Assessment report on Education and Employment for Roma, September 2002

      ASSESSMENT REPORT ON THE SITUATION
      REGARDING EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT OF ROMA
      IN “THE FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA”

      June-September 2002

      by József Kolompár
      Council of Europe Consultant

      Contacts : Mr József Kolompár
      Project Manager for Hungarian NGO “Network for Youth”
      E-mail: topi@ngo.hu

      The report was prepared with the assistance of
      two local consultants for the Council of Europe :

      Ms. Enisa Eminova – Student at Skopje University and Assistant for the Education Roma Programme of Open Society Institute, e-mail: enisa@sonet.com.mk
      Mr Ibrahim Ibrahimi – Postgraduate of the Economics Faculty of Skopje University, President of Romaversitas, e-mail: iibrahimi@romaversitas.edu.mk

      Special thanks for the network of Macedonian Roma organisations “ROMA 2002” for their kind assistance during the field mission

Introduction

      The purpose of the visit was to get an image of the education, training and employment situation of the country, and - inside this environment - of the Roma population, by analysing local programmes and activities. By the interviews with the representatives of different Roma organisation, local governments and ministry officials we evaluate the development of the Roma organisations on one side and the social, political and institutional conditions that are determinant for their functioning.

      Part of the above aim was reached. We managed to interview the representatives of the Roma organisations and leaders of local governments but failed to do so with the government officials and political players. The latter people cancelled the meetings one after the other, probably avoided to make any statements on account of the forthcoming elections in September, and are unlikely to change their minds. Therefore a very important player, the central government, was left out and we could not acquire proper information on the activities, eventual policy conception and attitude of the government regarding the Roma population. Following the elections on the 15th of September the discussions with the representatives of the newly elected - old or new -government would make the picture complete.

      In preparing the analysis I was able to rely primarily on the interviews organised for me by the local partners that were performed during the local visits, as well as on my own information and experience. During the discussions with the representatives of Roma organisations, local governments, and heads of education institutions I was informed in detailed on a wide range of problems, both regarding the country in general and specifically about their own areas of activity.

Sources:

    The number of interviews:

    17

      2 directors of education institutions (primary schools) ;
      2 government officials;
      Roma organisation leaders;
      1 inhabitant of Roma neighbourhood;

    Programme types:

     

      Education/ training programme;
      Employment programme;
      Advocacy programme;

    Number of visited localities:

    7

      Skopje-Suto Orizari, Tetovo, Gostivar, Kicevo, Kumanovo, Stip, Decevo;

      Social environment
      Explosive conditions that would remain so until the Albanian problem is not sorted out by democratic dialogue. According to the discussions on the ground all this is made more difficult by the limitations on the local government autonomy and by the political leadership currently in place. There is no guarantee whatsoever for the financing of the functioning of local governments, in terms of economic resources1.

      The whole society (from political level down to the bottom) is penetrated by corruption. During the majority of the discussions there were specific references and mentions of the the wide presence of corruption in all areas of society, particularly at the level of political leaders. The high - 40% - unemployment rate, poverty, defencelessness and high exposure and social instability may be the grounds for all this.

      In “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” there is an estimated Roma population of 4%. The Roma population in “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” is a marginalised group of the society, in a similar way to the Roma living in other European countries. The social exclusion and the lack of equal opportunities are most present in the employment, education and social sphere. One of the most important factors acting against the social integration is the unemployment. The employment and social situation of the Roma population nation-wide is worse than that of the non-Roma population.

      The problem of low education and high unemployment is widespread in the Roma population. Furthermore, in recent years there have been some widely publicised cases of discrimination against the Roma in “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”. The situation of the Roma in “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” is characterised by poverty, uncertainty and hopelessness in all fields of life, defencelessness and risks. In addition to tensions existing between Roma refugees from Kosovo and the non-Roma population of “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, there are tensions between the Roma refugees and the local Roma populations. A reason for this is that at first the Roma refugees declared themselves Albanians and have only later admitted to be Roma.

      “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” has accepted to provide temporary protection to about twenty thousand Roma refugees from Kosovo. A majority of them would like to return to Kosovo, if they had where to return. The Government of “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” has made it clear several times that they cannot provide sources for the maintenance of refugee camps for a long period of time. The refugee camps in “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” are working amongst constant disturbances. The refugees may only leave the camp with an authorisation. The Roma refugees say that they are beginning to view their situation with resignation.

      In some localities the Roma live on separated territories. Besides the existence of smaller or larger ghettos, communities in the south of the country in “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” we can also find integrated living conditions. In Decsevo for example the Roma and non-Roma housing are not separated.

      New, multi-level houses are being built at a remarkable rate in Roma neighbourhoods. The reason why they are built in Roma neighbourhoods can be explained by the limited possibilities to obtain building plots. The Government does not allow the free purchase of building-plots, so whoever may afford to build has to build on the already-owned plot in the ghetto. This only further increases the segregation.

Situation in the field of education

      The main reason for the school failure of the Roma youngsters is the lack of reacting capacity of the school system to the language difficulties and social disadvantages faced by Roma. In order to compensate the disturbances in the school system which is incapable of compensating the aforementioned disadvantages or caring for talents, an appropriate answer should be found inside the existing system. We should not forget though the irregularities and difficulties of either functioning or sustaining faced by education institutions. It is very difficult to deliver pedagogical work when neither living conditions of the teachers nor the basic working conditions of the institution are provided.

