Report: Funding of bottom-up approaches

Report: Funding of bottom-up approaches: Ways forward to support Roma inclusion

We are happy to present ERGO Network’s new Analysis of funding for bottom-up approaches to Roma inclusion. This study sheds light on the importance of bottom-up approaches and assessing funding programmes targeted at Roma inclusion. The paper was prepared by Marko Pecak for the European Roma Grassroots Organisations (ERGO) Network and has received financial support in the framework of the project “New solutions to old problems” funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Regional Cooperation.

The report also analyses the major variety of donors, such as EU, national governments, international organisations, state developement agencies and private foundations. It provides the comprehensive analysis and a set of recommendations to each type of the donors, which can be used to improve their performance.

This report aims to contribute to raising awareness of institutional and private donors in the importance of bottom-up approaches to strengthen Roma inclusion and empowerment. It also reflects on the challenges and discusses improvements to existing funding programmes.

The main recommendations of the report are:


  • All strategic and planning documents on Roma inclusion need to be public
  • Donors need to consider weak local governance
  • Beyond consultations. Implement participatory research methods for needs and strategic development
  • Detailed approaches with implementation plans, not general guidance, and concepts
  • More resources, funding, and human capacity, for community-led approaches

European Union

  • Any ESIF funds being managed by local municipalities should use a community-led and participatory approach
  • Good governance support should be highly recommended with any funding managed by local municipalities
  • Desk Officers, Managing Authorities, and NRCPs need specific guidance on what is CLLD and how to implement them
  • EU needs a detailed plan that defines the concepts of participation, empowerment, and bottom-up approaches and how to ensure they will be implemented
  • Monitoring Committees should be more independent, transparent, have representative from Roma community

National Governments

  • There should be a defined Roma inclusion budget with corresponding implementation plans, indicators, and monitoring system
  • Go beyond Monitoring Committee requirements
  • Develop a strong cooperation with RCM
  • Mainstream project need specific Roma inclusion targets
  • Conduct campaigns with local governments and community members on the importance of Roma inclusion to reduce the barrier of bias and antigygpsism

State Development Agencies

  • Develop approaches and priorities outside of the EU agenda
  • Should have public and detailed documents on their approach to Roma inclusion
  • Mainstream social inclusion strategies need details on how they ensure the impact on Roma inclusion 
  • Longer-term investments that use community-led and participatory approaches
  • Shift the priority of their investment from bilateral cooperation to more focus on setting inclusion agendas

Intergovernmental Organizations

  • A new long-term and collaborative initiative to be develop with a focus on community-led, participatory, antidiscrimination, and empowerment approaches
  • Develop agendas based on their organizational values not EU or other institutional agendas

Private Foundations

  • Increase transparency in their funding approaches and strategies for Roma inclusion
  • Implement measures with the goal to test alternative approaches that can be shared and scaled
  • Larger portion of funding should go to supporting community organization’s operational and human capacities. Especially, core funding.

To download the full report, please follow this link.

This report has received financial support in the framework of the project “New solutions to old problems”. The project “New solutions to old problems – exchange of new type of approaches in the field of Roma
integration” is funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the
EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Regional Cooperation.

This publication has received funding from the European Union. The information contained in this publication reflects only the author’s view; and the Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.


Roma Active Albania’s Learning Academy in Durres

Roma Active Albania’s Learning Academy in Durres

The second Learning Academy was organized by our partner Roma Active Albania (RAA) in Durres from 24-28 March 2022. The Academy was organized under the project New solutions to old problems – exchange of new types of approaches in the field of Roma integration, funded by the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Regional Cooperation and implemented by Nevo Parudimos association as a lead organization together with its partners from Albania, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Romania,  Slovakia and Turkey.

It gathered 24 participants from 11 countries from the European Members States, Western Balkans and Turkey.

RAA’s Learning Academy was opened by the Director of Roma Active Albania Mr. Adriatik Hasantari. He welcome the participants and guests who came from different countries and partner organizations.

On the first day of the session, the participants were introduced to each other and the leaders of the Academy explained in detail how the academy program is expected to develop in the coming days. Partner organizations such as, ERGO network Slovo 21, Otaharin, Roma, Zero discrimination, Autonomia, Nevo Paradimos, RARC and Roma Active Albania presented their work and important events of 2022.

The second part of the day was dedicated to proceeding with complaints concerning various EU institutions. This session called “How to file a complaint to the EU” was delivered by an external expert Andor Urmos. At the end of this workshop, based on their knowledge and expertise, each group presented the method on how to follow up and address issues to institutions that are dependent on the European Union. Participants also shared with each other cases when they themselves had filed a complaint to the EU institutions.

