Roma Inclusion Activity

Speeches Shim

BACKGROUND

Roma are the most vulnerable and disadvantaged ethnic community in North Macedonia. Surveys reveal other groups view them as the least trusted community in the country due to the deeply rooted societal stereotypes. Roma experience numerous challenges in their daily lives due to prejudice, discrimination, which raise barriers to their social inclusion, empowerment, employment, participation in policy-making processes and structures at the national and local level. USAID contributes to this country’s efforts to promote inclusivity, improve economic security and growth, engage youth in social and economic opportunities, and increase government transparency.

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

The aim of the Roma Inclusion Activity is to empower Roma community members and civil society organizations (CSOs) to take leadership roles in the development and implementation of national strategies and policies pertaining to Roma inclusion, and to hold government institutions accountable for addressing Roma issues and needs. Through this partnership with the Institute of Research and Policy Analysis Romalitico, we are working to promote actions to address the human rights issues that Roma communities, themselves, have identified as priorities. We will support public education activities that empower Roma to use mechanisms for protection and addressing violations of their human rights. Through this activity we will empower the community to participate in local decision-making processes and include their priorities in the local agenda. Through this partnership, we aim to diminish stereotypes and prejudices against Roma people by reducing their vulnerability to economic destitution and lessening their dependence on public assistance. We will support activities to increase the general public’s awareness of Roma needs and the Roma community’s potential to contribute to society. We will further partner with Roma communities from 20 municipalities, CSOs, relevant government institutions, and other local counterparts. Guided by the local ownership principle, we will fully rely on local capacities to carry out project activities. 

 

ACHIEVEMENTS AND IMPACT

  • Eighteen community hubs have been opened in targeted municipalities to serve as community centers where Roma can turn to for assistance, and to ensure Roma participation in policy decisions at the local level.

  • Sixty Roma individuals were equipped with leaderships skills through participation in the Barvalipe Leadership Academy. Forty of them were then engaged to work in the community hubs as community mobilizers, business facilitators, and legal monitors. They helped undocumented Roma to register for legal recognition and provided support for legalization of some illegal dwellings. They also prepared the Roma community to apply for state-funded active labor market measures, and 100 Roma applied for Employment Service Agency grants for starting businesses, with 37 signing contracts for an average of 5,000 EUR each. 

  • Proposals to address Roma priorities were submitted to 15 municipal councils for inclusion in their 2022 budgets. These were based on ideas developed during the training on participatory budgeting that was provided to civil service organizations.

  • Some 2,000 Roma households in 18 municipalities were surveyed to gauge perceptions regarding Roma inclusion in society, discrimination, treatment by public institutions, knowledge about and satisfaction with the implementation of Roma-related strategies and local action plans, as well as their understanding of human rights and mechanisms for their protection. In addition, 35 focus group discussions were held with 240 Roma individuals in 11 municipalities. The findings were incorporated into the new Roma Strategy 2022–2030.

  • Almost 1,400 Roma individuals received information on accessing public benefits and services. 

  • A “Know Your Rights” campaign informed undocumented persons about the procedures for legal registration and obtaining personal identification documents.

  • An event to commemorate the European Roma Holocaust Day was held in Skopje, featuring an exhibit of photos and infographics about the Roma genocide.

Last updated: August 01, 2022

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