This policy brief by Roma Initiatives consultant Sandor Karacsony outlines a results-based monitoring and evaluation (M&E) framework developed at recent workshops organized by the World Bank in Bulgaria and Slovakia—in partnership with the respective governments, the Open Society Foundations, the United Nations Development Programme, the European Commission, and the Poverty Action Lab Europe.
While there is no shortage of myths and beliefs about the Roma, Europe’s largest and most disenfranchised minority, data, information, or factual knowledge of any kind is desperately missing from the public dialogue surrounding Roma inclusion. One of the main reasons behind this unfortunate phenomenon is that governments—particularly in Central and Eastern Europe—have little or no information about whether policy efforts over the years have actually made a difference in the lives of Roma communities. This lack of awareness comes with all the dangers of policy myopia, ranging from governmental overconfidence to pushing obsolete or ineffective policies to stopping programs that have actually worked. The highest price, however, is the inability to demonstrate inclusion results to society, which indirectly contributes to the current Europe-wide flare-up of racist and anti-Roma sentiment.
Knowledge about inclusion comes from facts based on reliable data and information, which only a robust M&E framework is able to deliver. M&E of Roma inclusion policies is therefore no longer an option: it has to become an essential component of policy interactions at the national level—and it has to be done right.