Reinforced Youth Guarantee – will Roma youth be included?

The Council of the EU adopts a recommendation for more inclusive measures to boost youth employment by reinforcing the Youth Guarantee – Will Roma youth be included?!

On 30th of October, the Council of the European Union adopted by unanimity a Recommendation on ‘A Bridge to Jobs – Reinforcing the Youth Guarantee’.  The new scheme affirms the upcoming commitment of the EU Members States to set national schemes in order to help young people receive an offer of employment, education, traineeship or apprenticeship within a period of four months of becoming unemployed or leaving formal education. This initiative comes at an urgent time across the EU, during the COVID 19 pandemic, which brought high youth unemployment rates and increased the number of young people not in employment, education, or training (NEETs). Even before the crises Roma youth which as it shown in the last data issued by Fundamental Rights Agency 63% of Roma aged 16-24 were not employed, in education or training (55% of young Roma men and 72% of young Roma women

This is not a new initiative, it follows the EU Council Recommendation of 22 April 2013 on establishing a Youth Guarantee, which numerous studies and ERGO research showed that failed to reach its full potential nor to include the most disadvantaged groups, such as Roma youth.

What is new?

The new Recommendation is considering the concerns of youth organizations and tackles some of the gaps in its implementation, identified as well by ERGO Network. The Recommendation extends the age limit for targeted young people from 25 to up to 29 years old. The new Recommendation also clearly state that the Members States should create supportive measures at national, regional, and local level by providing clear guidelines such as:

  • mapping – identifying target groups, available services, skills needs and young people at risk of becoming a NEET
  • outreach – targeted information campaigns among young people and reaching out to NEETs
  • preparation – better profiling to match needs and responses, counselling, and guidance, and improving digital and other important skills
  • offer – employment incentives, quality and equity, and post-placement support

Now is the moment to make sure that the Member States include the voice of the most deprived in the implementation of the Youth Guarantee, and that they  take into account the situation of Roma youth. One of the main concerns when it comes to the Roma youth is the outreach offer and preparation in a time of pandemic, where many times the ones that need to be a priority are left out due to centuries of discrimination and low standards of education, which is the result of ongoing poverty cycles.

ERGO Network asks Member States to:

  • Invest in continued education (and training): enrolment in formal education or training programs leading to a recognized qualification, keeping in mind an individual approach.
  • Train employment officers and employers to fight antigypsyism: There is a need to train the employment offices as well as potential employers on historical and present antigypsyism, specially to counter the phenomenon during the recruitment process.
  • Improve cooperation between young Roma and labor offices: Governments should encourage a closer communication between labor offices and young Roma people and their civil society representatives, to increase the number of Roma youth engaged with activation programs
  • Hire Roma mediators as social workers/employees of the public employment services and local authorities with the main file and aim to assist Roma youngsters to access the initiatives under the Youth Guarantee, to ensure individual empowerment and ownership.
  • Take a holistic approach: Programs should be created to directly fight youth unemployment with an embraced holistic and multi-sectoral approach, in line with the Active Inclusion Recommendation. Efforts to support young people towards quality education and employment should be complemented by access to adequate income and services such as housing, transport etc
  • A more flexible and accessible registration process of public employment services, to ensure that no young person falls through the gaps and remains out of the social systems of their country – a situation young Roma often find themselves in
  • More partnerships with educational institutions and NGOs who can more easily reach out to Roma and other marginalized groups. This requires dedicated funding that will allow these partners to support the public employment services in the delivery of the Youth Guarantee, or to directly establish contacts with employers and support the skills development of young people.

It will now be up to the Member States to implement the Reinforced Youth Guarantee. We will continue the monitoring and advocating for young Roma people to have quality opportunities through this initiative, on equal footing with majority youth.

For additional information regarding our work on the Youth Guarantee and Youth Employment, please contact Policy Officer Carmen Tănasie in the ERGO Network staff (c.tanasie@ergonetwork.org).

Strategies against antigypsyism

Strategies against antigypsyism

The international conference „Strategies against antigypyism“ took place in Tenerife on 12 and 13 December 2019. It was organized by the Karipen association in cooperation with the Ministry for Health, Consumers Affairs and Social Welfare of the Canary Island Government, Cabildo of Tenerife and Khetane Platform. At the invitation of FAGIC ERGO member, Gabriela Hrabanova, ERGO Network director presented strategies against antigypsyism from grassroots to EU level and vice versa.

The conference brought together political and public representatives from European, national and local, Roma leaders and activists countering antigypsyism.  Among them Soraya Post, ERGO Network co-chair, Romeo Franz, Member of the European Parliament for the Greens/EFA group and Juan Fernardo Lopez Aguilar, Chair of the LIBE Committee in the European Parliament. It also gathered many local and national Roma politicians from Spain, including Ismael Cortes, a Member of the Spanish parliament.

The conference focused on three topics: 1) the concept of antigypsyism throughout history up to present; 2) institutional antigypsyism and ways to combat it through politics and 3) antigypsyism and gender issues.

