The Roma Initiatives Office invites Roma-led national coalitions and networks (formal or informal) among Roma and pro-Roma organizations from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Turkey to apply for support for national-level monitoring and advocacy aimed at ensuring that Roma-specific targets are included in major policy reforms and national budgets.
Building on the lessons and spirit of the Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005–2015, a new intergovernmental initiative, Roma Integration 2020, is being started in 2016. It will be implemented within the framework of the Regional Cooperation Council and cofunded by the European Union and the Open Society Foundations. This initiative provides for a regional structure for Roma inclusion in the Western Balkans and Turkey. It aims to contribute to closing the socioeconomic gap between Roma and non-Roma and to strengthen the institutional obligations of governments to incorporate and deliver specific Roma integration goals within mainstream policy developments. The initiative is grounded in the EU accession process, complementing and feeding the activities of the European Commission.
Roma Integration 2020 is not intended to integrate Roma communities but rather to assist national governments with integrating Roma-specific policy measures into: (1) mainstream socioeconomic policies and public service delivery; and (2) national budget planning and service delivery processes.
Applicant organizations must fulfill the following criteria:
- The Roma Initiatives Office will provide only one grant in each of the countries covered. National coalitions are expected to develop projects that take into consideration national contexts and policy priorities, and to work within the structure of the overall aims and objectives of Roma Integration 2020. Coalitions must demonstrate a commitment to Roma inclusion and be democratic and transparent.
- Coalitions must demonstrate Roma leadership or partnership with a Roma organization on an equal footing in all phases of the project. Roma should also benefit from the policy change targeted by the project.
- Coalitions must include at least one partner with a strong track record in budgetary processes, including budget planning and monitoring of spending at the national and local levels.
- Coalitions must demonstrate that they work through broad and diverse membership bases. They are expected to demonstrate substantial involvement of Roma women and youth in project management and activities as well as geographic coverage that is as wide as possible.
- Projects must take place in the eligible countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Turkey.
The Civil Society Fund for Roma Integration 2020 will provide support to civil society networks and coalitions to contribute to the fulfillment of the commitments made by national governments within Roma Integration 2020. The expected role of civil society is similar to the watchdog role it played in the Decade of Roma Inclusion. However, there are notable differences.
Coalitions should be self-organized and as representative as possible and should provide well-argued policy input to the national political process. More concretely:
- National coalitions are expected to organize themselves, as there will not be centralized coordination of civil society efforts by the Open Society Foundation or the Regional Cooperation Council.
- Participation in activities will be through a process of self-selection—i.e., coalitions will be expected to design a mechanism for selecting civil society representatives to take part in various meetings—be transparent, inclusive, diverse (including Roma women and young people, for example) and have wide geographic coverage.
- The work will be driven by national agendas. The focus is on sectoral policy reforms taking place in the countries and the budget planning process—not on specific Roma integration strategies—where particular policy knowledge is required and should be secured by the coalitions.
The initial project timeline is 12 months. However, applicants need to design projects with a three-year horizon and expect funding for a total of 36 months, subject to a review of the initial year by the Roma Initiatives Office.
Applications should be submitted in English through the Open Society Foundations Grant Portal.
A complete application consists of a narrative proposal of no more than 10 pages, a budget, and all relevant appendices. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
The budget must be submitted in the template provided and must strictly follow the accompanying budget guidelines.
Please read the full application guidelines before preparing your application. If you encounter problems during the application process, please contact us at: [email protected].