Phiren Amenca

Phiren Amenca Networking Meeting, Brussels

Brussels, May 19-21. 2019.

The aims of the Phiren Amenca networking meeting were to address key questions on European level regarding youth activism, active citizenship and voluntary service with a strong focus on the inclusion of Roma youth. During the networking meeting the invited Roma and non-Roma organizations could share their practices and could reflect about current needs and challenges in the cooperation for Roma youth inclusion. The first afternoon and evening we have had more informal discussions and created space for old and new partners to get to know each other a bit. The second day morning Phiren Amenca shared its current and upcoming activities, strategic approaches and we had a round of introduction and updates from the partners as well. We have asked a few organizations to have a more detailed presentations about their current or ongoing activities or projects as a good practice for the others.

CSD Diaconia Valdese, a non-Roma organization from Italy shared its capacity-building and networking projects and its outcomes. Since 2015 Diaconia Valdese in cooperation with other European and non-European organizations develops Erasmus plus project, KA2 Capacity Building in the field of Youth. These projects involve every year many volunteers in EVS mobilities in Italy, India, Argentina, Uruguay, Nicaragua, Hungary. Training for youth workers in Italy and India, Youth Exchange in Nicaragua, Transnational meetings in Hungary and Italy for Youth Workers and volunteers have also been implemented during the years. As the organizations involved and the projects are focusing on networking and capacity-building, its outcomes were relevant and useful for our participants.

Roma Active Albania shared its “EU Award for Roma Integration 2019” project results, how the organization shared the call for nominations for the award from the Western Balkans and Turkey, and the whole process from the selection of the award winners to the follow-up with those great initiatives and persons they got to know.

We have invited a representative from the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA), from Brussels. Lene Mejer, Deputy Head of the Sport, Youth and EU Aid Volunteers’ Unit shared the programs managed by them and how our network could benefit from them. For the rest of the first day afternoon we have invited two big international umbrella organizations, the Network of European Voluntary Service Organisations (NEVSO) and the European Youth Forum, both to discuss how our network can become part of their work and become their members, in order to raise the voice and presence of Roma youth and Roma youth issues in their structures.

The next day morning we have dedicated to work on and consult our position paper of the RomaYouth Networks on the Post-2020 EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies. Those 35 Roma and non-Roma young people, representing Roma and civil society organizations from around Europe, who participated at the Putren le Jakha – International Youth Conference on Antigypsyism (December 9-14, 2018) in Budapest, developed recommendations related to European and national policies and strategies affecting and targeting Roma and in particular Roma young people with a specific focus on the National Roma Integration Strategies (NRIS). These recommendations were then further consulted with experts working on the youth and/or Roma field and we took the opportunity to collect feedbacks from more organizations and from our broaden network.

Later on the afternoon we have invited Lavinia Banu, on behalf of the DJ Justice Roma Team to share with her the position paper, the discussions, feedbacks and recommendations we had in the morning and she also shared how the process of the Post-2020 EU Framework looks like and where can we contribute to bring the perspectives of Roma youth and Roma youth organizations in.

The rest of the day and the next morning gave the opportunity to partners for networking, to reflect about the obstacles of involving Roma young people in mobility programs and about Roma youth empowerment and active citizenship strategies in the context of Roma and youth policies in Europe.

The meeting was part of the Roma Youth Voices Project funded by the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme of the DG Justice, European Commission.