Tackling discrimination against Roma people through participatory mutual learning

AuthorDirectorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (European Commission)
© Press department of Budapest, 2010
Logo of Roma-Net Urbact project
Problem addressed
Roma people are the EU’s largest minority but despite
widespread policy ef‌forts to facilitate their integration, they
continue to suf‌fer from ethnic discrimination and socio-
economic deprivation. 78% of Roma people surveyed in 2019
lived in overcrowded housing, whilst only 43% of Roma adults
were in employment. Roma social policy initiatives across
Europe have tended to treat Roma community members
as passive recipients. Initiatives are oen designed and
implemented by actors outside the community, impacting
how relevant they are to the needs of Roma people, and
how ef‌fectively they can provide support.
Innovative solution
Roma-Net was launched in 2009 to combat discrimination
towards Roma people through mutual learning based on
the voice of the Roma community itself. It is a network
of nine cities in Spain, France, Italy, Czechia, Slovakia,
the UK and Hungary - with Budapest as lead partner. All
participating cities establish local support groups, which
bring local Roma organisations into contact with local
authorities from a range of sectors including healthcare,
housing, education and policing.
Local support groups enable Roma representatives to inform
public authorities of their community’s concerns and develop
action plans tailored to their specif‌ic needs. Roma-Net also
provides a platform for cities to share their experiences of
implementing these tailored intervention strategies, thus
mutually increasing expertise and contributing to more
ef‌fective support for the Roma population.
Roma-Net organised six meetings, called ‘learning clusters’,
on key topics affecting Roma people, such as: local
empowerment and active community engagement; area-
based approaches towards exclusion and segregation; and
transitioning to the labour market. These events brought
together 220 participants including Roma people, public
authorities and members of local support groups to exchange
information on good practices and develop local action plans
for long-term Roma social and economic inclusion.
Tackling discrimination against
Roma people through participatory
mutual learning

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