This was followed by the Project Management board game. In this game, the participants had to learn the new development method and offer their feedback. Colleagues from Autonomia helped the rest of the participants with their expertise in the field.

On the next day, the program started framing the previous day and the participants started working on the workshop: Mystery Shopping which was related to a creative method to detect and work on Roma issues.

In the second session of the day, the participants learned about advocacy on how to address Roma issues and the exploration of practices, methods, and tools on how to bring new elements to their work.

The fourth day of the program was related recall the game under “Transparency and accountability of CSOs”. It is a game developed by ERGO Network and its partners and translated into several languages. The game brings recommendations on how grassroots civil society organizations should be governed and managed in order to be reliable and accountable. Fulfilling the criteria will bring attention to the organization’s quality work. The set of criteria focuses on governance, financial management and performance. Later on the day was an open space for members to share their skills, knowledge and expertise.

The Learning Academy was closed with a follow-up and evaluation of the meeting.

ERGO Network responds to the European Commission call for evidence for the upcoming EU Care Strategy

ERGO Network responds to the European Commission call for evidence for the upcoming EU Care Strategy

The European Care Strategy was announced by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in her State of the Union speech of September 2021. The Strategy would be aimed at supporting “men and women in finding the best care and the best life balance for them.” The initiative will consist of two Council Recommendations, on childcare (revision of the Barcelona targets) and long-term care, as envisaged under the European Pillar of Social Rights. It aims to strengthen gender equality and social fairness, as well as highlight the need for high-quality, accessible and affordable care services for children and people who need long-term care. In this context, the European Commission launched a three-fold call for evidence, to which ERGO Network responded, inviting stakeholders to submit their views on the European Care Strategy overall, as well as separately on the revision of the Barcelona targets on childcare, and on access to affordable and high-quality long-term care.

We welcome that the initiative will be rooted in a fundamental rights-based approach, including non-discrimination and social inclusion. It will also focus on social investment as well as healthy ageing and prevention policies, and it acknowledges of poor wages and working conditions in the care sector. We support proposed links with the European Pillar of Social Rights, the Sustainable Development Goals and strategies on Ageing, Gender Equality, Disability and the Child Guarantee. However, we also urge strong synergies with the EU Roma Strategic Framework & the EU Anti-Racism Action Plan. We appreciate the explicit mention of Roma and minority ethnic children, but adults must also be considered: older Roma, Roma with disabilities and Roma carers. Their specific needs should be prioritised and the care gap between Roma and non-Roma reduced. Statistical monitoring should be disaggregated by ethnic background when measuring progress.

Europe’s Roma have a 5 to 10-year shorter life expectancy compared to others, while 22% have a longstanding illness / health problem, 28% feel limited by their state of health, and 55% of Roma women aged 50+ are in bad health, according to the Fundamental Rights Agency. Older Roma experience additional difficulties, due to a life spent in poverty, health inequalities and increased health risks and vulnerability to chronic diseases. Low employment rates and overrepresentation in low-paid work give access to no or poor pension entitlements.

Additionally, older Roma women experience bad health, low employment records and exposure to gender-based violence and intersectional discrimination. Efforts must also be made to ensure that Roma living with a physical or mental disability or chronic illness can benefit on equal footing from available support schemes (income support, care services etc). An independent living approach to long-term care must be supported, promoting deinstitutionalisation while ensuring the burden of care does not fall on relatives. For centuries, Roma children have been left behind regarding a good start in life. Only 53% of young Roma children attend early childhood education and care, with participation rates far below the EU’s Education and Training Strategy targets in 5 Member States. The initiative must aim to end segregation and foster the capacity of early childhood education and care staff to provide diversity education and awareness about Roma language, culture, and history.

Over 80% of Europe’s Roma are in poverty. Care costs are prohibitive and administrative obstacles are deterrents to obtaining insurance. Many Roma communities are not covered by childcare or long-term care services, forcing residents to undertake expensive, lengthy journeys. Additionally, many Roma face language barriers and a lack of identity papers, legal address, bank account and literacy skills. Efforts are also needed to tackle the digital divide in care, ensuring that vulnerable users such as the Roma have free or affordable access to equipment (PC, tablet), infrastructure (coverage, internet, electricity etc) and digital skills. The Strategy should seek to remove financial and nonfinancial barriers to access, while resisting attempts towards the commodification and privatisation of care. Free and comprehensive state service provision must be support instead, through consistent public investment in care as a common good. Investment is needed in community-based services, including social economy initiatives, to create local jobs and respond to community needs where they arise.

