Pilot project for Roma Inclusion

With a population of over 10 million, the Roma community is Europe’s largest transnational minority. They are often victims of racial and social discrimination without equal access to education, employment, housing and healthcare services. In recent years the Roma issue has become an important issue on the agenda of the European Union, and in many of its Member countries.

The "Pan-European Coordination of Roma Integration Methods - Roma Inclusion" pilot project aimed to:

  • Improve the access of Roma children to quality early childhood education and care
  • Facilitate self-employment through access to finance for marginalised communities
  • Combat discrimination against Roma people through awareness raising campaigns
  • Improve evaluation methods of Roma integration projects/programmes aiming at evidence-based policy

Brochure : Europe includes us all : The Roma Pilot Project (November 2011)

Activities supported

Grant agreements were signed in June 2010 for the following activities, which will run until 2012.

'A Good Start: Scaling-Up Access to Quality Services for Young Roma Children' (managed by Roma Education Fund)

The project set out to expand proven small-scale pilot activities, so as to reach large numbers of Roma children and to create efficient and sustainable services schemes adjusted to local needs. The main objectives of the pilot were to scale-up access to quality early childhood education and care services for disadvantaged Roma children and to raise early childhood development outcomes for Roma children, so as to enhance their school readiness and subsequent life opportunities. These objectives were reached through wide range of activities tailored to the local situation and needs of local Roma communities.

'The Good Start' project supported 5,000 children from ages zero to six to access early childhood education and care services in 16 locations across four countries:(Hungary, Macedonia, Romania and Slovakia). In these different locations, national and local governments worked with nongovernmental organisations to build sustainable partnerships able to increase the range of services provided to young children over time. The project provided an important start to long-term, effective support for Roma children across a range of their developmental needs. This is a key element of breaking the cycle of poverty.

Total Budget: € 2.01 million
EU Contribution: € 1,9 million

Videos :

'Kiutprogram Self-employment and Microcredit Programme' (managed by Polgár Alapítvány az Esélyekért)

The most important aim of the project was to support Roma and Sinti to work into the legal economy by starting up a business. The microcredit programme intended to lend money for starting small business to generate enough revenue to service the loan and to produce additional income for Roma families. The clients were entitled to receive continuous administrative, financial and business advice and assistance from Kiut Programme. An explicit and important aim of the programme was to encourage the participation of women.

The programme motivated the project clients to participate in local public affairs. This goal was achieved by raising their inclusion in decision-making at a local level and presenting them as examples for their peer group. Clients were also assisted in liberating themselves from the debt trap, by gaining social respect as by entering the legal labour market and by becoming contributing members of society. Field trips and workshops to disseminate the results of the programme were organised in Romania and Macedonia.

Total Budget: € 1.59 million
EU Contribution: € 1,4 million


'REACT' (managed by ERGO Network)

The "REACT" project started in June 2010 and finished at the end of 2011 after 18 months of operation. It aimed at improving the image of Roma across Europe and advocated for their inclusion into mainstream society on different levels, in different countries and by different means. The ultimate goal set was to challenge the stereotypes about Roma and to increase the awareness and knowledge of the majority population) and by this to support the inclusion of Roma people. The campaign consisted of a set of activities and messages, focusing on different levels from the local to the national level. For the purpose the project firstly focused on attracting attention and raising awareness through national anti-racism campaigns in Italy and Romania, using mass media products in sports and cinemas by involving celebrities (Roma and non-Roma) with an impact at the European level. The subsequent focus of the project was placed on creating understanding and changing of attitude with the conduct of local and regional level campaigns with active involvement of grassroots Roma groups aiming at intercultural dialogue through peer group exchange in countries like Romania, Italy, Bulgaria and Albania.

On 29 November, ERGO Network and its partners from the different beneficiary countries Albania, Bulgaria, and Romania, invited activists, stakeholders and policymakers from across Europe for the closing conference of the REACT-project. Over 80 people gathered in Brussels for presentations, working groups and debates. Visit www.ergonetwork.org/REACT for a full overview of the rich collection of the outcomes, lessons learnt and testimonies from the campaign.

The video message of Director General Ahner, Former Directorate General for Regional Policy, which was shown during the closing conference:

Pictures of ERGO's closing conference

Total Budget: € 1.16 million
EU Contribution: € 0.9 million


The lack of data and, consequently, the inadequacy of evaluation and monitoring tools, have been a major obstacle in designing and implementing policies explicitly targeting the marginalised Roma. Decision-makers need reliable facts and figures on which to monitor and assess projects, for example, to improve early childhood education or to provide business micro-microfinance.

On 30 November 2010, as part of the Roma pilot project, the European Commission held the conference 'Roma inclusion: From data collection and evaluation to evidence based policy'for academics, practitioners, government officials, international organisations, NGOs and representatives from Roma associations. They discussed the importance of developing robust monitoring and evaluating mechanisms for Roma inclusion policies at EU and member states level, as also reflected in the Communication "EU framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020".

A second phase of the pilot included a household survey on marginalised Roma communities in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, France, Italy, Spain and Portugal. The survey was carried out by the European Commission, United Nations Development Programme and World Bank in collaboration with the Fundamental Rights Agency. Roma were asked about their socio-economic situation and the ways in which they feel affected by discrimination. It is the first time that such a survey has been carried out in the European Union, and it is hoped that the updated information from the survey will assist evidence-based policy development for marginalised communtities and the National Roma Integration Strategies appraisal and monitoring.

Evaluation reports of Strand 1 (Early Childhood Education and Care) and Strand 2 (Self-employment and microcredit):