      One of the Suto Orizari schools was established in 1961 and because they had no classrooms they had started work in barracks. The new school building was only built in 1971, ten years on. The school was initially planned for 800 pupils, now they are 1,800 of them and only 28 classrooms for 70 classes. The number of student exceeds the capacity of the school, the teachers are overcharged. The wages of the teachers are covered by the Ministry of Education and the school receives a determined funding for functioning, based on planning, that does not follow the inflation rate and which cannot be stretched. Should they exceed the planned expenditure, they do not receive supplementary funds. For lack of these, last winter, more fuel was needed for heating than foreseen because of the cold weather (they received 36 t. instead of 50 t.). As a result, the entire heating system of the school was damaged, the radiators got frozen, the children had to be sent home. About 60% of the student of the school would like to continue their studies, the rest of them cannot afford it because of the social situation of their families. The families are incapable of funding their education. The learning intention of the Roma students has increased in the recent years, each year more and more of them are interested in economy and secondary school studies.

      The conditions in the schools are well characterised by the fact that it took one year of hard work from the director of the other school in Suto Orizari with 2,100 students, to ensure the appropriate hygiene conditions (toilets, lavatories, classrooms, replacement of broken windows, etc.) and the necessary cleanliness levels.

      The first problems encountered by the teachers of the school during their work are the language difficulties and the difficult social situation of Roma children. The teachers of the school are making efforts to overcome the language difficulties by teaching the Macedonian language. They also organise different activities, the most popular of these for the moment are the choir activities.

      The director of the school is convinced that convincing the parents is a very important task. In spite of his opinion, he is not able to organise a programme for convincing the parents about the importance of education and further education, as the State does not finance extra-curricula activities. Other extra-curricula activities (excursions, theatre, other cultural programmes) can only be attended by children whose parents can afford to pay for it.

      A Roma child who has competed his studies as a result of great sacrifices made by the parents cannot find a job, because there aren't any. But until now very few have managed to get that far, overcoming the language, social and economic drawbacks and the inequality of opportunities inside the school system.

      The education programmes of the Roma organisations are isolated events, a few drops of rain in an ocean. Setting right the educational situation would be primarily a government task (providing the resources for the institutions, improving the quality standards of the professional work delivered in the education institutions, etc.).

      In most places Roma organisations deliver school preparatory or catching-up activities for children in community houses or in facilities specially transformed for this purpose.

      In the Roma neighbourhood near Skopje they deliver school preparatory activities in two groups of 11 children each. They are also delivering catching-up activities for 60-70 children from 1st to 8th grade at present. They help them in preparing their homework, teach maths and Macedonian language. They have a good working relationship with the neighbouring school, and the parents support their work as well. Their aim is to strengthen the relationship between the school and the parents, as the parents would go to them but not to the school. The programme is supported by the Soros Foundation till September this year.

      The Roma organisation from Tetovo is organising similar preparatory school and catching up activities. Their work is also supplemented by social allocations and aids for the Roma children. A generalised problem for the Roma children living in ghettos is that they do not have acceptable clothes, shoes. By the time they come out of the muddy streets of the neighbourhoods they are dirty and are received with antipathy from the start, and - as a result – those children are of course afraid to go to the kindergarten or school. Their studying is also hampered by the lack of books and school fittings. The Roma organisations are trying to compensate all that.

      The Roma organisations are also organising different training courses and programmes for young people who have completed 8 grades but do not wish to go on studying. What they are trying to achieve is to prevent them from aimless wandering on the streets.

      The Organisation DROM from Kumanovo can show important results. They run training centres in the three smaller Roma communities in the town where they organise activities for the Roma children of school age and pre-schooling, as well as activities for those who have dropped out of school, too. Their work is helped by social workers and teachers. They have developed a good relationship both with the local government representatives and the heads of education and social institutions.

      In implementing the government programme the local Roma organisations could be a strong partner. Their activity is essential in filling the gaps and is indispensable. They are able to perform this task with the financial support from foundations and other foreign sources. They would be unable to continue the programmes after these sources are removed, but the state education system is not prepared to tackle and compensate the existing disadvantages.

    Structure of the education system

    Problems

    "Answers" of the Roma organisations

    1. Preparation for school and education in the kindergarten
    2. Grammar school education;
    3. Secondary school education;
    4. Higher education;

    1. Language, socialisation;
    2. Social-economic;
    3. Institution sustainability;
    4. Government attitude;

    1. Preparatory school education in order to compensate language difficulties and socialisation drawbacks;
    2. Primary school education complementing training, in order to diminish the shortfalls ;
    3. Romaversitas programme;

      The great majority of Roma children, especially those who come from the neighbourhoods and ghettos, do not speak the Macedonian language when they enter school, and the schools do not teach in Roma language, so they start already handicapped. In order to compensate these disadvantages many Roma organisations organise school preparatory (language and education) programmes for the local children.

      Opinions differ about the school preparatory and education programmes. According to one position there is no need for special programmes designed for the Roma and the common institutional background run with the majority population should be used. According to the other opinion the programmes compensating the disadvantages and ensuring an efficient participation in school are necessary. The first position supposes a certain degree of integration, for example the knowledge of the language of the majority (Macedonian), and minimal social conditions. It does not take into consideration that the Roma children from the neighbourhoods speak Romani at home, have often no shoes, and cannot travel into towns due to the lack of public transportation and the bad quality of roads. This means that by the time they get to the kindergarten they are muddy and dirty and are not even allowed in.

