Why is this program needed?
Surveys in Hungary have shown that only a fraction of the European funds targeting Roma integration reach the localities where most of the Roma live.
What is the goal of this program?
One of the goals is to bring these funds closer to the Roma communities. Our staff helps the beneficiaries to articulate local problems, to shape ideas and to come up with possible solutions, to write applications, while supporting them in building local partnerships and cooperation. The other aim is to show a model for the managing authorities of the EU funds, for services that could support the development of Roma integration projects.
How does the program work and since when do we run it?
The program has started in 2009. In the first four years we have launched open calls for Roma minority self-governments, local municipalities, civil organizations and local communities. Our staff visited the beneficiaries at their localities. The process of each project development happened through three to ten local meetings, ending with a completed application ready to be submitted. We have also organized study tours, trainings, workshops. The beneficiaries of a successful application have been helped with mentoring and supplementary funds during the period they implemented their projects. Mentoring assisted the organizations in their professional and administrative work, supplementary funds have been provided in the form of bridge-loans or grants to cover project costs that were ineligible by the rules of the EU funds. During this work we have also formulated various proposal for the authorities managing EU funds.
The year 2014 brought a change in our methodology – we have recruited local coordinators. Through an open call, we have selected ten partner organizations/settlements out of the 70 applicants. Besides creating applications – as in the previous years – a new aim is to form broad integration strategies based on the local needs. Strategies are created with the involvement of the local stakeholders, building on their knowledge and experiences. This task is supported locally by our Roma coordinators, working in several settlements in small regions. We support their work by trainings in community development, project- and strategic development and communications skills, by study tours and continuous mentoring.
What are the results we have reached and plans for the future?
We have trained more than 500 people, two-third of them Roma in the first four years. Hundred applications have been submitted, out of them 40 successful, generating five million Euro funds. We plan to have further funds aimed at Roma integration reaching their target between 2014-2020.