Hungary - 1st Community Action Group, Preparatory Meetings with Mediators and Negotiations with Local Authorities

Article by Szilvia Rezmüves - National Project Officer for ROMED2/ROMACT in Hungary

 

During the past weeks and months, new developments have taken place in Hungary within the ROMED2 process for Democratic Governance and Roma Community participation through mediation. Thus, a preparatory training for mediators took place in Budapest from 9 - 11 December 2013 the aim of which was to strengthen the ability of mediators and learn the intervention of ROMED2-ROMACT in the selected municipalities. More specifically, mediators had the chance to discuss the specific methods of the programmes such as the participatory work cycle, analyses of local issues and the possible characteristics of Community Action Groups in each location. 

This meeting was followed in late January 2014 by an organisational meeting with mediators, where the ROMED2 National Support Team in Hungary gathered mediators from implementation municipalities to discuss the concrete role and task of mediators in order to ensure the facilitation process at local level under ROMED2-ROMACT. Participants analysed stakeholders in ROMED2-ROMACT in a country-specific manner through the angle of group management and leadership, trust building, conflict resolution and local policies. Having agreed on concrete task and role, participants could set the first meeting with Community Action Groups in order to get involved in the dialogue between Community Action Groups and local authorities.

Thus, on 4 February 2014, a very first Community Action Group started in Nagyecsed, Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County, where Roma represent 22% out of a total of 6756 inhabitants. Two Roma communities live in Nagyecsed, mainly romungro and lovári Roma people.

During the first CAG meeting two ROMED2 local facilitators together with the local mediator identified a high motivation among 15 participants from the two Roma communities. The group learned about the means they hold for improving the current situation in their municipality and welcomed future meetings as an opportunity to get the social integration of Roma moving in the right direction much faster and more effectively than before.

During this meeting, the Roma people constituing the CAG in Nagyecsed set the rules governing the group for future meetings, and drafted a list of issues they considered as main priorities which need to be addressed. As an example, youth unemployment was noted by the group as one of the main concerns in the communities and as an issue to be brought in discussions with local authorities.

As a next step, the CAG together with facilitators and mediators plans to collect necessary information as well and set up informal home meetings in an effort to persuade more people to join them and draft a letter to the Mayor seeking recognition of Nagyecsed Roma Community Action Group.

The National Project Officer and National Focal Point for ROMED2 and ROMACT have also entered negotiations with the mayors of the municipalities of Pecs and Gyulaj, who have shown great interest and openness at the project of Roma participation and promotion of their integration at local level. Negotiations on the implementation of the two programmes is also lead with the mayor of Nagyecsed and the vice-mayor of Szeged, with similar outcomes. In Szeged, focus was requested on the mediation of social problems identified by the municipality, church and Roma representatives.

A gallery of the three various moments described above is available here.

 

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