      Situation in the field of employment
      The participation on the labour market is greatly determined by the education / qualification level. The factors that have the most important impact on the disadvantaged employment situation of the Roma is the low level of education / qualification, the lack of marketable skills and the discrimination.

      In “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” the closing of the state-owned mass employer enterprises, the negative political environment and the crisis of the recent years has caused unemployment with a present rate of 40% (up to 75-90 % in the Roma population). There are regional differences, though. In the eastern regions, unemployment is lower, due to better education, than in the central or western regions where lower education is more characteristic. The situation is even worse since people - in order to keep their job – accept to work for several months without being paid.

      An obstacle to the employment of the Roma is the low education, only an insignificant number of them goes to secondary school after having completed primary school studies. In Decsevo for instance there are only 15 secondary school students out of a total of 1,200 students.

      For those who have not continued studying after primary school or have dropped out of secondary school there is a chance for obtaining vocational training certificates in the so-called "Workers' universities".

      In Suto Orizari the main reason for tmost of the problems is the low education, the lack of financial resources, as well as the lack of publicity about positive models. Indeed, success stories of Roma entrepreneurship or of higher educated Roma, are not presented in non-Roma media, which often only focus on the negative picture about the Roma.

      There are no positive role models in the community, because of the discrimination they cannot even get jobs. When there is a Roma and a non-Roma applying for the same job, it is not the Roma who gets employed. The chances of employment of the Roma people are also influenced by the party membership. The following example shows well the situation: in a town employment programme organised for 100 unemployed people there was not a single Roma accepted. When the representative of the local Roma organisation asked why there are no Roma employed the answer was that the Roma are not members of the government party in power. After having checked, it turned out that several of those who had applied for the job were actually members of the party and had membership cards to prove it, too.

      This example shows that a local government with scarce resources would ensure access primarily to its own, majority group of interest.

      The situation of enterprises
      Many foreign investors have realised the employment increasing potential of the SMEs, but in spite of this there have been no changes in the field of enterprise for the last ten years. There are no consultancy firms and the marketing, business management, business planning and legal knowledge are scarce. The other big problem is that people do not have the necessary capital for starting up enterprises. The Roma people cannot start their own enterprises for lack of financial support.

      In the last 10 years only 60% of the 300 million DEM amount of credit granted was used. The reason for this is that the existent Macedonian bank system does not answer the requirements of enterprises, the proportion of coverage determined by them is so high that Roma cannot access them. The start-up of new enterprises is also obstructed by the rigid legislation, unfriendly taxing and high start-up costs.

      Roma organisations
      The Roma of “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” have started their own organisations in the early '90s, at a time when the different local Roma organisations started to be established. Mesecsina in 1993, for example. By now there are several dozens of established Roma organisations, with different profiles of activity. At this years' elections there are four Roma political parties starting candidates, three of them are co-operating together.

      At present the establishing and running of political parties and civil organisations is regulated by one and the same law. For the sake of differentiation of governmental and non-governmental sectors, independence from political parties, the insurance and strengthening of the autonomy of the NGOs, a separate legislation for the civil sector is needed.

      At present, the only way for the Roma organisations seems to be to try to join the different political parties in the fight for the political power, for positions in the government in order to achieve changes that would be favourable for the Roma.

      The representatives of "Roma 2002" (a network of 15 Roma organisations recently established) have well identified the main needs and interests of the Macedonian Roma. They have understood the necessity of joint action, and the power of lobbying. They are not able to conduct any action for this autumn election but for next year, they plan a more decisive action which will be based on the organisation strategy that is to be worked out now.

      The establishing of the umbrella organisation reuniting Macedonian Roma organisations was preceded by several unsuccessful attempts. It was an old project and in the previous years they have tried several times to complete it. Finally at the conference held at the Lake Ohrid in 2001 an agreement was reached between the largest and oldest Roma organisations, old leaders and young people. It was the result of a harsh discussion lasting from 11 p.m. until 4 a.m., but finally the umbrella organisation “Roma 2002” was created.

      The "Roma 2002" branch organisations that we have visited have several years of activity behind them. They have created complex service activities, are implementing several programmes at the same time, and they have the proper resources and infrastructure for implementating projects from international sources. They have a wide network of local and international contacts. The programmes that are run at present are largely funded from different international organisations. They are in a semi-independent position: the government funding is insignificant since local governments have no resources of their own and have to struggle for funding their own daily work. But for the moment the Roma organisations are still dependent from international support and have no chance to become soon self-sustainable, not even partially so.
      Several Roma organisations have organised small enterprise development and adult training programmes with direct impact on the community. In order to increase the efficiency of these programmes they would need more support.

    The HOLD Roma organisation from Gostivar has organised an enterprise-training course with the support of the European Union with the aim to help the social integration of the Roma, with 40 participants. The training programme offered information on starting-up and enterprise, on the possibilities of organising it, on lobby, negotiation and communication techniques. The majority of the participants at the training were working for Roma organisations. Therefore, should there be funds for start-up Roma businesses, they could support their functioning efficiently with advice and connections.

