr Blagoj Bochvarski, Municipality of Štip, FYROM; Mr Burim Berisha, Municipality of Fushë Kosova, Kosovo; Ms Snežana Matijević, Municipality of Tivat, Montenegro; Ms Latinka Vasiljković, Municipality of Odžaci, Serbia; Mr Osman Genç, Municipality of Canik, Turkey and Mr Hayri İnönü, Municipality of Şişli, Turkey by Ms Post, Mr Danielsson and Mr Hasantari.

Seven independent juries were established in the respective countries, assessing the applications and comparing the facts with the realities. The juries pointed out the progress in having a concrete and budgeted Local Action Plans, efforts in creating education-related opportunities, support for social entrepreneurship, improvement of infrastructure in terms of roads, lighting, sewage and water supply, newly built apartments, Roma participation in local authority structures, and some results are visible in the fields of employment and health as well as in applying holistic approach.

After the award ceremony, all participants were invited to a luncheon discussion. Ms Gabriela Hrabanova, the director of ERGO Network, invited the participants to engage and open about challenges they face and think about how they can work together to find solutions. The award was followed by discussions about the situation of Roma in the Western Balkan and Turkey by speakers ranging from civil society representatives, mayors and the National Roma Contact Points to members of the European Parliament, the European Commission and international organizations. Main questions that lead the discussions were the following: how can the participants overcome specific challenges they are facing from their own positions and how do they see the development of the positioning of the enlargement countries’ Roma agenda in the post-2020 EU programing period.

The Award Ceremony is organized in the framework of the EU Roma Week 2018 held from April 9 to April 12, 2018 to mark the occasion of the International Roma Day on April 8. The International Roma Day in 2018 commemorate the 47th anniversary of the first Romani Congress that was organized in London in 1971. The third EU Roma Week is a joint initiative of the European Commission and the European Parliament, together with civil society and international organizations.

Hosting MEP of the Most Roma Friendly Mayor Award Ceremony: Soraya Post

 

All the events of the Roma Week can be found at https://www.ardi-ep.eu/roma-week-2018/. Contact: Jelena Jovanovic (j.jovanovic@ergonetwork.org, +32 486 451 393).

 

Disclaimer: This press release has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The content of the release is the sole responsibility of Roma Active Albania and ERGO Network, and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.

 

 

Join us at the EU Roma Week 2018!

Join us at the EU Roma Week 2018!

The EU Roma Week 2018 will take place in Brussels starting on 8 April, International Roma Day and continue until Thursday 12 April. A series of events will be organised during the week, including an event co-organised by ERGO Network on addressing From quality education to decent employment, Antigypsyism, Theatre peformance,  International Roma Day commemoration and celebration with concerts.

Click here to see the programme  of the EU Roma Week!

Register for the events by 3 April  here. 

ERGO’s work and vision showcased

ERGO’s work and vision showcased

This video shows the achievements of the work done by the European Roma Grassroots organizations (ERGO) network and its members under the Framework Partnership Agreement 2014-2017 with DG Employment supported by the European Union Programme for Employment and Social Innovation EaSI (2014-2020).

ERGO Network mobilizes and connects organizations and individuals who share a set of core values, to co-create the courage, capacity and approaches to: combat inequality, stigmatization and discrimination; strengthen Roma civil society participation in decision making at local, national and European level; commit governments and European institutions to effective anti-discrimination and social inclusion policies for Roma. ERGO has almost 30 members in more than 20 countries in Europe. Through its members ERGO became the only organization that brings the Roma grassroots voice directly to the EU institutions, but also helps the European institutions to understand better the needs of Romani communities.

Our dream is Roma to have the same opportunities like the non-Roma in education, employment and to all spheres of life and to be free from racism. In our opinion this can be happened only if we Roma take our lives in our hands.

Quotas from the video ;

“All people are humans, also Roma are humans” says Zuzana Havirova, Director of Roma Advocacy and Research Center from Slovakia

”If you want decide to be an activists then you are an activists by the heart” and “unite is power” said by Michal Miko member of SLOVO21 from the Czech Republic.

In video are featured:

JAMEN GABRIELA HRABANOVA (ERGO Network – Belgium)

ZUZANA HAVIROVA (Roma advocacy and Research center – Slovakia)

MICHAL MIKO (SLOVO 21 – Czech Republic)

IRINA SPATARU (Romano Centro -Austria)

Joint Work for the Inclusion of Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Joint Work for the Inclusion of Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The EU Delegation / Office of the EU Special Representative in BiH, in cooperation with the Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees of Bosnia and Herzegovina, organized on January 31, 2018, Seminar on the Inclusion of Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo.

More than 80 representatives of local authorities, non-governmental and international organizations participated in the 4th Seminar on Roma Integration in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Bosnia and Herzegovina has made some progress in the integration of Roma in the area of housing and registration of citizens, but much still needs to be done in employment, education and health care, said the Roma Affairs Adviser at the European Commission’s Directorate for Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy Marta Garcia Fidalgo.

Minister of Human Rights and Refugees of BiH, Semih Borovac, emphasized that discrimination, prejudice and exclusion from social life continue to be the problems of Roma both in BiH and Europe, and that it warns of the importance of greater political engagement and commitment to the issue of inclusion of Roma in BiH and adequate separation money from the budget for the needs of this population.

Chairman of the Committee on Roma at the Council of Ministers of BiH, Mujo Fafulic, is grateful to international organizations and authorities in BiH (especially the line ministry) for money allocated for solving Roma problems, but also says that their problems are still not resolved.

Head of the EU Delegation to BiH and EU Special Representative to BiH Lars Gunnar Wigemark emphasized in Sarajevo that resolving the position of the Roma minority in BiH is certainly a matter of national interest, and it is also important in the context of joining the European Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina and other countries Western Balkans.