There is an ethnic dimension of the care sector, as care work is deeply racialised. Many Roma women and women of colour are employed as carers in facilities or households. The initiative should tackle the gender and ethnic pay and pension gap, as well as fight discrimination in the workplace, supporting the implementation of the Racial Equality and Employment Equality Directives. Only 16% of Roma women are employed, while 40% of them (and even 50% in some countries) are not seeking work because of care responsibilities. Gender stereotypes and traditional gender roles must be tackled. Parents and caregivers should enjoy work-life balance & flexibility to spend adequate, quality time with their children.

Antigypsyism deters access to childcare and long-term care services, with 41% of Roma report being discriminated by services. The Strategy must mainstream the fight against racism and discrimination from an intersectional perspective, combating antigypsyism, sexism, ageism, and ableism as well as the stigma associated to living in poverty. Care services staff should provide inclusive and respectful care, as well as receive anti-bias and diversity training combined with awareness raising of specific Roma care needs. Employing more Roma staff also helps bridge gaps. The health and education Roma mediators’ scheme must be scaled up, with the mediators formally recognised and paid adequately to reflect their added value.

If the European Care Strategy is to be successful and respond in an effective way to actual needs on the ground, stakeholder involvement and ownership are paramount. The processes around this initiative must closely associate care givers and care receivers from a wide variety of backgrounds, including the Roma, as well as the civil society organisations representing them, in the design, delivery, and evaluation of care policies, in a structured, resourced, and transparent way . ERGO Network and its national members will continue to closely monitor and contribute to the work around the shaping of the Strategy, in order to ensure that the concerns, rights, and inclusion of Europe’s Roma are duly taken into account.

Event: Presentation of the PECAO activities

“Presentation of the PECAO activities and synthesis research from 10 European countries”


Online Hate speech has been steadily on the rise during the past decade, especially during the on-going Covid-19 pandemic. Making it appearance known at the highest level of the public administration of some Member States, where transformation into policy is just one step away. The liberal stance that was built towards hate speech on basic assumptions that the state and the major society would uphold their democratic standards and values under all circumstances, and distance themselves from hate speakers, has proven to be wrong as many different societal and minority groups continue to be targets of hate speech.

According to the Fundamental Rights Agency, 1 in 3 Roma are victims of harassment and 20% of non-Roma would not like to have a Roma colleague. As identified in the EC Communication ‘Midterm review of the EU framework for national Roma integration strategies’ (2017), antigypsyism goes beyond the legal notion of discrimination. In essence, antigypsyism is the root cause of exclusion of Roma people. It has many different dimensions and manifestations, including hate-speech in public, media, and political narratives, expressed stereotypes, hate-crime, discrimination in school, employment, health and housing and structural antigypsyism.

The mid-term review showed very little progress and highlighted the importance of focusing on antigypsyism in the next Framework. It confirmed that fighting antigypsyism by targeting majority society is a pre-condition for the success of any Roma inclusion intervention. Also, the EP adopted a report on the ‘Fundamental rights aspects in Roma integration in the EU: fighting anti-Gypsyism’ in 2017, highlighting persistent antigypsyism across Europe, despite the efforts undertaken under the EU Roma Framework and the EU legislative framework against discrimination, hate speech and hate crime.

Hate speech as a manifestation of antigypsyism needs particular attention because of its multiplier effect:  it influences public opinion, fuels tension, and paves the way for discrimination and hate crimes. Online media plays a particular role in spreading and inciting hate speech. It strengthens stereotypes, uses offensive language, denies, or trivializes antigypsyism. Through social media hate speech reaches millions of people and allows perpetrators to anonymously incite hatred and violence.

ERGO network therefore through the PECAO project supported by DG JUSTICE and addresses the need to better counter antigypsyist hate speech online. This includes more specifically:

  • Need to better recognise antigypsyist hate speech: As ‘the most accepted form of racism’, subtle antigypsyist hate speech often remains undetected and is therefore not reported and deleted.
  • Need to better report antigypsyist hate speech: There is little awareness of existing institutional structures and tools to protect citizens from hate speech.
  • Need to better monitor hate speech in order to better understand the problem and support the development of policies to counter hate speech.
  • Need to develop better policies that recognise antigypsyism as bias motivation and tackle institutional antigypsyism.