The historical aspect was covered by Iulius Rostas, visiting professor at the Central European University and the Spanish academic of Romani origin, Helios Fernandez. The main message was that over the centuries, but also in recent years, institutions have been perpetuating a paternalistic approach under the pretence of making Roma better, by changing the names of programs and policies aiming at including Roma in societies, but very often achieving only their assimilation. The important next step is to introduce the policy of reconciliation, to narrow the centuries of hardship of Roma.

It was also discussed that often Roma might not know how to describe and what antigypsyism is, however many experiences it on the daily basis. For example, school segregation is a reality in Spain, while Roma surnames or home addresses can lead to discriminatory practices when accessing jobs or advancing in the career.

On a positive note, the regional and local government of Canary Islands and Tenerife have shown interest in working together with the local association Karipen, not only by hosting this event, but also by allocating a budget line for Roma inclusion.

Roma youth empowerment trough Rromani language

Roma youth empowerment trough Rromani language

Our partners from Roma Community Centre in Vilinus, Lithuania for the first time ever gather a group of young Roma for 2 days seminar from 2-4 Of December, 2019 with a programme in rromanes on topics such as: discrimination, equality, access to the labor market and empowerment.

The event took part under the frame of Roma platform and was organized by the department of National minorities together with the Public institution Roma Community Center.

ERGO’s policy officer Carmen Tanasie and its member from France La Voix des Rroms, Samir Mile delivered the workshop in rromani language engaging in deconstructing the consequences of social exclusion and came together with the participants to a set of recommendations such as:

  • Roma youth should be consulted by the National Minorities department when issuing calls or implementing activities that includes Roma youth
  • Provide high-level jobs in the public sector for Roma
  • Improve cooperation between young Roma and labor offices
  • Tackle the discrimination in schools and include the Roma history in the school curricula

The young Roma got empowered by the fact that could freely express in their maternal language and asked the organizers to follow organizing seminars and meeting not just for young people but involving   more Roma communities in Lithuania.

Promotion of sustainable gardening and healthy food: training, booklet and e-book Butterfly Developments 2019

Promotion of sustainable gardening and healthy food: training, booklet and e-book
Butterfly Developments 2019

Pro Cseherat had a busy year 2019. It organized several community events and published two publications on sustainable eating and gardening. Pro Cseherat can proudly state that the participants in the programs have become a community.

Garden: chemical-free vegetables for home
In 2019 we continued our garden program in Nagydobos, a small town in one of the poorest areas of Hungary. With our community garden, we help the livelihood and the integration of Roma families living in extreme poverty. Those who join the Butterfly Garden program learn gardening practices throughout the agricultural year, and can take home all the vegetables they produce. Each garden can satisfy the yearly vegetable needs of several families.

Training: healthy and sustainable households
This year, gardener practices have been completed by a series of trainings promoting chemical-free gardening, recycling, healthy eating and household planning. We explained to our gardeners how chemical-free vegetable growing contributes to the sustainability of our planet. During several cozy joint picnics, they learned healthy cooking and preservation techniques. They also learned about composting, waste management and recycling. We even sew reusable shopping bags together. In September we presented our vegetable delicacies (jams, salads, spreads, cakes etc.) with success at the International Pumpkin Festival in Nagydobos. We have also published our trainings in a brochure with tips and recepies that can be used daily to support the everyday sustainable life.
http://www.bffd.hu/tedd-jobba95

E-book: Would you love to love lentils? – Everything about the fabulous pulses
Why are pulses useful for sustainability? How can we integrate them into any kind of diet? What basic nutrients do we get from them? All of this is summarized in one e-book, decorated with wonderful illustrations. The book concludes with a chapter entitled “Creative Kitchen,” which provides tips for readers to create different lentil-pea-bean wonder dishes every single day of the year. The book’s chapters were presented at tasting events throughout the year.
http://www.bffd.hu/szeretned-szeretni-a-lencset-e-konyv93

Women’s economic empowerment – a prerequisite for a life without violence

Women’s economic empowerment – a prerequisite for a life without violence

The Citizens’ Association for the Promotion of Roma Education “Otaharin” in cooperation with the Association of Roma Women are committed to implementing measures for the prevention of gender-based violence. Through the project “Accepting Gender Equality for Better Prosperity for Roma Women and Girls” supported by The Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI), OTAHARIN organized the official launch of the 16 Days of Activism Campaign, followed by youth workshops and training for Roma women representatives.

On 25 November, OTAHARIN organized a meeting with representatives of the city administration, institutions, non-governmental organizations and representatives of the Roma community. On this occasion, Mayor Mićo Mičić supported  the organization in its efforts to prevent gender-based violence through economic empowerment of women.

With this meeting, OTAHARIN officially launched the International Campaign “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence”, which is celebrated annually from 25 November (International Day Against Violence against Women) to 10 December (International Human Rights Day) around the world.

The goals of the campaign are:

  • raising awareness of gender-based violence as a human rights issue at local, national, regional and international levels;
  • strengthening local work to prevent violence against women;
  • creating a clear link between local and international efforts to stop violence against women;
  • showing solidarity with women around the world organized against violence against women;
  • Creating tools to deliver on the promises made to end violence against women