Roma integration across the Danube: Best practices and social entrepreneurship models exchange between Romania and Bulgaria

Roma integration across the Danube: Best practices and social entrepreneurship models exchange between Romania and Bulgaria

Period of implementation: January 2016 – July 2016

With the vast majority of Roma population in Europe (80%) living in the  the Danube regiona framework for cooperation, share of best practices and knowledge is fundamental in promoting efficient Roma integration policies in the region. While Roma inclusion actions have been supported in the last years through some European funds, the effects remain limited, at least in the south of Romania.  While Romanian civil society have succesfully implemented social economy initiatives (ex. Romano Boutique’s small Roma crafts co-operatives), municipalities are lagging behind in providing improved living standards to the Roma. In Bulgaria, on the other hand,  Kavarna, a small town in the North East region has become in recent years a model for itscomprehensive approach to Roma integration. Nevertheless, social economy initiatives dedicated to Roma are yet to be developed in the South of the Danube.

The current project sets out to facilitate the reciprocally useful exchange of experience between muncipalities, civil society and Roma entrepreneurs from the two countries, document the process and the findings, encourage common projects (also on the cross-border Romania -Bulgaria EU Programme), disseminate the findings and approaches to impact-ful accessing EU and national funds for Roma in the Danube region.

The project activities will concentrate on: i) identification of the delegation comprised of 3 small municipalities’ representatives, civil society and Roma entrepreneursfrom Romania and 2 from Bulgaria to take part in the best practice exchange visit in Kavarna; ii) Drafting a report on Kavarna’s best practice model  – the investments, and projects implemented, funds accessing by the municipality iii)Organizing a two days workshop in Kavarna: first day sharing best practices derived from the Kavarna experience on Roma integrations, 2nd day sharing successful Roma entrepreneurship models and experiences in Romania that could be replicated in Kavarna and the other Bulgarian municipalities; Roma business models in mixed groups brainstorming, identifying business opportunities in the region iv) Drafting a follow-up report on best practices – administrative, entrepreneurial, cooperation possibilities, Roma integration financing opportunities for communities in the Danube space in Romania and Bulgaria; disseminating the results and findings to existing municipalities networks and social entrepreneurs in the Danube Region, to the public by social media

The project is part of START – Danube Region Project Fund, part-financed by the European Union and the City of Vienna.