      The Roma organisations have human resources and means suited to deliver more important programmes as well. Next to the education programmes, many Roma organisations have been running smaller (8-10 people) employment and vocational training projects too. There is the intention, the capacity is there, only the most important ingredient for starting all that, the capital is missing. Should that be made available for them - based upon a well elaborated and funded strategy for subventions - they could create new jobs for Roma families at a far more important scale than they are doing now.

      Ř The Tetovo member organisation of HOLD, for instance plans to start-up individual self-employment for young Roma. After the vocational and enterprise training the youngsters who previously lived on the street could access proper employment and living opportunities with a small investment.
      Ř Another Roma organisation provides at present employment as seamstresses for 9 Roma women. Their relationship with the local textile company is good, so they could employ more people but they are limited by the equipment and number of machines.
      Ř The Drom Roma organisation from Tetovo has provided support for students in vocational training for reaching their qualification by paying the examination fees.

      Funding policies
      The scarce local resources for funding the initiatives necessary for the employment, education or social integration of the Roma have often been replaced by foreign funding sources. Opinions differ about the efficiency and impact of their work.

      Even though important amounts of funding have entered the country in the recent years its use has not always proved efficient. One of the reasons for that is the lack of co-ordination between the different funding organisations. Many old good projects have ceased, there is not sufficient information available and the conditions (socio-economic, political, security…) have changed in the past years. Characteristically the co-ordination between government, foreign funding organisations and the local population is poor.

      The other reason is that a majority of foreign funding organisations is trying to implement an African model in “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”. They come with proven patterns and believe that what has worked there would work here, as well. They do not consider the legal, social, educational and cultural system of the country and its complexity.

      Ř Several years ago a larger funding organisation financed training courses and programmes without performing a preliminary assessment of the needs. They never asked, only offered funding for something that perhaps was not even needed.
      Ř In another funding programme money did not matter, it was freely distributed and many mistakes were made, 98% of the enterprises have failed to meet their objectives.
      Ř Because of the poor social situation all expenses were covered in a project targeting unemployed people. It had a negative effect. The Roma got the impression that they do not have to fight for the things they need because someone is going to buy it for them. This is a disadvantage in starting up a business, where one has to take responsibilities and assume risks.

      When comparing the funding strategies, and particularly the aims and objectives, to the results we would see that a very low proportion of them was reached. The resources need to be co-ordinated. An useful starting point could be the meeting of funding organisations in order to exchange information, explore problems, promote projects which showed results, and involve both the government and Roma representatives in the work and assessment process.

      Summary
      One of the main tasks of the international community, particularly the European Union, should be the design of a consistent policy strategy, which would use a differentiated approach to the different nationalities living in the Balkan countries. An action plan based on the approved strategy and including its targets should be designed and implemented and the improvement of the situation of the Roma target group should be included in it. The support for the living conditions of local Roma communities in the homeland should be the primary goal. The problem of the integration or the return of Roma refugees and how to tackle these issues is a separate question and should be dealt with separately.

      A policy should be created that would answer to a large extent the needs of the individuals and families and would also allow individuals not to have to sacrifice their carrier in order to stay in their homeland. By creating social, economic, educational, employment and political security for the Roma families the society would not only improve their living conditions but also in the long term decrease the risks of social disorder. In order to achieve that a system should be created that would implement the above policy by its different supporting activities. It would be useful to involve – already in the planning process - the Roma NGO leaders, who have a thorough knowledge of the problems and needs of the Roma communities.

      It is important to ensure a proper role in all areas for the government of “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” in power. The situation allowing the government to shift its responsibilities or to eliminate them must be avoided. On the contrary, everything that would help to develop institutions, start active and passive employment measures, encourage the functioning of local governments and the development of local economy, assist the training and employment programmes of the NGOs should be supported either via direct support or through governmental initiatives. However an obstacle has often been mentioned during the discussions: corruption. Guarantees should be given and practical solutions be found to avoid any kind of corruption. One thing is certain: any change can only be implemented with the support of the government in office.

      Proposals
      A National Action Plan should be designed, based on a long-term strategy aimed at contributing to the social integration of the Roma population, including the activities at government level. It should be adopted by the Parliament of the “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”2. The strategy, the assessment methods, the resource needed, the periods and timing and the tasks that need to be performed at governmental level (ministry, branch) should be defined. The Programme, designed with regard to the opinions of the people affected would encourage the efficient use of the existent resources and could contribute to achieving the goals of social changes in a large circle.

      Until this document is not completed3, I think a Fund for supporting the education, employment and entrepreneurial activities of the Roma would be needed, with a monitoring system for following-up the funded projects. The resources for grants to be managed by the Fund should be ensured by the government of “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” (20 %) and by the European Union (80 %)4. The primary task of the Fund would be to support the mentioned activities of the Roma organisation by grants and by ensuring technical assistance for starting up the projects and for their efficient implementation, as well as for professional support of small enterprises. In order to avoid any conflict of interests in the application process and the possibility of corruption the grants and the technical assistance activities should be treated separately in different organisational structures. The division processing the applications should not give technical support but its experience gained in the application process should be passed on to the technical assistance division.

      The Fund could contribute
      ˇ To start the processes strengthening the social integration by the use of appropriate and efficient methods.
      ˇ To create the chance for public thinking and action based on real arguments and interests and on solidarity, by programmes showing measurable, efficient and real results.
      ˇ To start programmes that are efficient in improving the situation of the Roma population with the support of the Fund, and the experience thus gained would provide the necessary support, information and experience for further advancement.
      ˇ The guiding principle of the Fund should be the publicity and I suggest the use the open application procedures needed for that purpose. I think that the appropriate method of support would be the funding of projects, from simple to complex ones, consisting of several elements.

