National Grassroots Advocacy Academy in community organizing for women

National Grassroots Advocacy Academy in community organizing for women

Slovo 21 organized a National Grassroots Advocacy Academy in Prague in November. 31 Roma activists and representatives of Roma NGOs participated in the event. They received a training in basic advocacy skills as well as coaching for concrete community work and organizing.  During the meeting the participants also learned more about the phenomenon of antigypsyism, aiming to enable them to better address this issue. Thanks to this series of workshops Roma women gained skills and abilities in advocacy, community work and community organizing and became agents of change. For members of the Roma Women´s Group Manushe, the Grassroots Advocacy Academy was especially useful, as the group plans to improve its advocacy, community work and community organizing in the coming period. At least 6 of these women got motivated and mobilized and will organize community activities in cooperation with other community members to improve living conditions in their communities.

The Grassroots Advocacy Academy was funded by the International Visegrad Fund and the European Commission through projects of ERGO Network.


Grassroots Advocacy Academy for multipliers

ERGO Network’s Grassroots Academy for multipliers implemented in the Czech Republic: Equipping multipliers with competencies to implement advocacy trainings

In August this year, about twenty Roma advocates from different European countries gathered in Tepla, a Czech village close to Usti and Labem. For five days, they joined ERGO Network to share and explore different methods of grassroots advocacy and community organizing. We explored ways for grassroots activists who want to advocate for combatting antigypsyism, empowering Roma and promoting social inclusion. We discovered that finding new partnerships and new approaches is proving to be effective. The participants, mostly experienced multipliers on the national level, shared knowledge and experiences with advocacy in difficult environments.

After we got to know each other better and created an open and engaging learning space, inspiring stories were told by our colleagues from Zero Discrimination Association (Turkey), Integro Association (Bulgaria) and Nevo Parudimos (Romania) about certain forms of mobilization and leadership. They triggered debates about gender and power relations and on building relationships with national and local authorities. They also provided us with examples on how local advocates participate in budget planning on the local level and in community-led local development.

Participants agreed that the traditional ways of advocacy seem less and less effective, particularly in countries with far-right governments and a high level of populism in politics.

Romani activist Monika Mihalickova from the Czech organization Romea gave the participants a short training social media fundraising. Miroslav Klempar shared the experiences from Awen Amenca, a movement that fights for quality and non-segregated education for Roma children, based on the value of Roma parents’ participation.

Our Macedonian partners, Fikrija and Denis Selmani triggered the attention of the participants with their successful involvement in mobilization of Roma university students and the Citizens’ Initiative “AVAJA” and its campaign “We Vote, We Decide”. We also met with Steve Hughes, who has 20 years of experience working as a community, union, and political organizer in both the United States and Europe.

Finally, the group had the pleasure to visit Romano Jasnica, a local Roma organization in Trmice founded in 1998 that focuses on providing social services, implementing educational, leisure and cultural activities for children, youth and adults at risk of social exclusion or socially excluded people. The organization connects work on social inclusion with creating employment opportunities, supporting young entrepreneurs, but also engaging Roma in the local politics. Already for the second term, there are two Romani members in the local council.

The participants appreciated the learning experience and emphasized the importance of different participatory methods that ERGO Network used to engage them as much as possible in diverse roles and capacities. With those methods and national follow up trainings in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary we will reach out to more Romani grassroots activists and organizers and make their voice heard also in the national and European policies.

The activity received generous financial support from the International Visegrad Fund and from the European Commission’s EaSI programme.

Grassroots Advocacy Academy for multipliers

ERGO Network Grassroots Advocacy Academy for multipliers

23-28 August 2019, Rehlovice (Usti nad Labem, Czech Republic)

Traditional ways of advocacy seem less and less effective, particularly when working in countries with far right governments and a high level of populism in politics. If grassroots activists want to advocate for combatting antigypsyism, empowering Roma and promoting social inclusion, they have to find new partnerships and new approaches to be effective.

In our Grassroots Advocacy Academy for multipliers, we want to share experiences with advocacy in difficult environments, build capacity for effective advocacy in our membership and support multipliers in organising national or local advocacy trainings for Roma activists.

We invite you to an interactive 5-day programme in a nice environment in Czech Republic to share experiences, learn from each other and together build more capacity to advocate effectively for Roma empowerment.


  • Explore and analyze different methods, ways and approaches of grassroots advocacy and community organizing
  • Share knowledge and experiences between ERGO Network members
  • Equip multipliers with knowledge of EU-driven Roma related policies that can support local advocacy
  • Equip multipliers with competencies and guiding principles to implement national or local advocacy trainings for Roma activists

Profile of participants:

  • Staff members or volunteers of (pro-)Roma civil society organisations OR
  • Staff members or volunteers of human rights organisations or training institutes
  • Experience in advocacy (and ideally also in capacity-building for advocacy)
  • Knowledge of Roma issues
  • Able to communicate in English


The participation in the Academy is free thanks to a grant of the International Visegrad Fund and the European Commission’s EaSI programme. ERGO Network will cover the travel and accommodation costs.

We have 20 places. In case more people would like to participate, we will select based on motivation and geographical balance.

The Academy will take place from 23-28 August 2019 (including arrival and departure date)

in Rehlovice close to Usti nad Labem, Czech Republic at:

Transfer from Prague will be organized.

If you are interested to participate, please register here by 13 June 2019.

Download the call for the ERGO Network Grassroots Academy.



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

ERGO Summer Academy showcases campaign ideas for Roma youth employment

In ERGO’s Summer Academy, taking place from 26 August to 2 September in Barcelona, a group of outstanding participants from across Europe joined forces to work together on a thematic campaign to raise awareness on Roma youth unemployment. The one-week long ERGO Summer Academy hosted 19 young professionals alongside the team of ERGO Network and guest trainers from Greece and Bulgaria.

The academy invited participants to join as experts from ERGO member organisations, other Roma NGOs and local or national administrations to discuss emerging issues of social exclusion, education and employment, and what a multi-stakeholder agenda for quality education and better employment can achieve regarding Roma youth.

Raising awareness on the plight of Roma youth employment has never been more important: 58% of Roma aged 16 to 24 are not in employment, education or training. At the same time, in countries such as Romania or Bulgaria up to 20% of new labour market entrants are Roma.  The new financial cycle of the European Commission will start in 2021, thus reminding decision-makers on what is at stake is of great importance.

The participants used the Academy to create an awareness raising campaign that will be launched at this year’s EU Roma Platform in Brussels.  The work started with differentiating the terminology and discussing the issues relevant to the context of employment. After hearing experiences and personal stories of participants, the group gained first-hand knowledge on the employment context in Barcelona through the initiatives of `FAGIC`, a Catalonian Roma network. To conclude the learning part of the week, Leonor Rebassa from Amnesty International introduced the group to all to the very details and best practices of thorough campaign planning.

In the second half of the week, innovative ideas for an ERGO youth employment campaign were brought to the table from working groups. In the last two days, it started to be clear what the campaign will look like, and finally, 4 initiatives made it to realization. They will be launched at this year’s European Roma Platform, which will be held in Brussels on 27/28 November on the topic of ‘Transition from Education to Employment’. ERGO’s campaign will focus on antigypsyism and discrimination on the labour market and addresses decision-makers and employers from the perspective of young Roma themselves.

Besides all their hard work, the participants of the event soon acclimatized to the fantastically located venue of Mare de Deu del Coll, and enjoyed mid-summer heat from the very early mornings till late nights that left enough time for networking between ERGO’s members and making new friends. Not only the sea at Barceloneta, but the whole week has been a refreshing experience to all participants.