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).

Make Roma youth voices heard in EU politics

Make Roma Youth Voices heard in EU politics

The launch of the New EU Roma Framework for equality, inclusion and participation 2020-2030 is an important moment for Roma people across the continent.  It is a moment that promises support and commitment from the European Institutions, especially as  a key priority of the new plan is to recognize and fight antigypsyism as the main cause of exclusion in the fields of education, employment, housing and health.

For young Roma activists, this represents a trigger for initiatives in order to get their voices heard. Their experiences  and stories explain in the best way possible whatantigypsyism is and how it can affect our day to day life.

For this reason, Phiren Amenca International Network and TernYpe Roma Youth Network have brought together 20 youth activists from across Europe to discuss ideas and to coordinate initiatives to advocate for Roma youth empowerment and participation in the New Framework.

They gathered in Mannheim, Germany hosted by the Documentation and Cultural Centre for German Sinti and Roma, in the last week of September 2020 and for 5 days they worked closely together to discuss their demands, led by creative and and visionary ideas.

The main purpose of the seminar was to collect all of their messages and to promote them in a short video and in an online campaign.

The work they have done can be accessed on the Ternype and Phiren Amenca Facebook pages, and the video will be presented during the High-Level Digital Conference launching the new EU Roma Strategic Framework for equality, inclusion and participation on 12 October.

Join our team!

Call for Solidarity Corps volunteer in ERGO Network

ERGO Network is looking for an enthusiastic and active young Roma who would like to join our office team in Brussels for 11 months in the framework of the European Solidarity Corps.

When: February 2021 to December 2021

Where: ERGO Network office in Brussels, Belgium

Who: Young Roma professional between 18 and 30

Deadline for applications: 31 October 2020

During the 11 months in ERGO, you will learn about international advocacy, help us organise international meetings and events and get actively involved in Roma activism and international Roma networks in Brussels.

Your main tasks will be:

  • Communication and visibility: contribute to the update of the ERGO Network and RomaReact websites and social media channels; development of creative approaches and publicity work to promote our activities and mission and a positive image of Roma.
  • Researching and reporting: Assisting ERGO’s research work e.g. on cases of inequality and antigypsyism all over Europe.
  • Advocacy and policy: Support ERGO staff in EU advocacy work on poverty reduction, social inclusion and antigypsyism; attend debates, hearings and meetings with other stakeholders to challenge stereotypes and racism, build partnership with Roma and non-Roma organizations from Belgium and other European countries.
  • Meetings and seminars: Assist in the organisation of meetings, events and international seminars of ERGO Network and its partners, e.g. our Advocacy Academy, Annual Members Meeting etc.

Your profile:

  • Young Roma between 18 and 30 years
  • Good English language skills, both oral and written
  • Computer literacy (experience with Microsoft office package and social media)
  • High motivation to learn more about Roma activism and advocacy work and to contribute to a small but very active European NGO
  • Previous involvement in Roma or (pro) Roma NGOs will be considered an advantage
  • Reliable, well organised and with attention to detail

You will work about 38 hours per week, including your language course. Working hours will be from Monday to Friday between 9:00 – 17:00. However, working hours can be adapted to your needs and the activities you will be involved in. Of course we will adapt the situation also according to the Covid-19 situation.

We aim to support young people who are enthusiastic about our cause and want to gain experiences that can be later transferred to national or local NGOs. We especially welcome applications from people who are motivated to challenge stereotypes, antigypsyism and racism and who show an open attitude for a unique learning and life experience, as well as a volunteer spirit of creativity, initiative, responsibility and independence.

We offer:

  • An allowance of 1200 Euro that includes money for accommodation, meals, local transport, language course and pocket money
  • Travel costs to Brussels (a lump sum depending on the distance to Brussels)
  • Health insurance for the whole year
  • On-arrival training with other Solidarity Corps volunteers, and lots of learning and development opportunities with ERGO Network and our partners
  • An exciting and unforgettable experience, working for an international organisation in an international city!

How to apply:

Please send your motivation letter (1 page) and CV (max 2 pages) by 31th October 2020 to info@ergonetwork.org.

Do not hesitate to contact us for more information.

Mustafa Jakupov t: +389 78 424 180| e: info@ergonetwork.org

 

Peer educators combatting antigypsyism online

Peer educators combatting antigypsyism online in time of a pandemic

– A new internet era for Roma youth will begin soon!