Draft Agenda

“Presentation of the PECAO activities and synthesis research from 10 European countries”

Conference room, Mundo-B

Rue d’Edimbourg 26, 1050 Brussels

05th April 2022, 14:00 – 16:00

13:30                   Registration of the participants

14:00                   Opening of the event:

  • Mustafa Jakupov, policy and project coordinator ERGO network, “Peer education to counter antigypsyist online hate speech” project funded by DG Justice and

14:05                  Welcoming and Introductory speeches:

  • Gabriela HRABANOVA, Executive Director ERGO Network
  • MEP Romeo FRANZ, Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance
  • Lavinia BANU, Policy officer at Non-Discrimination and Roma Coordination Unit, DG Justice and Consumer
  • Mr. Bagryan MAKSIMOV, Integro Association

14:30                  Tackling antigypsyist hate speech through peer education

15:00                   Comfort Break

15:15                  Monitoring and reporting antigypsyist hate speech: European Synthesis Report

  • Ileana ROTARU, assoc. prof. PhD habil. of West University of Timisoara, research expert of Nevo Parudimos Association

16:00                  Social Media Campaigning as a tool

  • Annabel CARBALLO, European Project Manager Coordinator at FAGiC

16:15                   Combatting antigypsyist hate speech through advocacy

  • Mustafa JAKUPOV, policy and project coordinator at ERGO network               

16.30                  Closing remarks

  • Giana FRANCESCUTTI, Programme manager,, EMEA
  • Tomasso CHIAMPARINO, EU Code of Conduct to prevent and counter the spread of illegal hate speech online


This project is funded by the European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (2014-2020)

  This project received funding from the Google.Org Impact Challenge on Safety in the framework of ERGO Network’ project Peer education to counter antigypsyist online hate speech.

Joint recommendations for the European Care Strategy

Joint recommendations for the European Care Strategy regarding migrant care providers and service users

Together with other human rights organisations, ERGO endorsed Joint recommendations for the European Care Strategy regarding migrant care providers and service users.

This document sets out some joint recommendations for the inclusion of migrants in the forthcoming European Care Strategy and accompanying Council recommendations, both as workers and providers of care as well as care service users.

With a view to supporting the full inclusion of people who are non-nationals in every part of the strategy, the document is organised around key aspects that the strategy is expected to address, namely: access to care, affordability, sustainability, quality of care, workforce, and gender aspects of care.

 Contributors and endorsement

  • Caritas Europa
  • EAPN – European Anti-Poverty Network
  • EFFE – European Federation for Family, Employment & Home Care
  • EFFAT – European Federation of Food Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions
  • EFSI – European Federation for Services to Individuals
  • Eurocarers
  • ERGO – European Roma Grassroots Organisations Network
  • Don Bosco International
  • FairWork (the Netherlands)
  • FEANTSA – European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless
  • La Strada International
  • Make Mothers Matter
  • PICUM – Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants
  • UNI Europa – UNICARE
  • SIMI (Czech Republic)
  • Social Platform and Red Acoge (Spain)

General principles and key messages

  • People who have non-EU nationality living in the EU must be fully considered and included in every part of the EU’s care strategy.
  • The availability, accessibility, affordability and quality of health, social and long-term care, as well as early childhood education and care, are essential for all, and especially those who, as non-nationals with various statuses living in the EU, may face particular barriers in accessing care, intersectional discrimination, marginalisation and in-work poverty.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic both reinforced the essential role of the care sector and exacerbated the precarity of migrant carers. Appropriate and effective measures are urgently needed.
  • The forthcoming European Care Strategy should:
    • Recognise the essential role and contributions of both intra-EU mobile workers and non-EU migrant workers, including undocumented workers, in providing care in the European Union.
    • Recognise that in many cases this care is being provided undeclared or under-declared, in exploitative conditions, impacting on the rights and well-being of workers and their families. This also impacts on care service users, and contributes to unfair and unsustainable social protection systems. Decent work should be integral to definitions and priorities around sustainable and quality care systems.
    • Commit and set concrete actions to promote decent work for all care workers, regardless of their migration or residence status, including through targeted measures.
    • Commit and set concrete actions to ensure that all people living in the EU have access to quality services on the basis of need, regardless of their migration or residence status.
    • Recognise and support informal carers, including young carers, regardless of their migration or residence status.
    • Meaningfully involve representatives of care workers, including migrant carers- as well as those in need of care – in the development, monitoring and evaluation of care policy-making and reform, and encourage member states to do likewise.
    • Encourage member states to evaluate the impacts of policies – in particular in the areas of employment, education, health and migration – on people in need of care, families, care workers and informal and formal care service provision, including through gender impact assessments.
    • Encourage the use of both EU and national funds, in particular ESF+ and the Child Guarantee national action plans, to improve access, affordability and quality of care services for marginalised and disadvantaged people and families, including mobile EU and non-EU migrants.
  • It is important for the European Care Strategy to address both the differences and overlap between care and non-care services needed by, and provided to, people with care needs in their homes. The strategy needs to recognise the different professional and skills profiles of care workers. This should reflect the types of care that require professional qualifications, as well as the reality that in many home care arrangements, people are providing a combination of care and housework-related personal household services.

Download the joint recommendations

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