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:

General

  • 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.

 

ERGO Network’s Event on Funding of Bottom-up Approaches-NEWS

Funding of bottom-up approaches:

Ways forward to support Roma inclusion

9 December 2021

On the 9th of December, ERGO Network organized its online round table Funding of bottom-up approaches: Ways forward to support Roma inclusion, in the framework of the project “New solutions to old problems – exchange of new type of approaches in the field of Roma integration”

Over the past 20 years, Roma communities across Europe have seen very few improvements to their living situation, even though many public, private, international, and national funding programmes were aimed at Roma inclusion and empowerment. One of the reasons for the lack of success of such funding programmes is the application of a top-down approach that does not consider the realities and voices of Roma at the grassroots level and comes with a heavy administrative burden.  All evaluations of the last EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies acknowledged that Roma communities needed to be involved in project design, implementation, and evaluation to bring changes at local level.

The round table served to launch ERGO Network’s new Analysis of funding for bottom-up approaches to Roma inclusion, shedding light on the importance of bottom-up approaches and assessing funding programmes targeted at Roma inclusion. The event reflected on the challenges identified and provided input on how to improve existing funding programmes.

The main recommendations of study are:

General

  • 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.

The full research report will be officially launched at the beginning of 2022.

The conference was very well attended with over 70 participants, and it brought together ERGO Network national members from the grassroots level in many European countries, as well as other national practitioners, private donors, European civil society organisations, EU policymakers from the European Parliament and the European Commission, and other stakeholders.

If you attended this event, or watched the recording, don’t forget to let us know what you thought about it by filling in this evaluation form. Thank you!

See more:

For more information about this event, please don’t hesitate to contact us: info@ergonetwork.org

 

This event is kindly supported by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Regional Cooperation.

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.

ERGO Network’s Event on Funding of Bottom-up Approaches

Funding of bottom-up approaches:

Ways forward to support Roma inclusion

9 December 2021, 10am – 12pm, Online

Join us in our discussion on bottom-up approaches to funding for Roma Inclusion!

Background

In the past 20 years, Roma communities across Europe have seen very few improvements to their living situation, even though many public and private, international, and national funding programmes were aimed at Roma inclusion and empowerment.

One of the reasons for the lack of success of such funding programmes is the application of a top-down approach that does not consider the realities and voices of Roma at the grassroots level and comes with a heavy administrative burden.

All evaluations of the last EU Framework for National Roma Integration acknowledged that Roma communities needed to be involved in project design, implementation, and evaluation to bring about change.

This now needs to be translated into better funding programmes and regulations of public and private donors, including using more national resources for smaller projects, a prioritization of bottom-up approaches, and more support for Community-Led Local Development (CLLD).

With this event, we aim to raise donors’ awareness of the importance to give more support to bottom-up approaches, to finally improve the living situation of Roma communities on local level.

Objectives

The event will serve to launch ERGO Network’s new Analysis of funding for bottom-up approaches to Roma inclusion, shedding light on the importance of bottom-up approaches and assessing funding programmes targeted at Roma inclusion.

The main findings and recommendations aim to kick-start a debate with policy makers, donors, and civil society on how to design more effective funding programmes that can lead to a real change for local Roma communities.

Participants

The conference will bring together EU policymakers from across the institutional spectrum, donors, ERGO Network members, civil society from the grassroots level, as well as other relevant EU and national stakeholders.

We’re looking forward to counting you among the participants, so that together we can build positive, sustainable, evidence-based policy solutions that work!

 

This event is kindly supported by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Regional Cooperation.

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.

Citizens Equality, Rights and Values – ERGO participation in CERV dialogue week

Citizens Equality, Rights and Values – ERGO participation in CERV dialogue week

“Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values” (CERV) is the new European programme offering funding for citizens’ engagement, equality for all and the protection and promotion of rights and EU values. Civil society organisations active at local, regional, national and transnational level, as well as other stakeholders, can apply to receive CERV funding for the 2021-2027 period.

