Project Market “New solutions to old problems”

Project Market – “New solutions to old problems – exchange of new type of approaches in the field of Roma integration”

On 21-22 April 2021 the partners in the project “New solutions to old problems – exchange of new type of approaches in the field of Roma integration” gathered online for the “Project Market”, where they shared their best practices of Roma inclusion and empowerment projects and “bid” on each other’s projects to implement similar initiatives in their own communities.

The event showed the great wealth of experience of Roma civil society and the impact that bottom-up approaches to Roma inclusion, empowerment and fighting antigypsyism can have.

For the event, all partners had to identify up to 3 local good practices from their own or their partners’ work on Roma inclusion and empowerment. These good practices were presented in the ‘Project Market’ to other consortium partners so everyone could select someone else’s good practice that fits to their own community needs.

Projects that were ”won” at the ”auction” will need to be adapted to different contexts, planned in detail with the community and will then be kicked off. The ‘project owner’ who proposed this project will act as a coach during the entire period. The good practices will include for example supporting companies to recruit Roma employees, a mothers’ center, a volunteering program with elderly homes and a motivational re-training project for unemployed Roma. All partners are rooted in local Roma communities so they can easily reach out to and involve their target group.

The meetings also gathered guests from numerous International Organisations, embassies and and partner civil society organisations, among them the EEA and Norway Grants, EU Justice and Consumers, the Embassy of Norway, Tom Lantos Institute, ERSTE Foundation, Zentralrat Deutscher Sinti und Roma, Hildegard Lagrenne Stiftung.

“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.

PECAO Check-in meeting

PECAO Check-in meeting to evaluate project progress and plan ahead!

Almost one year has passed since ERGO Network and its partners have started the implementation of the PECAO project that addresses antigypsyist online hate speech. It has been quite a journey for our project partners within PECAO, as the project itself is being implemented during a global pandemic.

Nevertheless, our partners are extremely dedicated to encouraging positive values within Roma and non-Roma communities, as well as addressing the persisting issue of hate speech and antigypsyism. They have proven themselves motivated and reliable with the responsibilities handed to them. Our network is truly supported by grassroots efforts and we are immensely proud of this.

On 25 and 26 February 2021, the PECAO partners came together to evaluate a year of building our experience and expertise in tackling hate speech online, but also to look into the on-going implementation of the project, to check progress and plan the next steps ahead. We focused on the road so far, looking into what has been smooth and well done; where we were encountering bumps and the moments that we felt lost and were challenged by the given circumstances.

The check-in meeting was important and integral, as we still have a year ahead of us to make a change through our work and project in the online space.

The partners highlighted that the monitoring and peer education are going well, but it was challenging in the beginning to find the correct way to do it, especially face to face meetings, hence most of the activities shifted to be organized online and needed to take everyone’s safety into account.

During the meeting, we also received insights into the work packages led by our partners Integro, Nevo Parudimos and FAGiC. We listened to their reflections on the implementation so far and received heads up for the next period, as we are looking into following up on the conclusions of the stakeholder roundtables organized in their countries as well as continue to work on the monitoring exercise of collecting and reporting antigypsyist online hate speech.

On the meeting, our project officer from DG JUST Helene Lesay was also present and praised the commitment of our team despite the challenges faced.

The meeting concluded with looking into the next steps and milestones, one of them being the EU stakeholder roundtable organized for the 26 April 2021 by ERGO Network called “Online Antigypsyism: A new challenge for Roma inclusion?” where relevant stakeholders such as the European Commission, Google.org, European civil society organisations and other Brussels-level stakeholders, as well as EU policy-makers from across the institutional spectrum are invited to discuss.

Case studies of ERGO members

Case studies of ERGO Network members

During 2019, in the framework of our EaSI funded work programme ‘Roma Included in Social Europe’ (RIISE) ERGO Network members in Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary conducted case studies to shed light on specific challenges relating to Roma integration in their countries.

In Slovakia, the Roma Advocacy and Research Centre looked into the challenge of indebtedness of Roma and how a change in the bankruptcy law, which was not particularly focused at Roma, greatly improved their financial inclusion. You can read the case study here.

In Hungary, Autonomia Foundation spoke to mid-sized employers in one region of the country to learn more about their attitude towards employees of Romani origin and their employment and hiring capacity of Romani workers. Read the case study here.

