News from Slovo 21

News from Czech ERGO member Slovo 21

Invisible Power Coalition

Migrant and Roma women in the Czech Republic and other parts of Europe face economic and social inequalities and live in a position particularly vulnerable to violence and discrimination. Compared to most women in the Czech society, these women are often at higher risk of social exclusion, live under worse material conditions, and have a lower quality of life. The problems of these women are often overlooked, which is why the Invisible Power coalition, with the support of the German EVZ Foundation, was founded—to give these women space to be seen and heard. The coalition represents a collaborative effort of the Czech Women’s Lobby (CWL) and its member organizations Association for Integration and Migration (SIMI) and SLOVO 21, under which the Roma women’s group Manushe operates.

The Invisible Power focused on two levels of support for Roma and migrant women. The first was to involve these women in a network of women’s rights organizations and to strengthen mutual solidarity also between women from disadvantaged groups. Secondly, we wanted to raise public awareness of the situation these groups of women find themselves in. Another equally important goal was to strengthen the self-esteem of these women through self-expression, especially by means of storytelling during events organized for the general public, writing articles about their stories, and participating in public debates.

The project provided women without self-esteem with space for self-expression and made it possible for Roma and migrant women to be seen and heard at 4 public events, 5 thematic meetings, 3 networking meetings, and 1 conference, alongside other media outputs and networking meetings. A total of 34 migrant women and 148 Roma women took part in these activities.

The article is available here.

 

ROMA ORGANIZATIONS LAUNCH CAMPAIGN FOR CENSUS: ME SOM ROM, ME SOM ROMŇI, AMEN SAM ROMA! A SO TU?

The umbrella organization RomanoNet, in cooperation with other organizations (including Slovo 21, z.s.), has prepared an online campaign to reach out to Roma to declare their Roma nationality at this year’s Census of Population, Housing and Dwellings or to use Romani as their mother tongue.

The campaign responds to the low awareness of Roma men and women in connection with the Census 2021 and also refutes the myths that are spreading among the Roma themselves about the census.

The campaign is based on videos in which Romani men and women explain why, in their opinion, it is essential to state Romani nationality in the census form and Romani as their mother tongue. The videos are then placed on the website www.amensamroma.cz and are shared on social networks. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the campaign takes place exclusively in the online space.

(Article in Czech is available here )

NEW PROJECT ANDROMEDIA – IN MEDIA

The Romani culture and arts are a part of the national, European and world cultural and artistic space, and it keeps growing and developing constantly. There is a new generation of young educated artists and performers active in the area of music, dance, new media, arts, alternative arts, theatre and literature. Unfortunately, there is a substantial lack of interest and knowledge of critics who would be able to approach critically to Romani culture and arts.

The AndroMedia (in English “In Media”) project contributes to dealing with this problem and supports to development of artistic critical reviewing through interdisciplinary activities including several workshops, seminars, discussions with audience and experts, in both direct and online communication.

Project activities will help develop participants’ capacities in culture as they improve competencies of future critics – students of journalism and ethnomusicology, and Romani writers. The project also implements Audience Development Strategies and launches the Online Discussion Forum which will contribute to social dialogue.

Project is supported by EHP Fonds 2014 – 2021, Culture program. Project duration: 1.12.2020 – 30.4.2022.

 

STRENGTHENING THE CAPACITIES OF ROMA AND PRO-ROMA ADVOCACY ACTORS

Everyone should have the knowledge to influence and improve their lives in society. Only a society in which everyone has a voice, including minorities, can be considered democratic.

Based on the experience gained so far, we are coming up with a new project “Strengthening the capacities of Roma and pro-Roma actors in the field of advocacy”, which will focus on strengthening the competencies of employees of the organization Slovo 21, z.s. in the field of advocacy, so that the Roma are able to participate well in the integration process in 4 selected cities (Náchod, Budišov nad Budišovkou, Rokycany, Prague).

The employee expects 8 half-day theoretical trainings and 16 half-day practical workshops (2 trainings and 4 workshops in each locality) in the field of advocacy activities. The participants will then be permanently supported by experts in the form of tailor-made consultations.

We will establish cooperation with members of the local Roma community, who in cooperation with us will participate in solving the integration of Roma into the local level and other local Roma and pro-Roma non-profit organizations.

News from Slovo 21

Recent activities of ERGO member Slovo 21

Slovo 21 has been very active in the last weeks, focusing their efforts on their contributions to ERGO Network’s Annual Work Programme Roma Included in Social Europe (RIISE).

National Roma Integration Strategy:

Since May 2020 NGO Slovo 21 has been organizing meetings with the network of Roma NGOs in the Czech Republic  to discuss the Strategy of Roma Integration 2021 – 2030. Roma representatives met with the coordinators of the Strategy (SRI) at the Office of the Government to express disagreement with the SRI prepared by the government. On June 19th, Roma representatives together with the relevant government resorts met with EU Commission desk officers to discuss the SRI. So far, Roma NGOs cooperate closely and prepare suggestions for new goals of the SRI in order to reach the best results and to include Roma indicators in new SRI.