CERV stands for “Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values” and will be the biggest-ever EU fund for promoting and protecting fundamental rights inside the EU. It will provide 1,55 billion euro for the next 7-years period to projects protecting and promot the rights and values as enshrined in the Treaties, the Charter and in the applicable international human rights conventions. This will be achieved by supporting civil society organisations and other stakeholders active at local, regional, national and transnational level. The programme will replace the previous Rights, Equality and Citizenship programme and the Europe for Citizens programme.

The CERV programme will be based on 4 strands:

  1. Equality, Rights and Gender Equality – promote rights, non-discrimination, equality, including gender equality, and advance gender and non-discrimination mainstreaming;
  2. Citizens’ engagement and participation – promote citizens engagement and participation in the democratic life of the Union and exchanges between citizens of different Member States and to raise awareness of the common European history;
  3. Daphne – fight violence, including gender-based violence;
  4. Union values – protect and promote Union values. The Union values strand is one of the big innovations of the programme. It puts at its centre values which are common to all Member States and on which the European Union is founded:  respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. At a time where European societies are confronted with extremism, radicalism and divisions and a shrinking space for independent civil society, this strand will place civil society organisations at the heart of its priorities by funding projects which promote and raise awareness on EU values and EU fundamental rights and by providing financial support to local, regional and transnational civil society organisations.

During the CERV Civil Dialogue Week 2021 from 25-28 May 2021, potential partners and beneficiaries had the opportunity to get to know the new programme and to engage in an open dialogue on policy developments, opportunities and challenges.

The session on Equality and Rights was moderated by Irena Moozova, Director “Equality and Union citizenship” in the European Commission and engaged Sirpa Pietikäinen – Member of the European Parliament, FEMM Committee and  co-rapporteur CERV programme, Evelyne Paradis – Executive Director of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) Europe, Tamás Kádár – Deputy Director and Head of Legal and Policy of the European Network of Equality Bodies (EQUINET), Elizabeth Gosme – Director of COFACE Families Europe and Isabela Mihalache, our Senior Advocacy Officer.

At the invitation of the Moderator, our senior advocacy officer addressed the main challenges that that EU funds should address under the Equality and Rights strand of the CERV programme. We underlined the growing extremist and far right and populist movements, which challenge the idea of inclusive and democratic societies where people of different backgrounds can enjoy equal rights. Another challenge is addressing structural and institutional racism in the context of growing inequalities and discrimination and violence on the grounds of sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation. The fragmented nature and limited resources of EU funding programmes dedicated to various strands limit the EU’s capacity to respond to existing and new challenges, AI, climate change, covid-19; aspects regarding the distribution of funds across the groups of beneficiaries, the involvement of equality bodies, gender mainstreaming, mainstreaming of rights of the child and rights of people with disabilities, difficulties with the application process, implementation and reporting duties and mechanisms, ‘lack of support to first-time applicants’.

ERGO highlighted that programmes such as CERV are important since legislation alone is not enough to effectively tackle discrimination and racism and achieve equality. Structural problems and challenges are hardly funded by national funding if not for EU funding. Such structural problems are also cross-countries and better addressed at regional level through exchanges of knowledge and good practices. EU funding should allow developing synergies to tackle the challenges that are common to the promotion of equality, anti-discrimination and anti-racism to reach a critical dimension to have concrete results in the field. At the same time, the funds should take into account the specific nature of the different EU policies, their different target groups and their particular needs through tailor-made approaches. The current CERV strand on equality and rights should lead to a better understanding of various forms of discrimination, including antigypsyism, antisemitism, islamophobia and afrophobia; promoting a culture to combat discrimination on a more intersectional basis, thus making responses more effective, increased actions to prevent and combat discrimination, racism, xenophobia, anti-semitism, anti-muslim hatred, antigypsyism and other forms of intolerance. In that context, particular attention should also be devoted to preventing and combating all forms of violence, hatred, segregation and stigmatisation, as well as combating bullying, harassment and intolerant treatment. The CERV Programme should be implemented in a mutually reinforcing manner with other Union activities that have the same objectives, such as the EU Strategic Framework for Roma Equality, Inclusion and Participation, EU Action plans against racism etc; it should support NGO coalition building and platform on antiracism and avoid fragmentation of different antiracism movements.