      I. Grant type activities

      1. Labour market sub-programme
      Its aim is to support the labour market participation of the Roma, with several sets of measures, including financing job creation, investment and technical development, employment services and training.

      ˇ The support of employment-promoting training and service initiatives ;
      ˇ The support of investment related to job creation: equipment, materials, and furnishings ;
      ˇ Capital spending necessary for the efficient management: mainly IT equipment ;
      ˇ The support of the secondary or social labour market building activities of the Roma organisations (supporting the employment programs of the Roma organisations) ;
      ˇ The support of new type, innovative employment activities, that differ from the employment activities and measures of the government structures ;
      ˇ The support of the complementary services promoting the employability of the Roma, in co-operation with the local authorities and social institutions. The detailed planning of the social services, the necessary means for their functioning and the subsidised salaries necessary for providing the service ;
      ˇ The development of partnerships (involving local government, NGOs, enterprises, employment agencies, government institutions, etc.) ;
      ˇ The support for professional events ;
      ˇ Publications ;
      ˇ Research activities, etc.

      2. Education sub-programme
      Its aim is to compensate the deficiencies of the education system incapable of compensating the disadvantages and to tend for talents.

      ˇ Scholarships for students ;
      ˇ Scholarships for teachers ;
      ˇ Support for caching-up projects ;
      ˇ Support for talent-tending projects ;
      ˇ Support for school projects ;
      ˇ Support for extra-curricular activities (cultural, sports, excursions, etc.) ;
      ˇ Support for the design and implementation of alternative pedagogical methods ;
      ˇ Support for the education and cultural activities of the community houses ;
      ˇ Support for vocational training programmes ;
      ˇ Support for adult education ;
      ˇ The support for professional events ;
      ˇ Publications ;
      ˇ Research activities, etc.

      3. The small enterprise support sub-programme
      Its aim is to promote equal opportunities on the labour market for the Roma population primarily by supporting the development of enterprises employing Roma. Further development of the working Roma businesses with the aim of increasing their employment potential. Forwarding the long-term sustainability and adaptability to the market conditions of the enterprises by providing basic market and administration support.

      ˇ According loans, reimbursable subsidies;
      ˇ Subsidies for current assets and investments;
      ˇ Capital subsidies;
      ˇ Support for creation of infrastructure;
      ˇ Development of Roma enterprise functioning and administration;
      ˇ Support for research and development activities;
      ˇ The support for professional events,
      ˇ Publications,
      ˇ Research activities, etc.

      II. Technical Assistance (hereafter “TA”)
      Its aim is to support the preparation and implementation of projects promoting the integration of the Roma and to increase the efficiency and competitiveness of start-up Roma businesses. The varied training, counselling, information providing, sales promoting and development programmes should have an essential role. An important factor is the development of human resources and accordingly the ongoing vocational, enterprise and general training of the participants of the programme.

      1. Project management, application preparing counselling
      Its aim is to provide the ongoing vocational, enterprise and general training of the management of the organisations involved in the programme. A further aim of the training is to build up the management capacities of the Roma organisations delivering the employment or education programme in order to be able to perform successfully the planning, implementing, sales and supervising activities and tasks needed to complete the project.

      2. Enterprise development counselling
      ˇ organising training;
      ˇ offering specialised counselling (marketing, financial planning, auditing, business counselling, financial advice, marketing, PR and advertising plans, etc.) ;
      ˇ The support for research and development activities;
      ˇ The support for professional events;
      ˇ Publications.

      3. Organising thematic networks

      In order to promote the achievement of the quality and quantity of results as expected networks for the employment, training and enterprise programmes should be organised.
      Aim: to provide a forum to the leaders, management and partners involved in the funded projects for promoting the co-operation and the professional work of the projects.
      Participants: the leaders, management and partners involved in the funded projects, local authorities representatives, etc.

      The activities listed under the grant sub-programmes and under the TA activities are proposed as priorities, and other activities could be later devised, based on the experience of the first phase. These suggested programmes are based on the capacities of local organisations and are likely to prove successful if well prepared.

      In my opinion the details of the sub-programmes and of the TA supporting policies and orientation should be worked out by a work-team consisting of experts of “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, with a thorough knowledge of the local problems and situation. A very important aspect of the funding policy of the Fund is that it should be determined according to the local cultural, legal and economic environment and local needs. People in “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” should not have the feeling to have “African-type” models imposed from outside (see the above expressed opinion).

      III. The organisation structure of the Fund
      I suggest the following organisational structure, in order to enable the efficient use of the subsidies:
      ˇ Board of trustees;
      ˇ Board of supervision;
      ˇ Auditor;
      ˇ Work organisation;

    Board of trustees:

    7 persons, 2 of them delegated by the government, 2 by the Roma organisations and 3 by the European Commission;

    Board of supervision:

    5 persons, 1 of them delegated by the government, 1 by the Roma organisations and 3 by the European Commission;

    Auditor:

    Audit company appointed by the European Commission;

    Work organisation:

    Operative and administration tasks, operating the preparation for decision making and the monitoring system supervising the implementation.

