Country/City and/or Region: R. Macedonia/ Municipality of Bitola
IPA Component/ (national or regional): National
Programming year: 2014 – 2015
IPA Measure/ Project Fiche Title: IPA 2 Civil Society Facility & Media 2014 – 2015
Title: Active participation in reducing youth unemployment in Roma community
– Civil society organizations working with Roma youth and entrepreneurship in Bitola.
– Local government in Bitola.
– Public Institutions.
Final beneficiaries are Roma youth from 18 to 29 years old.
Youth Cultural Center – Bitola
Center for development of Roma community “Bairska Svetlina”
In the last years in the country policies and measures related to the promotion of employment and self-employment are activated and promoted as policies that directly or indirectly treat the issue of entrepreneurship through formalization of business activities, including, among others, young people and members of minority ethnic communities. To overcome this situation there are proposals for drafting and implementation of focused strategies and operational plans so that the results would have benefited to the end users. Unemployment among these categories of people in the long term can cause social instability with significant effects on the national economy through reduced taxation base and increased welfare spending. This situation is emphasized concerning Roma people and requires taking urgent measures range in various segments including youth unemployment. On the other hand, civil society is active on the issue of Roma and considers that absence of a coordinated approach between national and local policies and intended measures are not reaching Roma as end users.
The main focus of the initiative is to reduce youth unemployment among Roma, as a non-majority community by highlighting, recognizing and promoting entrepreneurship on a local level. The consultation process and the involvement of all stakeholders provide a qualitative process to improve services and measures provided by the municipality and take the Roma as an ethnic community or services and measures aimed at reducing youth unemployment among Roma will respond appropriately to their needs.Through the implementation of the activities of the initiative, especially consultative forums and local network of entrepreneurs, a networking of young entrepreneurs Roma entrepreneurs of the same ethnic origin will be created as well as their integration with successful entrepreneurs from different ethnic groups, institutions to support businesses and policy makers, the business sector and civil society. The creation of a local strategy to reduce youth unemployment among Roma through entrepreneurship will avoid worsening of the situation of young Roma and Roma in general and strengthening their integration into social processes.
According to the Employment Agency of the Republic of Macedonia (ESA) as of January 2016, the total number of unemployed was 116,601, of which 5,920 are Roma, of which 2.128 are Roma women. It is assumed that the number of unemployed Roma is much higher because not all Roma are registered as active or passive job seekers in the ESA. Socio-economic problems and discrimination faced by Roma additionally impede their integration. Although in 2004 was adopted the Strategy for Roma in the Republic of Macedonia in 2005. Macedonia to become part of the Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005-2015, socio-economic situation of Roma in Macedonia is not visibly improved. This is confirmed by the latest report of the European Commission (EC) progress report on Macedonia for 2016 which emphasizes “… segregation, stereotypes and other forms of discrimination remain and further disseminated. Most Roma are unemployed, do not have adequate health care, live in segregated areas and inadequate living conditions in which they are socially excluded from society.” Especially the involvement of Roma youth in policies and measures for development of entrepreneurship in Macedonia is limited. A relatively small number of young Roma use the programs and measures to promote employment and entrepreneurship, compared with the number of Roma who applied for using the same. The perception of current policies for entrepreneurship and self-employment is that programs and measures have contributed to the development of entrepreneurship among young Roma, but do not expect sustainable effects in the long term. There aren’t any programs in the community for financing activities for development of entrepreneurship at the local level for young Roma, through which funding and more effective implementation of the program will be provided in order to promote the potential for creating new businesses. Transition rate of the Roma beneficiaries of measures to encourage self-employment and entrepreneurship crediting is below 30%. Especially the number of people from young Roma population at the local level is very small, and in local employment agency do not have any information in terms of how many Roma have used any of these active measures. Although according to some analysts considered that Roma people have an affinity for entrepreneurship. Roma people have the perception that due to the low level of education and clientelism in the allocation of funds are not competitive for these measures. The rate of incidence of informal employment of Roma in Macedonia is 64%, while 25% of non-Roma. While the percentage of Roma people who are self-employed (own business) as a percentage of the total number of Roma in Macedonia is 4%, while for non-Roma in Macedonia it is 10%. Creating conditions and through a systematic approach to addressing this issue civil society organizations in cooperation with local authorities and institutions need to improve conditions for entrepreneurship among young Roma in the Municipality of Bitola.
The general objective of the project:
Promoting institutional cooperation between civil society organizations and local authorities in the field of youth unemployment among young people from minority ethnic groups that will contribute to democratization and active participation in creating common local policies and improve conditions to reduce youth unemployment by developing and stimulating entrepreneurship of Roma community.
– Increasing of the active citizen participation in the planning and creation of local policies and local strategic documents.
– Contributing to the improvement of conditions for the development of entrepreneurship among young people from the Roma community and create conditions to reduce youth unemployment among Roma by defining specific measures and concrete actions aimed at the local community.
– Contribution to the creation of a favorable perception of the Roma community towards entrepreneurship as a desirable career.
– Including young entrepreneurs from different ethnic groups in the creation of local policies that are directly related to their interests.
– Completed, approved and promoted strategic document “Local strategy to reduce youth unemployment among Roma through Entrepreneurship in Bitola” which includes an Action Plan.
– Increased participation of young people from different ethnic communities in the creation of youth policies.
– Created preconditions for the promotion and development of youth entrepreneurship among young Roma in Bitola.
– Provided conditions and raised awareness on accepting entrepreneurship as a desirable career for young Roma in Bitola.
– Trained 20 young Roma for advocacy and lobbying.
– Actively involved at least 20 young entrepreneurs from different ethnic groups.