Our Bulgarian member Integro Association discusses the impact of EU Operational Programs on the shrinking Roma civil society in Bulgaria. Read Integro’s case study here.

Finally, our Romanian member organization Nevo Parudimos explored the phenomenon of school drop-out or early school-leaving as well as to identify its reasons among disadvantaged young Roma aged 14–22, who failed to complete lower and/or upper secondary education. Antigypsyism inside the classroom and persistent poverty and difficult living conditions are the two main causes for early school dropout, which need to be countered by positive government measures. Read the full study here.

Exchange visit to Nevo Parudimos

Exchange visit to Nevo Parudimos

From 5 to 9 June 2019 ERGO Network visited Nevo Parudimos in their town of Resita in Romania, along with members from all over Europe to learn about the invaluable work Nevo Parudimos is doing in their country for their local Roma communities. Among the fellow member organizations who attended were staff from Pavee Point in Ireland, FAGIC from Spain, and RomanoNet and Life Together from the Czech Republic.

Once there everyone visited Nevo’s office where Daniel Grebeldinger presented the different projects they are involved in.

This includes youth work, social work, rural development policy and many volunteering projects. Nevo Parudimos is currently hosting 18 international volunteers and works with many local volunteers who support local schools, kindergartens, elderly homes and more. Another focus of the organization is on building local partnerships that benefit Roma communities, the municipality as a whole and the organization.

The participants also had the opportunity to drive though Resita visiting local Roma communities and hearing more about their specific issues and the work that Nevo Parudimos is doing to support them. The day closed with discussing what the other ERGO members could learn from Nevo Parudimos, how they deal with similar challenges and how they could get involved in Nevo’s projects.

The next day the group visited Dognacea, a village in the surrounding mountains that are governed by probably the only Roma woman mayor in the country, Elena Moise. Everyone was greeted with open arms when entering her office, she was so welcoming and willing to answer any questions we had. Elena Moise was previously a local school teacher

and for the last 12 years has taken the position of mayor.  After our conversations with her, it is safe to say she is an amazing and inspiring woman and her work is has changed the lives of many people in her village. Especially for the children in the schools, she is a role model who tells them to be proud of themselves. She said that whenever she feels down she goes to visit the local school to speak with the children to cheer up. Her message to us was that it is important to take up roles such as hers in order to do good for our communities, not to be scared of anyone and to be proud of what we do.

On the last evening, we all participated in a networking dinner to meet with Neo Parudimos’ partners, to make contacts and build relations between people working for the same cause. We met with Nadia Potoceanu, the president of Fundatia Activity for Sustainable Development, Lidia Rosianu, the head of the social department of the Municipality of Resita, Cristrian Chioncel, the Vice Dean of Eftimie Murgu University of Resita and Adrian Constantin, director of the Roma Radio Broadcast in Radio Resita.

Everyone left on the morning of the 9th to their respective countries. The exchange visit proved to be a success with our member organizations, and ERGO plans to organize similar visits to other members in the next years. This type of event is very important for our work to learn about the problems faced by Roma in different countries and to learn how local organizations are trying to find solutions to these problems.

The second annual meeting of the Roma Forum network took place with prominent guests

The second annual meeting of the ROMA FORUM network took place with prominent guests

ERGO partner Nevo Parudimos organized the second meeting of ROMA FORUM network. The meeting took place on 4-5 December, 2017 at the Sports Cultural Complex Tei in Bucharest. The meeting was organized within the framework of the strategic partnership coordinated by ERGO.

The meeting was attended by Minister Delegate for European Affairs, president of the National Agency for Roma, , deputy of the Roma minority in Parliament.  Alongside them were representatives of Roma civil society in the country. The novelty of this meeting was that for the first time organizations of Christian Roma participated with a significant number of participants.

The topics addressed at the meeting were:

  • Romanian Presidency of the EU Council – Roma issues on the social agenda of the European Union;
  • Explore strategies to improve the situation of Roma people – the implementation thereof;
  • The analysis of the opportunities available for the Roma NGOS;
  • Presentation of the programs LEADER, Erasmus+ and Europe for Citizens;
  • The planning of future activities of ROMA FORUM;

The Roma FORUM network intends to provide space for debate and analysis of existing policies for Roma people. Roma FORUM is a network of Romani organization, Roma activists and researchers, who want to contribute to the improvement of public policies for Roma communities.