Evidence and Research for Roma Children—RECI Reports: A Decade of Collaboration
As a result of systemic racism and discrimination, Roma communities continue to suffer the highest rates of poverty and social exclusion in Europe. Deprived of their fundamental human rights, a majority live in communities where there is high unemployment, low quality housing, and limited access to basic utilities, health care, and social protection services. Infant mortality and childhood illnesses are higher in Roma communities, vaccination rates are lower, and only half as many Roma children participate in early education compared with majority populations. Too many Roma children and their families have been “left further behind” during the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing poverty and social exclusion.
Between 2009 and 2020, the Open Society Early Childhood Program, the Roma Education Fund, and UNICEF joined forces to produce eight national Roma Early Childhood Inclusion (RECI) reports. The principal objective was to make information and data on young Roma children’s exclusion available to decision makers and key stakeholders in Europe with a view to strengthening advocacy for equitable early childhood policies and programs.
With the Roma Early Childhood Inclusion report series completion, this event provided an opportunity to reflect on the series’ achievements and challenges, such as: How can the critical issues that Roma Early Childhood Inclusion addressed be solved? And what are the key messages for future actions?
- Zuzana Havirova Balazova is director of the Roma Advocacy and Research Center in Slovakia.
- Dan Pavel Doghi is the chief of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights’ Contact Point for Roma and Sinti Issues.
- Jana Hainsworth is the secretary general of Eurochild.
- Anita Jones is a program manager for the Open Society Institute–Sofia Foundation.
- Géraldine Libreau is a policy officer for Early Childhood Education and Care in the Directorate General for Education, Youth, Sport, and Culture of the European Commission.
- Lucie Plešková is a program manager at Open Society Fund Prague.
- Ábel Ravasz is president of the Mathias Bel Institute in Slovakia.
- Ramiza Sakip is advisor for education in the municipality of Suto Orizari, Skopje, Republic of North Macedonia.
- Zorica Trikic is a senior program manager in the International Step by Step Association in Leiden, Netherlands.
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