:: MNE -148
Social inclusion of Roma and Egyptians through mediation
Ministry of Finance of Montenegro – Directorate for Finance and Contracting of the EU Assistance Funds (CFCU)
:: REALIZATION / BUDGET
September 2020 – February 2022 18 months /500,382.07 EUR
The 2017 UNDP Regional Roma Survey on the socio-economic position of marginalised RE populations found that in Montenegro “marginalised Roma face limited access to opportunities in virtually every aspect of human development such as basic rights, health, education, housing, employment and standard of living”. Simultaneously there is wide recognition, including by the Council of Europe, that mediation in RE communities is a highly effective tool to overcome barriers to social inclusion. Montenegro has successfully systematised the RE mediator role in health in Podgorica and the mediator roles in employment, health care and social protection have been piloted in three municipalities.
The Action will encourage the expansion of mediation to support the advancement of the social inclusion of RE communities in Montenegro. It will be achieved through a comprehensive approach including expanding the network of qualified RE mediators, developing models and best practices in mediation and establishing and advocating for the systematisation of the role in national institutions. It will also enable community field work in RE settlements to support RE individuals and families access public services in health care, employment and social protection. It will be linked to and build upon the national strategy for social inclusion of RE (2016-2020) and its annual action plans.
Help will coordinate the implementation of the Action in partnership with the Capital City Podgorica, the municipalities of Berane and Ulcinj and with support from the National Roma Council as an associate. They have extensive experience of conceptualising and developing the RE mediator role in support of marginalised and vulnerable RE communities.
Help has been working in Montenegro since 1999 on rehabilitation and development programmes. Its programmes are underpinned with a self-help philosophy and have a solid reputation of building resilience in RE communities. It has worked with RE communities in the target locations and has worked with and supported national and local institutions. It has an extensive experience in managing large projects working with many local, national and international organisations. The said municipalities have large RE populations and the Podgorica administration has supported local mediation services in employment, healthcare and social affairs in its municipal area. National Roma Council has extensive experience working at grassroots level in RE communities and has a long history of cooperation with Help on advancing RE human rights and social inclusion projects.
Objectives of the Action
Social inclusion is at the core of the European social model and supporting EU candidate countries to address social exclusion and inequality is a central part of the accession process to the EU. This Action has the goal to support Montenegro to advance social inclusion of RE communities, as the least integrated groups in society, across the country. It will focus on their access to social rights in the areas of health care, employment and social protection. It is therefore the specific objective to improve the system of support provided by the state through building and systematizing mediation in these three key public service areas. The Action will target marginalized and vulnerable RE communities in the 11 selected municipalities focusing on working in the informal RE settlements based there.
Key stakeholder groups
RE communities are widely recognized as the most marginalized and vulnerable communities in Montenegro.
Current RE mediators are providing information and support in RE communities – supporting individuals and families to access public services have proven to be essential in helping these communities overcome barriers to social inclusion and facilitating their access to fundamental rights.
National institutions in health care, employment and social protection, provide public and social care services for the local population groups including the RE communities. Municipalities deliver or support localized social inclusion measures for RE communities.
National Government including the Ministry for Human and Minority Rights (MHMR) has the overall responsibility for implementing the national strategy for social inclusion for RE. MHMR lso works together with other line ministries such as the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare to implement social inclusion measures in the areas of health care, employment and social protection.
Timeframe of the action
The Action will be implemented over 18 months. The identification and training of potential RE mediators will be carried out in the first half year in parallel with information workshops and anti-discrimination training for national institution professionals providing local public services in the target areas. Subsequent activities, including selection of RE mediators & supporting a structured program of community field work, advocating for the systemization of the RE mediator role, facilitated networking and knowledge capitalization, and supporting awareness raising activities will be implemented in the remaining 12 months of the Action.
Target groups & final beneficiaries, their needs & constraints, and how to address them
Target groups: RE mediators in the target areas. At least 60 potential mediators are expected to participate in the accredited training program. At least 40 trained mediators will be engaged in national institutions to work with RE communities and be based in public service providers for at least 12 months. Health clinics and hospitals, employment agency branch offices and centers for social work in the target areas provide public health care, employment services and programs and social protection services including bespoke social inclusion measures for the local RE populations.
Final beneficiaries: RE populations in the target areas living informal settlements in poor and often small, overcrowded living conditions, with high rates of unemployment and engagement in the informal economy with little or no social protection. They experience routine prejudice and discrimination in their daily lives as well as when trying to exercise their basic rights such as accessing public services.
