For Roma by Roma: Local engagement in action

In the past many Roma inclusion efforts have failed to produce tangible results. To find out what works, what doesn’t and why, the Agency has been working with Roma communities and local authorities in 21 localities from 11 EU Member States. The case studies and supporting videos, which are now available, provide an insight of what can be done to promote Roma inclusion.

Each case study reveals the local context, including its particular needs and challenges. It also describes how inclusion efforts were designed and carried out together with the local authorities and Roma communities, and what the results were. The supporting video illustrates aspects of Roma inclusion in each locality.

The case studies and videos, produced by the Agency’s external experts, form part of FRA’s wider research on social inclusion and Roma integration measures on the ground. The aim was to engage with all local stakeholders, including Roma, to jointly enable Roma inclusion in education, employment, healthcare and housing, as well as support to Roma women and youth and tackling discrimination.

The research fully engaged with Roma communities as active partners. It put them in the driving seat so they could decide how to allocate resources on such issues as community development, developing local Roma integration strategies, supporting family learning models in education, small-scale entrepreneurship projects, and many others. It also ensured their voices were heard as equals to others, such as local authorities and social workers.

It resulted in a wealth of information about social inclusion and Roma integration. Already it has revealed the importance of a more targeted case-by-case approach taking into account the needs of each community rather than using a blanket solution for everyone. It has underlined the importance of building trust between Roma communities and local authorities, and the need to empower and get Roma involved in decisions that affect their lives, like better education for Roma children or projects to improve housing in the local area.

It will also help ensure everyone learns from past failures to identify critical aspects that must be considered if money, resources and efforts are to be better used, and if policies are to be more effective in actually improving the lives of Roma across the EU.

The community summaries, case studies, and videos from all localities are available from the project page online. FRA will use all the input collected during the research to feed a wider analysis that will be published in 2018.