Stakeholder Workshop ‘Building-up quality of life in the local area’

Stakeholder Workshop ‘Building-up quality of life in the local area’

On May 16 Eurofound organized a stakeholder meeting on the topic ‘Building-up quality of life in the local area’. Dr. Ileana Rotaru from Nevo Parudimos and ERGO member presented the perspective of Social hubs in rural Europe: social inclusion and Roma integration.

Between 2017 and 2020 Eurofound will carry-out exploratory research on ways to build up quality of life in the local area, whether urban or rural. In particular, it seeks to investigate two questions:  a) what physical and social factors in the local area are of particular importance for people’s quality of life? and b) what can be learned from initiatives to enhance quality of life in the local area?

Our input to the meeting was that Roma communities cannot be forgotten when the ‘local dimensions’ of quality of life is targeted  in this project. We stressed the necessity of including Roma in different types of initiatives and policies aiming to improve quality of life.

Present at the meeting were Mr. Tadas Leonikas from Eurofund, Eurofound Research Manager Mr. Hans Dubois, different stakeholders from EU state members and municipalities and  European Commission representatives:  DG EMPL (Unit: Modernisation of Social Protection Systems), DG SANTE (Unit: Health determinants and inequality) and  from DG REGIO (Unit: Inclusive Growth, Urban and Territorial Development).

Successful 2nd EU Roma Week

Successful 2nd EU Roma Week

ERGO Network was one of the co-organisers of the 2nd EU Roma Week that was held from 27th to 3rd April 2017 in the European Parliament to mark the occasion of International Roma Day on 8th April.

Around 200 representatives of public institutions and civil society took part in a series of events dedicated to Roma integration in Europe.

The public institutions were represented by DG Justice, DG NEAR, the Fundamental Rights Agency and the European Parliament as well as the Contact Point for Roma and Sinti of OSCE/ODIHR. Civil society was represented by a number of young Roma activists and representatives of the European Roma Rights Centre, the Roma Initiatives Office of Open Society Foundations, ERGO Network, Ternype International Roma Youth Network, The German Central Council of Sini and Roma, the Spanish Fundacion Secredariado Gitano and many more, making the week a very useful space for all stakeholders of Roma integration to discuss their work.

A youth advocacy training led by ERGO Network, TernYpe, the German Council of Sinti and Roma and the German Documentation and Culture Centre for Sinti and Roma prepared 40 young Roma advocates to take part in all Roma week events and to advocate for their rights after their return to their home countries.  In three working groups focussing on antigypsyism, inclusion and political participation they discussed their experiences, learned about the institutional frameworks and agreed on the messages that they took forward in the debates in the European Parliament.

A workshop on strengthening diverse leadership, participation of Roma in public and political life organised by the Contact Point for Roma and Sinti of the OSCE/ODIHR invited participants to discuss diversity in mainstream political parties and decision-makings and draw comparisons between Europe and the US. The participants all agreed that the public narrative on Roma must change to combat antigypsyism, and that this effort must be led both by Roma and Non-Roma.

The European Commission’s Directorate General for the European Neighbourhood and Enlargement awarded the 2nd EU Roma Integration Award for the Western Balkans and Turkey to organisations supporting Roma children, youth and young adults.  3 members of ERGO Network, Otharin Bosnia, Rroma acedonia and Mladi Montengero were rewarded for their work.

The participants of the award ceremony also took part in a discussion on improving impact of EU funding and Roma integration policy in the enlargement region through partnership with Roma civil society.

The Greens/EFA in the European Parliament used the occasion of the EU Roma Week to launch their new publication “Countering Antigypsyism in Europe”, outlining achievements and failures of combating antigypsyism in the EU, outlining problems of segregation and the political dimension of antigypsyism, as well as pointing out the fight for recognition of Roma in public and civic life.

A very important discussion on the future of the EU Roma Framework took place in the event “Taking stock of the EU Roma Framework and National Roma Integration Strategies”, with a view to building a post-2020 strategic approach, which brought together all relevant stakeholders to provide input to the mid-term assessment of the Framework as a step for improving the remaining years and for shaping the next programming period.

Invited by the Greens and the S&D Group, the European Roma Rights Centre gave evidence on how strategic litigation can be used to challenge racism in court, especially when it comes to forced evictions and school segregation.

Soraya Post, one of two Roma MEPs in the European Parliament, invited Holocaust survivors to give testimonies of their life and their activism to raise more awareness of the Roma Holocaust and call for a Roma Holocaust Memorial Day.

Roma activists from the EU and enlargement countries finally met with Members of the European Parliament and representatives of the European Commission for a working breakfast to bring the voices and visions of Roma youth to decision-makers and discuss their concerns, challenges and realities. They highlighted how Roma youth have become strong agents of change for their communities and how political leaders across Europe can contribute to the fight against antigypsyism.

Such an intensive programme of debates and discussions cannot be successful without a good informal time, too. All participants and partners celebrated at the big Roma Week Party hosted by ERGO Network and danced to the music of two Roma bands.

We would like to thank all partners involved, and especially the European Parliament Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup who coordinated all events, for the common efforts and the good dialogue that will continue in the coming months.

