Economic and Social Inclusion – Information Brief on Projects targeting Roma and Egyptian Communities

22 Aug 2013

The United Nations Development Programme supports social and economic inclusion of Roma and Egyptian communities in Albania through two flagship projects. 

1. Empowering Vulnerable Local Communities Joint Programme implemented in partnership with Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, UNICEF, UNV and UNFPA helps access to the socio-economic and civic rights of vulnerable communities in the regions of Tirana, Durres, Elbasan and Fier.

This is being achieved through establishment of 15 Community Based Groups who partner with local authorities to identify the development priorities for their communities for the completion of 20 infrastructure rehabilitation projects such as kindergartens, roads, bridges, health centers, community centers.

Twelve Roma and Egyptian organizations operating in the four regions have been trained and provided with micro-grants to implement small projects addressing problems of their communities in the area of education, health and services.

1644 Roma and Egyptian individuals benefited from legal and administrative aid for civil registration such as birth, child custody,  transfer of residence, registration as unemployed job-seekers, application for pensions, application for social housing and many more.

The project began in April 2010 and it is expected to be completed by the end of 2013. The programme is funded by the UN and has a budget of USD 2.4 million, all of which will have been disbursed by end this year for the above mentioned activities.

2. Supporting Social Inclusion of Roma and Egyptian Communities aims at social, economic and political empowerment of Roma and Egyptian communities. The Project is funded by the European Union and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Albania, in partnership with the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. The project started in July 2012 and will end in December 2014.

Implemented in the regions of Berat, Korca and Vlora, the project interventions include community mobilization and infrastructure development; capacity building for civil society organizations through training and small grants; and, support to Roma and Egyptian job-seekers and entrepreneurs. The programme also assists in the implementation of National Action Plan for the Decade of Roma Inclusion through technical assistance provided to national and local authorities and promotes human rights through activities aimed at valuing cultural diversity.   More specifically:

  • Local authorities in Berat, Korca and Vlora benefit from training and coaching to apply participatory planning and budgeting processes with the direct involvement of Roma and Egyptian communities in three regions.
  • Presently, six infrastructure interventions such as kindergartens, health centers, information offices, internal roads, and intercultural community centers are prioritized by Roma/Egyptian communities and are agreed for co-financing with respective local authorities in three regions. Over 2500 Roma and Egyptian families living in Korca, Berat and Vlora regions are estimated to benefit from the various interventions in social infrastructure.
  • Capacities of Roma and Egyptian NGOs have been assessed and project is offering training and coaching packages and will soon start with the provision of small grants to help them implement small scale development projects, while strengthening their role in fighting anti-discrimination.  
  • Roma/Egyptian artisans are assisted to get networked for marketing craft products while other individuals are supported with vocational trainings and development of entrepreneurship skills.
  • Technical Secretariat for Roma at MoLSAEO is supported to collect data for measuring the progress of National Action Plan for the Decade of Roma Inclusion in three regions.   The Regional Coordination Committees on Social Needs and their Technical Sub-committees on Roma in the three regions are assisted on addressing the local challenges of Roma and Egyptian inclusion.
  • A network of Cultural Diversity Ambassadors drawn from prominent non-Roma personalities from the areas of art, sport and media as well as from among Roma/Egyptian role models work in partnership with the UNDP on messaging social inclusion and respect for diversity, under the slogan “Equal in Diversity”.

This project is funded by the European Union (1.5 Million Euros) and is implemented by UNDP following UN rules and regulations. The total project budget is 1.695 Million Euro including small UNDP and national contributions. To date, the project has disbursed 176,886.12 EURO or 10.43 %  of its budget for the above mentioned interventions. 

Despite the support provided to the Roma and Egyptian communities through the above interventions and similar ones implemented by other international and national partners, there is further need to provide sustainable solutions to housing, education and the integration of Roma and Egyptian communities in the labor market. Recent policy advisory note of UNDP on these issues and especially on housing is available here.

Further analysis of the situation of Roma and Egyptian Communities in Albania and Europe, is also available here.

UNDP works with the government and people of Albania, including its civil society and businesses, to strengthen the rule of law, promote human rights and freedoms, protect the environment and support economic and social reforms for social inclusion and an equitable society.

Contact Information

Nora Kushti,
UNDP Communications Manager
E-mail: nora.kushti@undp.org