Targeted municipalities – five are in the coastal region, three are in the central region and three are in the northern region. All have medium to large local RE populations living in informal settlements within their territories and are responsible for delivery of local social RE integration measures. Relevant line ministries – MHMR is responsible for planning and implementing strategies related to RE. Under the current national social inclusion strategy MHMR is working with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare to implement measures in the public policy areas of healthcare, employment and social protection including introduction of RE mediators in these areas.
Provide health care mediation services
The health RE mediator will be based in local health centers.
The main aim of the RE mediator (health care) is to support RE populations to access local health care services.
The RE mediator (health care) will prioritize health care of RE women and girls. This will involve prioritizing gynecological check-ups, screening of common diseases and emphasizing child health. They will also continue to prioritize supporting RE individuals and families obtaining the legal civic status documents. This will be done in conjunction with the RE mediators (employment) and RE mediators (social protection).
Provide employment mediation services
Employment mediation services will be provided in every target municipality. There will be at least one RE mediator (employment) in each mediator team although the role can be carried out as a job share with the RE mediator (social protection) position in some instances. This will be based on the size of the local RE population and in discussion with the national institutions. The RE mediator (employment) will be based in local employment agency office located in each target municipality.
The main aim of the RE mediator (employment) is to support RE populations to integrate into the labor market and to access local employment services.
The RE mediator (employment) will organize employment information workshops in the RE settlements. The workshops will be organized in conjunction and with the involvement of employees of the local employment agency office. The aim of the workshops will be to raise awareness on the importance of being active in the labor market and being employed.
The RE mediator (employment) will support RE women to enter the workforce. This will involve promoting vocational training opportunities and local employment programs to RE women in particular. They will also continue to prioritize supporting RE individuals and families obtaining the legal civic status documents. This will be done in conjunction with the RE mediators (health care) and RE mediators (social protection). In total 5 workshops will be conducted.
Provide social protection mediation services
Social protection mediation services will be provided in every target municipality. There will be at least one RE mediator (social protection) in each mediator team although the role can be carried out as a job share with the RE mediator (employment) position in some instances. The RE mediator (social protection) will be based in a center of social work located near the RE settlements in each target municipality.
The main aim of the RE mediator (social protection) is to support RE populations to access local social protection services.
The RE mediator (social protection) will support case management of RE individuals and families in conjunction with the child protection and social welfare professional of the center of social welfare. As with other RE mediators, they will also continue to prioritize supporting RE individuals and families obtaining the legal civic status documents. This will be done in conjunction with the RE mediators (health care) and RE mediators (employment).
Establish and convene RE mediation network
Project staff will establish a RE mediation network for RE mediators engaged in national institutions under the frame of the Action. There will be two types network meetings, regional network meetings and national thematic network meetings.
The primary purpose of the RE mediation network meetings will be to provide peer support for the RE mediators who are working in national institutions under the frame of this project. The RE mediation network will be linked to the mediation plans and the community-based mediation field work.
Develop and disseminate best practices in mediation to advance RE social inclusion
The capitalization of knowledge and best practices in mediation in RE communities in Montenegro will be an important element of the Action. A bespoke capitalization activity will be organized during the final three months of the implementation phase of the Action.
National institutions committed to supporting mediation in their services
In light of the limited experience of most national institutions in Montenegro with working with RE mediation services the Action will prepare national institutions to work with RE mediators and to support mediation programs in their services in a sustainable way.
Organize thematic capacity building on anti-discrimination approaches for professionals in national institutions
National institutions providing health care, employment and social protection services will be motivated and sensitized to working with RE mediators and supporting mediation activities in RE communities in their service provision through thematic capacity building on anti-discrimination. An expert on antidiscrimination training will be engaged to develop a training program and materials and deliver the training.
Advocate and lobby for systematization of RE mediators in national institutions in target areas
The systematization of the RE mediators’ positions is crucial to the ongoing sustainability of mediation in RE communities in Montenegro. Advocating and lobbying for the systematization of the RE mediator positions in health, employment and social protection will build on the success achievement of the systematization of RE mediators in education and RE mediators in health in Podgorica and Berane. These positions have been systematized and fully integrated in the Department of Education since 2018 and the health clinics in Podgorica and Berane since 2019.