ERGO co-organises the 2nd EU Roma Week from 27 March to 3 April 2017

ERGO co-organises the 2nd EU Roma Week from 27 March to 3 April 2017

The second EU Roma Week is a joint initiative of the European Commission and the European Parliament, together with civil society and international organisations.  Between 27 and 29 March, numerous Members of the European Parliament will host events on antigypsyism, political participation of Roma, funding for civil society, recognition of the Roma Holocaust and litigation to fight school segregation. An exhibition and reception in the European Parliament will close the week on 3rd April in Strasbourg.

The EU Roma Week aims to further the recognition of antigypsyism as the root-cause of the exclusion and marginalisation of Roma in Europe. The first step towards a new generation of more efficient policies and programmes that will make a real change for the Roma in Europe is to recognise antigypsyism as a specific form of racism in its various forms and to fight it at all levels of our societies. Without systematic and long-term efforts of public institutions to address antigypsyism, EU and governmental policies on Roma inclusion will remain without impact.

It furthermore aims to establish a Roma Holocaust Memorial Day to recognise the extermination of 500,000 Roma during World War II.  The Roma Week will also be an important step for the mid-term review of the EU Roma framework and the planning towards the Post 2020 process.

Already from tomorrow, Friday 24th March, a group of young Roma activists will take part in an advocacy training organised by ERGO Network, the youth organisation TernYpe, Central Council of German Sinti and Roma and the Dokumentations-und Kulturzentrum Deutscher Sinti und Roma, where young people will prepare their contributions to the Roma Week. Activists from enlargement countries will be present as well for a common programme with DG NEAR and to receive the Second EU Roma Integration Award for the Western Balkans and Turkey.

One of the highlights of the week will be a breakfast meeting between young people and MEPs in the morning of 29th March, organised by ERGO Network. ERGO further hosts a big Roma Week Party in Mundo B on 28th March and co-organises several other events.

Jamen Gabriela Hrabanova, deputy director of ERGO Network, states: “Civil Society took a very important role in preparing the Roma Week and in shaping the content of the discussions. This makes it a great space for dialogue between the European institutions and civil society. We are looking forward to the diverse events and to contributing to shaping the EU Roma agenda together.”

Hosting MEPs: Soraya Post, Brando Benifei, Bodil Ceballos, Damian Draghici, Cornelia Ernst, Fredrick Federley, Marina Albiol Guzmán, Benedek Javor, Barbara Lochbihler, Peter Niedermuller, Tania González Peñas, Terry Reintke, Barbara Spinelli and Tomáš Zdechovský.

Co–organising civil society organisations and institutions: ERGO Network, Fundacion Secretariado Gitanos, ternYpe, Central Council of German Sinti and Roma, European Roma Rights Centre, European Network against Racism, OSEPI, OSCE/ODIHR, Fundamental Rights Agency.

Follow the event on twitter: #EURomaweek

Contact: Christine Sudbrock (c.sudbrock@ergonetwork.org, +32 486 046 940).

Download the full programme here

Download the press release here

 

 

The Europe We Want – Just, Sustainable, Democratic and Inclusive

The Europe We Want – Just, Sustainable, Democratic and Inclusive

As we mark the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, we have a momentous opportunity to take stock of how far Europe has come – and how far we still have to go in order to offer a sustainable and prosperous future to everyone in Europe.  We call on European decision-makers to show leadership, vision and courage to set Europe on the path to a sustainable future which realises the rights of all people and respects planetary boundaries.

Together with 230 civil society organisations and trade unions from all over Europe – from small grassroots organisations on local level to large international NGOs – we signed a common appeal to European Heads of State and Government, urging them to focus on the core European values and not just on economic ones, and ensure social, economic and environmental wellbeing for all.

Read   here our common appeal.

Evaluating with your target group

Evaluating with your target group

Despite the large and sustained focus of policy efforts to Roma inclusion, results remain limited. Thorough evaluation of programmes and projects is crucial to identify reasons for weak performance and should ideally lead to stronger project design. The current practice however usually leaves out the perspective of the final beneficiaries, their opinions remain invisible. The experience of ERGO Network is that programme and project evaluations, if they are available at all, often lack depth, fail to address shortcomings and in many cases present an image that does not correspond to the reality of those the project or programme aimed to support. This represents a missed opportunity for achieving structural improvements in policy approaches to Roma inclusion.

In 2016, ERGO Network and its members in Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Czech Republic together with Fundacion Secretariado Gitanos (FSG) conducted a small-scale investigation based on beneficiary interviews and desk research to explore how better use could be made of the involvement of final beneficiaries in evaluation. The research presents a number of exploratory conclusions about the value of systematic inclusion of the perspective of final beneficiaries to better evaluate the quality of projects, strengthen project design and review and encourage project implementers to adopt a stronger focus towards achieving results for their target groups.

The conclusions are valid for all beneficiary groups of programmes and projects, but are of particular importance for Roma, who are often put into measures that are not thought through, do not fit to their particular needs and are characterised more by opportunism of project providers than by usefulness for beneficiaries. The research shows how external inclusive evaluation can contribute to combatting corruption, increasing the quality of programmes and highlighting the positive but intangible effects of programmes, for instance in benefitting community life or boosting self-confidence.

Read  here the synthesis report of ERGO Network’s research project.

The fact-finding work received financial support from the European Union Programme for Employment and Social Innovation “EaSi” (2014-2020).