Community-Led Local Development

On May 21st Slovo 21 met with the representatives from the newly built Roma Centre in Náchod to discuss further cooperation between local authorities, Local Action Group (LAG) and the Roma community in Náchod city. We were informed about the achievements and planned activities. After the meeting with the Roma representatives, we met with the representatives of LAG Stolové Hory to discuss future cooperation with the Roma community from Náchod city, the membership of NGO Slovo 21 in LAG Stolové Hory and our contribution to CLLD.

On 29 June, we met with Roma activists to prepare our next steps. We targeted issues and discussed about a survey to find out the needs of the Roma community in Náchod city. We then met with the mayor of Náchod to discuss our cooperation and offer our activities to the city, including the organization of a festival of Roma culture in Náchod. The meeting was successful: The mayor is positive about the planned activities and is supporting the festival.

On 15 June, we also met with representatives of the LAG Opavsko to learn about opportunities, discuss issues of the Roma community and plan a meeting with the mayor of the city – Budišov and Budišovkou.

CLLD Capacity-Building

On 29/30 May, Seven Roma women – the local coordinators from five different Czech localities – participated in a two-day capacity building meeting in Prague. During the meeting participants received information about the CLLD process, small grants and future activities. An important part of the capacity building meeting was to share  experiences, challenges and successes with the cooperation with local authorities and plan the next steps of their work.

From 26-28 June, more than 15 Roma women participated in the next capacity building meeting together with their local coordinators. During the meeting, the Roma women from 5 localities improved their competences to work in the CLLD process. Our goal was to inform them about the CLLD process and the activities they could organize in their localities. The meeting was organized together with the coordinator of Roma women group Manushe.

Activities of Slovo 21

Meeting with representatives from NGO Centrum Inkluze within the CLLD

On 6 March Slovo 21 organized a meeting with 3 representatives from the NGO Centrum Inkluze in Suchdol nad Odrou with the aim to share information within the Local Action Group Opavsko. The NGO Centrum Inkluze is based in Budišov nad Budišovkou, where a high number of Roma live. Slovo 21 shared information on grant opportunities such as “Small Leader” within the LAG Opavsko and on other grants focused on education, culture and environment. During the meeting we agreed on future steps to build a Community Centre in Budišov nad Budišovkou, which would be used for educational and cultural programmes not only for Roma but also for the majority. Our next steps include cooperation with Roma women from this locality led by one of the representative.

Cooperation in Náchod

Slovo 21 works closely with NGO Roma Community Centre Náchod. For many years our Roma women’s group Manushe together with representatives from the NGO Roma Community Centre implement activities within the project “Jileha”. Now we are focusing on  empowering Roma girls with the aim to reduce early pregnancy and, as a consequence of this, early school dropout. We now made contact with the Local Action Group Stolové Hory, of which Nachod is a part. Through this contact we will cooperate with the Roma Community Centre in the field of education.

 On 3 March we met with the Member of Parliament and mayor of Náchod city. We agreed on long term cooperation and solved issues concerning Roma pupils in elementary schools. Náchod city will also support cultural and sport activities organized by local Roma. All mentioned activities will be financed from the budget of Náchod city and from the projects of Slovo 21.

For 18 years already Slovo 21 supports activities of the local Roma Women’s group Manushe, which has a great impact on activating the local community. One of the result is the visit of Roma Community Centre by Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Jana Maláčová.

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.

 

ERGO’s work and vision showcased

ERGO’s work and vision showcased

This video shows the achievements of the work done by the European Roma Grassroots organizations (ERGO) network and its members under the Framework Partnership Agreement 2014-2017 with DG Employment supported by the European Union Programme for Employment and Social Innovation EaSI (2014-2020).

ERGO Network mobilizes and connects organizations and individuals who share a set of core values, to co-create the courage, capacity and approaches to: combat inequality, stigmatization and discrimination; strengthen Roma civil society participation in decision making at local, national and European level; commit governments and European institutions to effective anti-discrimination and social inclusion policies for Roma. ERGO has almost 30 members in more than 20 countries in Europe. Through its members ERGO became the only organization that brings the Roma grassroots voice directly to the EU institutions, but also helps the European institutions to understand better the needs of Romani communities.

Our dream is Roma to have the same opportunities like the non-Roma in education, employment and to all spheres of life and to be free from racism. In our opinion this can be happened only if we Roma take our lives in our hands.

Quotas from the video ;

“All people are humans, also Roma are humans” says Zuzana Havirova, Director of Roma Advocacy and Research Center from Slovakia

”If you want decide to be an activists then you are an activists by the heart” and “unite is power” said by Michal Miko member of SLOVO21 from the Czech Republic.

In video are featured:

JAMEN GABRIELA HRABANOVA (ERGO Network – Belgium)

ZUZANA HAVIROVA (Roma advocacy and Research center – Slovakia)

MICHAL MIKO (SLOVO 21 – Czech Republic)

IRINA SPATARU (Romano Centro -Austria)