20 participants of the EFC annual conference met to discuss the future of private donor funding on Roma inclusion. The EFC’s Forum for Roma Inclusion presented results from a mapping of private foundation initiatives that are positively impacting Roma communities throughout Europe.

This mapping was conducted to inform foundations that already invest in this area, as well as to provide examples of effective practices for those interested in becoming more engaged.

Key outcomes of this meeting were:

  • Roma face deep and systemic challenges that require explicit focus. However, efforts need not be exclusive. It is important to remain aware of potential negative consequences that may arise when mainstream populations feel that programmes are targeting only the Roma. Rather, a cross-cutting approach may prove beneficial. When designing programs that address early childhood, education, entrepreneurship, employment, housing, etc., donors should think about how Roma are also impacted and how to better involve them in their efforts;
  • Disaggregated data about Roma beneficiaries will be useful when thinking about solutions – given the size and marginalisation of the Roma community throughout Europe, better insight into how Foundations are already positively impacting Roma communities would help to influence and inform European policies and programmes;
  • To make a real difference, we must first address the belief that Roma initiatives cannot be successful. This mapping exercise demonstrates that it is possible to achieve positive outcomes and significant impact. To succeed, projects must include: active participation of the local community and a participatory learning process, sustainability of resources, stakeholder synergy, involvement and effective communication with all stakeholders, well-designed planning and implementation, measurable and realistic indicators of success, and communication of results to the wider public.

Participants had a very open discussion about the results of the mapping exercise and the work that their organisations are already doing or plan to do in this area. The group agreed that the EFC’s Forum for Roma Inclusion is a key platform for the exchange of ideas and knowledge. Historically, the group has been committed to advocacy. It plans to continue to engage in advocacy at the national as well as EU levels in order to ensure that strategies designed under the EU Framework for National Roma Integration are proactively implemented by member states, with an aim to achieve the goals set out for 2020.