In the future, the CERV programme could help by looking at the disproportionate impact the Covid-19 pandemic and crisis can inflict on marginalised ad vulnerable groups, which are more prone to discrimination, through continuous evidence data collection, awareness raising activities and combating negative narrative and stereotypes in the media and beyond and by ensuring synergies with the Recovery and resilience facility.

CLLD Meeting with EC desk officers

ERGO Network members meet EC desk officers to discuss Community-Led Local Development

On 11 March 2021, the European Roma Grassroots Organisations (ERGO) Network facilitated an online exchange meeting between its national members in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, and Romania, and their counterparts in the country desks of DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (DG EMPL), DG Regional and Urban Policy (DG REGIO), and DG Agriculture and Rural Development (DG AGRI). Other European Commission staff responsible for related affairs was also in attendance.

The main topics covered in the meeting were:

  • Presentation of the main findings of the ERGO Network evaluation report of the CLLD cycle 2014-2020 in the three countries.
  • Updates on the possibility to introduce the Roma indicators in connecting the EU Roma Strategic Framework with EU funds.
  • Updates on how to best feed Roma realities and proposals (particularly with a view to the pandemic and recovery) in the current MFF negotiations.
  • Updates on the preparation of the National Roma Strategic Frameworks and National Recovery and Resilience Plans.

ERGO Network Director Jamen Gabriela Hrabaňová recalled that the organisation had been engaging extensively with CLLD processes since 2014, given the key role these processes can play in empowering Roma communities to identify bottom-up, beneficiary-led solutions that can tackle Roma poverty and social exclusion. Ms Hrabaňová pointed to the comprehensive synthesis report ERGO Network produced this year, evaluating the CLLD cycle for its entire duration (2014-2020) from a Roma perspective in three countries: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, and Romania. She concluded by reassuring desk officers that ERGO Network national members and staff stood committed, willing, and able to provide all necessary input and feedback from their work directly at grassroots level, to make sure that the voice of the Roma was being heard.

  • Access here the ERGO Network publication “Community-Led Local Development (CLLD) for Roma inclusion. Evaluation Report 2014-2020”

Daniel Grebeldinger, ERGO Network CLLD expert (Nevo Parudimos, Romania) offered participants a comprehensive presentation of the main findings of the evaluation report. Roma involvement in CLLD and Local Action Group structures remained unequal, while more work needed to be done to build the capacity of all actors involved – local authorities, other LAG members, Roma NGOs, and community leaders – to engage with these processes. Cooperation with the Managing Authorities was not always smooth, and delays in launching the calls and the evaluations persisted, making planning and delivering projects a challenge. While more and more local development strategies had included Roma as priority beneficiaries, further efforts were needed to ensure that interventions genuinely reached the Roma and made a difference in their lives, with their full participation. The ERGO Network report presents concrete recommendations for the Managing Authorities, for the LAGs, and for Roma communities themselves.

The presentation was followed by an interactive Q&A session with the European Commission representatives in attendance, where specific points of the report were further elaborated upon. After the opening plenary, participants split into breakout rooms according to countries, in order to be able to exchange bilaterally in more detail about specific national concerns. ERGO Network will continue to engage closely with CLLD processes on the ground, with a view to ensure that Roma rights, inclusion, and participation were prioritized in this framework. The dialogue with the European Commission will continue through follow-up exchange meetings.

 

  • Access here the report of the online exchange meeting between ERGO Network national members and the European Commission (plenary only).
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