Living in the era of web 2.0, soon to be 3.0 sure has its advantages. Everything that we need, want and desire is just a click away (literally)! However, it is as well a  vivid example of how technologies with a transformative potential such as the Internet bring with them both opportunities and challenges. Opportunities in terms of exercising freedom of expression, and on the other hand the challenges of defending  human dignity online. This being said, we are left with something called Online hate speech.[1]

Having this in mind, ERGO Network and its partners from 10 European countries (Integro Bulgaria, Nevo Parudimos Romania, FAGiC Spain, Romaversitas Hungary, RomanoNet Czech Republic, Roma Active Albania, RROMA North Macedonia, Chiricli Ukraine, Upre Roma Italy, La Voix des Rroms France) are starting to implement the project called PECAO – Peer education to counter antigypsyist hate speech online supported by DG Justice and Google.Org for the next 24 months.

Knowing that hate speech as a manifestation of antigypsyism needs particular attention because of its multiplier effect, where it influences public opinion, fuels tension and paves the way for discrimination and hate crimes, the consortium of the project manages to bring clear objectives to the table:

  1. To reach out to at least 2000 young people in Spain, Hungary, Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Italy, France, North Macedonia and Albania through peer education activities in universities or youth clubs to raise their awareness of the adverse impact of hate speech on Roma and to empower them to recognize and report hate speech online.
  2. To empower 50 young Roma peer educators in 10 countries to monitor hate speech in online media and report cases of hate speech to IT companies, national equality bodies and relevant state institutions to reinforce implementation of anti-discrimination legislation. Their work will lead to national datasets of at least 150 cases, as well as at least 50 reported cases.
  3. To advocate towards national and EU decision-makers for anti-discrimination policies that take into account the online sphere as well as antigypsyism as a bias motivation for hate speech and hate crime.
  4. To use the experiences of peer educators and results of the monitoring to raise awareness of other stakeholders (wider civil society, educational practitioners, young people) of antigypsyist hate speech in online media and the urgency to counteract.

The target group are young Roma peer educators and other young people, as they are primary users of social media and often lack media literacy and critical thinking. Indirectly, the project targets Roma people across Europe who will benefit from reduced hate speech, which impacts negatively on their well-being and their position in society.

Working online enables the partners to be innovative and use peer education to reach a high number of young people, with young Roma themselves being the peer educators. At the same time as educating their peers and raising their awareness of antigypsyist hate speech, they will automatically also act as role models for other young people. The project combines peer education and media monitoring in order to obtain two-fold results: the peer education methodology can achieve a direct change in attitudes and actions of a high number of young people, and the monitoring will contribute to better understanding and a more systemic change of policies through advocacy based on the results.

Having in mind the pandemic COVID-19 that is spreading cross out Europe, the PECAO partners are starting to organize their work online, taking into consideration their well-being and the safety of their community. The main focus this period is utilizing platforms such as ZOOM for online meetings and preparation, setting up the foreseen calls for peer educators and mentors. And for the first time, ERGO will try to host an online Kick-Off meeting and bring in the partners, by having a nice agenda and working plan for a couple of days in April! Updates on how it goes will follow soon!

Meanwhile, many ERGO members are following protocols regarding the pandemic COVID-19, as well as helping the Roma community by sharing information, products they need and by staying organized, safe and well!

[1] Online hate speech is a type of speech that takes place online, generally social media or the internet, with the purpose of attacking a person or a group on the basis of attributes such as race, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, or gender.

12th Edition of the FAGiC Awards for Roma development

12th Edition of the FAGiC Awards for Roma development

On December 4, 2019 FAGiC organised the 12th Edition of the FAGiC Awards, a ceremony with a double goal: on one side, it is an opportunity to reward Roma and non Roma people who contributed positively to the development of the Roma culture and the Roma community; on the other side, it is a big event to present FAGiC’s projects and activities.

This year, the awards went to:

  • Oncle Moncho for a lifetime’s work and contribution to Roma culture (post-humous) (Culture Award)
  • Oncle Peret for the promotion of Catalan Roma culture (Culture award)
  • Roma Women Association “Karing Vaxt” for the empowerment and promotion of Roma women (Association Award)
  • Educational team and parents of the school Juan Salamero for their fight against social exclusion (Education Award)
  • Hospital of Bellvitge for good practices with the Roma people (Health Award)
  • Chamber of Commerce of Barcelona for the promotion of inclusion of Roma people on the labour market (labour insertion award)
  • Eduard Carrera for the promotion of citizenship and harmony through the mediation especially with Roma people (mediation award)