One of the primary obstacles for our members working on Roma inclusion is ensuring the active participation of the Roma community itself. At Eurodiaconia, we believe that Roma inclusion cannot be conceived without following a participatory approach, where Roma individuals and/or communities have the opportunity to actively engage at the various stages of projects or service delivery.

Recognizing the limitations of top-down approaches, we are publishing the updated version of our 2014 ´Guidelines for Diaconal Organisations on Roma Participation’. These guidelines should serve as a practical and flexible resource, providing valuable insights on how to promote the empowerment and co-ownership of Roma, and foster cooperation following a holistic approach during the development and implementation of projects or services.

The updated guidelines are inspired by the discussions held during 2023 Roma Inclusion Network Meeting in Bratislava, Slovakia. The participants shared their experiences on how their organizations collaborated with Roma in the design, implementation and evaluation of different projects and services. In addition, they discussed the challenges they have encountered and identified which practices were successful in achieving a meaningful involvement of Roma in their work. Service providers should consider the preferences of their beneficiaries and actively involve them in the decision-making process. The former facilitates following a culturally sensitive approach adapted to the needs of Roma, building up trust, cooperation and the long-term sustainability of the project or service.

We encourage our members to translate these guidelines into their respective national languages to expand their reach among their organization and partners.

Click here to read the guidelines.