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Both at an international level and in Romania, the Roma population is one of the groups most exposed to the risk of exclusion from the labor market, the employment rates being significantly lower than within the non-Roma population. This is mainly due to the low level of education and lack of professional qualifications, but prejudgments and discrimination play an important role in the social and economic exclusion of the Roma. At the same time, the Roma are primarily employed in the informal or household sector, thus having no contribution to, and implicitly no right to benefit from social insurances. For many Roma families, social aid and child allowances are the main sources of income. Public policies for the integration of Roma people in the labor market have not proven their efficiency, nor have other measures adopted in other domains, the sector-specific nature of the interventions failing to cover the complexity of the problems encountered within Roma communities which face multiple vulnerabilities (Situation Analysis Report Social Economy and Roma communities – challenges and opportunities). 

Since 2011, the Center for Institutional Analysis and Development Foundation (CADI Eleutheria) has been implementing, in collaboration with the the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP Romania), the Government of Romania – Department for Interethnic Relations (DRI), and the Roma Civic Alliance of Romania (ACRR)  the project POSDRU/69/6.1/S/34922 “Social Economy - a solution for the development of Roma communities in Romania”, a project co-financed from the European Social Fund (ESF), through the Sectoral Operational Programme Development of Human Resources 2007-2013.

The project is based on the experience that social economy can create both private and social structures for communities that strengthen solidarity and sustainable development while offering labour market flexibility. The project contributes to the efforts of the Romanian stakeholders for the development and implementation of the National Strategy for the Inclusion of Roma Citizens belonging to Roma minority and supports the development of the country regions using all relevant instruments and involving all actors in the social field (civil society, Roma communities, government institutions), defining the local contexts, and by identification of optimal solutions for social interventions within Roma communities.

Project's partners seek to address the problem of social and economic development of Roma communities in Romania, by means of applying the concept of social economy as an innovative solution to reducing the risk of poverty and to promoting employment. Thus, the project promotes social economy as an effective instrument for integrated development by:

  • analyzing the potential of applying social economy practices within Roma communities, from a social, economic and institutional point of view;
  • training experts, setting up and developing social enterprises and assisting such initiatives;
  • promoting social economy and the project within Roma communities and to the general public.

The project follows a three-pronged strategy, consisting of a mix of capacity building, direct assistance for the development of social economy initiatives, and coordination among the key stakeholders.

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