      IV. Supervising the Fund
      During my visit the generally accepted opinion seemed to be that everyone in “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” is corrupt. In order to avoid corruption I suggest the creation of an external independent evaluating and monitoring organisation that would examine the subsidies provided by the Fund.
      There could be questions about reasons for suggesting the predominant presence in the decision-making bodies of the European Commission and a separate evaluating system, as well. This is justified by the requirement that the capital managed by the Fund should be used according to the determined objectives and not be diverted. But it is also necessary to take care that the European Commission does not take the blame, very careful preparation is essential.
      The long-term sustainability of the projects is an essential issue. This is why the constant government presence and increase of government resources is necessary in the process.

      The efficient working monitoring system contributes to the successful use of subsidies and to minimising the eventual losses. The necessary conditions for the work of the monitoring committee (regulation, tasks, competence, etc.) should also be clarified. The monitoring system should be defined, the organisations responsible for its creation and development should also be determined.

      The execution of the monitoring activity and the monitoring committee functions should be separated from each other. The Monitoring Committee is the co-ordinating, supervising body of the monitoring activity, and should also be established in tripartite manner.
      Government (state) representatives;
      Representatives of the Roma organisations;
      Representatives of the EC;

      The Commission itself would not perform monitoring activity. The monitoring work would be performed by experts and professionals, under the guidance of a Monitoring Agency. The evaluation of the programmes would be also a task of the Monitoring Agency, next to the supervision:
      ˇ Performs the analysis of the professional principles and methods used in implementing the programme. It points out their deficiencies and faults.
      ˇ Analyses and evaluates the efficiency and impact of the procedures used in the programme.
      ˇ Analyses and evaluates the efficiency of the procedures used in the individual funded projects.
      ˇ Analyses the economic efficiency of the programme, finds the deficiencies and the ways of avoiding/correcting them.
      ˇ Compares the results of the programmes with that of Roma programmes funded by other organisations.
      ˇ Prepares comprehensive proposals for the professional and methodological functioning of the programmes of the FUND.

PROPOSALS FOR PROGRAMME-TYPES TO BE SUPPORTED

      1. Education programme

      Establishment of a Catching-up and Talent Care Centre and Network
      The main reason for the school failure of the Roma youngsters is the incapacity of the school system to react to the language and social disadvantages of Roma children. This is why an intermediary player is needed, who can help the communication between the Roma and non-Roma communities, and promote the efficient co-operation on social and pedagogical issues as well.

      In order to compensate the disturbances in the school system that is incapable of compensating disadvantages or promoting talents of Roma children an appropriate answer should be found inside the existing system. For this purpose the creation of a service centre and network is necessary, that is capable to efficiently perform the task of pedagogical and social mediator and would also have a positive impact on teacher training.

      The activity of the Tcatching-up and Talent Care Centre and Network would aim to reduce the language and social disadvantages at all levels of education and training. Through the adult education programmes it would help the skilled worker qualification, through the retraining programmes it would help the young and the old people as well in acquiring the skills that would help them in accessing employment, in finding a job.

      We should not forget though the irregularities and difficulties of functioning and sustaining the education institutions. It is very difficult to deliver pedagogical work when neither living conditions of the teachers nor the basic working conditions of the institution are provided. When designing the activities care should be taken to avoid the creation of a parallel system, so that the NGOs would not take over government tasks and responsibilities that would lead to the diminishing participation of the state. The strengths of the NGOs should be used to achieve synergic effects.
      Kindergarten sub-programmes:

        ˇ Helping the kindergarten integration of the Roma children, compensating the language disadvantages, development of skills and aptitudes, integration, development of social relations, training of Roma nurses ;

      Primary school sub-programmes:

        ˇ Compensating the language disadvantages, development of skills and aptitudes, integration, catching-up programmes, support for forms of small-group learning;

      Secondary school sub-programmes:

        ˇ Diminishing the drop-out rate;
        ˇ Preparation for the successful completing of secondary school studies;
        ˇ preparation for further education admission examination;
        ˇ training of the young people who had dropped out of school education;

      Higher education sub-programmes:

        ˇ helping the successful attending in further education institutions, supporting the completing of further studies;
        ˇ helping the career starting and employment according to the qualifications;

      Adult education sub-programmes:

        ˇ acquiring basic knowledge, skills;
        ˇ vocational training and retraining;

      Teacher's sub-programmes:

        ˇ nurse and teacher training;
        ˇ support for professional events, conferences, and publications.

      2. Employment programme

      Creation of a Complex Roma Employment Programme
      This Roma employment programme would aim to build the capacity of the organisations delivering the project and at the same time to diminish Roma unemployment.

      A system combining different employment forms and labour market services, built upon each other, delivered by Roma organisations or Roma Minority Self-governments, in order to tackle Roma unemployment and improve the employability of the Roma population. As an expected result the Roma organisation would get stronger at local level and based on their professional skills and competencies they could become long-term efficient participants in the employment and social integration of the Roma population.

      The objective of the programme:
      ˇ Helping the long-term employment of Roma by supporting the job creation in community enterprises.
      ˇ Forwarding the employment and employability by training, by exploration of job opportunities, by improvement of the work capacity of the families.
      ˇ Developing the knowledge, capacity and skills of the management of the Roma organisation delivering the programme.

