Civic education, Social inclusion

Active Roma citizens – effective policies

Mobilizing the Roma civic participation for improvement of local Roma inclusion policies

Creators

Who is behind this?

Tatyana Kirilova

Roma- Lom Foundation

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006871782320

Bulgaria

Who is joining forces?

C.E.G.A.

http://www.cega.bg

Bulgaria


Idea

Idea pitch

Mobilizing the Roma citizens to engage in dialogue with authorities is the only way to make the Roma inclusion policies work. Challenging the Roma isolation from macro-society we will involve 15 Roma initiative groups in civic education through actions and learning process, thus building capacities in 3 directions (a) civic literacy, knowledge and skills; (b) awareness and respect to democratic values; (c) motivation and self-esteem of Roma activists to mobilize communities for participation

Where will your project idea take place?

Lom, Boichinovzi, Septemvryizi, Madan, Medkovez and Berkovtza in North-Western Bulgaria

What is the local challenge?

The project will be realized in North-Western Bulgaria - the region with the highest concentration of Roma (about 30% of the total population) and leading the ranking of the poorest regions in EC. The project aims to challenge the barriers to social inclusion of Roma communities – living in poverty, isolated from macro-society, and excluded from democratic processes for policy decision-making. The recent COVID-19 crisis seriously affected the Roma in the region by the new wave of unemployment and coming back of over 25000 migrants from EC, who ensured the incomes of many Roma families. Civic activism is emerging in Roma communities with the slow consolidation of initiative groups, who need knowledge and tools to effectively advocate for equal participation of Roma in social life

How does your idea strengthen democracy and active citizenship at a local and community level?

The civic education in Roma communities will be approached through actions and learning process involving both individuals and initiative groups, thus creating a core of active citizens in the isolated Roma communities, equipped with knowledge and tools for interaction and dialogue with local authorities. Bringing the Roma activists together in initiative groups will motivate them to involve Roma communities in advocacy campaigns to address the pressing problems (such as the equal access of Roma to the measures for overcoming the COVID-19 crisis). These interventions will help strengthening the democracy in the region through the increased participation of isolated Roma communities in macro-citizenship in the region and making the Roma voice heard in the local policy decision-making

Who are you doing it for?

We will target 15 active Roma groups in the 6 small towns and villages, involving about 150 activists in civic education and learning through practical civic actions and campaigns. Acting as advocates for the Roma community, these activists will have the potential to reach and mobilize at least 20-25 000 people in the region. The initiative groups will include informal leaders and activists, mediators, Roma elected as municipal councilors (over 20 - the largest number in the country), NGO representatives, Roma working in local and state administration, members of religious communities. This diversity of Roma representatives participating in the planned activities of the project is a guarantee for achieving good results and inclusion of the maximum number of beneficiaries

How do you plan to get there?

RLF will facilitate the development of Roma groups,enlarging the approaches with trainings on civic education and practical learning by organizing civic campaigns. Key activities:
• Interactive trainings in civic education, advocacy and interaction with local authorities, group consolidation;
• Field visits, community discussions, online support to local groups;
• Based on our long-term partnerships, practicing Roma initiatives for constructive dialogue with local authorities on measures concerning the Roma (specific actual focus is the equal Roma access to the measures addressing the aftereffects of C-19)
• Online and offline campaigns with active participation of representatives of Roma groups and local institutions;
• Information campaigns in Roma communities.

What are the expected results?

• Reinforced active citizenship in Roma communities;
• Consolidated and trained 15 active Roma groups;
• More than 150 Roma citizens involved in civic education and advocacy training on the formation and implementation of policies concerning the Roma community;
• Conducted at least 15 civic campaigns on important topics concerning the Roma community;
• Adequate measures have been developed to deal with the consequences of C-19, equally accessing the Roma communities.
The formed measures and policies will affect the entire Roma population, and not only the population in the region, which according to official data numbers over 40,000 people. The successful interaction with the active groups has been tested over the years and through the results achieved in the region in various areas.

How does your initiative contribute to strengthening democracy in Europe?

The project is focused on Bulgaria, but it has clear European dimensions. The need to overcome the Roma exclusion and still existing trends to deep marginalization of Roma is not only a Bulgarian, but a European challenge faced with varying pattern in many EU countries. The project experience gained in approaching the Roma isolation through civic education of Roma communities and civic campaigns may become helpful for other EU countries in looking for effective ways to fight stigma and discrimination against Roma, and for the step-by-step integration of Roma in the citizenship infrastructure in the countries

What is your story?

FRL has been working for more than 20 years for the development of the Roma community by activating its representatives to strive for its integration and overcoming social isolation. The experience gained by the team members and the results achieved show that this is the right way to change the existing situation. The active groups in the communities are the living organism that will continue to build on what has been achieved. The Roma activist groups will gain new knowledge and skills and will be motivated to continue to look for new opportunities to involve local communities in campaigns to change policies at the local level through dialogue with local authorities and locally based state institutions

€ 48500,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

€ 48500,-

Total budget

Major expenses

Personnel costs – 21 000
Office costs – 2500
Travel and accommodation costs – 2500
Civic campaigns costs – 15 000
Supplies and materials – 2000
Other services - 5500

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

ideas, comments, proposals for measures and policies that would enable the Roma leadership to be in a better negotiating position for the formation and implementation of policies concerning the Roma community

Team

Roma-Lom Foundation

Idea created on May 26, 2020

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