EXAMPLES OF POSITIVE PRACTICES: Promoting Human Rights and Inclusion of Roma Women and Youth

EXAMPLES OF POSITIVE PRACTICES: Promoting Human Rights and Inclusion of Roma Women and Youth

About the project: The overall goal / impact of the Project “Promoting Human Rights and Inclusion of Roma Women and Youth” is capacity improvement of selected partner organizations, improvement of [...]

About the project:

The overall goal / impact of the Project “Promoting Human Rights and Inclusion of Roma Women and Youth” is capacity improvement of selected partner organizations, improvement of the position of Roma women and Roma youth activism in targeted municipalities, as well as establishment of instruments for participation in decision making. The project contributes to the fight against discrimination in all its forms and promotes the economic, cultural, and social rights of the Roma minority in Bosnia and Herzegovina, contributing to the protection of rights of women and children. The project addresses the rights and participation of particularly vulnerable groups, Roma women and Roma youth, and aims to work with them on building of their capacities and skills, to involve them in social, cultural and economic activities in the target municipalities.

Author’s foreword:

The project “Promoting Human Rights and Inclusion of Roma Women and Youth” gathered more than 20 actors in 6 municipalities (Vitez, Travnik, Donji Vakuf, Prnjavor, Modriča and Vukosavlje), from non-governmental organizations, through young activists to local institutions. The project was implemented by CARE International in cooperation with the partner organizations “Strengthening – Zuralipe” from Vitez and “Romani Ćej – Roma Girl” from Prnjavor, with the financial support of the European Union. During more than 20 months of implementation, the following results have been achieved:

– Two large workshops were organized that empowered more than 50 young Roma men and women, activists from 6 municipalities, through which they acquired skills and knowledge about activism, including planning and implementation of activist actions and initiatives;

– 10 workshops and trainings for Roma women were organized with participation of over 60 Roma women from 6 municipalities;

– Organized and implemented over 30 small initiatives; designed and implemented by young Roma activists (these initiatives involved more than 5,000 Roma men and women in communities);

– Organized and implemented over 20 economic empowerment initiatives for 20 Roma women and Roma families, for starting small-scale business, in 6 municipalities;

– The first two Roma youth business hubs in Vitez and Prnjavor have started operating, through which the following was organized:

o 10 workshops and meetings for young Roma men and women (from CV writing education to activist initiative planning);

o More than 20 field visits, interviews with Roma families and support in solving specific problems;

o 5 specific educations (computer work, tailoring and sewing, clay creative work, decoupage).

– Two informal business units have been established:

o In Vitez a facility is equipped with 10 sewing machines and in Prnjavor with a CNC machine (with funds from other donors in the amount of per 12,000 BAM);

o In these business units per 3 specific trainings were organized;

o For both business units, as part of education and support, a formal and professional business plan was developed for the development of further self-sustainability and work continuation.

– 6 small grants have been implemented:

o Vitez: Grant for formal education of 10 Roma women for the profession of sewing and tailoring (5,000 Euros);

o Travnik: Reconstruction of a residential building for a family of eight (2,500 Euros);

o Donji Vakuf: Reconstruction of road infrastructure (2,500 Euros);

o Prnjavor: Grant for formal education of 10 Roma men and women for work on a CNC engraving machine (5,000 Euros);

o Modriča: Reconstruction of road infrastructure (2,500 Euros);

o Vukosavlje: Reconstruction of road infrastructure (2,500 Euros).

– In these municipalities, per two public policies have been designed, on relations with the Roma non-governmental sector and the establishment of more efficient communication between local institutions and Roma organizations, and institutional local action guidelines focused on Roma men and women.

All these results have been achieved thanks to the commitment and dedication of our partner organizations and the young Roma men and women involved in this project. During this joint work and the challenges of the COVID pandemic, we were forced to look for a different manner of implementation. Although numerous projects focused on the Roma population are being implemented in BiH, we have often been in a situation to talk about new “mechanisms”, to open topics about new approaches. Implementing this project, we realized that during our work we conceived and designed the following examples of good practice or mechanisms that others, learning from our experience, can utilize in their work:

– ROMA YOUTH ACTIVISM: From networking, through education and empowerment, to planning and active participants for change in the local community;

– SUPPORT FOR WOMEN/ROMA WOMEN FROM MARGINALIZED COMMUNITIES: From gathering, through education and motivation to the development of concrete business ideas and opportunities;

– COOPERATION WITH INSTITUTIONS AND INVOLVEMENT IN DECISION-MAKING PROCESSES: From gathering actors to joint creation of local strategies.

The ultimate goal of the implementation of each project is to create change. It makes us happy that by establishing various mechanisms and examples of positive action, we have contributed to changes for a better and more equal life of Roma men and women, not only in the municipalities where we worked, but throughout BiH.