      Activities to be supported in the project

        Employment

          ˇ Employment for a set period
          ˇ Job-creating capital investment
          ˇ Wages pay
          ˇ processing equipment
          ˇ Marketing activities

        Services

          ˇ Labour exchange
          ˇ Work-force lending
          ˇ Employment, job searching etc. training and counselling
          ˇ Services for improving the work capacity of the families

        Training

          ˇ Basic catching-up training
          ˇ Auxiliary training courses
          ˇ On the job training
          ˇ Training for the project management

      A N N E X

    DAY / TIME

    LOCATION

    PARTICIPANTS

    ACTIVITY

    0. day

    13. 00. hours

    Budapest

    Nidhi Trehan5, Kolompár József

    General information on the situation in “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, Focusing on the Roma population

    1. day (07. 25.)

    15. 00. hours

    Skopje

    Hotel Continental

    Kolompár József, Suhajda Endre

    Arrival in Skopje, checking in the Hotel

    2. day (07. 26.)

    10. 30. hours

      Skopje

    Hotel Continental

      Kolompár József, Suhajda Endre, Ibrahim Ibrahimi

      The first occasion we could meet and talk to a local organiser , Ibrahim Ibrahimi

    11. 00. hours

    Skopje

    Romaversitas

    Kolompár József, Suhajda Endre, Ibrahim Ibrahimi,

    Meeting with the representative of the co-ordination organisation "ROMA 2002"

    14. 00. hours

    Skopje

    Hotel Panorama

    Enisa Enimova, Kolompár József, Suhajda Endre,

    Arrival at Hotel Panorama

    15. 00. hours

    Suto Orizari

    Primary School

    Kolompár József, Suhajda Endre, Enisa Enimova,

    Visit to a primary school (classrooms, environment, equipment , etc.) Agreement on a later meeting .

    16. 00. hours

    Kumanovo

    Romany Women Organisation (ROZM "DAJA")

    Dilbera Kamberovski, Kolompár József, Suhajda Endre, Enisa Enimova,

    Meeting with the president of the Romany women organisation, who is also vice-president of the "ROMA 2002" organisation. Visiting the education and adult training projects and facilities of the local organisations.

    18. 30. hours

    Kumanovo

    3000 person Roma community (neighbourhood)

    Enisa Enimova, Kolompár József, Suhajda Endre,

    Visiting the largest, 3. 000 Roma neighbourhood of Kumanovo, looking at the public utilities supply, roads and living conditions of the community.

    19. 00. hours

    Kumanovo

    3000 person Roma community (neighbourhood)

    5-6 Roma people from the community, Kolompár József, Suhajda Endre, Enisa Enimova,

    Meeting with the Roma inhabitants of the neighbourhood

    20. 00. hours

    Kumanovo

    CRZ "DROM" office

    Enisa Enimova, Kolompár József, Suhajda Endre,

    Meeting the leaders of the organisation, studying the programmes and centre of the organisation.

    20. 30. hours

    Kumanovo

    CRZ "DROM" Community Centre in the Roma neighbourhood

    Enisa Enimova, Kolompár József, Suhajda Endre,

    Visiting the Community Centre working in the Roma neighbourhood (800 inhabitants), studying the programmes and activities of the Community Centre

    22. 00. hours

    Kumanovo

    Roma Rights Forum "ARKA" office

    Feat Kamberowski and his staff, Kolompár József, Suhajda Endre, Enisa Enimova,

    Meeting with the leaders of the Roma Rights Forum organisation, studying the activities of the organisation

    23. 00. hours

    Kumanovo

    Dinner

    Feat Kamberovski, Kolompár József, Suhajda Endre, Enisa Enimova,

    Continuing the discussions with the leader of the Roma Rights Forum organisation

    3. day (07. 27.)

    East
    “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”

    08. 00. hours

    Skopje

    Hotel Continental

    Kolompár József, Suhajda Endre, Ibrahim Ibrahimi,

    Car renting, leaving for Tetovo. We could only reach Tetovo using byroads, because of the Albanian blockade of the motorway

    11. 00. hours

    Tetovo

    Roma organisation

    Leader of the organisation and one staff member, Kolompár József, Suhajda Endre, Ibrahim Ibrahimi,

    Studying the education, training and employment programmes of the organisation.

    11. 30. hours

    Tetovo

    Local authority

    Mayor - Murtezan Ismaili, Kolompár József, Suhajda Endre, Ibrahim Ibrahimi,

    Meeting with the mayor of Tetovo.

    12. 00. hours

    Tetovo

    Roma
    organisation

    Leaders of the organisation (2 persons), Kolompár József, Suhajda Endre, Ibrahim Ibrahimi,

    Studying the education, training programmes of the organisation.

    14. 00. hours

    Gostivar

    Local authority

    Mayor's secretary, Kolompár József, Suhajda Endre, Ibrahim Ibrahimi,

    Meeting with the secretary of the Gostivar mayor.

    14. 30. hours

    Gostivar

    HDZR "MESECINA" headquarters

    Rahmani Memedali and one staff member, Kolompár József, Suhajda Endre, Ibrahim Ibrahimi,

    Studying the programmes of the Mesecsina Roma organisation.

    16. 00. hours

    Kicsevo

    MESECINA Kicsevo branch

    President of the organisation and two staff members, Kolompár József, Suhajda Endre, Ibrahim Ibrahimi,

    Information meeting on the situation and programmes of the Kiscsevo Romas, who call themselves Gypsies.

    18. 00. hours

    Skopje

    Dinner

    Kolompár József, Suhajda Endre, Ibrahim Ibrahimi,

    Dinner, discussing the programme for the following days

    4. day (07. 28.)

    West
    “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”

    09. 00. hours

    Skopje

    Hotel Panorama

    Kolompár József, Suhajda Endre, Ibrahim Ibrahimi,

    Leaving for Stip

    11. 00. hours

    Stip

    Roma People Rights headquarters

    Leader of the organisation, Kolompár József, Suhajda Endre, Ibrahim Ibrahimi,

    Meeting with the leader of the organisation, studying the programmes and centre of the organisation.

    12. 30. hours

    Decsevo

    Humanitarian and Charitable Roma Society "Phurt" office

    Training manager, representative of the humanitarian organisation, Anka Demirovska and one staff member, Kolompár József, Suhajda Endre, Ibrahim Ibrahimi,

    Meeting with the local representative of the Ministry of Education, with the representative of the social institutions of the town, leaders of the Roma organisation, and studying the programmes and centre of the organisation.

    18. 00. hours

    Skopje

    Hotel Panorama

    Kolompár József, Suhajda Endre

    Arrival

    21. 00. hours

    Skopje

    Irish pub

    Romaversitas member, Kolompár József, Suhajda Endre,

    Meeting with a member of Romaversitas

    5. day (07. 29.)

    09. 00. hours

    Skopje

    Hotel Panorama

    Kolompár József, Suhajda Endre, Ibrahim Ibrahimi,

    Meeting with Ibrahim, review of the programme of the day: we find out only now that the programmes with the Ministries (Ministry of Social Work, and Ministry of Economy), and the meeting with the Roma Mayor of Suto Orizari, Nezdet Mustafa are cancelled.

    10. 00. hours

    Skopje

    Preparatory school and care programme

    Leader of the programme, Kolompár József, Suhajda Endre, Ibrahim Ibrahimi,

    Visiting a preparatory school and development school programme in a "smaller" Roma neighbourhood on the outskirts of Skopje.

    12. 30. hours

    Skopje

    Meeting, lunch

    Advisers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (Roma 2002 member) and the Ministry of Economy, Kolompár József, Suhajda Endre, Ibrahim Ibrahimi,

    Meeting with the advisers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and of the Ministry of Economy in a Skopje restaurant, at the start of the meeting they step back, they do not accept to make any statement in their official quality. The MP did not show up.

    16. 00. hours

    Skopje

    Swiss Embassy
    Cooperation Office SDC/seco

    Semci Sainov, Kolompár József, Suhajda Endre, Enisa Enimova,

    Meeting with the leader of the Small and Medium Enterprise Fund about the employment situation and enterprise in “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”.

    6. day (07. 30.)

    10. 00. hours

    Suto Orizari

    School

    Director of the school, Kolompár József, Suhajda Endre, Enisa Enimova,

    Meeting with the director of the Suto Orizari school, studying the school

    11. 00. hours

    Suto Orizari

    Suto Orizari

    Kolompár József, Suhajda Endre, Enisa Enimova,

    Visiting Suto Orizari

    12. 00. hours

    Suto Orizari

    School

    Director of the school, Kolompár József, Suhajda Endre, Enisa Enimova,

    Meeting with the director of the Suto Orizari school, studying the school

    14. 00. hours

    Skopje

    Romaversitas

    Kolompár József, Suhajda Endre, Enisa Enimova, Ibrahim Ibrahimi,

    Meeting with the local organisers, discussions on my role and clarification of this role

    14. 00. hours

    Skopje

    Lunch

    4 Romaversitas members, Kolompár József, Suhajda Endre, Enisa Enimova, Ibrahim Ibrahimi,

    Meeting with the local organisers, discussions on my role and clarification of this role

    15. 00. hours

    Skopje

    Romaversitas

    Kolompár József, Suhajda Endre, Enisa Enimova, Ibrahim Ibrahimi,

    Discussing the further work and activities.

    18. 00. hours

    Skopje

    Hotel Panorama

    Kolompár József, Suhajda Endre

    Dinner

    7. day (07. 31.)

    03. 00. hours

    Skopje

    Hotel Panorama

    Kolompár József, Suhajda Endre

    Checking out

    04. 00. hours

    Skopje

    Airport

    Kolompár József, Suhajda Endre

    Arrival to the airport, which is closed so we have to wait half an hour in the dark and rain .

    04. 30. hours

    Skopje

    Airport

    Kolompár József, Suhajda Endre

    Checking in, leaving

    07. 00. hours

    Budapest

    Airport

    Kolompár József, Suhajda Endre

    Arrival in Budapest

1 The local government and local institutions cannot be managed and run according to the interests of the local community from the central state administration. A reform of the public administration is necessary soon, reform that would offer a legal framework of real decision competence and autonomy to the local governments (for instance in directing the local institutions on their territory, managing their own resources).

2 The National Programme is necessary because the "Roma problem" is not exclusively the problem of the Roma population. It affects the whole economy and society, so the solution requires co-operation and solidarity.

3 Perhaps the idea of a National Programme does look like a top priority considering the Albanian question and the present socio-economic situation in “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, but perhaps it could be in fact one of the ways leading to a medium and long solution to a number of political and socio-economic issues.

4 This is a suggestion, any other proportion could be used, provided that the larger share is covered by the European Union since the local resources are lacking and the majority government would probably not want to invest a large amount of money in the Roma population.

5 Research Manager, at the International Sociology and Policy Research Institute in Skopje